The area of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales is 121,000 square miles, as a home market for the consumption of 70,000,000 tons, or the British production, deducting the exports. The area of 300,000 square miles to which we refer on the Atlantic slopes can support a population to the square mile equally as dense as that of England.
Under such circumstances, a rapid and vast increase may be anticipated for the anthracite trade of Pennsylvania. The duration of this invaluable source of wealth, and the means by which it is economized, are questions of the greatest importance, not only to individuals but to the state and country at large; and we propose in the ensuing pages to present the "economy of mining" in a prominent manner and from the best practical sources.
The waste of the anthracite mines is a matter of astonishment to Eng lish mining engineers on flying visits to those regions. But, domiciled here, even professionally, they soon become indifferent to that which cannot be generally prevented, while the apparent abundance seems to promise an unlimited supply. We do not expect to present a correct impression of this wanton waste, or create much interest in the matter under present circumstances.
But, having shown that the coal in those fields, which at present is Considered inexhaustible, is, on the contrary, in process of rapid exhaustion, and but limited in proportion to the area and demand to be supplied, we will try to impress those interested with some conception of the great loss involved, both private and public, in the present waste of coal.
As we before mentioned, the waste is equal to the "vend." The value of the anthracite trade for 1864 is stated at 60,000,000 of dollars,—that is, its simple marketable or exchange value as a commodity; while its mechanical value, as affecting our productive ability, is still vastly greater in the scale of values.
But this item is one that must attract attention. If these coal deposits represent a body of 18,000,000,000 tons of workable coal, the loss of half, on the same basis of calculation, is one that those who own coal lands may be interested in figuring up when their abandoned mines may cease to yield them princely incomes.