Bingham Mary Copper Co. / New Bingham Mary Mining Co.
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This page last updated on June 18, 2022.
Throughout the 1960s into the 1980s, the north slope of Kennecott's Bingham open pit mine was unbroken and contained large patches of green hill side, looking much as it did from the early days of the mine. The reason was that Kennecott only held surface rights to the north slope, for dumping and for trackage rights, but no subsurface rights that would allow it to extract ore.
Although the name of Bingham Mary, and later New Bingham Mary were among hundreds of mining companies at Bingham, the property was unique because it was at the boundary between two giants, Kennecott and Anaconda. Kennecott owned the portions of Bingham Canyon south and east of the former site of the town of Highland Boy, situated at the top of Carr Fork, a major side canyon of the larger Bingham Canyon. Anaconda owned the north and west portions, essentially the north slope of Carr Fork, and the ridge between Bingham Canyon and Tooele. And the New Bingham Mary lay between the two.
Mineral lands and leases in the West are complex. The complexity certainly carried over to the mines at Bingham, with the crossover and conflicting interests of the Anaconda company, Kennecott and a small mining company by the name of New Bingham Mary, which held mining claims in the vicinity of the top ridge separating Bingham canyon on the east side of the Oquirrh mountains, from the west side overlooking the Tooele valley.
A group of documents recently became available that discusses the activity in the 1970s and 1980s that resulted in Kennecott acquiring full ownership of the claims in question. The documents show specific dates for when Kennecott received surface rights for use of railroad dump lines (July 8, 1938), as well as specific dates that Utah-Apex received underground rights to the New Bingham Mary claims (July 25, 1929), with agreements on July 27 and August 23, 1929 that the New Bingham Mary ore was to be mined, hauled and milled by Utah-Apex through its Parvenu shaft and tunnel in lower Carr Fork canyon. When Anaconda shut down its National Tunnel and Mines (former Utah-Apex) property in 1948, it also resulted in all work on New Bingham Mary also coming to an end.
It appears that the survey work to establish the boundary between New Bingham Mary, Anaconda, and Kennecott took place in September 1971, following work by the New Bingham Mary company in May 1970 to begin development work on a new mineral lease it had recently acquired. The vertical boundary lines were established by agreement in November 1973.
Bingham Development company came into the picture in about 1974, concerning Anaconda's interest in certain mining claims in the Carr Fork Project area. This followed an April 1938 perpetual right-of-way easement across 22 mining claims that Bingham Development granted to National Tunnel and Mines, and a new agreement in June 1974 between the Bingham company and Anaconda that essentially restated the 1938 agreement, including the outright purchase of two of the claims. By 1981, the complex issues of prior rights, overlapping boundaries, and percentage of ownership was apparently settled.
But in November 1981, it all became a moot point with the shut-down of the Carr Fork Project, due in part to the damages and reduced production (and therefore reduced earnings) following a hoisting accident that severely damaged equipment and affected production. The purchase of Anaconda by Arco, and Anaconda's growing financial woes concerning the costs of its environmental cleanup of the International and Anaconda smelters certainly did not help in any way.
Work by Anaconda in the New Bingham Mary claims ended in October 1982. By August 1978, Anaconda had purchased its 86 percent ownership of New Bingham Mary. In February 1984 the easements and boundaries between Anaconda, New Bingham Mary, and Kennecott were agreed upon. In November 1984, Anaconda and Kennecott entered into a joint venture agreement for the development of the New Bingham Mary claims by open cut methods. In October 1985, Kennecott bought Anaconda's 86 percent interest in New Bingham Mary, and in November 1987 leased the property to itself for development and extraction of minerals. In 1998, Kennecott merged New Bingham Mary into the Bingham Consolidated Company, a wholly owned Kennecott subsidiary.
In 1964 Kennecott and Anaconda reached an agreement that allowed Kennecott to build haulage roads over the New Bingham Mary ground, and in 1984 another agreement allowed Kennecott to mine some of the New Bingham Mary claim as part of its continued expansion.
In November 1984, Kennecott and Anaconda announced a joint venture that would resume production from portions Anaconda's Carr Fork underground mine, as well as other Anaconda-owned property at Bingham. The agreement included subsurface mineral extraction rights for the New Bingham Mary Mining Company, a mining claim located at the northwest corner of Kennecott's Bingham open pit copper mine. The New Bingham Mary property was along Kennecott's shared boundary with The Anaconda Company's property at Bingham, which also touched Kennecott's property at several spots along the property line.
