At present there are in this city (Manila) about 200 ex-soldiers from western states in America, nearly all experienced miners, anxiously awaiting the necessary permission from military headquarters to rush into the rich placer mining country which lies north and east of here, but which permission is now withheald owing to the lack of definite information on the part of the government as to the exact interpretation of the mining laws governing these islands.
The richest known deposits in Luzon are found about 75 miles northeast of here, where there is abundant water for sluicing and hydraulic mining, sawmills, etc. This section is inhabited largely by Igorrotes, who are very friendly to Americans, but extremely hostile toward the Filipinos and Spaniards, not infrequently killing them for slight offenses. Miners can live quite comfortably on food purchased from the Igorrotes at from $2 to $4 a week.
There is absolutely no reason to doubt that the placer mines of Luzon and Mindanao islands as well as some parts of Cebu are among the richest in the world, easy of access and no hardships to be encountered in reaching them as soon as the military authorities permit miners to enter them. Quartz mining is absolutely undeveloped in Luzon, but very rich specimens secured near here of white quartz carrying free milling have been brought in. The veins are not well defined, however, the tendency inclining toward pockets, from one of which ore assaying $65,000 to the ton in gold and copper was secured.
The native women hereabout pan the alluvial sands with wooden bowls, frequently taking out from $3 to $5 a day gold. Philippine gold runs about $14 an ounce. Last week an Igorrote woman brought into Dagupan as a result of six weeks panning seven pounds of gold nuggets, and two ex-soldiers who mined in the same district for three months netted over $5,000 in gold, using pans and sluice boxes, and would have done even better had not the soldiers compelled them to leave.
The rivers are lined with banks of black sand (magnetic iron), carrying fine gold. The gold is not flaky, but small, rough nuggets from the size of a pinhead to three or four ounces in weight. Bedrock averages from 6 inches to 20 feet, and the reason why no systematic work has ever been done in these fields is because the Igorrotes drive out the Spaniards, while the Spanish government has never allowed the Chinese and Filipinos to pursue mining as a business; hence the whole field is new and wonderfully rich.
The ex-California and Montana soldiers are unanimous in the belief that when opened up the mining fields of Luzon will be the most inviting and remunerative in the world, not excepting the even Nome and the Klondike.