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Idaho Mines and Mining
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Idaho is essentially a mining territory. It was her mines that first stimulated immigration to within her borders, and it is to the results of the mines that her present prosperity is due in a great measure. Now that mining has been reduced to a legitimate occupation, there is less reckless speculation, perhaps, than of old, but more solid, substantial business. The days of stock gambling in mining properties are about over. Science, aided by practical experience, has taught the best methods of treating ores. Capitalists no longer purchase prospects for fabulous prices on the strength of picked specimens or the vicinity of rich claims. It is a fortunate circumstance for Idaho that mining has been for the most part a steady, productive industry, yielding rich returns to the patient and intelligent prospector, and that it has not been necessary to rely on fictitious “booms.”
As in the case of mining countries generally, the placer mines first attracted attention. The placers of Boise basin, Salmon River, and other localities had yielded rich returns. But it is within a comparatively recent period that quartz mining has become as general as at present in southern and central Idaho. Even now in well known mining regions there are many miles as yet unexplored.
The minerals of Idaho are gold, silver, copper, iron, lead, plumbago, quicksilver, coal, and others. There are also mountains of sulphur, productive salt springs, quarries of the finest marble and building stone, large deposits of mica, and various varieties of semi-precious stones. Her precious-metal belt is three hundred and fifty miles long, and from ten to one hundred and fifty miles wide.
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