Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/54

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the demand for the product is actually unlimited, while the raw materials cost almost nothing, limestone being the only expense, and no fuel is required. Any place where water-power is cheap and limestone can be obtained is suitable for a nitrate factory. With increasing supply the price of nitrate will of course drop, which will be a boon to the farmers. As there is unlimited water-power in Norway, and the industry is already established there, that land will have a great advantage in future competition.

As regards mineral resources, for a land of mountains Norway seems to be exceedingly poor. At Kongsberg are silver mines which have been worked for nearly three centuries, but the output is now comparatively small. They are more celebrated for the fact that the ore consists largely of native silver and some of the specimens, especially those taken out at earlier periods, are magnificent. The work in these mines seems to be kept up at present, not so much from productiveness or profit, as for the purpose of furnishing employment to the families of those who have been brought up in the mines.

In various parts of Norway copper is found and has been worked from time to time, but the deposits have thus far proved poor and limited in extent, and none of the mines have been commercial successes. The same may be said of the few deposits of coal and iron. It seems possible, however, that Norway may find an unlooked-for value in some of her deposits of minerals of rare elements, for which at any time there may be a great demand. Among her older rocks have already been discovered many minerals of great scientific interest, including Broeggerite, the most radio-active of known minerals. Nevertheless, it is to her unrivaled water-power that Norway must primarily look for her industrial development.