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Ch. 1: Gold in Ceylon

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GOLD IN CEYLON.
71
that of other places an opinion was expressed favourable to investigation. Mr. Harvey is a very high authority in the gold-mining world and is naturally, therefore, correspondingly cautious in the expression of his opinion. He was the first, it seems, to inspect and report favourably on the auriferous land belonging to the late firm of Messrs. William Nicol & Co. of Bombay, and his report led to the establishment of the Glenrock and other gold-mining Companies. I lis inspection of our hill region was far too hurried to lead to definite practical results. It may, in one sense, be said to be premature, for Mr. Harvey would be the man to call in after some progress was made in the investigation, to give a decisive opinion on the value of quartz, and the nature of a reef. Planters will act quite rightly to make available representative specimens of the quartz which they have reason to suppose to be auriferous; but, as Mr. Harvey pointed out, the proper course in the case of Ceylon where gold has been found in the river beds and nowhere else (to speak of) as yet, would be to pan and wash in the river and follow up so long as gold was found, until at last it disappeared from the washings, and then to look right and left and \\\ round for the matrix reef from which the gold had gradually been denuded. Sow this is work appertaining to the Government of the country. It is impossible that private individuals can undertake this duty, and we think, therefore, there is good reason for calling on the Lieut.-Governor to devote some portion of the surplus revenue from the 1'earl Fishery to an investigation which may be fraught with important consequences to the revenue and prosperity of the Colony. It will be remembered that in 1854 an attempt to follow up the Mahaoya and liingula in the manner described above, was frustrated by the advent of the south-west monsoon. Unfortunately this same rainy season is again close at hand. Mr. Harvey was greatly struck with the advantages presented to the miner in Ceylon in railway and road communication, water power, good climate, &c. He also expressed an interest in the gem-digging operations in the country and hazarded the opinion that much deeper mining both for gems and gold in suitable localities (as recommended by Sir Samuel Baker in the case of Nuwara Eliya), ought to lead to successful results. The bed of an aifcient river, or the old bed of an existing river which has shifted its course, would probably be a favourite spot in which to operate for gold.
It must be remembered that Ceylon is one of the oldest geological formations. Geologistis speculate on this island having been connected with Madagascar and the Malay Peninsula by land long since submerged. They still regard a belt commencing on the east coast of Africa and across Madagascar, Ceylon, Malay' Peninsula and Borneo as the most likely division in which to find the remains of the earliest human beings or of the most advanced apes, on the earth's surface. Denudation of the rocks and reefs has therefore been going on in Ceylon far longer than in i»ost countries, and the fact that very valuable gems and evidences of gold have been found so near the surface affords good reason for anticipating greater success from deeper mining.
Since writing the above we have seen Mr, A. C. Dixon on his return from the Rakwana district. The Rangwelletenne limestone with its supposed 90 per cent of lime is a delusion. The limestone Mr. Dixon saw is poor. Gem pits exist on Everton estate to the depth of forty yards, and Mr. Dixon saw finer stones—sapphires chiefly—than any he had previously seen in the island. Two or three were valued by the Chetty owner at over ^200 a piece; but Mr. Dixon fully agrees that the proper localities have probably not yet been explored for the best gems, and he is likely to recommend a trial shaft in an old river bed.
GEMS AND LIMESTONE IN THE RAKWANA DISTRICT.
(From the Ceylon Observer, April 26, 1881.) We learn from Mr. Shand, senior, that the Rangwelletenne limestone so well reported on by Mr. Hughes was found in the shape of boulders in the river,
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