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Also I prohibit all persona from introducing workmen into any works containing noxious vapours, until they have been properly ventilated, according to the rules of art.
Whereas the mines require incessant and continual working in order to . procure the metals, certain operations being indispensable, which cannot without much time be accomplished, and which, if interrupted, generally require as great expences in their re-establishment, as they did in their original undertaking; wherefore, to remedy such inconvenience, and also to prevent masters of mines, who either cannot, or will not, work them, from keeping them in an useless state for a length of time, by pretending to work them, and thus depriving them of the real and effective labour which others might bestow on them, I ordain and command, that whosoever, during four successive months, shall fail to work any mine with (at least) four paid workmen, (operarios rayados) occupied in some exterior or interior work of real utility, shall, by so doing, lose all his right in the said mine, which shall belong to any person denouncing it, upon his satisfatorily proving, according to the provisions of Chapter VI. such act of desertion on the part of the owner.
Experience having shewn that the provisions of the preceding Section have, been eluded by the artful and fraudulent practice of some owners of mines, who cause their mines to be worked during some days in each (interval of) four months, keeping them in this manner many years in their possession; I ordain that whosoever shall fail to work his mine in tho manner prescribed by the said Section, during eight months in the year, counting from the day of his coming into possession, even though the said eight months should be interspersed with some days or weeks of labour, shall by such labour forfeit the mine; and it shall be adjudged to the first person who denounces the same, and satisfactorily proves this second species of desertion; unloss for this, or the one mentioned in the preceding Section, there be just cause assigned, such as pestilence, famine, or war, in that same mining place, or within twenty leagues thereof.
Considering that many Mine-owners, who have formerly worked their mines with ardour and diligence, expending large sums in shafts, adits, and other undertakings, may often be obliged to suspend their operations, while soliciting supplies, or from want of workmen, or necessary provisions, and other just and sufficient causes, which, combined with their former merit, render them worthy of equitable consideration; I declare that any such Mine-owner, keeping his mine in disuse in the manner and for the time above mentioned, shall not forfeit it at once in the manner described above, but his mine shall nevertheless be liable to denouncement before the respective new Tribunals of Miners, in order that both parties having been heard, and alleged merits and causes considered and proved, justice may be done between the paxties.
Since many Mine-owners abandon their mines, either for want of the capital necessary for carrying on operations therein, or because they do not choose to consume that which they may have already acquired from them, or because they have not spirit to venture on the difficulties of those undertakings, from which they may have conceived great hopes, or for other causes; and since persons are not wanting, who might be desirous of taking such mines, if they were informed of their intended abandonment; and as it is much easier to maintain a mine when in a course of working, than to reinstate it after it has suffered the injuries of time, it is my will that no person shall abandon the working of his miue or mines without making the Deputation of the district acquainted therewith, in order that the Deputation may publish the same, by fixing a notification on the doors of churches and other customary places, for the information of all persons.
In order to avoid the false or equivocal reports which are often spread concerning deserted mines, the consequence of which reports is to augment the distrust in which this profession is ordinarily held, deterring many persons from engaging therein, who do not otherwise want inclination to follow it, I ordain,—
That no one shall abandon the working of his mine without giving notice to the respective Deputation, in order that an inspection may immediately be had thereof by the Deputies, accompaniad by the Clerk and Surveyors, who must examine ami measure the mine, particularizing all its circumstances, and draw up a map describing its plan and outlines, which, together with all the necessary information, must be preserved in the Archives, with liberty of access to all persons who may wish to see it, or to take a copy thereof.
OF DRAINS IN MINES.
As in most of the mines springs and currents frequently occur, from whence
the water issues continually, and in such abundance as might in a short time inundate and overwhelm the works, to the hindrance of all progress in the extraction cf the metals; I desire and command that the owners of such mines shall keep their works constantly drained and evacuated, so that at all times the operations may be carried on, and the metals extracted without interruption.
As it is much the most convenient and least expensive method of draining to countermine (contraminar) the veins by means of adits, I ordain that in all those mines which require draining, and whose situation will admit of it, and where benefit is likely to arise therefrom, according to the judgment of the Mining Professor of the district, the owners be obliged to make an adit sufficient for the draining and clearing of the works, provided the riches and and abundance of the ores are likely to repay such expence.
