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Ohio Copper Company

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Compiled by Don Strack

This page was last updated on July 17, 2011.

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(This is a work in progress; research continues.)


In 1903 the Ohio Copper Company was organized to develop the Columbia claim. The company leased the inactive Winnemuck mill in lower Bingham and began shipping its ore from the Columbia mine to the Winnemuck mill by way of the Copper Belt railroad. This remained as the company's method of getting its ore to market, until 1907 when Heinze bought both the Bingham Consolidated and Ohio Copper. Soon after controlling both companies, Heinze began using Bingham Con's Mascotte (or Mascot) tunnel to transport ore from both mines out to Lark, where he built a new concentrator mill.

(Read more about the Mascotte Tunnel)

The Ohio Copper company was organized in October 1903 to work 120 acres of mining claims that included the Columbia and Erie claims in Bingham Canyon. Having discovered the same low grade copper ore that both Utah Copper and Boston Consolidated were taking from their mines, the Ohio company began working the Columbia mine's copper-bearing ores in pioneering What Cheer and All's Well claims. (USGS Professional Paper 38, p. 381; Arrington: Richest Hole, pp. 87, 88)

In 1910 Ohio Copper erected a 2,000-ton concentrating mill in Bingham [sic, Lark], and the mill operated intermittently until 1919. Ohio Copper began to shift its efforts to recover copper from low-grade porphyry ore in 1919, but the decline in the price of copper led the company to defer the project until 1923, when the company used leaching methods to retrieve the copper. The venture proved successful, saving the company financially. In addition, Ohio Copper broke the world record for low-cost copper production. Ohio Copper continued its leaching operations until 1937, as its profitability began to decline. The company operated a mill and plant to re-treat tailings from earlier milling endeavors. When the company exhausted ores in the area by 1947, it ceased operations. United States Smelting, Refining and Mining Company bought Ohio Copper's leases in 1950. (Utah State Historical Society, Finding Aid for the papers of Ohio Copper Company and Bingham Central Railway)

(Read the collection description of the records of Ohio Copper Company at Utah State Historical Society)

Columbia Copper Mining Company (1899-1903)

The Columbia Copper Mining Company had been successful in developing its claim (which included the All's Well and What Cheer claims), sending its first ore to market in December 1899. A mill test run found that after a 15 to 1 concentration, the copper content was 24 percent and the gold value was $2.20 per ton. The mine was closed, pending the building of a concentrating mill. (Deseret News, July 6, 1900) By late December 1900, the Columbia mine was shipping both ore and concentrate; four cars of ore and three cars of concentrate. (Deseret News, December 29, 1900)

In March 1901, the U. S. Land Office refused to patent a claim by Columbia Copper Mining Company that would have placed contiguous claims under a common claim. The refusal was based on inadequate survey work, with the decision said to affect numerous mining patents throughout the state. All work at the Columbia mine was being done by way of an opening on the What Cheer claim, which was patented in 1883. W. S. McCornick and J. A Cunningham were shown as principle owners of the Columbia property. (Salt Lake Herald, March 10, 1901, "Mining Decision of Importance") The question of a land patent was settled in favor of the mining companies, and the Columbia company was looking for a mill to process its ore. (Salt Lake Herald, March 12, 1901) J. A. Cunningham "emphatically" denied that he was looking to buy the Dewey mill to process the ore from the Columbia mine. (Salt Lake Herald, March 27, 1901)

In May 1902, the Columbia mine shipped ore that was 40 percent copper. The ore had come from the Dedrick tunnel, that opened into the All's Well vein. (Salt Lake Herald, May 7, 1902)

Development of the Columbia property continued and by January 1903, the mine was shipping about 100 tons per month, stemming from continued development of the underground ore body. (Deseret News, January 7, 1903) The Columbia company used the Rogers mill to concentrate its ore, and in May 1903 put out a request for bids for its own mill, with a desired capacity of 60 tons per day. (Deseret News, May 6, 1903)

