Bournemouth [England] : London:
F.J. Bright and Son ; Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent and Co., Ltd,
Text on page 366
WANDERINGS IN BURMA.
Under the rule of the Kings of Burma these tracts were held as a State reserve, and were jealously guarded from the eyes or presence of suspicious foreigners. King Mindon Min, the father of ex-King Thibaw, most persistently refused to allow Dr. Oldham, the geological expert who accompanied Colonel Phayre's mission to the Court of Ava in 1867, to visit these tracts. The only European who had visited the mines in the days of the native rule was a French priest, named Pre Guiseppe D'Amato, who found his way there some fifty years ago, and reported his experiences to the Royal Asiatic Society. Under native rule all stones above a certain size were by law declared the property of the king, and were made over, or supposed to be made over, to the king's officer in charge' of the mines.
The tracts were parcelled out into small allotments, which were let to licensed miners, called in Burmese " twin-tsas," or "eaters of the mine." Each party consisted of from four to eight men, and their mining was carried on in the most primitive fashion.
A shaft, about three feet square, was sunk until the ruby bearing earth or " byn " was tapped. The sides of the shafts were lined with green twigs and brushwood, kept in position by pegs driven into the sides of the excavation. This was done to prevent the sides from falling in. As soon as the " byn " was reached, it was conveyed to the surface, and carried to the nearest stream or pond to be washed and sifted, and the rubies were then extracted. As most of the mines were situated in the valleys, of which Mogk was the centre, these " twins" or shafts, rarely reached a greater depth than thirty feet, and when this was exceeded, the incoming waters drove the miners from the workings, and compelled them to repeat the process on a fresh site. In the rainy season, mining operations were entirely suspended.
Soon after the taking of Mandalay by the British in 1885, a flying column was despatched to these outlying tracts, to secure possession of the mines, on behalf of the British Government.Soon after the taking of Mandalay by the British in 1885, a flying column was despatched to these outlying tracts, to secure possession of the mines, on behalf of the British Government.