Whereas several mines may sometimes be drained and cleared by one and the same adit, though each of them singly might be insufficient to support the expence thereof, I declare that the adit shall be made and completed, and the expence divided among all the proprietors in proportion to the benefit they will each derive from it: and if this proportion cannot at the time be ascertained, the expence shall be divided among them in the mean time in equal parts, such parts being fixed according to the sum which the poorest of them can afford to pay, and should this one improve in condition, then the said parts shall be regulated according to what the poorest of the others can pay; so that the works of the adit may not be suspended; and all these points must be estimated and regulated by the Deputation of the district, according to the judgment of the respective Mining Professor.
If any individual should offer to make an adit by which one or more veins, or the mines opened in them, might be drained and cleared, although he be not the proprietor of any of them, either entirely or in part, his denouncement shall be received in due form, and immediate notice given to the owners of the said mines, who, if they will undertake such work themselves, are always to have the preference; but, on their refusal, it shall be assigned to the adventurer under the following conditions:
That the adit be really useful, and its formation practicable, according to the judgment of the Mining Professor, who must be charged with tracing out and determining the plan of the work, and directing its execution in the manner above expressed.
That the countermine shall bo drawn, as far as it is possible, in a right line, and at the least possible distance from the vein or veins intended to be drained and cleared, or in the line and direction of one of them.
That the necessary openings for the admission of air be constructed, or that a counterlevel (contracanorC) be made, or some other means adopted to preserve a free circulation of air for the health and advantage of the workmen.
That its size (the size of the adit) must depend on the judgment of the Mining Professor, which will be regulated by circumstances; but that it shall never exceed two yards (yaras) in width, and three in height, and that it be properly secured and lined (ademado).
That if the adventurer, in the progress of his work, meets with one or more new veins, he shall therein enjoy the right of a discoverer, and the reward which is assigned to him as such by these Ordinances; but if they are already known and opened in other places, I grant him the liberty of acquiring one portion in each of them, and if there be not sufficient space remaining for that purpose, he shall have the enjoyment of all that may remain, until he enters upon the property of another.
That if the work should pass through any deserted mines, the adventurer shall thereby become master of the same, and may denounce them as soon as he projects the work; it being understood that he should maintain these and his new portions during the progress of his operations as far as lies in his power. But I declare that as soon as his work is concluded, he must have them distinctly portioned out, under pain of losing them, as before enjoined.
And finally, that if the adit should pass through mines already occupied and situated in the direction of the vein, half of the metals thence extracted shall belong to the adventurer, and half to the owner of the property; but the costs are to be all defrayed by the adventurer; and he must not exceed in his adit the dimensions before prescribed, nor may he undertake any other works, unless with the consent of the owner, in which case the expences must be divided between them. But if the adit should pass across the vein, the adventurer may open other works in pursuit of the same, and the metals, as well as the expenses, shall be divided equally between them, until there shall be some communication established with the works of the master of the mines and if the adventurer does not give notice immediately on discovering the metal, he shall not only lose his right to the half thereof, but shall be obliged to make restitution of all he may have already extracted, and to pay double its value; proof of such fraud and malice having been previously made out, according to the form declared by Chapter III.
All things contained in this present Chapter, from the fiTiii section inclusive, with regard to adventurers, is likewise to be understood, as far as it is capable of being adapted, in cases where Mine-Owners shall be disposed to attempt the clearing of their own mines or those of others, by means of au adit or countermine in common, whether the work is undertaken by all jointly, or by some without the rest, or in company with adventurers, in all of which ca- ;<• ses the stipulations which they have made must be punctually observed, provided they do not interfere with the injunctions and objects of these Ordinances.
The owners of mines which require draining, but are in a situation which will not admit of the formation of an adit, must work them by means of a general and continued shaft, which in New Spain is called tiro, and serves by means of machines and engines to draw off the water, and extract the ore and other materials from the mines; and which must be made in such situation, and of such dimensions, and be secured in such manner, as the Mining Professor of the district may determine and direct. And the Territorial Deputations are enjoined to take especial notice concerning this matter in their visits, inflicting and increasing the corresponding penalties, in proportion to the offences which may be proved to have been committed.
Inasmuch as experience has shewn the general utility of the above-mentioned works, as well as the omission and inattention by which they are sometimes made of a less depth than the other works, in order to avoid the expence of such undertakings, which become much more serious and expensive by the delay; and if the owners have not sufficient capital they are obliged to clear the lower works by interior drains, carrying up the water to the tiro, by means of engines moved by men, with great expence and little effect, and at times with an intolerable waste of human strength, I ordain and command that all owners of mines which require draining, shall be obliged to make the base or foundation of the tiro deeper than the lowest works, Bo that sufficient support may remain for their being worked, and enough room in the tiro for the water: the observance of all which must be watch