Monday, October 06, 2008

Mine Hill Tour

One of the more fascinating parts of my tour of the Lost Rivers Valley was going up the mountain, just outside of Mackay, climbing several thousand feet above the valley floor. The mountain was once the largest copper mountain in the USA and operated from 1879 until the mid 1980s. A whole city, since abandoned, existed on the side of the mountain, with the buildings held onto the mountainside with cables that were anchored into solid rock.

An elaborate system of carts and trolleys brought over one million tons of material down several thousand feet to be separated into gold, silver and other metals. During the mine’s 100+ year life 42,000 ounces of gold; 2 million ounces of silver; 62 million pounds of copper; 1.5 million pounds of lead and 5 million pounds of zinc were extracted.

It was quite a trip up to the top of that mountain and hard to believe that people and animals used to make the trip up and down each day.

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