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leave little room to doubt that there are at least two-some persons say fourdistinct lodes, or very large consecutive bodies of ore, identical in composition, independent of the main lode. The question of whether there is one or more lodes promises to be as fruitful a point for the lawyers to settle as a similar question was among the owners on the Comstock lode, in Nevada.
The thousands of persons from all parts of the State who were attracted to the Salt Spring Valley mines by the reports of their value, thus becoming acquainted with the general appearance of copper ores, on returning to their several districts soon discovered these ores almost everywhere, so that before the close of the year 1861 a well-defined belt of copper ore, containing several distinct lodes, was traced and partially developed from a point about thirty miles north of Los Angeles, at La Solidad, through Mariposa, Merced, Fresno, Tuolumne, Stanislaus, El Dorado, Placer, Nevada, Yuba, Trinity, Sierra, Plumas, and Shasta counties, to a point about twenty miles west of the town of Yreka, in Siskiyou county, where it enters the State of Oregon in a northern spur of the Siskiyou mountains, the most western branch of the Sierra Nevadas. As will be more fully explained in another portion of this report, there is a most remarkable uniformity in the direction and dip of the lodes in this great copper belt, as well as in the geological formations in which they are found, in the character of their ores, and in several other features, all which point to a simultaneousness of origin over very large tracts, many portions of which have been much disturbed and shifted by subsequent subterranean action.
Other extensive deposits of copper ores have been discovered in the coast range, particularly around the base of a spur of Mount Diablo, at the low divide in Del Norte county; in Hope valley, Amador county; at Whiskey Hill, in Placer county, and at several other points which it is not necessary to particularize at this time.
The results of all these discoveries were the location of thousands of claims, some of them of considerable importance, in nearly every county in the State, and the incorporation of a countless number of copper mining companies, whose certificates of stock were bought and sold at the public boards and by private merchants by thousands; and for about a year the development of the copper resources of the Pacific coast was prosecuted with great zeal. But a few months' experience taught those most deeply interested in the business that, with unskilled and expensive labor, uncertain and costly transportation, and a great distance from a market for the final disposal of the ore, it is unprofitable to work the richest and most extensive copper mines in the world.
The excitement attending the discovery of so much copper in California, as may well be supposed, soon spread through the adjoining States and Territories, and it was not long before many important lodes were discovered in Oregon, Nevada, Colorado, Sonora, and Lower California. As it will be quite impossible to even mention all these discoveries in detail, only a few of the most important will be referred to at this time.
In 1860 a miner named Hawes, who had long been working in that vicinity, having his attention attracted to the quantity of metallic copper found in the sluices of the miners who were engaged at Placer mining for gold, commenced a search, and soon discovered a valuable lode of copper ore in a small gulch about six miles from Waldo, Josephine county. On this lode was subsequently located the Queen of Bronze mine, the most important copper mine in Oregon. Soon after the discovery made by Hawes, other parties found an extensive copper district on the Illinois river, near the junction of that river and Fall creek, about eighteen miles north-northwest from Waldo. Another district was about the same time discovered at Rockland, in Josephine county, in which more than twenty mines of importance were subsequently located.
Copper has also been found in Wasco county; on the John Day river, and at several other points in the State of Oregon. The districts in Josephine
county being near the dividing line between that State and California, and the lode having been examined from Waldo to near Crescent City, Del Norte county, in the latter State, where an extensive district known as the Alta has since been developed, leaves no room to doubt that they are all located on the same great belt of copper ores referred to above.
The largest masses of metallic copper found on this coast have been obtained from these Oregon mines. One piece reported to have weighed half a ton was taken from the "Diamond" mine; another piece weighing four hundred pounds was taken from the "Cruikshank" mine, and a great many pieces weighing from one hundred to three hundred pounds each have been found in this vicinity.
In 1862 several valuable deposits of copper ore were discovered on Williams's fork of the Colorado river, in Arizona Territory, near where Aubrey City has been since located. But it was not till November, 1863, when Mr. Robert Ryland, of San Francisco, commenced work on the "Planet" mine, at this place, that the true value of these Arizona copper mines was ascertained. There are undoubted proofs of the existence of exceedingly valuable copper mines in this Territory, at various points convenient to the navigable waters of the Colorado and its tributaries. Mr. Pompelly, a scientific geologist and mineralogist, who subsequently was appointed mineralogist to the Japanese government, made an extended examination of the mineral resources of Arizona, and in the published report of his observations he refers particularly to the extraordinary richness and extent of the copper resources of the Territory. Other parties, who have travelled extensively through it since Mr. Pompelly, fully corroborate all that gentleman reported on this subject. Important mines have been discovered, and districts organized at many points in the Territory, among which are the Irataba district, about twenty-five miles southwest from Fort Mohave; the Freeman district, about sixty miles south of Williams's fork; the Chimewawa district, on the west bank of the Colorado, nearly opposite La Paz; the Salaza district, about thirty-five miles northeast of La Paz, and the Castle Dome district, about thirty miles north of the Gila. The formations in which the copper is found in this Territory are altogether different from those in which it is found in Oregon aud California. The ores themselves are also quite distinct, and far more valuable than those found in these States. The details of these peculiarities will be given hereafter.
About the time the Colorado mines were discovered, a singular but quite extensive lode of copper ore, containing considerable metallic copper and silver, was discovered near Loretto, in the province of Comondu, Lower California. Several tons of exceedingly rich ore, which averaged sixty per cent., was brought to San Francisco in 1862, from the "Favorita" mine, also in Lower California. In 1864 a number of valuable deposits of copper ores were discovered in various places in the State of Nevada. Among the most important of these discoveries are the "Peavine" district, near the Hennep pass, but a short distance from the line of the Central Pacific railroad. The completion of this road to the neighborhood of this district has given it much importance of late, the railroad company offering to deliver the ore in Sacramento at nine dollars per ton. Other copper mines have been located on Walker's river, in Esmeralda county, and on the south fork of the Carson river, in Ormsby county, and at other points in this State, the ores from which will be profitable to ship as soon as the completion of the Pacific railroad shall afford the means for sending them to a market.
The above hurriedly compiled notes, though giving the merest outlines of the extent of the copper resources of the Pacific coast, are sufficient to convey an idea of the magnitude and importance of these resources, which, under a judicious system of encouragement by the federal government, may be made to produce many millions of dollars annually.
The locality of the most important mining districts.—It will be impossible
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.
The Buchanan, in Fresno county.
The Osos, in San Luis Obispo county.
The Solidad, in Los Angeles county.
The Mount Diablo, in Contra Costa county.
The Peavine, in Nevada.
The Favorita and Sauce, in Lower California.
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 150 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 main 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 north, 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 "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 tou, 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. 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:
1866, (till October 1,).
596 tons of 2,376 pounds.
758 tons of 2,376 pounds. 1,506 tons of 2, 376 pounds. 1,743 tons of 2, 376 pounds. 1, 386 tons of 2, 376 pounds. .... 5,719 tons.
The company employ about one hundred men in the various departments of their works.
The Empire mine is located next to the Union, on the south. It contains
H. Ex. Doc. 29-10