Full Record

The value of Australian mica
Record no:
20 September 1890
Kept:Press clippings book 1, p. 53

Considering the sustained efforts which are now being made to introduce
mica to the English market (says a London contemporary), the following
report by Mr Richard Baker, the well known specialist to one of the most

respected Australian firms, ought to be of interest: — "I have the
pleasure to hand you the following report upon the samples of Australian
mica you left with me.  I find the quality to be exceedingly fine and only
slightly stained or spotted; uncut or natural plates, slabs or sheets of
this quality would vary in price is from about 6d a lb to as high as 8s or
10s a lb.  The small sizes that would answer to ship would be about 3 by 4
inches: this size, if spotted or stained, would be worth about 6d, rising
gradually in value as the plates were larger; if about 3 or 4 inches wide
by 8 inches long, would be worth say 3s a lb, and if from 6 inches wide by
10 to 14 inches long would be worth from 8s to 10s a lb.  Of course,
between 3 by 4 inches and 6 by 14 inches there would be many intermediate
sizes and values too numerous to specify in this letter.  In the event of
your shipping any absolutely clean and free from spots, I could value same
from 1s to 15s a lb.  I could also give you a higher valuation in clear
quality for sizes cut into squares and rectangles, according to the
demands for various trades, for which I have orders to the extent of
several hundred thousand pounds, but I would not at present advise you
trying your hands at cutting it up until you have shipped a few tons in
its natural state, so that I could examine same and advise you what would
be most profitable to your interests.  Labour in India for mica cutting
does not exceed 3d a day, and I doubt if labour in Australia would be
under 10s a day, in addition to your requiring special tools and
machinery.  As prices in London might be considerably affected by the open
receipt of supplies from Australia, I would strongly advise your shipping
this article as quartz or minerals, not openly as mica, or ship the same
to Liverpool or some other port, when it could be easily brought to London
and not affect the market.  To commence with, I would advise shipments to
be made in its natural state as mined or found, taking care not to send
any rubbish, quartz or rock with it, but as far as possible sound blocks
of mica, and the larger the better.  On arrival in London I would be
pleased to instruct the Dock Company or warehouse keepers as to sorting it
and preparing it for market, when you must be prepared for a heavy loss in
weight, but I feel convinced this course will be better than having the
work done in Australia, at all events for a commencement ."  Mr Richard
Baker further advises a few tons as a trial shipment, and that no box
shall exceed 100lbs in weight.  It is understood that large quantities of
mica are arriving in London from Australia, consigned to various houses,
described as "minerals."
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