(This editorial from 50 years ago is being republished in honor of Newmont Mining Corp.’s celebration of 50 years on the Carlin Trend.)
Historically, Nevada has been a mining state. The great Comstock Lode, which helped to bring this state into the Union, Tonopah’s silver and Goldfield’s gold are part of the romantic heritage which has come down through the years. The great copper mines of Ely and Weed Heights have added to the lustre, to say nothing of the wealth of this state and the nation.
There have been numerous other finds in the state’s history leading to the building of mining towns, some passing into oblivion almost overnight. Mountain City, the great Rio Tinto copper mine, Pioche, Austin, Eureka and such other romantic names as Tuscarora, Cornucopia, the Divide near Tonopah, Gold Aces and many others have passed in review.
As Dr. John Hulse said in his recently written “The Nevada Adventure”, “Nevada was basically unwanted and unloved in those days (before mining). It was a barrier to a promised land, rather than an asset in itself. But this soon changed.”
Yes, it changed with Virginia City and the mining finds which followed throughout the state. James Finney, whose real name may have been James Fennimore, according to Dr. Hulse, was exploring the hills at the head of Gold Canyon in the winter of 1858-1859 when he found a mound, soon to be named Gold Hill. He was nicknamed “Old Virginia.” This was at the start of the great prospector search for mines. Jim Butler’s burro is credited with finding Tonopah.
It seems the burro broke away and when Butler went to get him he noticed a piece of outcropping the burro had dislodged, revealing the first silver values which led to this great camp. H.S. Hunt found an outcropping near Mountain City. He said there would be a copper mine 200 feet down. It took him 12 years to sink the shaft until the ore was found, where he said it would be, and for 10 years the mine provided unusually high grade copper.
For years, many of us in Elko County have heard of the Lynn Mining District. Prospectors took some gold from the surface. They came and went, scratching the surface. But it was not until the modern day engineer used deep drilling equipment that the true worth of the area was discovered. Did the romance end with use of modern equipment? Well, some of the color may have been taken from the past and the gold-rush days of old have certainly vanished. But the pouring of a gold brick at the Newmont mine, north of Carlin, tomorrow will give those privileged to see it a great thrill.
For the rest of this editorial, click here: http://elkodaily.com/news/opinion/editorial-the-romance-of-mining/article_a9320057-b943-5d69-848e-c7a484204694.html