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Prospection (page 4)


Responsible for a study of the new mining district of Sudbury, in Canada, he 'anticipates the future granted to this district', he collects notes while borrowing invaluable documents from the note which had just published on this subject Dr. R.Bell, deputy manager of 'Geological Survey of Canada' and with the report sent to the government of the United States, at the date of October 14, 1890, by two experts delegated for this purpose. Here is what he writes: "At all events, it is interesting to compare the formations 'nikélifères' of Sudbury with those of New Caledonia and this visit which I have just made to the mines of Canada would make me return from my first impression which was that the oxidized ores of the New-Calédonia had precipitated from a dissolution in the splits and pores of the magnesian rocks 'nikélifères', either that the nickel oxide came by exudation from the magnesian rock itself or which it derived from sulphide seams changed into sulphates. To me, it seems, indeed, today more logical and more in conformity with the facts to admit that nickel in New-Calédonia is due to a distinct eruption which followed immediately that of the magnesian rocks already a little nickélified themselves...

There are more chances in Sudbury that, by liquation, a greater quantity of ore is descended in-depth and one will have to probably expect in the future to exploit the ore by very deep wells, but at the same time, in-depth enrichment will be progressing... Tin, lead, zinc were also met in this district of Sudbury. Gold and platinum start to be exploited there with ' Mine' Vermilion... In the map we give of the district of Sudbury, we show the ownership of the main company, the first in date,' Canadian Copper C° ' which spent much money for the geological and practical investigation of the district of Sudbury; it thus had the choice of the best places.

It is in fact that it has the best currently known mines... One had extracted at the time of my passage more than 50000 tons of ore; one extracts and crushes 180 tons per day. The layer does not vary of richness and of nature. The nickel content varies from 2 to 15 % and that of the copper from 0 to 30 % on average… the installation includes an extraction vapor engine, a crusher Blake nº 5 etc.
"The continuation of the monograph, and we will go back over lengthily there while speaking about the metallurgy, deals with his belief relating to the necessity of using what he calls 'ferro-nickel' in industry and it is one of the reasons which made him deposit 17 French and foreign patents.

Quite different are its concerns when it goes to Transvaal and the Cape with his son Pascal. The layers of gold and diamond discovered and exploited in the south of Africa appear to him to differ so much from those which he had visited in Australia and America that he had endeavored for several years to study them in order to explain these new facts by working out and developing throughout the pages a theory to the role of sludgy muds, not only as gangue of diamond but still like agent of mechanical force in the current stratigraphy of the layers:"We saw previously than the pressure exerted on the mud banks deposited on the granite bottom of the old ocean had been able to reach 2100 atmospheres; a similar pressure could well cause the transformation of graphite into diamond.

For a long time, it is thought that the pressure produced by sudden cooling, i.e. quenching, of a mixed carbon metal transformed this one into diamond, cause of hardness of the steels…" In corollary, he underlines the relation between the composition of each layer and the stream's speed which formed it : " This relation is absolute and one can say, like a law, that: if one divides the width of a river into elements of equal speed, each one of these elements will deposit along its flow only gravels of a given size * At last, he raises the question to know which was the gold salt dissolved: …

"In my preceding notes, I had already advanced that this salt was to be a' trichlorure', which is relatively very stable and allows moreover new chloride formation of which we can follow the evolutions in nature. The organized beings or their remains, as well as the vegetable matters, mingled with this water containing dissolved gold … "
He receives the approval of the scientists of the time or the engineers implied in these problems. It goes without saying that only geologists or metallurgists can interpret or understand or come out for or against and that it is not, in any way, our intention which would be rather to cut out the profile of this character, to follow him in this tireless curiosity, his search of reasoned and efficient solutions … As regards Western Australia, the purpose of the journey was to control mining properties belonging to a French-Australian company.


His elder son, Pascal, had remained there during the year 1895 and had collected notes; forty letters which they exchanged then testify to this activity but here is what writes Jules Garnier at the beginning of this memory in the Bulletin of the Company of the Civil Engineers of France in January 1900: "My son had already made a rapid study of these surroundings a few months before and the particular kind of the geological formations that decided me to go there.

We were provided with letters of introduction for some personalities of this colony and we found with Mr. Gipp Maitland, chief of the mines inspector of the colony and distinguished geologist, an invaluable support for he was glad to provide us well with letters for his various inspectors disseminated on the gold bearing districts which we must visit. After a few months devoted to a study without respite, I had to return to France feeling very weakened by tiredness and deprivations, leaving my son carry out my work. Alas! This separation was to be final for I received little after my return a telegram announcing that my unfortunate son had just succumbed carried by a fever especially accounted for an excess of exhaustion.

After such a tragedy, I would not have believed myself able to gather my ideas to write this small report, but, later I saw there like a duty. Moreover during the conference he made to you here on the day before our departure (February 1898) he had promised to communicate our observations to you as soon as he comes back; this promise, joined to the expressions of sympathy which I was so happy to meet within the Company encouraged me to write the reports below "

* See : La Nature, 17 Nov. 1894 : " Théorie de la formation aurifère du Witwatersrand par M. Jules Garnier.
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