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United States Mining Company

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This page was last updated on March 16, 2015.

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

Overview

The United States Mining Company was organized in March 1899 to operate the Old Jordan Mine in Bingham Canyon, and Albert F. Holden is shown in July 1899 as the managing director of the United States Mining Company, as well as the Centennial-Eureka mine in Tintic. The United States Smelting Refining and Mining Company was organized in 1906 to acquire the United States Mining Company, operating in Bingham, Tintic and California and to acquire other mining interests in Mexico and Nevada. The Company's first managing director Albert F. Holden.

Timeline

March 26, 1899
The United States Mining Company was organized on March 26, 1899 by Albert F. "Bert" Holden, who "visualized the possibilities of the intensely mineralized Bingham area especially those related to the Jordan broad lode and the principal fissures. With an abiding faith in this well defined lode he concentrated his efforts in the acquisition of properties located on this lode, also, the consolidation of three richly mineralized groups of mining claims in Bingham all of which were located upon the Jordan limestone". (Billings)

Bert Holden's father was Liberty E. Holden, who was one of the organizers in 1879 of the Salt Lake, Jordan & Bingham Railway, projected to build from Salt Lake City south to the furnaces and reduction works at West Jordan Settlement, then west to and up the Bingham Canyon to a point near the head of the canyon, with branches up the forks of the canyon, to the mines operated by Societe des Minus d'Argent et Fondries de Bingham and to other mines in Bingham Canyon. In December 1880, Liberty F. Holden was one of the organizers, along with Union Pacific interests, of Utah Southern & Castle Valley Railway, an unbuilt projected railroad that was to build from Juab Station on the Utah Southern, south and east to the mouth of Salina Canyon, then by one route east through Salina Canyon, a distance of 80 miles, and by another route south to Marysvale, Utah, a distance of 40 miles.

April 10, 1899
United States Mining Company was organized on April 10, 1899 to consolidate the Jordan and Galena (24 claims), Niagara (23 claims), and Telegraph (15 claims) properties, located in Galena Gulch and Bear Gulch. The Niagara group was purchased from the Niagara Mining and Smelting Company which had been working the former Spanish group. (USGS Professional Paper 38, p. 233; Wegg, p. 37; Wilson thesis, p. 4)

August 1, 1899
United States Mining Company purchased the interests of the Centennial-Eureka Mining Company at Eureka in the Tintic district. (Deseret News, March 15, 1900, "turned over to the new owners on the 1st of last August")

August 1, 1899
"The sale of the Centennial-Eureka mine at Eureka, Tintic, to the United States Mining company, on Tuesday, August 1st, was a brilliant finale to the history of this property." The sale was reported to be at $70 for all 30,000 shares, or $2.1 million. It was reported that the United States Mining Company needed to silicious ore from the Centennial-Eureka mine to balance its ore at its soon to be built smelter. James W. Neill was general superintendent of the United States company, and J. E. bamgerger was ???? The Centennial-Eureka was located in 1876 by W. W. Chisholm, J. F. Woodman, J. D. Kendall, and J. E. Bamberger. (Salt Lake Mining Review, August 15, 1899)

August 24, 1899
A special stockholders meeting of the Centennial-Eureka Mining Company was held in Salt Lake City on August 24, 1899 ("today") to accept the amendment to the corporation asked for by a group of Boston investors representing the United States Mining Company, and that company's purchase of 22,000 shares of Centennial-Eureka. The amendment was approved and enabled and authourized the company to buy and sell mines. (Salt Lake Herald, August 24, 1899; Salt Lake Mining Review, August 30, 1899) By September 2, 1899, all but 180 of the outstanding 30,000 shares had voted in favor of the sale and had received their compensation. (Salt Lake Herald, September 2, 1899; October 14, 1899)

December 6, 1899
The property of the old Centennial-Eureka Mining Company of Utah was transferred to the new Centennial-Eureka Mining Company of Maine was completed on December 6, 1899. The price of the transfer of ownership was reported as $2.1 million. (Salt Lake Herald, December 7, 1899, "yesterday"; December 31, 1899)

May 21, 1901
The board of directors of the United States Mining Company voted to begin construction of a 1,000-ton smelter. (Salt Lake Mining Review, May 30, 1901)

February 28, 1902
"The United States Mining Company has decided to convey its ores destined for the smelters via aerial tramway to Bingham station and estimates such transfer will cost about 8 cents perr ton. The tram will be nearly three miles in length and have an automatic transfer station at mouth of Bear Gulch the branch thence from Old Jordan and Galena mines will be something less than a mile in length that down main canyon two miles." (Salt Lake Mining Review, February 28, 1902)

