of clay or rock, or in watercourses where some rock or boulder has
arrested the course of the stream forming a pool where heavy substances
would sink and collect. This sand is—as far at I have been able to
determine in the absence of some necessary tests and re-agents which I
am awaiting—an oxide of manganese, probably the mineral Psilomclane, and
may prove to be valuable. I tested a piece of the supposed gold-bearing
quartz from the Hog's Back tunuel the other day, but found no trace of
the precious metal. The pyrites seemed only too pure. I may, however,
have had a poor specimen to deal with, and I intend trying others which
I have by me.—-Yours faithfully,
W. FREDK. MAYES.
THE GOLD-BEARING DISTRICTS OF SOUTHERN INDIA. To the Editor of the Melbourne " Argus."
visited the Devalah gold-mines some three and a half years ago, I am
not surprised at the accounts now published of the success of the first
large experiment in quartz crushing. As I was the first Indian editor
who had gone to see the operations of the Alpha Mining Company, Mr.
Minchin, Mr. Ryan, and the other directors were present to receive me,
show me over the works, and afford full information regarding their
operations and their success so far. At parting they presented me with
a piece of gold-bearing quartz, computed to contain about two guineas'
worth of the precious metal. The fractured surface of this specimen was
covered with specks of gold, quite obvious to the naked eye, while a
magnifying-glass brought out the real richness of the stone. As I have
handed the specimen to Mr. Cosmo Newbery, who has kindly promised to
report on its character and value, those having interest in the subject
can see the quartz, and when the pressure of his engagements in
connexion with the Exhibition awards is lightened, I have no doubt Mr.
Newbery will confirm my opinion as to the promising character of the
stone. As the means of the original Alpha Company were limited, they
had not been able to run a shaft much below the surface, so that the
quartz which they were crushing had still a large portion of pyrites in
its composition, and had patches of a rusty brown colour, such as I
have seen on some of the specimens of auriferous quartz shown at the
Melbourne International Exhibition. Having read the reports by Mr.
King, of the Indian Geological Survey, on the Wynaad quartz reef, and
seen for myself, I formed and published the conclusion, which I have
never seen reason to qualify, that deep shafts would lead to the
finding of stone exceptionally rich in ore and much less mixed with
pyrites than the quartz on or near the surface. The results already
obtained seem to justify the opinions I had formed, and there can be
little doubt that there is a great future for Southern and
South-western India as a gold-yielding region.. It has been that to a
certain extent from far-back antiquity. It was interesting to see the
surface of the out-cropping quartz dotted with poUholes, some of them
probably thousands of years old, in which the natives of Malabar had,
since the time of Solomon, and probably long before the era of the
monarch in whose time silver was not accounted of, because gold was so
abundant, conducted their simple crushing operations. Granted that the
Ophir of the Hebrew scriptures was not a particular country, but a
region, there seems little reason to doubt that the Malabar coast of
India, as well as the Island of Ceylon (Taprobane), were included in
the region whence gold of Ophir, with apes and peacocks, was brought.
The fact remains that the names for apes and peacocks are not Hebrew
words, but the Tamil names by which monkeys and peacocks are still
called in Southern India.
interesting to a large class of your readers than the discussion
regarding Ophir is the now ascertained existence of a wide extent of
rich auriferous quartz in Wynaad and Mysore. The danger is that the
accounts received may lead to a "rush" of miners from Australia to the