Thursday

Goodsprings Mining District

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(Fig. 01) Click to Enlarge
Goodsprings Mining District - The Geography: As best as I can determine, overall, the district covers an area of approximately 100 square miles (Fig. 01). Though it has been extremely difficult to define the boundaries of the Goodsprings Mining District, I have attempted to do so by reviewing information on mining claims reported to have been made within the district. Generally speaking, the Goodsprings district is located west, north and south around the town of Goodsprings. Overall, with over 75 mines and several hundred prospects in the southern end of the Spring Mountain Range in the south western part of Clark County, Nevada, it was the largest mining district in the state. For purposes of identification showing the location of it many mines, I have broken the Goodsprings Mining District into three general areas (North, West, & South) as they relate to the town of Goodsprings (Fig. 01).






Goodsprings Mining District (West): The map in (Fig. 02) below shows that portion of the district that lies mostly west of Goodsprings, between the boundaries of Kingston Road to the north, and Sandy Valley Road to the south, which appears to have the largest concentration of mines. So far I have explored 7 mines in this section of the District; the Yellow Pine Mine, Prairie Flower Mine, Green Copper Mine, Alice Mine, Middlesex Mine (Yellow Pine Mining District), the Whale Mine [The Whale Mine], the Ingomar Mine [The Ingomar Mine] and the [Keystone Mine].


(Fig. 02)























Goodsprings Mining District (South): The map shown in (Fig. 03) shows what I have classified as the southern portion of the district, south of Sandy Valley Road. It stretches from the Ivanpah Valley to the California-Nevada state line and the town of Sandy Valley. So far I have explored 6 mines in this section of the District; the Lincoln Mine, Ireland Mine, Bullion Mine plus a large unnamed mine [Goodsprings Mining District (South)], and the Columbia [The Columbia Mine] and Argentena Mine [The Argentena Mine].

(Fig. 03)








Goodsprings Mining District (North): The map shown in (Fig. 04) below shows what I have classified as the northern portion of the district, which extends north of Goodsprings and across the Potosi Mountains to NV-160, and is bounded on the east by Goodsprings Valley and Cottonwood valley and the Potosi Wash and Pahrump Valley on the west. It its earliest days this area was referred to as the Potosi Mining District, however it appears that after 1882 it became part of the Goodsprings District. Even though this area has the least number of mines, the Potosi Mine was one of the most famous and productive lead mines in the district. So far I have explored 4 mines in this section of the District; the [Potosi Mine], the Dawn Mine, Ninety-Nine Mine [Dawn and Ninety-Nine Mines], the Contact Mine [Contact Mine & Pauline Mine] and the [Red Cloud Mine].

(Fig. 04)


Goodsprings Mining District History:  For nearly 100 years this area has been known as the Goodsprings Mining District (1856 - 1957). The ore deposits readily recognized in the faulted and folded limestone deposits of this district remained unworked until 1856, when the Mormons developed a single lead mine at Potosi; probably the oldest lode mine in Nevada. With the discovery of gold in 1882, the Goodsprings Mining District was officially established. Because the district included the mines in and around Mount Potosi, including the Potosi Mine that was begun in 1856, the date of its establishment often is listed as 1856. In 1901, the Yellow Pine Mining Company was formed, which consolidated ownership of most of the area mines and built a mill in Goodsprings. Because of this large consolidation, and the later building of a mill (Fig. 05) in the town of Goodsprings with a connecting railroad to Jean, this general area was often referred to as the Yellow Pine Mining District, however, it was just part of the Goodsprings Mining District. Although less famous than many of the other mining districts of the Great Basin it nevertheless ranks second only to Tonapah in total lead and zinc production from Nevada.
         
2013 Yellow Pine Mill
(Fig. 05)
      
According to data from US Geological Survey Mineral Resources Data System (MRDS), the Mount Potosi mines alone, accounted for more than $22, million dollars in ore over the Goodsprings Mining District’s productive period between 1856 and 1962. (Prices based on average metal prices in October, 1991) Here are the outputs for these mines: The Potosi Mine (lead, zinc & copper) (11.9%) $22 million; the Ninety-Nine Mine (copper) $636,917; the Contact Mine (zinc) $180,165; the Double Up Mine (copper) $115,200; and the Dawn Mine (Zinc & lead) $59,165. The last four mines together only accounted for .05% of the districts production.
                     