May 5, 1902
Tower foundations for the United States aerial tramway are under way, progressing from both ends. "About thirty carloads of timbers and lumber will be required. Of these, five have been delivered, while ten more are on the road." (Salt Lake Herald, May 5, 1902)

June 23, 1902
"Five towers of the United States company's tramway are completed. One near the upper terminal station is seventy-two feet high." (Salt Lake Herald, June 23, 1902)

October 21, 1902
The new aerial tramway for the United States mine went into operation. (Salt Lake Telegram, October 22, 1902, "yesterday")

(Read more about the use of aerial tramways in Utah)

November 1902
United States Mining Company completed its smelter in Midvale in November 1902. (Hansen, p. 274)

November 9, 1902
"The cheering information was brought in from the properties of the United States company at Bingham yesterday that the big aerial tramway is being rapidly adjusted to a point where it will do its work without a hobble. On Friday sixty buckets of ore containing 1,000 pounds each were sent over the line in a single hour from one of the upper spurs, and during next very few days there is little doubt that the entire system will be in perfect working order. The difficulty has been to make the clutches hold the great buckets firmly in place on the carrying cable, but that trouble is now practically overcome, and when final tests are concluded the maximum loads of between 1,200 and 1,400 pounds will be handled with perfect safety." "Some idea of the carrying capacity of these buckets can be understood when it is explained that the buckets on the Highland Boy tram are calculated to carry, when loaded to the brim, 700 pounds, or hardly 50 per cent of the maximum load of the United States company's. At the same time, it is understood that the disabled. The filling of the bins with ore from the Bingham mines will probably begin tomorrow. (Salt Lake Herald, November 9, 1902)

November 24, 1902
"Up to Wednesday night the ore delivered at the depot by the United States tramway and run down to the smelter amounted to forty carloads of fifty tons each. The tramway is working steadily and gradually increasing delivery. (Salt Lake Herald, November 24, 1902)

December 1902
The new United States aerial tramway was delivering about 300 tons of ore per day to the lower terminal at Bingham, with 45 tons coming from the Old Jordan mine. (Salt Lake Mining Review, December 15, 1902, "Around The State")

January 1, 1903
No ore was shipped until January 1, 1903; all work was done in development and overhaul of the underground workings and overhaul and improvement of the surface workings. The improvements included construction of an 11,400 foot long aerial tramway, with a capacity of 50 tons per hour, from Bear Gulch to the Rio Grande Western at Bingham. (Engineering and Mining Journal, February 11, 1904, p. 121)

March 7, 1903
The United States Smelting Company incorporated on March 7, 1903. The corporation was "revoked" on January 30, 1920 after the assets of the smelting company were absorbed into USSR&M in January 1918. (Utah corporation, index number 4172)

April 5, 1903
"Four new towers for the United States tramway are being delivered along the line and will soon be in place. By their installation the grade will be equalized and transporting capacity materially increased." "From the united States mines 600 to 650 tons of ore are now being shipped daily, and another 100 tons will no doubt be added when the additional tramway towers are up. The number of men employed at the mines is 175 to 180." (Salt Lake Herald, April 5, 1903)

April 30, 1903
"During 1902 these mines were connected with the Rio Grande Western railway, a distance of about three miles, by a Bleichert wire rope tramway. This tramway was installed with an estimated capacity of sixty tons per hour. Owing to certain changes which have been found necessary since the erection, the tramway has not been able to handle the estimated capacity. Additional towers, strengthening certain parts and some minor changes in design, will, we believe, make the tramway satisfactory in all respects. We expect to have these changes completed before June 1st of this year." (Salt Lake Mining Review, April 30, 1903)

May 31, 1903
"The United States tramway was started again yesterday, extensive alterations having been completed." (Salt Lake Herald, May 31, 1903)

June 15, 1903
"The United States tramway having been readjusted and strengthened, it is now transporting about 500 tons of ore daily, filling the smelter's present demands upon the Bingham mines, and is said to have a daily capacity of nearly 1,500 tons." (Salt Lake Herald, June 15, 1903)

December 26, 1903
"Hundreds of heavy timbers have been delivered at the headhouse site of the Old Jordan tramway during the past 10 days. Reconstruction has fairly begun, and the new structure will be completed at the earliest possible date." (Deseret News, December 26, 1903)

February 19, 1904
"The new headhouse for the Jordan branch of the United States company's aerial tramway at Bingham was completed yesterday, so the entire system is again in operation." (Salt Lake Herald, February 19, 1904)

