The adventures of a knitting grandmother

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She spins, she knits, she blogs about it all.

Friday, July 11, 2008

M is for...

Mines and mills.

Let's take a walk today on a quiet desert pathway north of Fairbank.

A walk of about a mile or thereabouts brings you to an old uncapped mineshaft. This area of Arizona has been mined for silver, copper, turquoise and other semi-precious stones for the last hundred and thirty years or so. The town of Bisbee has a huge open pit mine; the town of Tombstone is built over the old silver mine tunnels. Sometimes those tunnels cave in and then a street suddenly disappears. Fortunes were made here. Eventually, however, the Tombstone mines flooded and production slowed to a standstill; the copper became too expensive to mine and the economy suffered. Some mining still goes on here, but on a very reduced scale.

Many mine shafts were dug in the desert. Some have been closed over, but many, like this one, have not. There is a hazard in off-trail desert hiking or biking, due to the many mineshafts still open. Accidents and deaths still occur, unfortunately.

Here, just off the trail, are the ruins of an ore processing mill.

These stone walls were once the back walls of a huge stamping mill just north of Fairbank.

There were once several stamping mills in the area, all of them built a little above the river. Water power was used to run the machinery that processed the raw ore and removed the silver so that it could be collected.

The machinery was so loud that it could be heard for miles, 24-7.

Now all that remains are the stone walls, the ghost towns, and the old mine shafts.

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Blogger Roxie said...

And nature reclaims her places.

At the price of gold and silver, though, it may pay to re-open some of those old mines.

7:36 AM  
Blogger Kathy said...

Very very interesting. Great images. The danger, oh my ! Amazing. I learn so much. Thanks!

1:58 PM  

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