No. 80.
Mr. Foulk to Mr. Bayard.

No. 300.]

Sir: Supplementary to the report upon mineral products of Corea, transmitted with my No. 286, dated March 20, 1886, I beg to submit the inclosed copy of a letter received by me from Mr. C. A. Welch, an intelligent American gentleman in the service of the Corean customs.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 300.]

I send you herewith all the statistics of the gold produced and exported from this port and district, covering a period from November, 1883, to the 18th of the present month.

During the months of November and December, 1883, the value of the gold exported from this port was $28,920. Previous statistics are unattainable, but the amount exported from the opening of the port is said to be very great. The total value of the gold exported during the year 1884 was $110,265. The total value exported during 1885 was $357, 148. The value of the gold exported from the first of the present year to the end of March was $89,641, while the amount sent away in one steamer this month (18th instant) was $21,559.

These statistics, of course, do not account for the gold carried overland to Seoul, or for that which is taken north over the boundary, the value of which is said to be very great.

Nearly all the gold exported from here is produced within an area of 60 miles from the port.

The method employed by the Coreans in washing the gold is very primitive, and a great deal of the line gold dust is lost. All the gold exported from here is alluvial, and I have not been able to satisfy myself yet that any other than surface gold is mined in this country, although I have seen a fair sample of gold-bearing quartz, and have been told by the natives that “stone gold” is produced in the northern part of this province, from which the gold is extracted by a crushing and washing process.

The number of people working last year in the gold fields is estimated at ten thousand, which was far above the average, and is accounted for by the fact that more people were allowed to go to the fields on account of the bad harvest, and which may possibly account for the increased amount of gold exported as compared with previous years.

There seem to be several different methods of obtaining mining grants. In some cases the miners appear to hold the claims by a payment of a fee, while in other cases the gold appears to be purchased by officials appointed for the purpose at a fixed tariff. Of this, however, I am not certain; it is very hard to get any reliable information from the natives in relation to gold.

The principal mining place in this district is near the city of Yung-Hung, abou 40 miles from this port. However, gold appears to be found in considerable quantities in many parts of this country, noticeably on the Yumen River. Reliable information in regard to the quantity produced, however, cannot be obtained.

Gold is also found near Fusah, at Ma-san-pho, in fair quantity. The same difficulty has to be borne there as in other places, i. e., after getting down to good pay gravel the products are generally flooded, and as the natives have no pumping appliances, the work has to be abandoned until the water falls.

The period of mining seems to extend from the time the crops are in the ground till the harvest time, people coming from all parts of the country to wash for gold.

You may have noticed, in No. 1 of the quarterly returns, that in the “Treasure Table” for this port the amount exported for the quarter ending December, 1885, is given as taels 7,761,180; this is rather misleading, as it is not value, but weight * * * Reckoning the value of the gold at $20 per tael, the amount would be about $155,000.

I am under the impression that gold in paying quantities is found at many places between hero and Seoul. The greatest difficulty, as I have elsewhere remarked, is experienced in getting reliable information from the natives. One man will tell [Page 222] that a certain place is rich in gold, while another will say that there is none at all; the probability being, however, that they are both incorrect.

This province (Ham-Kyöng Do) is rich in other minerals, copper and iron being found in large quantities not far from the port. At Kapoan, about 500 li north of here, good coal is said to be abundant, and copper and lead. I have not heard of coal nearer than that, although it is quite possible that there may be plenty.

Coal is found about 25 or 30 miles from Fusan. I have only seen the surface shale but I have heard that people at Fusan have burned it and say that it is not good; however, it may be that it was not taken from a good depth.



I have recently learned that the Chinese officials and merchants are actively interested in the gold mine of Corea at Yung-Hung (near Wönsan). I have it on good authority that these mines were visited recently by the Chinese consul at Wonsan, and he has stated that there are 20,000 men working at the mines in the district.

Each man pays to the Government for the privilege of mining about 6 candareens, weight, of gold or its equivalent in money. The consul intimated his whim to go to Seoul soon, and that Chinese interest in gold mining at Yung-Hung would be extended.

There can be no doubt that China’s policy with regard to Corea has, for a large section of its base, her cognizance of the undeveloped mineral wealth of the country.

Ensign U. S. Navy, Chargé d’Affaires ad interim.