July 29, 1904
"The main driving cable of the United States company's Bingham tramway parted yesterday morning and caused considerable damage to the upper main head house, as well as the terminal at the Bingham depot end. Superintendent Andrew Mayberry had one of his hands badly injured by a flying bolt at the upper terminal and will be compelled to go it single handed for some time to come." "As it happened, the United States company will not be handicapped at all in the transportation of its ore, as an accident at the Utah Copper company's pumping plant will necessitate a few days' close down of the big concentrator, thus relieving the cars on the Copper Belt used to supply the plant with ore. Under these conditions, Superintendent Mayberry was able to have the cars go into the service of the United States company for the time being." (Salt Lake Herald, July 29, 1904)

September 10, 1904
"It is expected that the branch bucket tramway to connect the Galena mine with the Old Jordan tramway will be completed in October. Contracts for material will soon be filled." (Deseret News, September 10, 1904)

October 2, 1904
"The United States company's new aerial tramway that is being installed to handle the ores of its Galena mine and deliver them at the Old Jordan headhouse on the man line, is nearing completion. C. E. Allen, general superintendent of the company, stated yesterday that the line would be ready to go into commission in possibly ten days." "This line of tramway will be 1,640 feet long. Its operation will be practically automatic. It is a double rope, reversible, self-dumping equipment, and to operate it one man on a shift will be all that is required. All the lead ores of the company's Galena mine will be sent over the line to the Old Jordan connection with the main line to the loading station at Bingham, so the cost of the transportation from this property, like the others of the company, will be reduced to a minimum." (Salt Lake Herald, October 2, 1904)

January 1, 1905
"A liberal contributor towards Greater Bingham in Particular and in making Utah bigger from a mining standpoint is the United States Mining company." "The Bingham holdings are probably the largest in the camp and among the largest in the state. In area they extend 1,200 acres, and the mine, or rather the mines, include the Old Jordan and the Old Telegraph groups and a large interest in the Niagara Mining company, which are among the earliest mining locations made in the state." "A part of the Bingham possessions were operated years ago by L. E. Holden, father of A. F. Holden, the organizer of the company, and its managing director. In the Bingham properties the underground aggregate fully twenty-five miles and the ore reserve exposed by this work are sufficient to run the smelter several years without further development work being done." "The transportation from the Bingham mines, which are situated well toward the head of Bingham canyon, is by way of an aerial tramway to Bingham station. The tramway has a combined length of 16,000 feet. The Old Telegraph headhouse is 12,000 feet from the station and from this headhouse the tramway extends 1,000 feet further to the Old Jordan property. From the Old Telegraph mine ore is conveyed to the headhouse, a distance of a quarter of a mile, in mine cars over track that is fully protected from storms by a system of sheds. The buckets used on the tramway are unusually large, having a capacity of nine cubic feet, and their contents weigh nearly one ton of the character of ore usually conveyed by them." (Salt Lake Herald, January 1, 1905)

January 1, 1905
"In addition to this copper smelter, which has been in operation for over two years, a lead smelter, with a capacity of handling nearly 400 tons of lead ores daily, is now nearing completion, and will probably be blown in within the coming month. It is composed of three stacks of an estimated capacity of 125 tons of ore a day each. The arrangement for handling ores, fluxes and slags and the feeding is by an electric system. This equipment also includes ten roasters." (Salt Lake Herald, January 1, 1905)

January 9, 1906
United States Smelting, Refining & Mining Company was incorporated in Maine on January 9, 1906. (New York Times, January 11, 1906; Poors Manual of Industrials, 1916, page 1237)

March 10, 1906
United States Smelting Refining and Mining company was organized. (Salt Lake Tribune, February 23, 1907)

The United States aerial tramway was still in operation as late as January 1914. (Salt Lake Mining Review, January 15, 1914, "Progress At Bingham During The Year")

In September 1910, Utah Copper had purchased the surface rights in Copper Center Gulch, where the surface working of Bingham Mines' Commercial mine were located. The surface workings were removed and the Commercial mine closed. Bingham Mines company began using the Niagara tunnel, after extending it 300 feet to connect with the bottom working of the Commercial mine. (Salt Lake Herald, September 24, 1910)

