A hike to explore an old Gold Mine
03-23-12 – Cleveland Mine
Four days ago I cancelled a planned hike due to high winds and bitter cold. Today, I hike in a t-shirt and get a sun burn. Typical southern New Mexico. I park on the side of Cleveland Mine Road and walk up the old dirt road setting out to explore the mine. There are a variety of old foundations to investigate and photograph, along with the reclamation area that is fenced off. I look forward to checking out the variety of side roads in the future.
I had been up here in the past while walking nearby land for sale. I even saw an old map where it showed the wells, where the miners lived and worked, the old buildings, etc.
The mine yielded gold, silver and copper from the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s. Here is information from www.NMArcheology.org:
Site description: LA 167597 (435 m north-south by 230 m east-west) is north of the Cleveland Mill and has 65 associated features (Fig. 2). The feature types include shafts, adits, pits, waste piles, trenches, stopes, trash dump or scatter, hearth, metal flagpole, structure, privy, mineral survey point, and a large headframe. Mining was evident in this district prior to 1860, but significant amounts of metals were not recovered until that time. Gold was the major yield, with less production of silver and copper.
By 1868 six stamp mills were in the vicinity and employed 300 miners, eventually growing to 600. In 1905 a two-foot narrow-gauge railway, the Silver City, Pinos Altos and Mogollon Railroad (SC, PA & M) came to Pinos Altos. The ore was shipped to the Silver City smelter, but in 1913 declining silver prices forced the railroad to close, and the line was dismantled. During World War I, the Empire Zinc Company mined zinc from 1916 to 1917 for the war effort. By 1922 the entire Cleveland Mill Camp was abandoned and the machinery removed.
Mines require clean-up, or reclamation, and I found the EPA report explaining what was done for this one:
The hike was uphill (or the first half was anyway) and a bit strenuous – but totally worth it for the interest of checking out the foundations and such.
3.22 miles / 2.00 hours
47 down / 53 to go
Posted on March 24, 2012, in Challenge, Gila National Forest, Hiking, New Mexico, Outdoor Activities, Southwest and tagged challenge, Gila, gold prospecting, hiking, Mine, New Mexico, Silver City. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.