Burra Burra Mine Mules

The great Burra Burra mines, which long ago proved the salvation of the colony, were deserted by the workmen for the more glittering attractions of the gold fields, and it was not even considered worth while to keep the engine at work. The water was consequently suffered to rise, and Roach’s engine, 85 horse-power, named alter the captain of the mine, was taken down. Its size had been found insufficient, the country around not being drained as in Cornwall by numerous neighbouring workings; it was accordingly packed away, a new one of 240 horse-power, christened after Mr. Schneider, of the Smelting Company, having been previously erected upon a new shaft bearing his name. Lately as the gold diggings offered fewer advantages, men were more readily obtained, and it was determined to recommence the working of the mine. The furnaces were therefore lighted in Schneider’s engine, and in a very short time, as has already been recorded in our columns, the water was got into fork to the 40-fathom level.
A visit to the mine township last week enables us to inform our readers of their present state.

The establishment is in every way complete, comprising all within itself. There is a 35-stall stable, but the beasts of burden now principally used are mules, of which the Smelting Company has at present a stud of 470. These are chiefly worked in shaft, and 10 of them are able in eight days to carry three tons of ore or copper to Port Wakefield, and to return with a similar quantity of coal. This, allowing for unavoidable delays, enables them to average three trips per month. Two hundred of the mules arrived lately by the Malacca, from South America, and all are in perfect working order The Smelting Company has 12 waggons, weighing, 18 cwt. each. These were built upon the ground; and 50 more, with suitable harness, have been ordered from England.
The Company has been fortunate in holding a large stack of last year’s hay. Its original contents were 175 tons, of which about 100 remain unused.
Each furnace consumes from £120 to £130 worth of coal per week. There are at present lying on the ground about 1,200 tons, of coal and patent fuel, and the stock is constantly being replenished from Port Wakefield. The only skilled labour required is for the management, of the fires and the drawing off the slag without wasting the copper; for the rest, any ordinary workmen suffice. Sixteen Chilian labourers have lately arrived, making in all twenty-two. These, with a few women and children, form a very happy looking little community.
At present from 120 to 130 tons of ore per week are being smelted, yielding an average of 23 per cent. copper. The principal fluxes used are iron with manganese, and lime. The former are found within 10 miles of the works. …