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under this heading to mention any except those in which well-known mines are located, and of these only to give the merest outline description. To avoid expansion, as the materials are very abundant, only those from which ores are known to have been exported will be referred to. These are the following:
The Copperopolis, Table Mountain, Napoleon, Lancha Plana, Campo Peco, and Copper Hill, in Calaveras county,
The Newton, Cosumnes, and Hope Valley, in Amador county.
Copperopolis mines.—The Copperopolis mines are located in Salt Spring valley, in the southwestern portion of Calaveras county, about thirty-five miles nearly east from Stockton, at the head of navigation on the San Joaquin river. This valley is large, beautiful, and well sheltered, and very fertile, producing all descriptions of fruits, grain, and vegetables, in the greatest perfection. Its peculiar excellence in these respects has caused it to be more or less under cultivation since the settlement of California by the Americans. It is bounded on the east by the Bear mountains, a lofty branch of the foot-hills lying between the Stanislaus and Calaveras rivers, which nearly divide Calaveras county into two parts. On the west it is bounded by a range of low broken hills which skirt the eastern side of the valley of San Joaquin. It extends nearly to the Calaveras river on the north. The most famous copper mines on the coast are located on the west of this valley, near the head of what is called Black creek, a small tributary to the Stanislaus.
The lode on which the Union, Keystone, Empire, Calaveras, and Consolidated mines are located passes through this valley in the direction of north 30° west. It has been more or less developed for about fifteen miles, and found to curve slightly towards the north, at its western extremity.
There are other lodes in this valley on which are located many mines known to be of great value, though they have not been as extensively developed as those on the main lode. It is claimed that there are four of these lodes, which range from a few feet to six miles in distance from the main one, but all follow the same direction. This cupriferous belt has been traced with comparatively slight interruptions from this valley to the American river, its general course being about north 15° west.
The most important mine in the valley is the Union. This contains 1,950 feet on the main lode, which was originally divided into thirteen shares of 150 feet each. But at present it is nearly all owned by Meader, Lalor & Co., merchants, of San Francisco, Mr. McCarty, one of the original locators, being the only one retaining any portion of their claim.
The owners of this mine never formed themselves into an incorporated company, as nearly all other mining companies generally do. Probably no necessity arose to compel them, as no assessments were ever levied on their shares, the mine paying well from the very commencement of their operations. It gave them a dividend of $11,000 per share in December, 1862, and during the year 1863 the dividends amounted to $20,000 per share, clear of all expenses. It is not possible to tell how much the mine has paid since, in consequence of Meader & Co. having purchased it soon after the last dividend in 1863 was declared, and they have their own reasons for not making its revenue public. It is alleged that in the winter of 1863 that firm paid Mr. Reed, the locator of the mine, $65,000 in cash for 975 feet. In 1864 Mr. Hardy, another of the original locators, it is stated sold his interest in the mine to the same firm for $650,000.
There is but little doubt that this mine contains the largest body of yellow sulphurets of copper ever discovered. Some scientific gentlemen have expressed doubts as to whether this body of ore is a true vein, or merely a local surface deposit, as it does not present some of the characteristics of veins of similar ore found in other counties. The fact that it has been explored to the depth of upwards of 500 feet without any symptoms of its giving out, and that it has been examined for many miles consecutively, presenting the same general appearance throughout, is, to say the least, a stronger proof in support of the opinion that it is a continuous, regular vein, than any theory can be that it is not.
The work on this mine is carried on by means of three shafts, which have been sunk from 300 to 500 feet on the lode, from which serveral levels or drifts have been run along its course. For the purpose of hoisting the ore there is a fourteen horse-power steam-engine at the mouth of each of the two outer shafts. At the inain shaft, from which the mine is drained, there is an eighty horsepower engine, which is used for both pumping and hoisting. Another shaft is in progress, and nearly completed, which is being sunk for the purpose of striking the lode at a depth of between 400 and 500 feet, at a point where it is known to dip considerably to the east. All the other shafts having been commenced on the lode, passed through it on reaching a limited depth, going further from it as the depth increased, involving an increased expense in running tunnels to strike it at each succeeding level.
The dimensions of this body of ore have been ascertained with tolerable accuracy, for a length of nearly 600 feet, and to a depth of upwards of 400 feet, by shafts and levels which have been made in it. Near the surface, for, say 150 feet in depth, the lode varied in proportions very much, ranging from one foot to twelve feet in width. At the depth of 200 feet in the main shaft it was nearly 21 feet wide; at 250 feet deep, it was nearly 30 feet wide; and continued of nearly the same width to 300 feet in depth, when it became less uniform, and began to decrease in proportions, till at the depth of about 400 feet at the nortlı, near the Keystone line, it had decreased to about 6 feet in width, while for 200 feet north from the main shaft it is nearly 28 feet wide. “As the Keystone company have recently struck the lode on their ground, within 100 feet of the dividing line between the two mines, at a depth of 360 feet, where it is 10 feet wide, it is presumable that its contraction in the Union, at nearly the same level, is not permanent.