The stockholders of the Columbia Copper Mining Company held a special meeting on October 1, 1903 to vote on the sale of the company to the Catrow syndicate. The purchase contract was dated August 31, 1903. (Salt Lake Herald, October 1, 1903, "today")


October 12, 1903
Ohio Copper Company was organized to purchase the interests of the Columbia mine in Bingham, and would soon purchase the Dewey mine. The company was organized by H. G. Catrow, from Ohio. (Deseret News, October 12, 1903)

December 14, 1903
Ohio Copper Company purchased the Erie claim in Markham Gulch. (Deseret News, December 14, 1903)

December 29, 1903
The Winnemuck mill in Bingham Canyon was to go "into commission on next Monday" "This plant will serve the Ohio Copper company, which has leased it for a period of years, until a new plant is installed in the coming year." (Deseret News, December 29, 1903) ("next Monday" was January 5, 1904)

January 2, 1904
"An extension of the Copper Belt from its old lower terminus to the Winnemuck mill bin is being made and on its completion the Columbia's ore will begin to move." (Deseret News, January 2, 1904, "Bingham Mining Notes")

January 4, 1904
"...the Copper Belt railroad grade would be completed by tonight to the Winnemuck mill in lower Bingham, where the Ohio Copper company will soon commence grinding out concentrates." The opening of the mill would be delayed until later in the week due to problems with delivery of needed equipment. (Deseret News, January 4, 1904, "Grade Completed Today")

January 9, 1904
"The Ohio Copper company expected to have the Winnemuck mill in operation by now, but the day of starting has necessarily been deferred, all on account of a local firm failing to make prompt deliveries of a set of crushing rolls." (Deseret News, January 9, 1904, "Bingham Reviewed")

February 24, 1904
The articles of incorporation for Ohio Copper Company were filed with Salt Lake County Clerk, John James. The Ohio Copper Company was incorporated in Nebraska for the purpose of purchasing and developing a number of copper claims in the West Mountain Mining District, Salt Lake County. Incorporators included H. J. and H. G. Catrow of Miamisburg, Ohio, along with J. H. Friend of Dayton, Ohio, H. L. Newell and R. W. Burns of West Carrollton, Ohio, and Henry Catrow and O. A. Tibbets of Salt Lake City. (Deseret News, February 25, 1904, "yesterday" "Concentrates")

November 1904
Ohio Copper Company purchased the Winnemuck mine and mill in November 1904. (Salt Lake Mining Review, January 30, 1905, "Bingham's Copper Producers")

Ohio Copper decided against the open-cut mining methods used by Utah Copper. Due to their unique location within the ore veins, the Ohio company saw that the best process was to transport the ore by way of a tunnel from the company's underground mine to a concentrator mill which they would build at Lark, on the east slope outside the canyon. Rio Grande Western built its Lark Branch to serve the new Ohio Copper mill.

In August 1907 Ohio Copper was reorganized to finance the construction of the Lark mill. At the time the company projected that it would be shipping between 1,500 and 2,000 tons of copper per day. (Wegg, p. 75)

September 1907
One of the Boston newspapers, in the name of the Boston News Bureau, ran a story about F. Augustus Heinze and his entrance as an investor in Utah mines. (Deseret News, September 17, 1907)

His first venture was with the Bingham Consolidated company, "...which has heretofore not attained a very great amount of prominence, except in unfulfilled promises. When organized, that company immediately built a large smelter to treat its ore before it had the ore. Hence the smelter operations have been largely on custom ores and net profits to Bingham Consolidated stockholders have been disappointing."

"When Mr. Heinze became interested in Bingham Consolidated the most valuable asset was a large tunnel, known locally as the Mascotte tunnel, which was planned to open the Dalton & Lark mines of the Bingham Consolidated at depth and provide drainage. The tunnel provided the drainage but failed to open the ore expected hence the operations of of this big tunnel to date have not been productive of net results. This tunnel has cost the Bingham Co. over $30,000. It is six feet high and six feet wide and has penetrated the mountains for a distance of 9000 feet, or 1-3/4 miles."

