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Sir David Gill, Mr. Theodore Reunert, and others for research for the discovery of a less smoky and have taken a prominent part in the initial work. The less costly binding material than pitch, which is now South African Association for the Advancement of chiefly used. Science is cordially cooperating in the local In view of the dearth of statistics of coal consumporganisation, and will join with the British Associa- tion, the following estimate for 1903 is of specia tion in attending the meeting.
interest:The aim of the council has been to secure the
Tons attendance of a representative body of British men Railways
13,000,000 of science, including specialists in various lines of Coasting Steamers...
2,000,000 investigation, and that, along with the generous Factories
53,000,000 support of the people and authorities in South Africa, Mines
18,000,000 should go far to ensure the success of the meeting
Iron and steel industries
28,000,000 and to stimulate local scientific interest and research.
Other metals and minerals
1,000,000 Brick works and potteries, glass works and chemical works
5,000,000 Gas works ...
15,000,000 THE ROYAL COMMISSION ON COAL
28, 1901, to inquire into the extent and avail- It is calculated by Mr. Beilby that in this total able resources of the coalfields of the United Kingdom there is a possible saving of 40 to 60 million tons. has issued its final report, which, in 38 pages, con. More particularly in connection with the raising of tains an able summary of the vast amount of valuable steam there are immense economies capable of realisa. information submitted by the numerous witnesses tion. Economy in the production of power may be examined. The Commission originally appointed effected by the combustion of gas obtained as a bvconsisted of Lord Allerton, Sir W. T. Lewis, Sir product. Information submitted by Mr. Bennet: Lindsay Wood, Sir C. Le Neve Foster, and Messrs. Brough points to increasing opportunities of utilisT. Bell, W. Brace, A. C. Briggs, H. B. Dixon, J. S. ing blast-furnace waste gases as a source of power Dixon, E. Hull, C. Lapworth, J. P. Maclay, A. Waste gases from coke ovens might similarly be Sopwith, J. J. H. Teall, and R. Young. Mr. A. utilised. Gas engines are referred to as the most Strahan was subsequently added to the Commission; economical of heat motors, but increased efficiency Sir C. Le Neve Foster and Mr. Ralph Young died both thermally and mechanically is still possible. before the inquiry was completed.
The importance of the development of producer-gas On the whole the report is of a reassuring plants is strongly urged as rendering possible the character. Adopting 4000 feet the limit of utilisation of inferior coal. Interesting information practicable depth in working, and one foot as the is given regarding various other ways in which minimum workable thickness, the commissioners economies in consumption may be effected. Regret is estimate the available quantity of coal in the proved expressed that the recommendations of the Mining coalfields of the United Kingdom to be 100,914,668, 167 Royalties Commission of 1893 and of the Deparitons, compared with the 90,207,283,398 tons mental Committee of the Home Office in 1895 regardestimated by the Coal Commission of 1871, notwith-ing mineral statistics had not been carried out. The standing the fact that 5,694,928,507 tons have been commissioners recommend that accurate informaraised in the meantime. The excess is accounted for tion on the coal industry should be published by one by the more accurate knowledge of the coal-seams. authority, and they think that it would be of great It is also estimated that there are 39,483 million tons | advantage if particulars of deep borings could be of coal in the concealed and unproved coalfields. preserved in a Government office.
It is thought that in future thin seams will be The report must necessarily attract great attention worked more extensively than at present, and that from mining engineers and economists; and it should the use of coal-cutting machines will facilitate this. also be carefully studied by students in mining The amount of unavoidable loss incident to coal. classes. It is essentially a cautious document; and mining is a serious factor in estimating the available the general public will doubtless be disappointed that resources. Much coal is lost by leaving unnecessary Lord Allerton and his colleagues have made no sensa. barriers between properties, and a certain amount tional prophecies as to the probable duration of our must necessarily remain in order to support the coal supplies, and have given no indication as to the surface. The amount thus left might perhaps be way in which their estimate of the available tonnage reduced by .the introduction of the methods employed of coal compares with that of other countries. Their on the Continent and in America of packing excava- report certainly shows that, while the wal retions with water-borne sand or other materials. The sources are ample, the cost of coal is not likely to recovery of coal formerly abandoned might be decrease, as the improved methods and appliances wil facilitated by the establishment of central pumping probably be neutralised by the increased cost of workstations.
ing deeper and thinner seams. Where we should be The possible economies to which attention is directed glad of clearer light from the Royal Commission is comprise the adoption of coal-cutting machines, of on the question of the probable condition of competwhich 483 were in use in 1902 and 643 in 1903, and ing coal-producing countries when the cost of pro the use of electricity for the transmission of power. duction in Great Britain is considerably raised. It is The importance of cleaning, sizing, and sorting coal futile to offer a detailed criticism of the final report is also strongly urged, and the extended adoption of until the sections containing the reports of the distric coking advocated. In this connection the advantages commissioners, the report of the geological committee of by-product coke ovens are pointed out, and it is and the minutes of evidence and appendices are shown that washing and compression render it published. The probable duration of the coulfields and possible to coke many coals previously considered the colonial and foreign coal resources appear to have worthless. It is probable that briquettes will in been dealt with in special reports written respectively future be more largely used for steam and domestic by Mr. R. Price-Williams and Mr. Bennett Brougti, purposes, and there appears to be a promising field and to these the commissioners direct attention.
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