The Earth a Vast Treasure-box–$300,000,000 from the Comstock Lode–A Short Story of Three Millionaires–Opportunities in Mica Mining–Fortunes in Salt Wells–$10,000 for Locating a Mine–Not a Cent of Capital Needed–The Gold Belt of the United States–Two Men’s Earnings with the Pan–What Michigan Boys are Doing–Big Dividends in Tin–A Man with an Income of $2 a Minute.


The immense importance which minerals play in our industries and the glittering fortunes made by delving into the earth, are faintly indicated by the fact that the output of last year aggregated the almost unthinkable sum of nearly $1,000,000,000. Profits in mining come mainly from four sources. The buying of mining lands with a view to sale, prospecting for the purpose of selling claims, placer-mining, and mining by machinery. Here are a few of the most promising roads to the earth’s hidden treasure.

353. NEVADA SILVERThe Comstock lode produced in three years $100,000,000, of which $30,000,000 went for cost and working expenses, and $70,000,000 for profits. Altogether $300,000,000 have been taken from that celebrated mine. In the African mines there are sixty-nine companies. In 1896 the lowest dividend of any of these companies was 10 per cent., and the highest 350. In 1897 the lowest was 10 and the highest 500 per cent. The accounts of the way that such men as James Flood, James G. Fair, and William Sharon obtained their treasure from silver mines reads like the fascinating story of a popular novel.

354. ALUMINUM, THE NEW MINERAL“The product of aluminum in the United States,” says a mining expert, “should be three million pounds in 1900.” The present price is from thirty-five to fifty cents per pound. It is found chiefly in Georgia and Alabama at the foot of the Appalachian system, but there is no known reason why it should not be discovered in other parts–the mountains of Tennessee, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

355. NORTH CAROLINA MICAIn the mountains of North Carolina are found the best mica dikes in the United States, but the methods of mining are crude and bring small profit. Here is an opportunity to make a vast prosperityby the producing of mica with machinery such as is used in extracting other minerals.

356. KANSAS ZINCZinc is a mineral which has a great future. It is being used largely in place of tin. There are many zinc mines, and especially in the Western States, as yet undeveloped. One acre in Galena, Kansas, produced $250,000.

357. MISSOURI COTTASFor clay go to Missouri. It is found in 90 out of the 114 counties of the State. From this mineral three companies in Kansas City are manufacturing sewer-pipes and working on an invested capital of $1,000,000. They have an annual output worth $1,100,000, or more than 100 per cent. profit, less, of course, the cost of production. The sewer-pipe industry will vastly increase with the growth of cities.


358. NICKEL MINESNickel is a metal for which there is a constantly increasing demand. Aside from the vast number of nickel-plated articles, it has recently been found that steel, alloyed with a small percentage of nickel, makes the hardest substance known which can be produced on a large scale. It is bound to be used in future for the shells of our ironclads. In North Carolina and in Oregon, are large deposits of this valuable ore awaiting the hardy miner or bold speculator.

359. MEXICAN IRONNear the city of Durango, Mexico, are the largest iron mines in North America, but as yet entirely unworked. There are 10,000,000 square feet in sight, sixty per cent. of which is metallic iron. An opportunity for capitalists.

360. TENNESSEE LIMESTONEIn the foothills of the Cumberland Mountains are ranges of blocks–lower Carbonifererous and Devonian shales, and impure limestone, but the rocks of the basin proper are pure limestone. This limestone when pulverized makes the best phosphate, and is worth $18 a ton. A mining authority states that with proper working it ought to produce at least 200,000 tons of rock per annum.


361. FORTUNES IN COPPERForty-eight per cent. of the copper of the world is in the United States and Canada. The price is $200 a ton. Almost all the mines of the Lake Michigan region are making profit, but the industry is yet in its infancy. When it is known that a mine has been made to pay which contains less than one per cent. of copper, it can be seen what fortunes are in the mines that pay from forty to fifty per cent., and there are some that pay even more.