During this same period of years, over 188.6 million (again, in 1991 dollars) worth of metals were produced from all the mines in the Goodsprings Mining District, the most important being zinc (57.8%), lead (17.5%), and Gold (17%), Silver (4.6%), and Copper (2.9%).  As previously noted, the Potosi Mine was responsible for most of the mineral production in the Mount. Potosi area, and accounted for almost 12% of the mineral value of the entire Goodsprings Mining District.
               
Further south, the natural springs in the area that surrounds what is now the town of Goodsprings, Nevada were first used by the Ancient Puebloans, and then the Paiute Indians. The springs were first documented by white settlers in 1830 by a caravan that traveled along the Old Spanish Trail. Mining first occurred in the area in 1856 when Mormons established the oldest lode mine in Nevada at nearby Potosi. In 1861, Joseph Good, who was primarily a cattleman, discovered silver near the springs. Once the word got out miners started coming, and Good eventually built a small store to serve the area. A town was not established until more silver and lead deposits were discovered around 1868. First called Good’s Springs, the name later evolved to Goodsprings. By 1882, gold had also been discovered and the Goodsprings or Yellow Pine Mining District was established. In 1892 the Keystone gold mine was discovered about 5 miles west of Goodsprings and soon became the most profitable mine in the district. In 1893, with numerous small mines dotting the landscape, the area supported about 200 people, and a post office was established at the Keystone Mine.
              
In 1895 the Keystone Mine had the distinction of being taken over by the miners in a dispute over wages. The miners held the mine for three months until enough money had been made to pay both their wages, as well as the wages for local Indians who had been cutting wood for the mine. Circa 1897, Joseph Good had sold his store to a man named Samuel Yount, who established a new post office in Goodsprings in 1899, causing the closing of the post office at the Keystone Mine. In 1901, the Yellow Pine Mining Company was formed, which consolidated ownership of most of the area mines and built a mill in Goodsprings. But, getting the ore out of the area was a difficult job, as it had to be hauled by wagon to distant shipping points.
                     
However, when the San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad built a line through nearby Jean in 1905, the task of moving the ore became much easier. In 1911, the completion of a narrow-gauge railroad from Jean to Goodsprings, called the Yellow Pine, reduced the transportation costs of the oxidized zinc minerals even further as it hauled tons of ore from Yellow Pine's 100 ton mill (Fig. 05) to Jean. During 1916, the peak year of operations, Goodsprings had a population of 800 residents. In 1914, platinum and palladium were recognized in the ore at the Boss Mine which had been originally mined for copper and gold. Barite was found in 1915 and vanadium was found and mined in 1917.
                  
The town continued to thrive through the end of World War I, when lead and zinc was badly needed for the war efforts. During World War I the district was one of the most productive in the West. However, when the war ended in 1918, production decreased, mines shut down, and the town began to decline. By 1920, only about 400 people called the town home. In 1930, the narrow gauge railroad to Jean ceased operations and four years later, in 1934, the railroad tracks were removed. By that time, the vast majority of the mines sat silent, and Goodsprings was on its way to becoming a ghost town, with less than 100 residents. Goodsprings once again saw a spurt of activity during World War II, but never grew to its former size. By the end of World War II only a few mines remained in operation and by the late 1950's all operations had ceased. In recent years, renewed activity has centered on some of the gold mines in the district.

Over its span, from 1892 until 1952, the Yellow Pine Mines, with some of the greatest variety of minerals in Nevada, produced a total of $31 million dollars, primarily in lead and zinc, with lesser amounts of gold, silver, copper, molybdenum, vanadium, nickel, cobalt, platinum, palladium, and uranium. During WWI and WWII, it produced 85 million pounds of zinc. Overall, the Goodsprings Mining District accounted for 1/3 of the total metal production for Clark County, making it one of the most lucrative mining districts in Southern Nevada.