Archive | Nevada Mining

Sierra history: Nevada Comstock miners had guts, grit on their side – by Mark McLaughlin (Tahoe Daily Tribune – May 15, 2015)

Tahoe historian Mark McLaughlin is a nationally published author and professional speaker.

TAHOE-TRUCKEE, Calif. — It took skill, brains, brawn and endurance to work underground in a Nevada Comstock mine day after day and survive.

Air temperatures at the deepest depths nearly 3,000 feet beneath the surface ranged from 100 degrees Fahrenheit to nearly 130 degrees due to heat emanating from volcanic rock. Contemporary geologists considered Nevada’s 19th century silver mines to be the hottest in the world.

A labyrinth of clay seams throughout the Comstock matrix sealed off the flow of geothermally heated groundwater that riddled the subterranean rock.

Much of this exceptionally hot water was under considerable pressure and would suddenly flood a mine if a clay seam was breached by a drill hole or cut by excavation. Continue Reading →

Sierra history: Big risk, big money came with Comstock mining – by Mark McLaughlin (Tahoe Daily Tribune – May 15, 2015)

Tahoe historian Mark McLaughlin is a nationally published author and professional speaker.

TAHOE-TRUCKEE, Calif. — If you haven’t been to Virginia City, Nev., recently you’re in for a surprise, but probably not a pleasant one.

For several years now, Comstock Mining Incorporated has run a massive open pit excavation operation on the old Comstock Lode in the Virginia Range.

The resumption of large-scale mining adjacent to the Virginia City Historic District has upset residents and businesses alike. The federal government has designated the integrity of the nationally recognized landmark as “threatened.”

Nevada has had a close relationship with mining since its first days as a territory in the early 1860s and it is a major component of its economy.

Although the primary ore in the 19th century Comstock bonanza was silver, today the state produces about 80 percent of all the gold in the United States. Continue Reading →

Barrick Beyond Borders: There’s a first time for everything [Cyanide free gold]

Barrick produced the first of millions of ounces of gold at its Goldstrike mine using patented technology that will save jobs and allow it to continue to contribute funds to the state of Nevada

In late November 2014, the Goldstrike mine poured a small but significant bar of gold. At 107 ounces, the pour amounted to just one-eighth the size of a typical doré gold bar, but it marked the first time the mine had produced gold using its patented thiosulfate processing method. In fact, it marked the first time any company in the western world had successfully produced gold using thiosulfate.

Long viewed as a potential alternative to cyanide, which is typically used to recover gold that is trapped inside ore, thiosulfate is a difficult chemical to master. Barrick spent more than two decades perfecting its thiosulfate processing method and relied on an unmatched level of scientific and technological expertise.

“It’s the culmination of years of hard work and a good example of how our partnership culture is manifesting itself on the ground,” says Goldstrike General Manager Andy Cole. “This was a huge initiative, and it would not have succeeded if it weren’t for the collaboration, trust and accountability that developed between our project team, the construction group and the Goldstrike operations team.” Continue Reading →

History of the Carlin Trend (Elko Daily Free Press – May 1, 2015)

CARLIN — On May 4, 1965, with little fanfare, Newmont poured its first bar of gold from the Carlin Mine. The pomp and circumstance of the official commissioning of the mine would have to wait a few more weeks. That first bar marked the start of one of the largest and longest-lived mining districts in the world.

In summer 1961, geologists John Livermore and Alan Coope arrived in Carlin to visit the Blue Star mine and the Gold Quarry prospect. Livermore had recently heard a talk by U.S. Geological Survey geologist Ralph Roberts about an area in northern Eureka County that had the potential for hosting gold deposits.

The type of deposit they were searching for was similar to Getchell, Gold Acres and Bootstrap, deposits in which the gold was dispersed as microscopic particles that could not be found using a gold pan. After visiting and examining the local deposits, Livermore and Coope began exploring an area approximately 2¾ miles south of Blue Star on Popovich Hill. They postulated that gold would be found in the limestone rocks below a regional fault known as the Roberts Mountains Thrust.

Drilling on the project began in 1962 and on the third hole intersected 100 feet of mineralization averaging 1.03 ounces of gold per ton, marking the discovery of what would become the Carlin Mine. Drilling to outline the orebody progressed quickly and by the end of 1963 had identified 11 million tons of ore averaging 0.300 ounces of gold per ton, a grade sufficient for mining when gold was selling for $35 per ounce. Construction of the mine and mill began in 1964. Continue Reading →

(Nevada Mining) Editorial: The Romance of Mining (Elko Daily Free Press – May 1, 2015)

(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. Continue Reading →