to Mr. Bayard.
Bangkok, March 13, 1888. (Received April 23.)
Sir: I have the honor to report that J. J. Cooper, an English mining engineer, who was sent out from London by a company to examine into the value of the Banta Phan gold mine, situated on the east coast of the Gulf of Siam, about 350 miles from Bangkok, has made an elaborate examination of said mines, and reports that he found three distinct divisions in the gold field there.
- Alluvial, that has been worked by the natives from as far back as 1510 A. D., over an area of 40 square miles, with the rudest appliances, and from which vast treasure has been derived by the gold-washing tribes of the coast, the evidences of which are the numerous vessels of Siamese gold in the possession of the nobles, the royal metal from there being 24 carats fine.
- A river flows through the placers from northwest to southeast, the bed of which has never been disturbed, and which can be turned or dredged.
- A quartz lode measuring 1 mile in length by 60 feet in width, the surface and excavations of which yield an average of 1½ ounces to the ton.
The auriferous area is 10 miles long by 3 wide. A concession for twenty-five years has been granted to Chevalier A. Luzzatie, an Italian, and a company organized with a capital stock of £250,000. three-fourths of which, it is asserted, has already been taken in London. A royalty of 12 per cent, of the net profits of the mines is to go to the Siamese Government. The company have the exclusive right to all minerals in the boundaries of the concession, an area 10 miles in length by 3 miles in width, containing 4,000 acres of available mining surface, which Mr. Cooper asserts will average 116 ounces to the acre.
Three different surveys have been made of these mines, and all of them pronounced favorable. The Banta Phan mines are located near a small bay, accessible for the largest ships, and are 2 miles from the coast, in a well timbered and watered region, easy of access, so that machinery and supplies can be sent to the mines by building a short road through the jungle which skirts the coast.
Heretofore the mines have had the reputation of being very unhealthy, and thousands of human lives have been sacrificed to the greed of the nobles in their endeavor to obtain the precious metal. The present company proposes to erect habitable dwellings and to clear the forest and undergrowth, so that the health of the place may be improved. Mr. Cooper, who has had considerable experience in examining and exploring mines, says that the Banta Phan is one of the most peculiar that it has so far been his fortune to examine. It embraces everything needed to operate it successfully, timber and water plenty.
Work will be commenced as soon as the machinery can be shipped from England and skilled miners sent for. The fact that a company has been organized in London to work the mines, a telegram to that effect having been received here, tends to give credence to the report of Mr. Cooper as to the richness thereof, many specimens of which seem to corroborate his assertions, but as the reports of gold-mining operations must be taken for what they are worth, I send you the above information, which I have received from Chevalier Luzzatie and others interested.
I have, etc.,