Bingam Copper & Gold Mining Company

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The Bingham Copper and Gold Mining Company was the first of the mining company consolidations that would be the main force in the development of the Bingham as one of the richest and most productive mining districts in the United States.

In 1895, Bingham Gold Mining Company bought the "old" Commercial claim, near the Old Jordan claim in upper Bingham Canyon. The new owners of the Commercial mine soon found that the gold ore was playing out and that they were finding more and more of the copper ore. In late 1896, the Highland Boy mine of the Utah Consolidated Gold Mines, Ltd., in another part of Bingham canyon, had begun shipping large quantities of copper ore. The owners of the Commercial mine found that their mine was in the same geologic formation and that they had copper ore reserves equal to those of the Utah Consolidated company.

"The Bingham Copper and Gold Mining Company was organized in December, 1898, to operate the following claims: Commercial, Commercial No.2, Venard tunnel, and Old Hickory. The Commercial was first worked for its carbonate and oxidized ore. In 1895 and 1896, under the ownership of the Bingham Gold Mining Company, oxidized gold ore was exploited and treated by the cyanide process without success. Upon the organization of the present company extensive exploration of ore in depth was begun, and a long tunnel was driven below from Copper Center Gulch. The outcome of this exploration has led the company to erect a semipyritic smelter at Bingham Junction, which was to be prepared to treat the product from.the mine on January 1, 1901." (Economic Geology of the Bingham Mining District, USGS Professional Paper No. 38, 1905, page 254)

Bayley and his associates had decided that the mine needed to be expanded for it to become an important copper producer. The financing became available because of the organization of the new company allowed them to begin development of a new opening for the mine at the upper end of Copper Center Gulch, across the ridge north from the old opening in Galena Gulch.

(RESEARCH: Check Los Angeles newspapers of the period for possible reference to Bayley's activities. Also, check Salt Lake Tribune for coverage, since this was before the Salt Lake Mining Review began publication.)

The following comes from The Copper Manual, 1899, Volume 2:

The property belonging to this company consists of five full mining claims, and they also have under bond about as much more ground. It is located about 20 miles from the city of Salt Lake, Utah, on the Rio Grande and Western Railroad, near the town of Bingham. Railroad and tramway facilities are now in operation at the mine.

The company is incorporated under the laws of the State of New Jersey, with a capital stock of $2,000,000, divided into 200,000 shares of the par value of $10 per share. On completion of the organization 50,000 shares of the capital stock were placed in the treasury of the company, 40,000 of which were sold for $200,000 cash, and this amount was placed in the treasury of the company, leaving 10,000 shares of the treasury stock still unsold, also in the treasury.

This property was worked and opened up about 16 years ago, at the same time and in the same way that the property of the Utah Consolidated Mining Company was worked. The Jordan River is located on the railroad, about 12 miles from the mine. The property of the Bingham Company is favorably located for economical operations, both in mining and smelting the ores.

According to the data collected by us from thoroughly posted sources regarding this promising mining property, we are able to incorporate in this article the following particulars and facts regarding the Bingham Company, which will be found of special interest and value.

It was mined and operated as a free milling gold property, and worked only in the oxidized ores, which extend down from the surface about 150 feet in depth; there a change takes place, and the ores go into copper sulphides.

The oxidized ores having been opened up show a vein from 20 to 100 feet wide. These oxidized ores have been explored for about 150 feet deep on the vein, and about 400 feet in length, with numerous shafts and crosscuts. Drifts and crosscuts have been pushed along the line of these oxidized ores, and it is believed from all indications they will extend through the entire territory of the Bingham Company's property.

The company has sunk four winzes down into the sulphide ores, to a depth of about 100 feet. The winzes were said to be all in solid copper and iron sulphides which show an average of 8 to 10 per cent. copper and about $5 in gold and silver, $3 of which will be gold and $2 silver. There is an excess of iron in the ore, and it is very desirable for smelters, and the expense of smelting such ore is estimated not to exceed $3 per ton.

In October, 1899, from 35 to 40 men were being employed daily. At that date the development of the mine was progressing rapidly, both from the fact that the mine is entirely free from water and because of the complete equipment of machinery for all classes of work. The new crosscut tunnel, which is being driven to cut the vein at a much lower depth than the present workings, has been advanced 700 feet, with an estimated distance of 300 feet yet to be driven. This crosscut will cut the vein some 500 feet below the present lowest tunnel, opening up extensive stoping grounds.

