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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 62



The most important facts in respect of this industry are the stationary condition of the production of gold and the very rapid growth of the production of coal. With respect to the former, it remains to be seen whether the investments of foreign capital in quartz reefs will result in again raising the exports of gold; but so far as coal is concerned, the increase in the years between the last census and the one preceding it may realiy be called extraordinary, the amounts raised being 277,918 tons in 1850 and 481,658 in 1885.

As there was no mining of any importance in Victoria except gold mining, I have compared the average earnings of all miners in New Zealand with those of gold miners in Victoria. The result is distinctly in favour of Victoria, but it is impossible to be sure of the number of men really engaged in the industry in either colony. The numbers given for Victoria are only estimates of the Victorian Department of Mines, while our census returns probably include a number of men who are only working a part of their time at mining. The reason for this opinion is that in the mines of which we have particular returns—that is, practically, all the mines worthy of the name that are in operation—the average product is £252 per head for gold mining and £211 per head for all mines and quarries; and if we exclude both the hands and the products thus accounted for, we get an average of only £48 a head for the remaining miners. Thus in this case the comparison is unsatisfactory, but the value of total products is probably not far wrong, depending, as it does, on the export returns in the case of gold, and on special returns from managers of mines and quarries for the other items. Kauri gum digging cannot be included among mining industries without spoiling the average, because the return per head appears to be much larger than is really the case. The only diggers who are enumerated in the census are Europeans, but it is known the large quantities of gum are the produce of Maoris, which accounts for the fact that the produce per head appears to be abnormally high.