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There might almost seem to be some subtle connection between the barrenness andworthlessness of a surface and the value of the minerals which lie beneath it. The craggymountains of Western America, the arid plains of West Australia, the ice-bound gorges ofthe Klondyke, and the bare slopes of the Witwatersrand veld-these are the lids whichcover the great treasure chests of the world.Gold had been known to exist in the Transvaal before, but it was only in 1886 that it wasrealised that the deposits which lie some thirty miles south of the capital are of a veryextraordinary and valuable nature. The proportion of gold in the quartz is not particularlyhigh, nor are the veins of a remarkable thickness, but the peculiarity of the Rand mines liesin the fact that throughout this 'banket' formation the metal is so uniformly distributed thatthe enterprise can claim a certainty which is not usually associated with the industry. It isquarrying rather than mining. Add to this that the reefs which were originally worked asoutcrops have now been traced to enormous depths, and present the same features asthose at the surface. A conservative estimate of the value of the gold has placed it at sevenhundred millions of pounds.Such a discovery produced the inevitable effect. A great number of adventurers flockedinto the country, some desirable and some very much the reverse. There werecircumstances, however, which kept away the rowdy and desperado element who usuallymake for a newly opened goldfield. It was not a class of mining which encouraged theindividual adventurer. There were none of those nuggets which gleamed through the mudof the dollies at Ballarat, or recompensed the forty-niners in California for all their travelsand their toils. It was a field for elaborate machinery, which could only be provided bycapital. Managers, engineers, miners, technical experts, and the tradesmen and middlemenwho live upon them, these were the Uitlanders, drawn from all the races under the sun, butwith the Anglo-Celtic vastly predominant. The best engineers were American, the bestminers were Cornish, the best managers were English, the money to run the mines waslargely subscribed in England. As time went on, however, the German and French interestsbecame more extensive, until their joint holdings are now probably as heavy as those of theBritish. Soon the population of the mining centres became greater than that of the wholeBoer community, and consisted mainly of men in the prime of life-men, too, of exceptionalintelligence and energy.