Published for the Royal Geographical Society by J. Murray,
Text on page 44
NOTES OF A JOURNEY ON
small, and is the same in character though not so rich as in the Mekong sands. The usual small fee of two rupees a year is paid a by each man. They work waist deep in the cold rushing stream, and cannot go on for more than ten minutes at a time. A basket is a sunk under water with one foot upon it, and the gravel from the bank prized out into it with the usual iron-shod bamboo; it is then lifted out, carried ashore, and washed. This operation, here and throughout the Mekong district, is done by a man standing in the
water, with a wooden tray in front of him, shaped like a Chinamana s peaked hat, the diameter 30 inches, and depth at the -centre 5 inches. As it floats on the water, moored by a string to a stone, the basket of gravel is emptied into it, and the larger stones picked out. A rotary motion is given to the pan by the continual a shifting of the hands from right to left; at the same time the water is expelled, or dipped up, and sent running round the edge by a depression of the rim being sent round a against the sun,a until all the light material is gone. What remains is usually a little magnetic iron ore, with a speck or two of very fine a floata gold for every four baskets of 14 inches diameter and 3A inches depth. It is then washed carefully into a small oblong box, in which it is carried home and handed over to the women who, I am told (for I never saw it done), use mercury obtained from Chinese merchants for the subsequent freeing of the gold. On the way to Nongkhai we met several gangs of men, generally seven or eight in number, living in their boats and engaged in washing in this way in the sands of the river, in which, according to all I could gather, the gold -seems to be redeposited in small quantities by every yeara s flood season.
What the gold prospects of the country are, there have been no a sufficient trials to show, but with the advent of the French on the banks of the river we may soon know something more on this head. The Laos consider they do very well if they get 2 hun per man in a day (5 hun = 1 fuang or ^ tical); but their work is very intermittent, and the search for gold seems to have the proverbial a effect upon them, for in several cases I found their assertions were not over-truthful.
Up such rivers as the Nam Beng, Nam Ngau, Nam Oo, and Nam Suung, the gold seems to be in old water deposits which extendUp such rivers as the Nam Beng, Nam Ngau, Nam Oo, and Nam Suung, the gold seems to be in old water deposits which extend