362. GERMAN AMBERIn Memel, Germany, a dredging company pays the government an annual rental of twenty-five thalers a day for the privilege of dredging in the Kurische Hoff, near the village of Schwarzarts. But it is not to be supposed that this is the only spot where amber is to be found. It will doubtless yet be discovered in this country.

363. AFRICAN DIAMONDSDiamonds in vast numbers are found in the beds of many South African streams, but if you have capital you may develop an industry like that of the De Beers Company, which is paying forty per cent. per annum.


364. TASMANIA TINA single company in Murat Bischoff has paid more than $7,000,000 in dividends to the fortunate owners of a tin mine.

365. GEORGIA SAPPHIRESIn 1872, Colonel C. W. Jenks, of Boston, picked up one hundred of these valuable stones at Laurel Creek, Rylang County, Georgia, a single gem of which was sold for $25.

366. ROCK SALTRock salt is found in Syracuse, New York, and in Michigan, also in Louisiana, and in South Eastern Arizona. It is believed that if these mines were bored deeper, potassium salt–a salt hitherto not found in the United States–would be discovered, and home plants take the place of foreign imports. Here is a chance for enterprising men.


367. ASBESTOS POCKETSA profitable pocket of asbestos was found a few years ago on Long Island not far from Brooklyn. Present supplies come from Sal Mountain, Georgia, and from Wyoming. It is believed that the serpentine rocks in Western North Carolina, as well as similar rocks in California and Oregon, contain rich deposits of this mineral.

368. PROSPECTS IN PLATINUMThis is a metal of very great importance. It has not thus far been found in large quantities in the United States. The most promising field is the North Pacific Slope, following the line of the coast mountains. Some day, it is thought, that rich platinum mines may be discovered there equal to those in Russia, and, of course, the early prospectors will reap large fortunes.

369. PETROLEUM WELLS“Petroleum,” says a leading article in the _Electrical World_, “is the coming fuel.” It is believed by many that the excitement over the discovery of oil fields in Pennsylvania in 1865 will be repeated on a much larger scale in oil regions yet to be discovered in the far West. At present, the mountains of Wyoming appear to be the most promising field. To sink an oil well costs $500 on the average. On Oil Creek, Pennsylvania, a few wells have been struck which yielded 3,000 barrels a day. One of the quickest ways to accumulate a prosperityis to prospect for oil, and when a rich vein is struck to buy as much land as you can. A young man named Johnny Steel once owned nearly all the land where the Pennsylvania oil wells were discovered. His income was over $1,000,000 a year, $30,000 a day, or about $2 a minute. But, verifying the adage that “a fool and his fortune are soon parted,” he not only spent all this enormous income, but also squandered the entire principal, and came at last to work as the driver of an oil wagon on the very oil farm he had once owned.


370. GOLD DISCOVERIESDraw a line from Colorado Springs, Colorado, north to Laramie City, Wyoming. From these two points draw straight lines one thousand miles to the west and inclose the parallelogram. You have inclosed what is known as the great gold belt of the United States. Nearly all the gold has been discovered within these comparatively narrow limits. Cripple Creek produced $8,000,000 in four years. A man who walked into that place three years ago to save his stage fare is now taking out $100,000 a year from his mines. Dawson City, way up in the frozen British possessions, promises to do as well as any gold discovery in the United States. Two men, the Thorpe brothers, cleaned up with their pans $13,000 in eight weeks. This was but a very small part of the immense amount of gold found in an insignificant creek, but there are at least five hundred creeks on the branches of the Yukon River, many of them no doubt as rich as the one that gave Dawson City its fame.

371. PROSPECTING FOR MINES“How many undeveloped mines are there west of the Mississippi, which, if developed, would be valuable properties? There may be ten thousand. It is far more likely that there are a million.” Extract from “Mines and Mining Industries in the United States.” The same authority also says that a prospector who has spent a year in locating a mine should receive $10,000 from a capitalist as his share. Mark this, you who think mining has no prospects, except for men of treasure.


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