TO THE PRESIDENT AND DIRECTORS
VANDERBURG MINING COMPANY.
I have, the 1ast month, made a survey of the property belonging to the Vanderburg Mining Company in North Caro1ina, and herewith send you a map I have prepared of the same, on which the principal veins and important features of the property will be found plotted. The main tract comprises several estates now conso1idated into one. It has an extreme 1ength, north and south, of about, one mile and 100 rods, and east and west is nowhere less tban 200 rods. It bounds the property of the Phoenix Mining Company on the north and east, and must have upon it the extension of all the veins worked by this Company.
It is about six miles from Concord, in Cabarrus county to which place the North Carolina Railroad will be in operation next spring. The surface of the country is elevated; it is moderately hilly, fertile and well watered. The principal tract is about equally divided between farming and timber land. The growth is mostly oak with groves of small pines. Many large yellow pines are intermixed with the hard, wood growth.
The rock formation is greenstone-seldom seen outcropping, but exposed in loose pieces over the surface, and reached below by mining operations. It passes into a highly ferruginous horn-blend rock, with which is associated a little serpentine and epidote. The slate belt of this region lies farther east; the granite belt is on the west, extending beyond Concord.
A great number of metaliferous veins traverse the greenstone, pursuing a general course N.50 to N.65E. They consist of quartz, with which are associated sulphate of barytes, spathic iron,and pyritiferous iron and copper. Gold has been found disseminated so abundantly through the vein-stones, that explorations upon them have been extensively carried on at times when mining operations were little in favor, capital not abundant; and when the ores were necessarily transported several miles to the nearest mill.
The vein, which has been most worked, is traced across a considerable portion of the Phoenix tract and the whole of the Vanderburg by a succession of pits sunk along its line of out-crop. On both tracts the mining upon it is now prosecuted to a depth requiring steam power for the extraction of the water and ores. It has yielded rich bunches of gold ore near the surface; and throughout the vein gold is diffused in such quantity, that the heaps of ore now lying upon the surface are valued at not less than $2.00 per bushel by the former proprietors of the Vanderburg mine. Many of the specimens extracted present a beautiful show of coarse gold, such as are not often found at the best mines in the State. As in depth the vein is more pyritiferous than near the surface, it is not unlikely the production may continue to greater depths than is usual at mines deficient in the yellow sulphurets of iron and copper. At Gold Hill,in the same vicinity, gold is abundant in the pyritiferous ores to the greatest depth yet reached, which is 340 feet. The deepest workings on the Vanderburg are only 100 feet. Pyritous copper ore is found in such quantity that the mine may fairly be regarded as a copper mine, and when further opened by lower levels than the present workings may reasonably be expected to produce largely of this ore. From my survey of the mine, sections of which accompany the map, it will be seen that the whole extent of the underground workings is only 176 feet, horizontally, and but a small portion of this is at the depth of the bottom of the shafts. With so great a length of vein the workings can be regarded as little more than superficial. The thickness of the vein varies from three and a half feet down to a few inches. It is more regular than the veins in Guilford County. It is remarkable for its smooth walls, and the "comb" like character of its vein-stones, This feature and the occurrence of the materials making the vein in parallel layers, which is also noticed here, are regarded by miners as very favorable signs of a good vein. Of itself this vein is sufficient to justify the establishment of mining operations on a liberal scale without reference to the other veins, some of which I now proceed to notice.
The next vein towards the South-east is eighteen rods distant, and pursues a course nearly parallel with the first, so far as it is exposed by the pits opened upon it. The material thrown out appears well as gold ore, and is encouraging for further exploration. The ground is favorably situated for opening the mine to advantage. As it can be proved for this reason, with little expense, it will be advisable to do this as soon as a mill is in operation for grinding the ores.
The third vein in this direction is called the "Orchard Vein:" having received this name on the Phoenix tract, from which it passes into the Vanderburg. It is on the latter about 83 rods South-east of the second vein just described, On the Phoenix its course is about N. 64 E. Approaching Plum Run it curves more to the Eastward, and its line of out-crop is very crooked. This is in part owing to the unevenness of the surface, which in connection with an underlay or dip to the N. W., somewhat flat on the surface, would give greater irregularity of outline to the out-crop of a vein than belongs to its true course. Many pits have been sunk along this vein on the Vanderburg; a shaft also, from which a large amount of material has been taken out, as is evident from the size of the waste heap remaining; and a short adit has been driven into the hill on the S. W. side of the tract. On the Phoenix two shafts have been sunk upon the same vein and a whim is now in operation working it. My only means of forming an opinion of this vein were the general reputation it has; the extent of the former operations, which corroborate its favorable reputation; and the appearance of the stuff remaining upon the surface. The rock forming the country is greenstone with serpentine intermixed. The production of gold, I learn from good authority, was considerable, though the ore was of variable character. Pyritous copper was met with in such quantity, both upon the Phoenix and Vanderburg, that one would be well warranted in sinking deep shafts in expectation of finding this ore in abundance. In very superficial pits, at the workings farther to the N. E., near the spring and large poplar, noted upon the map, the indications of good copper are very favorable, and here would be a convenient point for sinking upon the vein, and taking off the surface water by a short adit. Were a new Company to be organized for working a portion of the mines of this tract, Plum Run would make a convenient division and leave sufficient territory to the South-east of it.