"At about the time Mr. Heinze became interested in the Bingham Consolidated, he also purchased control of Ohio Copper Co., which adjoins Utah Copper Co."

"Soon after acquiring the Ohio Co. Mr Heinze arranged with the Bingham Consolidated Co. to extend the Mascotte tunnel 3000 feet farther to the Ohio Copper Co., the Ohio Co. bearing this extra expense, thereby putting the Ohio ore bodies 800 feet below the previous lowest workings. He immediately set about to build a 3000-ton concentrator at the mouth of the Mascotte tunnel. This tunnel will also be extended to open the Commercial properties of the Bingham Consolidated 500 feet deeper than the present lowest workings."

October 14, 1907
Of the 1,000,000 outstanding shares of Ohio Copper Company, 600,000 were owned by United Copper Company, which itself was controlled by F. Augustus heinze. (New York Times, May 11, 1910)

The manipulation of United Copper stock, which included Ohio Copper, was the cause of the Panic of 1907. Investigation of the cause of the panic resulted in the creation of the Federal Reserve System in 1913.

(Read the Wikipedia article about the Panic of 1907)

In June 1908 the Lark mill went into partial production, with a stated daily capacity of 3,000 tons. (Salt Lake Mining Review, May 15, 1908)

August 1, 1908
Augustus Heinze was reported as having sold his interest in Ohio Copper Company. (New York Times, August 2, 1908)

The first section of the Lark mill was formally completed in 1909. (USGS Professional Paper 111)

March 10, 1909
The Ohio company connected its incline shaft with the Mascotte tunnel at 1 o'clock on the morning of March 10, 1909. The Mascotte had been extended to a total length of 14,000 feet. It connects with the Dalton & Lark shaft at 8500 feet from its portal. (Salt Lake Telegram, March 10, 1909)

July 8, 1912
The Ohio Copper Mining Company was incorporated on July 8, 1912 as a reorganization of the Ohio Copper Company. The Ohio Copper Mining Company assumed $1.2 million of the Ohio Copper Company's bonded debt, dated September 1, 1907 and due on September 1, 1917. On September 1, 1914, the company defaulted on the interest on those bonds and on September 14th, receivers were appointed by the U. S. District Court of New York. On September 9, 1914 the company filed for bankruptcy, and two years later, on August 30, 1916 the company's assets were sold at foreclosure.The new reorganized company took the name of Ohio Copper Mining Company of Utah. (The Mines Handbook, Volume 13, Ohio Copper Mining Co., page 1366) (This was apparently a "friendly" bankruptcy and foreclosure, as all officers, directors and creditors remained unchanged.)

April 1913
The Lark mill's third, and last, section was completed in April 1913 and the mill went into full production, by which time, Ohio Copper had produced 690,001 pounds of copper from 71,225 tons of ore processed (9.7 pounds of copper per ton of ore). (Engineering and Mining Journal, June 7, 1913, p. 1172)

September 1914
The following comes from the September 26, 1914 issue of Engineering and Mining Journal:

Ohio Copper Co. Bankrupt -- A friendly petition in bankruptcy was filed in New York on Sept. 16 against the Ohio Copper Mining Co, by certain Utah creditors. Under a joint bond of $20,000, M. J. Hirsch and George C. Austin were named receivers in New York.

The Ohio Copper Mining Co. is a successor to the Ohio Copper Co. and it is stated that its liabilities amount to $170,000, aside from its mortgage bonds on which it defaulted interest payment Sept. 1. The affairs of the company have lately been in the hands of a new management headed by Pres. W. O. Allison. For a number of years the management had been controlled by F. Augustus Heinze, who still controls the Bingham Central railway, which transports the Ohio ore. The Ohio company sued to recover for alleged excess transport charges and the Bingham Central retaliated by suing for money due for services. The Ohio accounts were attached and these steps, in conjunction with the business situation and the decline in the price of copper, prevented the management from carrying the company's operation to a satisfactory conclusion.

