nav bar

Expert M'Laren's Report on Independence Mine
Denver Post, July 6, 1902

Advices from London Say It Has Been Repudiated --- Remarks of a Miner Who Saw the Examination

Advices from London confirm the rumors of the past few days that the fee of 700 pounds and an exorbitant expense account turned in to the Scotch minority shareholders of Stratton's Independence company (Limited) by Daniel McLaren has been refused payment. Mr. McLaren, it will be remembered, was sent over to this country by these shareholders to examine the Independence for the purpose of disproving, if possible, the unfavorable report submitted by John Hays Hammond.

It now appears that the English and Scotch shareholders have wired a request to the different men of reputable character in and about the mine to forward affidavits setting forth their personal knowledge of the actual work done by McLaren in his inspection and alleged examination of this property. They ask for all the details, his different visits to the mine, the time spent on each level, his methods of sampling and all the data relative to the few days, or, rather, hours, spent underground durin gthe investigations there. In reply to the request the record of his doings while in the camp has been carefully made out, and the information that will be set forth in the different documents will show that the report submitted by McLaren had very little competency or authenticity.

The Post is informed that there have been forwarded to the company in London at least a dozen papers containing minute details of his much agitated report. Therre are sworn statements of a number of the miners who were with or near McLaren and his assistants while they were underground on the different levels, besides lengthy accounts from Manager Shipman, Superintendent Lobb, Shift Boss Alexander MacDonald, Shift Boxx George Gill, ex-Shift Boss Jack Bell, Hoisting Engineer Jay Miller, Wsatchmen Strickland, Myers and Moore and many other men who were in and about the mine when McLaren and his assistants were upon the ground.

I am going to say a few things about the report of Mr. McLaren, who made a report on Stratton's Independence a couple of months ago," said one of the parties named in talking on the subject to The Post.

For two years I was on this mine, first as a mucker, afterwards a trammer, then advanced to single-jacking, given a machine, made a sampler and after a year's hard appplication on every level and at all kinds of work Mr. Shipman appointed me shift boss. No man who ever went underground made a closer study of every condition of this immense low grade property than myself, and what I am about to say is, first, from the standpoint of a practical miner, and second, from the knowledge of one who has made a thorough study of geology, mining engineering and all the theoretical data appertaining to modern mining methods. Before taking up the report permit me to say that I knew McLaren personally while he was at the National hotel at Cripple Creek and during his short stay in the camp. For a period of ten days before his departure he frequently made himself obnoxious about the town, always boasting what he was going to do with the Independence mine management. It is only just to say that he was unfit at any time during his visit to properly conduct any kind of business, much less to examine a big mining property. He came to the Independence, and I was one of the employees who was detailed to show him the 400-foot level, a big mine in itself. He went into the main drift with me and "examined" this level in two hours - yes, and sampled it, too. There was not a miner on the level who did not smile at the absurd questions asked and the unbusinesslike way he and his one assistant went about the sampling. With an eight-pound hammer and a gad they took four samples on this almost worked out level. I was there and watched them dig the narrow pay streak in the Drury stope, the East Bobtail, the Middle Bobtail and the cast drift Portland line stope. I followed their work with a fair moiled sample across the ore that was being broken. The results compared were as follows:

McLaren's samples ran, $117, $135, $35.20, $580.

My samples ran, $32, $24, $1.00, $31.

This constituted less than a half of a shift's work, yet he claims that he thoroughly investigated every bit of work being done on this level.

"The same manner of conducting the 'examination' was pursued on what few levels they examined.

Right here I want to say that McLaren did not examine any map of the mine, nor one report of the daily work being done, and last and most important, there was absolutely not one measurement taken by these men at any time during their visits in the Independence mine. Under such methods how would it be possible for any man or men to make any proper extimate of the ore in sight even?

The long, rambling report says the examination extended from April 4 to April 24. It is a fact that all the time actually put in underground by these men would not exceed seventy-two hours. I was in the mine each time they went down, therefore, I speak from knowledge.

"'You will observe,' writes McLaren, 'that the quantity of ore in sight as estimated by me is 150,327 tons and its value is $3,530,586.' How in the name of common sense could any man estimate the miles of work without a single measurement and with a total of only 121 samples?

"Again 'you will observe' (every sentence in this preamble starts with 'you will observe') that there is a flat vein in the Drury or East vein on 400, on which very little development has been done. This vein is likely to produce an enormous quantity of very rich ore.' Now, as a matter of fact the Drury has no flat vein and is an almost worked out stope of varying low-grade ore. The report says:

"'On the 6th and 7th levels there is a large lode. This lode has been worked by the Strong company since 1899, and I have drawn Mr. Shipman's attention to the matter.' The fact is that the Independence people had this matter in the hands of their attorneys in December, 1900, months before McLaren sailed from England. This body of iron pyrites has indifferent values and is a very low grade proposition.

"A man named A. J. Fraser who claims that he has for years been identified with the mining industry of Colorado makes some startling statements, among them this:

"'I took a sample which is marked 120 from the screenings at the ore bin, and it assays $32.'

"Fraser in his supplemental report practically admits that the only pay ore that he got is this sample, No. 120, which he did not procure in the mine at all, but from the ore bin at the surface."

Inquiry among mining men shows that Fraser is practically unknown in Colorado.

"Referring to the list of samples taken by these men they go on to say that the only pay is between the 8th and 9th levels. The truth is they were not even down on those levels. All the samples taken together average $27.60, but the report says the average is but $23.48. Leaving out the $580 sample the footings give $23.15. With the nine highest cut out of the total footing the average reaches the normal figure of $11.88, which is a fair average of the ore in this mine. The report does not state the net profit of the ore in sight. However, it does say - and in direct contradiction to the statement of rich and abundent ore in sight that 'a bitg percentage of it will not pay at all."

"The entire statement has been repudiated by the shareholders of the Stratton company, who are loud in their denunciations of the fraud which they claim has been practiced upon them. The English and Scottish press are especially severe.

nav bar

  Timeline and Articles,   Index,  

  Main Index,   Geneology,   More About Her  

  Index,   Selected Poetry,   All Poetry,   Letters,   Wife Jean

  Home,   Family,   Favorite Pages,   Site Map

IME logo Copyright © 2012, Mary S. Van Deusen