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Prospection (page 2)


Here is finally what concerns the nickel: It is along Dumbéa but also in the region of the Mont d'Or, as one can see it on the geologic map (seeing link) which accompanies the Study quoted in the beginning of this article where he notes : "The presence of 'silicates magnésien' strongly filled with a green 'nickélifère' substance which colors them and which, up to this day, one had mistaken for the chromium which, usually is plentiful in the very quartz … One meets nickel also in the same conditions, going with blackish serpentines, with nodules of green material; in Kanala, the nickel shows itself coloring strongly a 'silicate magnésien'.


It will be of a high interest to study more accurately nickel deposits in New Calédonia and to see if industry would not know how to take advantage of this metal of which price, as it is known, is rather high and use of which, however offers so many advantages in certain instances." This quotation is dated on March, 1867. JJGarnier adds "The Aluminum and the Nickel: Conference given before the French association for the promotion of Sciences. P. 15 and 16): " the color of these green rocks made me suspect the presence of the nickel especially since I had made sure that this tint was not due to copper. I brought back in France certain number of specimens of this green rocks and the scholars to whom I presented them: MM. Jannetaz who helped me in the classification of my samples and Terreil, chemist in the Museum, did not delay assuring me that I had discovered a real nickel ore.

While I was still in New Calédonia, I had sent to the Professor Dana, the famous mineralogist, some samples of this strange mineral; he wanted indeed to scrutinize them. These studies led him to notice that there were hydro-silicates of nickel and magnesia with defined composition, but more or less mixed with a ferruginous and siliceous gangue. [(Or, Mg) 3 Si 2 O5 (OH) 4] The ore was new, Dana published the description of it in his fifth edition of mineralogy in 1874 and wanted indeed to give my name to this ore "*

This does not prevent pseudo-historians or hurried and 'rough' journalists from presenting some character called Coste, rogue mine worker, as the inventor of the nickel for having started a demand of concessions in these well listed areas beforehand (as one has just seen it) at the bottom of the Mont d'Or and to name him "the king of the nickel". Other monarchies were distributed as that for John Higginson, brilliant speculator whose biographer considers that his action is motivated only by the search for fast profits and that, on the whole, it was negative for the colony. The ore once invented and clearly identified, one must agree: 1 ° to define the utility of it in the metal industry in a convincing way for all and 2 ° to work out the industrial processes of fusion and refining. To that JJGarnier applied immediately.

* If it were necessary t o create there a subject of controversy, it would be enough, to have a clear view upon it, to refer to the Library of " École des Mines of Paris ~Bulletin of the Society of Mineral Industries ~ " and to the 1892's article of Félix Benoît, Engineer, Controller of Mines, former chief of Mine's Service in New Caledonia' page 754 to 812).

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