Extensions itself, through which Anglo American Corporation had an
indirect interest in the Odendaalsrus area, also went through a phase
of contraction and abandonment. In 1939 Wit. Extensions had an interest
with Western Holdings in certain farms, but in the course of the
financial year 1940, so the chairman informed the shareholders on 31
Holdings have decided not to renew the options on these farms. I also
informed you last year that options had been obtained on eighteen other
farms in one block in the Free State, which options were still in
existence at the end of the financial year. In view of the present
conditions your directors feel that the renewal of those options did
not justify the expenditure involved and consequently they were not
year, at the meeting on 31 December 1941, the chairman (Major E. B.
Wolf) pronounced what was practically sentence of death.52
pending the outcome of the prospecting work being carried out in neighbouring areas.'
(ii) 'The options held over the Wit. Extensions area were abandoned during the year.'
Ernest Oppenheinier's addresses to the shareholders at the first and
second meetings of West Rand Investment Trust, held respectively on 28
April 1938 and 26 April 1939:
'Your company has also an interest in certain prospecting and diamond
drilling work in areas in the Transvaal and Orange Free State, to the
south and southwest of the mining lease area held by the Western Reefs
company. In much of the area prospected, the great thickness of the
overlying Ventersdorp Series has been a disappointing feature, and in
addition it has been found in certain cases that the Upper Elsburg
Series, in which formation the payable reef disclosures to the north of
the Vaal River have been made, has been eroded. Some of the options
held have been abandoned in the light of unfavourable results so far
encountered. In the more promising areas work is still proceeding, and
it is possible that payable reefs may yet be found to exist. So far,
however, the results have not been encouraging.'
'Further work was carried on during the year on your company's
prospecting ventures in the south-west Transvaal and Orange Free State.
No positive results were, however, obtained and consequently most of
the options have now been abandoned.'
'It will have been noticed that all the Orange Free State and Swaziland
options have been abandoned. Owing to the war it was impossible to
realize in any way thereon, and the board had confined itself during
the year to the question of policy. All expenditure had been reduced
to a minimum. There were several policies which they could have
adopted, each of which involved reconstruction, and, following on that,
the raising of fresh capital. Assuming all that, what would have been
the next step? Options in the Orange Free State could have been
obtained and while the faith of the board in the Orange Free State is
as great as ever, the holding of options is a very expensive business.
today with no one having any idea how long the war is going to last may
be said to be liabilities and not assets. Even with fresh capital it
might easily be a case of paying thousands of pounds for several years
and then finding ourselves in the same position as we are now.
'Moreover it was felt that we were not justified in raising fresh capital while this