A new working shaft or incline has been sunk 200 feet on the dip of the vein, and this is being advanced at the rate of from 2 to 3 feet per day. (October, 1899.) This shaft and crosscut, when they meet, will expose large bodies of ore.

At the time this company took charge of the property there were about 500 feet in workings all told; in October, 1899, there were 2,000 feet, of which 1,300 are in the vein and about 800 in crosscuts, etc. The total length of drift on the vein east and west is 550 feet.

The total width of the vein has been crosscut several times, and authoritative reports state that in no place does it show less than 40 feet in width. The ore at the bottom of the working shaft, according to the latest statements, will show an average of 5 per cent. copper, $2.60 gold and 2 to 4 ounces of silver to the ton. There is said to be some 200,000 tons of this ore blocked out.

In the crosscut tunnel several stringers of ore have been opened up, and reports are that several samples indicated the presence of at least 30 per cent. copper, with high values in precious metals. Latest advices from the mine show assays on several of these samples, averaging 57 ounces of silver, 32 per cent. copper and $39 in gold, approximate value of which is placed at $168 per ton.

The directors of the company at a meeting held October 19, 1899, voted to immediately construct a smelter on the company's property, of not less than 150 tons per day capacity. Contracts at this writing are now being let, and it is the intention of the management to push the construction of the smelter as rapidly as possible.

The mine has recently met with a singular experience, in which the main workings in all the upper levels have been relieved of water by natural causes. The mine has been kept dry heretofore by two pumps, but one of the shots which was fired in the breast of the main incline some time ago apparently broke into a fissure, which in a very short time dried up every gallon of water in the workings. This item alone has effected a saving of over $10 per day to the company.

The Bingham management is opening up the property in the anticipation of getting out from 200 to 300 tons of ore per day. Considering the high percentage of copper and precious metals found on the property, and the desirability of the ore for fluxing purposes for smelting, and the favorable location for cheap and economical operations, this property is considered, by those competent to judge of its merits, as one of the best of the new mining propositions. It is located on the same vein as the Utah Consolidated property, and the ore is of the same general character and grade. It is said to be a geological counterpart of the Highland Boy Mine, both in ore occurence and mineralization, and it is coming into prominence on account of its copper possibilities.

The stock of the Bingham Copper and Gold Mining Company was listed on the Boston Stock Exchange, April 18, 1899, and the same is non-assessable.

Midvale Smelter

Expansion of the company included control of the entire copper production process, from the mine to semi-finished copper product from the smelter, ready for refining on the east coast. In the first major step in this expansion project, in October 1899, less than a year after the Bingham Copper and Gold Mining Company was organized, the new company began construction on a copper smelter. The site selected for the smelter was Midvale, adjacent to the Rio Grande Western's mainline between Salt Lake City and Grand Junction, Colorado.


Bingham Gold Mining Company bought the Commercial mine in 1895. The mine was located in Galena Gulch above the Old Jordan. (USGS Professional Paper 38, pp. 245, 255)

December 1898
The Bingham Copper and Gold Mining Company was organized in December 1898, to operate the following claims: Commercial, Commercial No.2, Venard tunnel and Old Hickory. Previous owners, operating as Bingham Gold Mining Company, in 1895 and 1896 mined gold from the Commercial claim, which was located in Galena Gulch, above the Old Jordan claim. Deeper exploration, under Copper Center Gulch to the north, would lead to the company being reorganized in 1898 to exploit the copper content of the ore. A copper smelter was constructed to treat copper sulphide ore, being put into operation on January 1, 1901. (Economic Geology of the Bingham Mining District, USGS Professional Paper No. 38, 1905, page 254)

December 1898
Bingham Gold Mining Company was reorganized as the Bingham Copper and Gold Mining Company by its majority owner, William Bayley of Los Angeles. Bayley took control of the company to develop the mine into a paying property by developing the copper sulfide copper ores of the former Commercial mine. The development work was started at a new opening at the head of Copper Center Gulch. (Economic Geology of the Bingham Mining District, USGS Professional Paper 38, 1905, p. 255)

