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On War Eagle Mountain, a mile and a half southeast of Silver City, are a group of about twenty mines, in one of the richest belts in that section of the state, a belt which has afforded material to render Silver City famous throughout the civilized world. The Poorman mine has a production record of three million dollars, and other properties of the group as Bell Pick, Oso, Illinois Central, Jackson and Silver Cord have all been good producers.
The Poorman mine was discovered in 1865, and between July 9 and October 1, 1866, there was shipped from it the enormous sum of $606,692. The ore consists of chloride, sulphide of silver and a considerable proportion of copper. At a depth of one hundred feet five hundred pounds of ruby silver were taken out in one solid piece. This piece of ore was awarded a gold medal at the Paris Exposition of 1867. The Poorman mine is said to have been the richest body of ore for its size ever discovered. The mine is equipped with a ten-stamp mill, erected in 1895, and for the transportation of ore from the mine to the mill there is a wire-cable tramway of the Hallidie system one mile long. In 1888 the property was purchased by a syndicate of London, England, which is incorporated as the Poorman Gold Mines, limited. John B. Bryson. a resident of London, is the president of the company, and R. H. Britt, a resident here, is the manager. This company contemplates a deeper cut into the earth and a larger development, and great results are expected.
The Black Jack Mine. This famous mine, situated on Florida mountain three miles southwest of Silver City and one and a half miles from Dewey, was discovered in the early ’60s, being the first mine found in this mountain. The company was first incorporated as the Black Jack Mining Company, and was listed on the San Francisco Stock Board. This company is said to have taken out one million and six hundred thousand dollars worth of the precious metals: but, owing to the failure of the Bank of California, in 1875, all work in this vicinity was stopped, including operations in connection with the Black Jack mine. This property was then sold for debt and finally came into the possession of William H. Dewey. During the period of his ownership of the mine it was worked principally by lessees, who opened no new ground, and the production was very light.
In 1889 the present owners, the Idaho & Pittsburg Mining & Milling Company, of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, came into possession of the property, by purchase. They were incorporated in 1890, under the laws of Kentucky, with a nominal capital of two and a half million dollars, divided into two hundred and fifty thousand shares, of ten dollars each. They immediately began extensive work, building a ten-stamp mill and all the necessary structures and starting a tunnel to tap the ledge five hundred and seventy feet below the deepest of the old workings. This tunnel reached the ledge in 1891, after passing through over nine hundred feet of country rock, and at last found the ledge barren! Drifting south, however, on the ledge, a pay chute was located. This was cut in 1892, and from that time on the enterprise has been on a permanent producing basis, with the exception of only one month, during the panic of 1893.
In 1894 a tunnel was started three hundred feet below the tunnel above referred to, and was completed in 1895, cutting the ledge after going through two thousand and one hundred feet of country rock. Connections were made with the upper levels, and from that time on all the ore for the mill has been taken out from the lower tunnel and hauled directly to the top of the ten-stamp mill, where it is discharged into the ore bin. In 1896 a shaft was started to work below the lower tunnel, which is now (1898) down two hundred and thirty-five feet; it is equipped with a cage. The power is furnished by an air-compressor at the mill, twenty-six hundred feet distant. The lowest level of the mine approximates fourteen hundred feet below the top of the mountain, and the mine is opened up by levels about a hundred feet apart. The twelve-hundred-foot level connects with the Blaine tunnel of the Trade Dollar Company, so that it is possible to go from the Black Jack mill to the Trade Dollar by an underground route, the distance being seven thousand and five hundred feet, two thou-sand feet of which being a cross-cut and the remainder a drift on the ledge.
The mill is a Frazier & Chalmers ten-stamp combination, equipped with frew vanners. There are four six-foot vanners, over which the pulp passes before going to the pans. In the latter the material is treated by regular amalgamation, eight pans and four settlers being required. The engine is a C. & G. Cooper Corliss single cylinder structure of a hundred-horse power. Two seventy-five-horse-power boilers generate the steam required for the plant. An Ingersoll-Sargent air-compressor, located in the mill, furnishes the power for the underground hoist previously referred to.
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The ore occurs in a medium-hard quartz; the silver in the form of an argentite carries about two-thirds of the values, and gold one-third. Gold assays can be obtained from picked specimens that will run enormously rich, as high as a thousand ounces ; but the average value of the ore is between thirty and forty ounces of silver and ten dollars in gold to the ton.
Eighty men are employed at the mine and twelve at the mill. The mine and mill are run continuously, with two shifts of men, every day and night in the year excepting two days at Christmas, two at the Fourth of July and one Labor Day. About seventy per cent, of the values are obtained by concentration and about twenty per cent, in bullion, making a total of ninety per cent, saving. The concentrates are shipped to Denver for final treatment. The officers of the company are John Irwin, Jr., president; Edward Bindley, vice-president; James McKay, treasurer; and Lloyd L. Little, secretary, residing at Pittsburg. The local officers are Frederic Irwin, superintendent; J. B. Mattenson, mine foreman; James Ingals, mill foreman; and Bert Haug, assayer and accountant. The company are the owners of the following mines: Black Jack, Empire State. Phillips, Sullivan, Belfast and Independence, all of which arc patented; while the unpatented claims arc the Virginia. Bay State, Industry, Economy and Sunflower.