From what was said of the arrangements between the parties who undertake a mine by a joint adventure, it may be concluded that a share in a new concern costs no more to the original holders than the proportion of the expences actually incurred. As the mine proceeds, every adventurer may value his share according to his own opinion of the prospect of success, and therefore considerable diversity in this respect may arise. In some concerns the value of shares may rapidly improve by the discovery of ore or favourable symptoms, and be soon estimated at much more than the amount of cost paid; in others, the chance of success may be constantly lessening, and a reduction in the value of shares will be proportional.
The value of property even in mines that are established and productive, cannot be determined by any definite rule. They are liable to great and important changes, leading from great gains sometimes even to considerable loss, and on the other hand emerging from a state of nearly balanced cost and return to that of great and rapid profit.
The rate of gain for any given time forms no true criterion by which to judge of the value of mines, though it is the one by which most who purchase or sell without sufficient experience are usually guided. A concern still profitable to a considerable degree, may have all the symptoms of speedy decay, while on the other hand mines which are producing but little, or are even yet burdensome to their proprietors, may be those in which the greatest chance of ultimate success is probable.
Mining has often got into great disrepute as a mode of employing money, from a want of due consideration of all these circumstances in the persons who have engaged their property in this way; artful men may have aided the delusion in many instances, and in many others a pertinacious adherence to adventures of but little hope may have aggravated the disappointment.