The mine in the Bingham district and the mill at Lark, Utah, have been closed. (Engineering and Mining Journal, September 26, 1914, Volume 98, Number 13) (Heinze died on November 4, 1914)

Moodys Analyses of Investments, Steam Railroads, for 1917 reported the following for the Bingham Central Railway:

History: Incorporated under laws of Utah, May, 1908, for the purpose of constructing a railway between Bingham and Salt Lake City, Utah, and various mines in the vicinity, a distance of 30 miles. 3.5 miles of 2-foot railway is in operation, of which about 3 miles is tunnel, extending from Lark to mines.

Location: Lark, Utah, to mines. Equipment: Electric locomotives, 5; 150 steel ore cars, 50 of which are side-discharge, and 100 bottom-discharge, and 2,225 h.p. 150 k.w. 600 volt motor-generator sets.

Reorganization: Proposed reorganization plan of the Ohio Copper Co. provides that $850,000 stock of the new company is to be reserved in the treasury for possible purchase of this property which transports the company's ore from the mines to smelter.

Management: OFFICERS: Alfred Frank, Pres. and Gen Mgr., Salt Lake City, Utah; Frederick Eckstein, Treas., New York; P. T. Farnsworth, Secy., Salt Lake City. DIRECTORS: Alfred Frank, W. H. King, J. E. Bergh, J. W. Caswell, P. T. Farnsworth, Salt Lake City, Utah; Frederick Eckstein, New York. Annual meeting, third Wednesday in Sept. GENERAL OFFICE, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Bonded Debt: $975,000 Bingham Central Ry. 1st 6s. Dated April 1, 1908; due April 1, 1948. Interest paid A. and 0. 1, at company's office in New York City. Coupon and registered, $100 and $1,000. Metropolitan Trust Co., Trustee. Authorized, $3,000,000. $900,000 reserved for construction of railway to Salt Lake City; $500,000 reserved for additional trackage; $375,000 for tunnel section, and $250,000 for additional equipment. Sinking fund of $75,000 per annum became operative April 1, 1911. Callable at 105 and interest. First lien on entire property. Income tax is not deducted from interest. In default.

Capital Stock: Authorized, $3,000,000 6% cumulative preferred and $5,000,000 common. Outstanding, $975,000 pfd. and $1,624,987 common. Par, both issues, $100. Prefo:red has preference for assets and dividends. Stock transferred and registered at Salt Lake City, Utah. (Moodys Analyses of Investments, Steam Railroads, 1917, page 794)

January 1, 1917
Ohio Copper Mining Company was reorganized as Ohio Copper Company to assume the debt of the costs of construction of the Mascotte Tunnel, called the "Bingham Central Railway". The property had been operated under lease since June 1915 by the General Exploration Company, a company organized for the purpose by the plant manager, who remained in the position after the reorganization. (Engineering & Mining Journal, October 28, 1916, p. 806; September 23, 1916, p. 566; January 27, 1917, p. 182)

February 1934
Upon his death on February 19, 1934, Charles A. Kittle was reported as being the president of Ohio Copper Company, and vice president of Bingham Central Railway, indicating that the two companies were closely associated. (New York Times, February 20, 1934)

Ohio Copper Company sold all of its surface rights and minerals rights above the Mascotte tunnel to Kennecott in 1937. Ohio retained its dumps and leaching plant at Lark, which were later sold to United States Smelting, Refining and Mining Company in 1950. (Arrington: Richest Hole, p. 88)

February 25, 1937
Utah Copper offered $600,000 for Ohio Copper's property in Bingham Canyon. Utah Copper needed the surface for expansion of its open pit mine, and a portion of the underground workings for the proposed vehicular tunnel between Bingham and Copperfield. The vehicular tunnel would allow Utah Copper to close the county road at the bottom of Bingham Canyon. (Deseret News, February 25, 1937)

March 1939
Upon his death on March 17, 1939, Donald G. Goss was reported as being a director of both Ohio Copper Company and Bingham Central Railway. (New York Times, March 18, 1939)

United States Mining Company purchased the subsurface mineral rights of the Ohio Copper Company, along with the Ohio company's surface rights at Lark. (Billings, page 26)