It would be difficult to obtain correct information as to the product of this mine, from its opening up to the present time, as its proprietors seem averse to furnishing particulars. It is known, however, that the exports of ore from this State amounted to 5,553 tons in 1863, and to 10,234 tons in 1864, at least onehalf of which was obtained from the 6 Union." The company's books show that from the 10th March to the 31st December, 1865, 25,542 tons of ore were actually shipped from the mine. As the firm owning it state that the average of all its ores shipped is 15 per cent., and estimate it to be worth $75 per toni, it follows that its products for 1865 exceeded $1,500,000 in value. The shipments for 1866, as will be seen by reference to the table of exports, will exceed those of 1865—the quantity shipped being only limited by the number of vessels available for carrying it away. The above figures will convey a slight idea of the importance of developing such a fruitful source of national wealth as is presented in the copper mines of the Pacific coast.
The Union company employ about 250 men about the mine, in the various departments of its operations. None of the companies at Copperopolis employ any Chinese coolies.
The Keystone is next in importance to the Union, which it adjoins on the north. It contains 3,300 feet on the lode. It is owned by an incorporated joint-stock company, the shares in which are one hundred and fifty in number. It was on this claim that the first work of development on the lode was done, in what is still called the discovery shaft, on the north end of the claim, and which is still used by the company in their operations.
The shareholders in this mine have not been as fortunate as those of the Union. The Keyston ehas never yielded them a dividend since its discovery ; on the contrary, it has cost them $100,000 in assessments over and above the receipts from its whole product of ore, which up to October 1, 1866, amounted to 5,719 tons, worth, at $75 per ton, $428,925. The enormous expenses incurred in the development of this mine have probably been caused by mismanagement, and costly, useless experiments for concentrating the low-grade ores, of which the mine produces very large quantities.
The best informed among the stockholders in this mine estimate that it has produced sufficient ore to defray all the expenses of working. The $100,000 collected as assessments have been expended in experiments and machinery. The company have very fine and powerful hoisting, pumping, and concentrating machinery. The latter is only used during the winter and spring, when there is an abundance of water available. The ores in the Keystone are identical with those in the Union, but they are not found in as large a body, or as compact. The lode in this mine has at no time exceeded ten feet in width, and it is usually so much divided by the containing slate that the cost of its separation by hand-labor causes it to be not very profitable to the company. At the depth of 260 feet in the main shaft the lode was only six feet wide, and contained a body of iron pyrites nearly a foot thick through the centre of it for nearly 150 feet in length, and it was further divided by seams of slate into irregular masses from one inch to six inches thick.
The greatest depth reached on this mine is about 400 feet. Quite recently, in the sixth level, at a depth of about 360 feet in the Houghton shaft--that is, the shaft nearest to the dividing line between this mine and the Union—a body of ore nearly ten feet thick was struck while drifting within 150 feet of this dividing line. In this body of ore there is only about four feet sufficiently rich to pay for shipping; the remainder is so divided by the containing slate, or contains so large a proportion of iron pyrites, as to fall below the average of 12 per cent. the present lowest grade of paying ore.
There are six shafts in this mine, only two of which, the discovery shaft and that nearest the Union, are in use--the cost of sinking and timbering the others being nearly a total loss to the company. In fact, the first two years' work done on the mine was wasted through the inexperience of those who were intrusted with its management.
The annual product of the Keystone, according to the books of the company, has been as follows: 1862.
596 tons of 2, 376 pounds. 1863.
758 tons of 2, 376 pounds. 1,506 tons of 2, 376 pounds.
1, 743 tons of 2, 376 pounds. 1866, (till October 1,).
1, 386 tons of 2, 376 pounds.
5,719 tons. The company employ about one hundred men in the various departinents of their works. The Empire mine is located next to the Union, on the south. It contains
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1,800 feet on the same lode. It is owned by an incorporated company, the majority of the stockholders in which are capitalists who reside at New York. This company have expended a very large amount of money in developing their mine. The greater portion of this expenditure, as has been the case with the Keystone company, has been wasted through incompetent management. Great improvements in this respect have been made recently, and the prospects of the company are promising. The explorations now in process show considerable good ore, and there are indications of an increase in the dimensions of the lode.
T'ke ore in this is similar to that in all the other mines on the lode; but in the croppings on this claim there was considerably more quartz than there was upon any other clairn on the lode. In this quartz, which was of a milky whiteness, there was metallic copper, crystallized in leaf and fern-like forms, which were exceedingly brilliant and beautiful when first taken out of their stony matrix.
The Calaveras is located next south of the Empire, on the same lode, of which it contains 3,000 feet. The croppings on this claim were exceedingly rich, but the lode has not proven to be so below the surface. Several shafts have been sunk and many drifts and cuttings made without finding any body of ore of importance. The company are not working this mine at present.
