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Ocaño, a European Spaniard. In the time of the Incas, the Peruvians wrought veins of silver in the Cerro de la Lin, near Cutervo, at Chupiquiyacu, to the west of the small town of Micui. pampa, where the thermometer descends almost every night to the freezing point, and which is seven hundred metres * higher than the town of Quito. Immense wealth has been found even at the surface, both in the mountain of Gualgayoc, which rises like a fortified castle in the midst of the plain, and at Fuentestiana, at Cormolache, and at la Pampa de Navar. In this last plain, for an extent of more than half a square league, wherever the turf has been removed, sulphuret of silver has been extracted, together with filaments of native silver adhering to the roots of gramineous plants. Frequently the silver is found in masses, (clavos y remolinos) as if smelted portions of this metal had been poured upon a very soft clay. The produce of the mines of Gualgayoc or Chota is very unequal in proportion to the inconstancy of the veins which, at Fuentestiana and Cormolache, traverse alpine lime-stone ; at Gualgayoc and the Purgatorio, as well as at the Cerro de San Jose, horn-stone, called panizo. This horn-stone forms a subordinate bed in the calcareous rock, as has been clearly recognized on digging the pits of Choropampa, to the east
of the Purgatorio, near the Ravin de Chiguera. All the mines comprehended under the name of mines, of Gualgayoc, on the Partido de Chota, have furnished to the provincial treasury of Truxillo, between the month of April 1774, and the month of October 1802, the sum of 1,912,327 marcs of silver *, or, at an average, 67,193 marcs annually. +
Produce of the silver mines of Hualgayoc, Gua
machuco, and Conchuco.
5 6 7 8
1 2 3 4
3 3 7 0 4 6 6
182 300 432 302 327 324 306 308 429 329 335 397 398 450 404 469 645 575 731 406 480
6. 7 8
1 2 3
34,403 57,894 84,326 60,015 65,062 64,203 60,981 61,435 73,698 58,713 61,564 73,604 73,305 83,633 73,835 87,484 119,183 105,383 134,084 72,904 86,876 79,309 77,997 67,789 90,015 108,591 70,595 45,378 48,198
33,852 56,941 82,985 59,051 64,034 63,214 60,021 60,387 72,462 57,808 60,440 72,373 72,024 92,209 74,371 83,469 117,241 103,618 131,939 71,713 85,505 78,047 76,755 66,721 88,600 106,889 69,471 44,626 47,413
6 7 8
428 378 501 607 392 255 267
It is very
This table, which was framed at my request in the offices of the intendancy, exhibits the quantity of silver given into the Cayana de Trurillo, as well as the duties of tenth and one and a half per cent. paid to the king. Of 11,791 ingots, nearly an eighth part, or 1450, came from the partidos of Guamachuco, and Conchuco. I could not procure the produce of the Cerro de Gualgayoc since the discovery of the mines in 1771 to 1774. These years were undoubtedly the most abundant of all ; but as the money was sent at that period to Lima, the archives of Truxillo could furnish no information relative to them. reasonably believed, that under a more lightened government, the Cerro de Gualgayoc would become another Potosi. In fact, its ores are richer than those of Potosi, and they are more constant in their produce than those of Huantajaya, and easier to work than those of Yauricocha.
The mines of' Huantajaya, surrounded with beds of rock salt, are particularly celebrated on account of the great masses of native silver which they contain in a decomposed gangue; and they furnish annually between 70 and 80 thousand marcs of silver.* The conchoidal muriate of silver, sulphuret of silver,
From 45,942 to 52,505 lb. troy. Trans.
small grained galena, quartz, carbonate of lime, accompany the native silver. . These mines are situated in the partido of Arica, near the small port of Yquique*, in a desert entirely destitute of water. A project has long been entertained of carrying fresh water to it, for the use of the men and cattle ; and water from the sea for the amalgamation works. In 1758 and 1789, two pepitas of massive silver were discovered in the mines of Coronel and Loysa, the one weighing eight and the other two quintals.
The little elevation of the mine of Huantajaya, on the shore of the Pacific Ocean, forms a singular contrast with the summit of the Cerro de Gualgayoc, where, at a height of 4080 metrest, the masses of vitreous silver are found
; and it proves the vagueness of the systematical ideas advanced by celebrated geologists, relative to the distribution of the metals according to the variety of climates and latitudes. Ulloa, after travelling over a great part of the Andes, affirms that silver is peculiar to the high table lands of the Cordilleras, called Punas or Paramos; and that gold on the other hand abounds in the lowest, and consequently warmest re
* Along the coast of Taparaca.