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SAFE OPERATION OF MINES

MR. J. A. HOLMES DISCUSSED IMPORTANT ECONOMIC PROBLEMS OF MINING.

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

Several important sociological and economic problems connected with the mining industry in this country were discussed by Mr. Joseph A. Holmes, director of the United States Bureau of Mines, in a lecture at Emerson D yesterday afternoon. Mr. Holmes suggested solutions for some of the questions regarding the control and safe operation of mines. He concluded that as the mining conditions are becoming more complex, it is now the business of the educational institutions to study the problems.

Director Holmes showed the need for conservation of our mineral resources by stating that at the present increasing rate of consumption and waste, the United States coal supply will be exhausted within two centuries. In securing the coal supply for future generations, an important step will be the enacting of uniform laws in all states, for at present, maintained the speaker, the mining states, instead of co-operating, are engaged in strong competition.

Mine Ownership and Control.

Considering the question of mine ownership and control, Mr. Holmes favored the present attitude of the Federal Government in refusing to sell for a nominal price the coal lands in Alaska which it still owns. While the United States Bureau of Mines does not have police power over these lands, the speaker argued that if the lands were entrusted to the supervision of the states alone, corrupt political influence could soon place the mines entirely within the control of private corporations.

The enormous death rate among miners was attributed to two principal causes by Mr. Holmes. As long as the several companies and states continue their cut-throat competition, they cannot make profits enough to provide adequate safety devices. A sociological reason for the loss of life is the supplanting of the old generation of native-born miners by foreigners, at least half of whom have no understanding of the American language and customs. The high-class American miners are going into other professions, and the scholars of the country must find a means of bringing the new foreign operators into sympathy with our methods.

Possible Remedy.

Mr. Holmes advocated strongly a workman's compensation act, but did not believe the entire liability should fall on the owner. The suggested remedy was for the state, the owner and the employee to contribute equal amounts for the compensation fund, and to have an equal voice in the administration of it.

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