Another step towards the control by a few big steel and iron manufacturing concerns of practically the entire production of iron ore in the Lake Superior region, as well as transportation of the ore, is reported in the purchase of the Lake Superior Iron Co's mines and ships by the Oliver Iron Mining Co., the corporation that represents Carnegie interests in ore. It is estimated that this purchase will give the Carnegie-Oliver interest control of an output of 4,000,000 to 4,500,000 gross tons of ore annually. Probably less than half of this ore is tied up by transportation contracts originally made with the Bessemer Steamship Co. (Rockefeller fleet), so that it is naturally concluded that the time is not far distant when the Carnegie company will be engaged in carrying its own ore in ships added to the small fleets now acquired by the Lake Superior purchase.
The purchase of a control of Lake Superior stock is on a basis of $3,780,000 for the entire property. It is said that the Carnegie-Oliver interest was an eleventh-hour factor in the sale of this big property. The Cleveland-Cliffs Co. was also figuring for it up to the end, but the names of parties entering into the original negotiations are not given out. The Oliver company has acquired 70,000 shares of a total of 84,000 shares at $45 a share. The par value is $25. Sixteen thousand shares of Lake Superior stock, making up the total of 100,000 shares, were never issued. The purchaser has agreed to take the remaining 14,000 shares - difference between the 70,000 shares secured and the 84,000 shares issued - at the same price, $45 a share. In the company's statement for 1897 the real estate and mining property were valued at $1,246,445.61 and the steamers at $600,000. It will be seen that the purchase price represents, therefore about two for one, as, compared with the 1897 valuation, indicating how rapidly mining property has appreciated under the conditions of the past year or two. The Lake Superior Iron Co's fleet consists of the steamers LA SALLE, JULIET, WAWATAM, GRIFFIN, CHOCTAW and ANDASTE, each capable of carrying close to 3,000 tons on 17 ½ feet. The company was the third to mine ore in the Lake Superior region, getting out its first ore in 1858. Its total shipments have been 8,257,714 gross tons. The output in 1898 was 686,563 tons, and the program for this year calls for about the same amount. About 300,000 tons, or less than half, of last year's output was Bessemer ore. It is expected that the headquarters of the company will be removed from Boston to Pittsburg on May 11, when the formal transfer is completed, and that as the terms of the various directors expire they will be replaced by directors chosen by the new owners.
The Marine Review
April 27, 1899