To the North-west of the first vein described, another vein of importance is found about fifty-seven rods distant. It has been worked on the lands of Julius Vanderburg, adjoining the Company's tract on the North east, by surface diggings and by a shaft forty feet deep. It is said to have produced good gold ore. On the other side the property, bordering the Phoenix Company's tract, the same vein (probably) out-crops on a little brook, called Monkey Branch. Both gold and copper ores are found loose in the banks of the stream; and, notwithstanding the prohibition of the former proprietor, the place has been with some a favorite resort after freshets for collecting little "nuggets" of gold. All applications for rights to wash the deposits have been steadily refused. From the information I gathered from one, who has been accustomed to the business of gold washing in this region, I am of the opinion the vein along this part of Monkey Branch, will be found a very valuable one; and the copper ores met with in the stream, which I found myself, are strong evidence of a workable vein of this metal.
"Branch mining," or working the deposits of the streams, has been prosecuted to a considerable extent in this region. A little run just over the boundary, in the farm of Julius Vanderburg, which crosses the continuation of the above described vein, as also that of the vein now worked by the Company, has afforded a considerable amount of coarse gold. This fact together with that of the veins, which must have furnished this deposit gold being actually opened and presenting highly encouraging features, ought to inspire strong confidence, and lead to the laying out of mining operations on a scale commensurate with the extent and promise of the property. With a mill upon the spot for grinding the gold ores, the expense of transporting these, which is always a heavy item, is saved; and according to the extent of the mill, its capability of grinding up the poorer ores to profit in large quantities is increased, while the general expenses are reduced in proportion to the product. All mines furnish a much larger proportion of poor than rich ores. It is only those, which are extensively worked and provided with abundant machinery, that can make the great bulk of their products profitable. The difference in the returns must be very considerable, when only the ores yielding a dollar or more per bushel can be made to pay the expenses of preparation, and when those yielding twenty-five cents can be worked to profit, as is the case at some of the gold mines in Virginia. Few companies have so large a field for their operations and one containing so many veins known to be productive as the Vanderburg Company.
Along the North-western boundary of the tract are pits sunk upon another vein. This may be a continuation of the "Faggot vein", which between these pits and the Hagler Lot (belonging to the Company) has been worked quite extensively. Several shafts were sunk upon this vein, beside almost a continuous line of pits up to the boundary of the Hagler Lot, which the vein enters upon its northern line. Running in a direction about S. 34 W., its course is obliquely across the longest dimensions of this lot. Separated from the nearest point of the main tract by only fifteen rods, this Hagler Lot of about 80 acres may be worked either under the same or a distinct organization.
The out-crop of still other veins is marked by loose pieces of quartz and other vein-stones near the eastern boundary of the main tract. These probably connect with the first and second veins described. Their position is noted upon the map, but no work having been done upon them, a particular description cannot be given.
Besides the Hagler Lot is another tract of about fifty six acres lying near the main body of the property of the Company on the Northern side of the farm Julius Vanderburg and Tice Reinhardt. The nearest point of approach is 45 rods N. 63 30' East of the extreme northern corner. Stretching thence to the eastward the lot takes the continuation of the veins which pass through the centre of the main tract, and through the farm of J. Vanderburg. Several have been opened, and the extent of the pits upon no less than three of these veins indicate that here too they must have been found productive in gold. Although this tract may not be at once required for the operations of the Company, it cannot but be regarded as an important accession to their resources.
The "Plunkett" tract is a forth lot about two miles distant, to the South-east, on a stream called Rocky River. This contains about ninety acres, and 1 am informed has upon it veins of similar character to the others in this region. My time was too limited to give this the same examination as the rest of the property.
With such resources, abundant territory well located, and containing numerous rivers, all producing gold and some copper ore --- also the gold in many of the veins having heretofore, under disadvantageous circumstances, been extracted to profit, and copper ores having every appearance of increasing in quantity and value as the mines are worked deeper---the property of the Vanderburg Mining Company is likely to repay generously the capital and enterprise expended in its thorough development.
Respectfully, I am yours, etc.,
JAMES T. HODGE.