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Prospection (page 1)


Immediately after he left School of Mining Engineers at the age of 21 with the engineer degree, JJGarnier worked during two years in the Steelworks of Marine and Railroads and made mining exploration in Ukraine and in Sardinia. We shall leave aside the papers about these expeditions because, in August 1863, he had " the honor to be charged by Mr. Marquees of Chasseloup-Laubat, Minister of Marine and Colonies, to act as engineer, leader of the service of the of New Calédonia's Mines " First of all, it was necessary, in the mission, " to study the grounds which one had just indicated as gold bearing areas and to follow these grounds to determine their limits ' During the month of march, this same year, the diggers found gold from their first steps on the territory. I talk about two Australians and about a Breton, former minor in Australia and in New Zealand.

Stayed alone, this last one raised a small hut and continued his searches. He worked hard, turning the ground upside down, living on roots which kanak's generosity granted to him. Finally, tired of this struggle, he abandoned and went away. On account of the lack of plains in N.C, gold could not be found in filons. At Puebo where was the most important deposit, it was necessary to go back up 4 kms inside lands. The clayey gold bearing layers cover the banks of a small onrushing river collected in a deep valley and in a vast funnel where come to converge on the walls of the surrounding high mountains. One had to burrow in the narrow bed of the river in the middle of enormous blocks but the constant invasion of waters would have required dredging and dams to divert the river; the studies of the valley of Diahot were not more convincing and the future confirmed that it was wise to give up these investigations.

One agreed to say, besides, that the new colony was rich in deposits of coal. In "Essay on the Geology and the mineral resources of New Calédonia" published by JJGarnier at Dunod Edition in 1867 he distinguishes two types of deposits: that from Karigou to Koé and that of Mont d'Or but not enough area of the carboniferous ground, the inferior quality of the combustible and its poor abundance abundance brought him to advise against continuation of expenses the pursuit made up to then especially since the coal of the New Zealand or Australia could, in lesser cost, be brought in ports near the zones of use. Once again the future proved he was right: Moindou's Coalmines extracted the local coal from 1924 till 1930 and did not survive.

During expeditions executed against a tribe, the small troop was able to collect some of the missiles that natives threw to them with slings. JJGarnier examines these egg-shaped, sharp pebbles in their tips and recognizes that they are made of baryte sulphate; a man from the country take them in a considerable filon located at some distance of the river Amoï; there, he identifies the other projectiles of high density which prove to be some copper carbonate (green stone) and of some copper pyriteux and native (brilliant stone). He made some blasts of mine done in this zone and also in the island Ducos where he had noticed the same typical minerals. In the plain of Khouen, one finds a tributary of the river Macéa waters of which are turned yellow with the iron oxide and contains dissolved in a strong proportion of sulfate of iron protoxide which reveals their astringent savor similar to that of the ink. He also finds some iron ore on the oriental coast in the form of mountains of oxidized iron rising by the sea in the bottom of very safe ports where from he foresees profitable deliveries towards Sydney.

By going through the Mont d'Or along several directions, he meets all over heap of ore of chromium of an easy exploitation and only mixed with soft clay. Along three pages, he makes the calculation of the cost price of a ton of this ore taking into account its composition and abundance ratio of chrome-plate loading expenses, freight to Europe and concludes that "the developer would even have another big advantage wit ha transport maximum price of 100f per ton since it is worth in Paris about 200f the ton"

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