December 1898
"The Bingham Copper and Gold Company was organized in December 1898 to work the carbonate and oxidized ores of the Commercial Mine which under the ownership of the Bingham Gold Mining Company was exploited for oxidized gold ore and treated by the cyanide process without success. Under the new ownership extensive exploration at depth was carried on and the results led to the construction of a semipyritic smelter in 1901 at Bingham Junction, now Midvale, Utah. This smelter went into commission in November 1902, originally built with a capacity of 1000 tons for treating copper ore and in 1905 a plant of 400 tons capacity for treating silver-lead ores was added on a tract of land adjoining on the north the United States Company smelter. The Brooklyn, Dalton, and Lark properties acquired by this company in 1901 were unwatered by the driving of the Mascotte tunnel and shipments from these holdings commenced in 1903. These with increased productions from the Commercial mine and contracts for the treatment of the Boston Consolidated Stewart mine production and the copper concentrates from the Utah Copper porphyry operation necessitated additional furnaces and converters. Also, with the development of silver-lead ores in the Dalton & Lark group, a lead furnace was added." (Billings)

October 1899
Bingham Copper and Gold Mining Company started construction on its Midvale smelter in October 1899. Construction was completed in January 1901, with test runs begun on January 15th. Full production began on January 31st, at the same time as the completion of the Copper Belt railroad. Throughout 1900, prior to full production, and to stockpile ore stocks, the mining company began shipping ore from the mine to the smelter in what was called "a steady stream of wagons". To get the smelter into full production, in addition to their own ore, the mining company used custom ores from the Grand Central and the Tesora mines in Tintic, along with reprocessing the slag dumps from the old smelters at Stockton. (Economic Geology of the Bingham Mining District, USGS Professional Paper No. 38, 1905, page 254)

February 14, 1901
The Bingham Copper and Gold Mining company bought the Grand Central mine in the Tintic district to furnish fluxing ore for its Midvale smelter. (Engineering and Mining Journal, February 23, 1901, page 372)

February 15, 1901
"Bingham Bulletin - The gravity tramway by which Bingham C. & G. ores are to be conveyed from mouth of tunnel to bins at upper terminal of the Copper Belt railroad is 525 feet in length. It is ready for business, a trial run having proved it to be in perfect working order. The cars dump automatically and apparently nothing can be suggested that would increase its utility and value as a labor saver." (Salt Lake Mining Review, February 15, 1901, page 11)

(Read more about the Copper Belt Railroad)

February 28, 1901
The Salt Lake Mining Review ran an article about the Bingham smelter and Copper Belt railroad of the Bingham Copper and Gold Mining Company, in the February 28, 1901 issue, Vol. 2, No. 22. (link to the text of the article)

April 24, 1901
Bingham Copper and Gold Mining Company was reorganized as the Bingham Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company. (Economic Geology of the Bingham Mining District, USGS Professional Paper No. 38, 1905, page 99)

April 24, 1901
To finance additional expansion, on April 24, 1901 the Bingham Copper and Gold Mining Company was reorganized as the Bingham Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company. The expansion included the purchase of the Dalton and Lark mining properties. With the reorganization, the new Bingham Consolidated company also announced that they would formally purchase the interests of the Copper Belt railroad. (Engineering and Mining Journal, May 4, 1901, p. 572)

(Read more about the Dalton & Lark mines, 1890-1901)

April 27, 1901
Bingham Copper & Gold was expected to "blow in the third stack next week," following repairs to slides due to spring thaw on the Copper Belt railroad. (Deseret News, April 27, 1901, page 6, "A Wonderful Smelter Record")

May 1901
Bingham Copper and Gold company purchased the Dalton and Lark Group, which was made up of several mines in Copper Gulch, including the Dalton and Lark, Yosemite No.2, Richmond, Lead, Sampson, Antelope, Wasatch, Miner's Dream, and Silver Gauntlet. The Dalton and Lark vein continued across Bingham Canyon to the east in Yosemite Gulch, becoming part of the Brooklyn and Yosemite claims. The entire group was known as the Yosemite-Lark vein. (Economic Geology of the Bingham Mining District, USGS Professional Paper No. 38, 1905, page 315)

"In May, 1901, it was announced that this company had purchased the Dalton and Lark-Brooklyn-Yosemite-Lead group, and that the combined properties had been reorganized as The Bingham Consolidated Milling Company." (Economic Geology of the Bingham Mining District, USGS Professional Paper No. 38, 1905, page 254)

(This story continues after 1901 with the Bingham Consolidated Mining & Smelting Company)

(Read more about Bingham Consolidated Mining & Smelting Company, 1901-1908)