Tuesday, March 24, 1998

Searching For Gold

March 24, 1998 © Thomas J. Kollenborn. All Rights Reserved. 

The town of Goldfield, in the Arizona Territory, has undergone several changes during its one hundred and seven year[s] of existence.

The Mammoth Mine was discovered in April of 1893 and the town of Goldfield grew around it. According to some reports, more than a million dollars in gold was removed from the badly faulted formations in the area.

The ledge from which Charles Hall took over $1,000,000 in gold was the famous “Mormon Stope.” This bonanza pocket was lost in a fault and never rediscovered according to some mining experts. This led to the decline of Goldfield and eventually its abandonment. Mining men still believed the old mine had potential in the late 1920s. One man who believed in the potential of Goldfield and the Mammoth Mine was George U. Young, the last territorial secretary of Arizona and a prominent figure in political affairs.

Young spent a great deal of his money, as well as funds raised from the sale of stock in the east, to search for the ore body he believed lay below the desert. Young sunk the shaft deeper in his search for the lost gold ledge called Mormon Stope. He did not find the stope, but he did uncover ore that contained enough gold to make it profitable to process. During 1925, Young ran a small cyanide plant, but his equipment was old and crude, not efficient enough to extract the gold which would pay a profit to investors.

Young passed away suddenly on November 26, 1926 near Prescott, Arizona. His death [led] to the reorganization of the Young Mines Ltd. Under the new name Apache Trail Gold Ming Company. A.H. Sevringhaus served as the general manager.

Again, the operators struggled with financial problems in trying to reopen the mine. After several attempts to mine the Mammoth profitably, the Apache Trail Gold Mining Company also failed.

In early January of 1930 the mining company was completely reorganized again. The new organization was called the Metallurgical Research and Mining Company of Colorado. This new company leased the holdings of the Apache Trail Mining Company and hired their own superintendent to direct the development and operation of the Mammoth Mine. The man put in charge was Albert McCarthy.

Construction began immediately on a new mill which a company spokesman said would be producing bullion within ten days. A new amalgamator attached to the milling machinery was put in place. This refinement to the milling operation was expected to produce pure bullion on the property without the necessity of shipping the concentrates to a refinery. Also, ore would be hauled on a track from the old Black Queen shaft to the mill near the Apache Trail. Engineers believed there were vast quantities of gold ore beneath the surface in the Goldfield area. According to reports, there are several tons of gold ore on the dumps ready for processing in the new mill. 

Assays of quartz tested remarkably high in 1928, running from $90-$1,115 a ton. Most Arizona mining men of the period did not believe Goldfield was worked out. Even today men continue to work the gold veins of Goldfield hoping to strike it rich. Some claim if the old Dutchman of Lost Dutchman Mine fame had a mine it had to be located in Goldfield.

The Goldfield Mines have opened and shut down many times during the past one hundred and seven years. The production of gold bullion from the Goldfields more than a century ago has convinced a lot of prudent men that finding another bonanza is possible. So they continue to search, dig, dream and go broke. My father always said, “The Mammoth was one of those kind of mines that would make a poor man rich and a rich man poor.”