It was first (in 1984) a joint venture that encompassed the Bingham Mary claim, and a couple others, way at the top of Carr Fork, with Kennecott leasing the surface for dumping rights. Within a year, Kennecott bought 86 percent of the joint venture, known as the New Bingham Mary Mining Co. Then, with Arco's financial problems stemming from cleaning up its various smelter sites, Kennecott made an offer Arco couldn't refuse and took full ownership. In September 1985, Kennecott bought all of Anaconda's shares of New Bingham Mary. In November 1987, Kennecott assigned the previous Anaconda lease to itself, and began stripping overburden from the ore body, and mining the ore body by open pit methods. In 1997, the Kennecott-controlled management proposed to merge New Bingham Mary into Bingham Consolidation Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kennecott. The merger of the two companies into a new Bingham Consolidated Company was completed on January 1, 1998. This separate company kind of explains the square nature of the northwest side of the open pit mine. But, so far, I have not seen any dollar figures associated with the purchase. Most of this comes from a court suit in 2004.
After the mid 1980s, the New Bingham Mary (inherited from The Anaconda Company) was a division of Kennecott. Until the mid 1980s, there were owners of small numbers of penny-stock shares who bought in the 1920s and 1930s, that were not known and couldn't be located. Before the 1984 agreement, the property line needed to be taken into consideration whenever a shovel mined across the combination of Kennecott ground and New Bingham Mary ground. Most of the New Bingham Mary ground lay along what was the county road to Highland Boy at the top of Carr Fork. A ghost of that road exists today as a haulage road. An agreement in 1938 allowed Utah Copper to construct railroad lines across New Bingham Mary ground, which was later interpreted in the early 1960s as permission to make shovel cuts for the purposes of building truck haulage roads. In the early 1980s, before Kennecott obtained 100 percent ownership, when a planned cut was going to go through ore, the rock was sent to the dump as waste to avoid the high administrative costs of having to calculate the minuscule payments to unknown minor shareholders.
Then in 1985, Kennecott bought control and near-complete ownership of the New Bingham Mary claim, and in 1998 Kennecott merged the New Bingham Mary company into one of its existing subsidiaries.
Bingham Mary Copper Mining Co.
The Bingham Mary Copper Co. was organized in September 1905 by Simon Bamberger. Within a year, the Bingham Mary claim was combined with the Fortuna claim, both owned by Bamberger. Both mines were shipping good ore, at least for a short time period.
The Bingham Mary property was located close to the road in the upper part of Carr Fork, situated between Utah-Apex and Yampa on the west, and Phoenix on the east. Maps suggest that the property was directly north across Carr Fork canyon from Muddy Gulch and the original Armstrong loading bins at the base of Muddy Gulch.
In late 1910, the Bingham Mary sued the adjoining Utah-Apex for trespass and mining activity on its claim. By this time Utah-Apex also owned the adjoining Phoenix and Yampa claims, meaning that the Bingham Mary was surrounded by Utah-Apex ground. Lawyers for the Utah-Apex company accused the Bingham Mary company of trying to prove that the apex of their ore was in part of the adjoining Phoenix, Yampa, or Utah-Apex claims, but apparently they were not successful. The Bingham Mary mine was inactive after 1910-1911, and subject of notices in the newspaper for unpaid taxes and license fees.
New Bingham Mary Mining Co.
The Bingham Mary company was reorganized April 1929 as the New Bingham Mary Mining Co., with work beginning in July 1929 on development of the claim.
In January 1930, the company struck a rich vein of copper ore, and was shipping as much as three carloads per week. The ore was brought to the surface through Utah-Apex underground tunnels. (Salt Lake Telegram, January 10, 1930)
On February 17, 1931, the New Bingham Mary company was sold to the Utah-Apex company. (Salt Lake Tribune, February 18, 1931; also Bingham Bulletin, February 26, 1931)
Control Of Mine Passes -- Utah-Apex Buys Stock of New Bingham Mary Mining Company -- Negotiations that have been underway for several months were consummated Tuesday [February 17], whereby the Utah-Apex company gains control of the New Bingham Mary Mining company by buying 501,000 shares of the stock of the New Bingham Mary Mining company. By the terms of the agreement, the Utah-Apex Mining company paid off the mortgage which the Simon Bamberger company, the original owners of the Bingham Mary, held on the property.
A stockholders' meeting ratified the sale and a new organization was effected, as follows: R. F. Haffenreffer, president and director; Joseph A. Norden, vice president and director; R. L. Judd, secretary-treasurer and director: Roy Groesbeck, director; P. E. Athas, director. [R. F. Haffenreffer was also president of Utah-Apex, and Joseph A. Norden was also general manager of Utah-Apex.]
Development work will be prosecuted on various levels of the mine from the present levels of the Utah-Apex mine. For the reason that the Utah-Apex Mining company property surrounds the New Bingham Mary Mining company's property, it has long been desired to make such a connection between the two companies. Work can be done to much better advantage by using the-facilities of the Utah-Apex Mining company in developing ores from the New Bingham Mary Mining company.