The Consolidated is located on the same lode, north of the Keystone. It contains 3,000 feet.
The Webster is the name of another important mine in this valley. It is located about one and a half mile east of Copperopolis, on a massive body of ore nearly twenty-eight feet wide. This ore is of a different character to that in the main lode, and is much less valuable ; for, though quite solid and compact, it does not average more than eight per cent., in consequence of the larger percentage of iron it contains.
The Inimitable is another important mine in this valley, located on a different lode altogether. This mine is situated parallel with the Union, and but a few feet apart from it, on the east side. So close are these two mines together that the owners of the Inimitable had some intentions of suing the Union company for damages for taking out some of their ore on some of the lower levels, which they claimed was on the Inimitable's ground. The Napoleon mine, which is located four miles south from Copperopolis, is on the eastern end of a lode which runs through this valley, parallel with the main lode, but about six miles apart from it, which has been located upon for nearly fifteen miles. The Scorpion, Swansea, Massachusetts, Pacific, and other valuable mines, are located on this parallel lode. These lodes are easily traced to near the banks of the river, where they all disappear, and are not again visible till near the town of Montezuma, in 'Tuolumne county, six miles from the other side of the river. Gopher Hill, where the first discovery of copper was made, is supposed to be the extreme west of the main lode.
The above is not by any means a complete list of the mines in Salt Spring valley. There are scores of others, but these are the most important.
At present about one thousand men are employed in various capacities among the mines in this district, the larger proportion of whom are foreigners, chiefly English and Irish. No Chinese are employed about the mines except as cooks, washermen, and servants.
The Table Mountain mine is located about five miles southeast from Copperopolis, and about one mile from the Stanislaus river. It is the last claim on the main lode on this side of that river. It contains 2,150 feet on the lode, which is here about six feet wide, and much divided by the containing slate. This mine is owned by a joint-stock company of twenty-one shareholders. It has been considerably developed, and about one thousand tons of ore have been shipped from it.
The Campo Seco, Lancha Plana, and Copper Hill mines are located on a
continuation of the main Copperopolis lode, where it makes its appearance between the Calaveras and Mokelumne rivers. All these mines were discovered in 1861, shortly after the discovery of the Union and Keystone mines. They have been extensively developed, and the lode has been well tested by shafts and drifts. It presents the same peculiarities as were noticed at Copperopolis. It is quite large on the Campo Seco claim, being twenty feet wide at one hundred feet deep. It is scarcely as large in the Lancha Plana, and in the Copper Hill it is only about six feet. The character and composition of the ores are identical with those at Copperopolis, and they are contained in the same description of rock, and present many other features of similarity. Large quantities of ore have been shipped from these mines; but the present low price of ores, which is lower than it has previously been for the past fifteen years, leaves so small a profit after paying expenses that the companies are storing most of their ores in anticipation of an improvement in the market. About one hundred and fifty men are employed among these mines, about forty of whom are Chinese, who perform much of the labor above ground, such as separating and bagging the ores, &c.
Quite extensive concentrating works are being put up on the Campo Seco mine. The company intend to concentrate most of their ores into about fifty per cent. matte or regulus.
The Napoleon mine is located about four miles south of Copperopolis, in what are called the Gopher hills, a range of low, broken hills, very irregular in form ar:d direction, on the east of the San Joaquin valley. They are the first hills met with after leaving Stockton and travelling east. As has already been mentioned, this was the first copper mine opened in California. As such, Mr. Hughes, who discovered both the Napoleon and the Quail Hill mines, claimed the latter as a silver or gold mine.
The Napoleon contains 2,700 feet on two well-defined lodes of ore, similar in composition to those at Copperopolis. It was located in November, 1860, and in October, 1862, was owned by an incorporated company ; each foot in the mine representing a share of stock. In 1863 these one-foot shares were selling at $100 each.
In consequence of the country through which the Napoleon lode traverses having been much disturbed by subterranean forces, it is extensively dislocated. The "faults," as the miners call these dislocations, are so numerous that all the other mines on this lode had to cease operations because they could not trace it far enough consecutively to obtain any extensive body of ore. This misfortune has happened to the Napoleon. At the depth of about 400 feet the lode, after narrowing from twenty to less than six feet, finally was lost altogether by a shift in the containing rock. The company have been engaged for more than a year in attempting to rediscover it. They have sunk a new shaft nearly 400 feet deep, some distance to the south of the old one. The prospects are that, they will meet with a large body of good ore in this new shaft.
The Napoleon is located on the eastern extremity of a lode which has been traced to San Domingo gulch, twenty-five miles distant, where the Noble mine, owned by Pioche & Beyergue, French merchants of San Francisco, is located! on it. The Napoleon commenced shipping ores in May, 1863.
The following statement, compiled from the books of the company, furnishes full particulars of the product of the mine :