(In 1911 and 1912, USRR&M began buying coal properties in Carbon and Emery counties. First they purchased Black Hawk Coal Company from the Eccles interests, then the Castel Gate Coal and Coke Company, which became Panther Coal Company. The purchases continued when the so-called Sharp interests of USSR&M bought Consolidated Fuel Company, the largest coal producer in the state. They also purchased 52 percent of Castle Valley Coal Company. In January 1912, USSR&M formed The Utah Company to own and manage its Utah coal properties, along with its newly organized Utah [Coal] Railway, which it planned to build move its coal to its mining and smelting loactions, and to other markets. In 1915 United States Fuel Company was organized to own and manage the coal properties previously held by The Utah Company)

(Read more about U. S. Fuel, and its coal mines in Carbon and Emery counties)

In 1914 United States Mining stopped using their aerial tramway between their mine in Galena Gulch and the Rio Grande station at Bingham, and began using their Niagara tunnel as the main haulage tunnel. The new United States operation used three 8-ton Porter compressed air locomotives to deliver the ore to ore bins located outside the former Niagara portal, where the company built new machine shops, power plant, and compressor house. (Wilson thesis, p. 28)

The new ore bins were served by Utah Copper, who transported the cars to the Bingham & Garfield as part of its common carrier service to all of the mines in Bingham Canyon, further reducing the ore traffic for Denver and Rio Grande. By 1915, the valuable ore accessible from the Niagara level and below were no longer profitable, and Bingham Mines company closed all levels of the Commercial mine. (Billings, page 47)

January 22, 1918
United States Smelting, Refining, and Mining Company was organized to take over United States Mining Company and United States Smelting Company. (Utah corporation files, index 13150)

November 30, 1922
"The United States Mining Company is preparing to push work in the old Butterfield tunnel at Bingham, which it recently acquired. It is believed that this will be the main operating tunnel of this property. At the mouth of the Niagara tunnel now being used there is no dump room, making it necessary to ship waste a long distance. By extending the Butterfield tunnel about one mile it will connect with a triple compartment shaft now being sunk." (Salt Lake Mining Review, November 30, 1922)

(This seems a bit strange, since the U. S. company was also using the Mascotte tunnel to move waste to the dumps at Lark.)

June 1929
United States Mining (USSR&M) purchased the Bingham Mines group. (Wilson thesis, p. 5)

1941
United States Mining Company moved its surface operations from upper Bingham, around the Niagara tunnel, out to Lark. The move was needed to avoid a seemingly continuous series of agreements with Utah Copper as it continued to expand its open pit mine. (Billings)

January 22, 1918
United States Smelting, Refining & Mining Company was incorporated in Utah on January 22, 1918. (Utah corporation, index number 13150)

1948
After the abandonment of the Bingham and Garfield railroad as a common carrier in 1948, Kennecott transported the United States Company's ores loaded into D&RG cars at various bench levels of the pit, also at the Niagara tunnel level, and delivered them to the D&RG at an assembly yard on the D&RG Bingham branch at the mouth of Bingham Canyon. Also Kennecott received the empty D&RG ore cars and all mine supplies for United States Company at the D&RG assembly yard at the mouth of the canyon and transported them to such places as were designated for the use and convenience of the United States Company in its mining operation in Bingham Canyon. (Billings, page 14)

August 3, 1948
Kennecott Copper and United States Smelting Refining & Mining made a joint announcement that a new tunnel would be built between the Bingham Canyon mine and a new portal opening at Lark. On July 26, 1948, Kennecott had purchased "important" rights from the United States company that would allow Kennecott to extend its open pit mining operations. Kennecott's expanded operations would mean that the U. S. company would abandon the use of its Niagara tunnel, which was at present the company's main haulage route for both its U. S. mine and its Lark mine. The new tunnel, to be known as the Bingham Tunnel, would replace the Niagara tunnel, and would be approximately four miles in length. The new tunnel would connect at the Bingham end with the present Niagara tunnel at what was reported as "the 1000-ft." level, and with other underground workings as needed to replace the present facilities. The new tunnel was to include a transportation system that used both battery and electric trolley locomotives and cars, traveling in 36-inch gauge track. The existing surface plant at the Niagara opening would be moved to the new opening, including shops and equipment, air compressor plant, electric transformer station, ore loading trestle, mining waste handling facilities, and miner's changing house and mine office. (Salt Lake Tribune, August 4, 1948)

1951
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)

April 15, 1951
The new Lark tunnel for United States Smelting, Refining and Mining was "bored through" on Sunday April 15, 1951. The work had started two and a half years before, with Kennecott paying the full cost of $6 million. The length was reported as 21,014 feet, or 3.9 miles. Construction was being completed by Utah Construction company. The tunnel was at the 5600-foot level, and a shaft would be completed to connect the new tunnel with the old Niagara tunnel at the 6688-foot level. Work began in November 1948, and was scheduled for completion in summer 1952. (Deseret News, April 16, 1951)