On the 3100-foot level of the Utah-Apex mine a large body of ore has been encountered that has been followed to within a few feet of the New Bingham Mary lines. Considerable ore has been shipped from the New Bingham Mary on the 1000 to 1050 levels, and work will be continued on these levels in the New Bingham Mary ground. These workings will be continued to penetrate the ore bodies which lie within the boundaries of the latter company's ground.
The passing of control of the New Bingham Mary Mining company does not mean a merger with the Utah-Apex Mining company, but the property will be operated as an independent company and retain the name of the New Bingham Mary Mining company.
At the time, in early 1931, Utah-Apex had been closed due to low metal prices. From 1926 to 1930, and again from 1932 to 1937, Utah-Apex was operated entirely by leasers. Unknown is if the New Bingham Mary mine was either inactive, or was also being operated by leasers.
Also from 1932 to 1937, Utah-Apex and the adjacent Utah Delaware were both formerly shut down while the two companies proceeded through an encroaching and trespassing law suite, with each claiming the other was illegally taking the other's ore.
The Utah Delaware company was a subsidiary of Anaconda, and in 1937 the settlement of the trespass law suites included a merger of the two companies under the new name of National Tunnel and Mines company, controlled by Anaconda. In 1948 Anaconda acquired full control of National Tunnel and Mines company, but the mines had already been shut down due to the end of war-time subsidies.
Through all this, although it was controlled and almost fully owned by Utah-Apex (and later National Tunnel and Mines, then by Anaconda), the New Bingham Mary mining company remained as an independent company leased to Anaconda, because of the many minor shareholders from the days starting in 1929 when the company stock was publicly sold on the local Salt Lake Stock Exchange. With the overall shut down of Utah-Apex in 1930, the New Bingham Mary was also shut down, and its stock price fell from 6 cents per share to variations of 1 cent to 2 cents per share, and at times down to mere fractions of a penny per share. In February 1937 listings of New Bingham Mary stock changed from "We Will Buy" listings by brokers, to "Will Sell" listings. Shares continued to be offered for sale until about 1943.
August 3, 1938
New Bingham Mary mining company, and its parent, National Tunnel and Mines company, and another subsidiary, Boston Apex mining company, made a surface-rights agreement with Utah Copper to allow Utah Copper to use the surface of 150 acres of New Bingham Mary ground and Boston Apex ground for dumping and trackage purposes. The funds from the surface rights agreement would allow National Tunnel and Mines to resume work on its long Elton Tunnel drain tunnel between Bingham and its outlet above Tooele on the other side of the ridge. (Salt Lake Telegram, August 3, 1938)
March 27, 1964
Kennecott and Anaconda, in the name of its subsidiary New Bingham Mary mining company, reached an agreement to allow Kennecott to use the upper portions of the old county road up Carr Fork to Highland Boy for its expanded pit operations, including truck haulage roads. The ownership of the surface ground, and the underlying mining claims, was dovetailed across the county road, with some already in Kennecott ownership, and some in New Bingham Mary (Anaconda) ownership. The settlement gave Kennecott additional surface rights to build and maintain its roads. Kennecott had filed an eminent domain suit to gain access to the surface rights in November 1963, but the parties settled the law suit. (Salt Lake Tribune, November 28, 1963; March 27, 1964)
In May 1980, Anaconda, in the name of its New Bingham Mary subsidiary, posted the four required legal notices in local newspapers, asking all shareholders of New Bingham Mary stock to update their addresses, to allow direct communication. If the company was unable to establish direct communication, all outstanding shares would be forfeited back to the company and Anaconda would be able to take 100 percent ownership.
In November 1984, Kennecott and Anaconda announced a joint venture that would resume production from portions of Anaconda's Carr Fork underground mine, along with other Anaconda property at Bingham. The agreement included subsurface mineral extraction rights for the New Bingham Mary Mining Company, a mining claim located at the northwest corner of Kennecott's Bingham open pit copper mine. The New Bingham Mary property was along Kennecott's shared boundary with The Anaconda Company's property at Bingham, which also touched Kennecott's property at several spots along the property line.
The joint venture announced in November 1984 encompassed the New Bingham Mary claim at the top of Carr Fork, with Kennecott leasing the surface for haulage road and dumping rights. Within a year, Kennecott bought 86 percent of the joint venture. Then, with Anaconda's financial problems stemming mostly from cleaning up its various smelter sites, Kennecott made an offer that Anaconda couldn't refuse and in September 1985, Kennecott bought all of Anaconda's shares of New Bingham Mary, taking full ownership except for minority shares.
In November 1987, Kennecott assigned the previous Anaconda lease of the New Bingham Mary claim to itself, and began stripping overburden from the ore body, and mining the ore body by open pit methods. In 1997, the Kennecott-controlled management proposed to merge New Bingham Mary into Bingham Consolidation Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kennecott. The merger into the new Bingham Consolidated Company was completed on January 1, 1998.