The U. S. mine was one the first in Bingham, in the mid 1870s. It continued to grow, following the lead-silver-zinc ore (galena) ore bodies for over 80 years. In the process, miles and miles and miles of underground tunnels and shafts were dug. At first, they shipped their ore over an aerial tram from Galena Gulch, down to Bingham. Then, they connected the underground workings to the Niagara level, and expanded that tunnel as their main transportation tunnel. This lasted until 1951, when Kennecott constructed an all-new Bingham-Lark tunnel, which cost Kennecott $6 million. The new tunnel connected all U. S. Mining's underground workings with a new opening at Lark. This opened up all new copper ore areas for Kennecott to continue expanding its open pit mine. In addition to digging the new tunnel at their own expense, Kennecott agreed to share the proceeds from whatever lead-silver-zinc ore they found. Yes, Kennecott really, really wanted the U. S. mine at Copperfield out of their way. And the new area opened up by the new tunnel extended the life of the U. S. mine, and the town and lives of the people at Lark, for another 15 years.

September 21, 1962
Kennecott and United States Smelting, Refining & Mining Company announced an agreement for the United States company to sell 7,400 acres of surface rights to Kennecott. Kennecott would also purchase lease rights to copper ore in the United States properties and agreed to pay the United States company at least $670,000 in annual royalties for copper ore extracted, for a period of ten years, at which time Kennecott would have an option to purchase the property. The price was reported as being $14 million, in the form of $1 million in cash, $6 million over the next two years, and $6.7 million in copper ore royalties over the next ten years. The United States company was to retain all lead-zinc-silver ores. The agreement would give Kennecott the freedom over the next 30 years to expand its open pit mine into the area controlled by the United States company, and at the end of agreemnet in September 1992, Kennecott had to right to acquire all of U. S. Smelting's property in the district. (Salt Lake Tribune, September 22, 1962, "Friday")

The deal gave Kennecott "freedom for its operations," and rights to mine ore except lead-zinc, along with the right for the United States company "royalty-free right to explore and mine lead-zinc ores under certain Kennecott properties." (New York Times, September 24, 1962)

1967
During 1964-1965, United States Smelting, Refining and Mining company's U. S. and Lark mine was the third largest producer of lead in the nation. (Utah Mining Industry, Utah Mining Association, 1967, page 63)

1967
By the year 1967, the concentrator section at the International smelter had been shut down. The United States company had been shipping concentrates from its mill at Midvale to the International smelter for smelting. By that time, the International smelter was the only lead smelter in the state. (Utah Mining Industry, Utah Mining Association, 1967, page 81)

November 1971
USSR&M closed its Lark mine, and its Midvale mill and concentrator. The concentrate was being shipped to the International smelter near Tooele. (Deseret News, November 12, 1971)

January 28, 1972
The smelter of International Smelting and Refining Company closed, leaving over 30 mining properties without a nearby smelter. These mines were forced to close due the high costs of shipment of their ores to the nearest custom smelters at three out-of-state locations: El Paso, Texas; East Helena, Montana; and Kellogg, Idaho. The International smelter was closed to save costs following Anaconda's loss of its properties in Chile, which were taken over by the Chilean government in 1971. To save the company, its unprofitable properties were either closed or sold. The sell-off did not work, and by 1975, Anaconda was purchased by Atlantic Richfield. (part from "Mining, Smelting and Railroading in Tooele County")

(Read more about the International smelter)

June 12, 1972
United States Smelting, Refining and Mining Company changed its name to UV Industries, Inc., UV being its symbol on the New York Stock Exchange. The company was becoming more diversified and the name no longer reflected its "principle interests and direction." The U.S. company also owned the coal mines of United States Fuel Company in Carbon County, and the Utah Railway which served those same coal mines. The company announced on May 2, 1972 that the proposed change would be voted on at its annual meeting to be held on June 12, 1972. (New York Times, May 3, 1972, "yesterday"; Los Angeles Times, June 12, 1972; Fairbanks Daily News, July 20, 1972, giving the actual date)

December 14, 1977
Kennecott purchased the entire Lark townsite from U. V. Industries, the former United States Smelting, Refining and Mining Company. (Deseret News, December 26, 1982)

More Information

Lark Township -- Information about Lark Township, and the later demolition of the buildings.

Aerial Tramways -- Information about the aerial tramways used by mining companies at Bingham (incluiding United States Mining), to get their ore from mine to rail car, then to mill and smelter.

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