Boston Consolidated Mining Company
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This page was last updated on December 15, 2021.
In 1896 Samuel Newhouse began development of the Highland Boy Mine, a mine that had been staked out in 1873. He and his associates formed the Utah Consolidated Gold Mines, Ltd. in Great Britain to promote their interests there. While exploring for gold, large amounts of copper were found and a smelter was soon planned. A smelter with an input capacity of 250 tons per day was completed in May 1899 and was the first copper smelter to be built in Utah. Standard Oil interests purchased control of the company from Newhouse and his associates, also in May 1899, and reorganized the company as the Utah Consolidated Mining Company.
Organized in 1898, Boston Consolidated was an underground mining operation at this time and shipped its ores to the smelter of the Bingham Consolidated Copper Company in the Salt Lake Valley. They did this until 1905 when that contract expired and a new one was signed with the American Smelting & Refining Company, which was building a new smelter at Garfield on the south shore of the Great Salt Lake. Boston Con. also announced plans to build a concentrator mill near the Garfield smelter. Construction on what is now Kennecott's Arthur Mill began in 1906. Also, in June 1906, with the delivery of the first of many steam shovels, Boston Consolidated began to use a new method of mining. The steam shovels were used to remove earth (overburden) from above the copper ore. The ore itself was also removed by shovel, placed into railroad cars and shipped over the Rio Grande Western Railway to the Arthur Mill. This was the beginning of the open-pit mining technique.
The Boston Consolidated Mining Company was organized in November 1898 to develop a copper producing property from 51 mining claims located in the upper portion of Carr Fork, with all of the copper coming from sulfide ores. Boston Con was involved in development work until late 1903 when they went into actual production. Up to that time, they had been shipping some sulfide copper ore taken as part of their development work. With the Bingham Consolidated smelting contract in 1903 they were ready for full production.
The Boston Consolidated's open cut mine was located at the top of Carr Fork and reached around the mountain high above the workings of the Utah Copper company's mine at the bottom of the main canyon. In 1903 the Copper Belt had built a connection to the Boston company's sulfide ore bins located high in Carr Fork, above Highland Boy, using a system of torturous switchbacks.
During the following years the quality of the ores being mined by the open-pit operations gradually deteriorated until by late 1908 practically all of the ore being processed was coming from the underground operations. The financial condition of the company was also getting worse and in January 1910 the company was merged with the nearby, more financially sound Utah Copper Company.
In January 1900, Samuel Newhouse was looking for an alternate to the accepted mthods of concentrating copper ore. The following comes from the January 25, 1900 issue of the Deseret News newspaper:
Boston Consolidated Report
The Erection of a Concentration Plant Will Likely be Postponed
The following extract from the annual report of Mr. Samuel Newhouse to the shareholders of Boston Consolidated in London on December 29th, is taken from Mining World and Engineering Record of London. After expressing the belief that values in the ore bodies increase with depth as in the case of the Highland Boy, Mr. Newhouse says: "We will continue exploring the high-grade copper sulphides already disclosed, and at the same time block out the porphyry containing the low-grade ore so that when the method of ore concentration has been decided on there will be at all times a supply of this ore for our concentration works.
"In this connection I may say that while our plans for water concentrating works have been completed, some of our largest shareholders favor delaying the erection of the plant until Mr. Thomas A. Edison has completed his examination and tests of a quantity of our ore which was recently shipped him by a new proeess of his own and which, if successful, will enable us to make a greater savings of values besides concentrating the ore at a lower cost. I have visited Mr. Edison's works at Orange, N. J., and discussed the proposition with him. He feels very certain that he can treat this ore by his method at less cost and effect a greater saving than by water concentration. If his experiments are satisfactory it will enable us to erect works at the mine, and the capacity of the works can be made to meet all the demands of the large body of that class of ore contained in the mines, whereas if we must rely upon water concentration the works will be limited to the water supply. I therefore favor postponing the erection of our mill until Mr. Edison completes his tests. Concluding I desire to state that our property is valuable because of the vast quantity of low-grade copper contained in the porphyry, which can be economically mined and treated, and because our developments in other respects show bodies of copper and gold of a higher grade, which encourage us to prospect the ground further with the expectation of finding larger bodies of ore of higher grade at greater depth."
During May 1903 the Copper Belt had surveyors in the field surveying an extension that was to reach the Boston Consolidated and Yampa mines in Carr Fork. If completed, the extension would also capture considerable traffic from the Highland Boy that was currently going entirely by team. (Deseret New, May 30, 1903; Salt Lake Herald, May 31, 1903) The survey was completed on June 4th. (Salt Lake Herald, June 15, 1903, "probably next week will see the grading begin") The Boston Consolidated extension "will be completed within thirty days." (Salt Lake Herald, September 14, 1903)
In 1903 the Copper Belt Railroad built two spurs to get the ore traffic of other mining companies in the canyon. The new construction included a spur to Boston Consolidated mine and the Yampa Consolidated mine, both in Carr Fork, along with another spur to the Yampa Consolidated's smelter. (1909 Bingham Commercial Club Souvenir booklet) The Yampa Consolidated Mining Company, had been organized in April 1901 as a consolidation of Yampa mine and seven other properties, all located on the north slope of Carr Fork. (USGS Professional Paper 38, p. 382) The Yampa smelter was completed in December 1903 and was located on the north slope of the canyon, about a quarter mile below Rio Grande Western's Bingham station. (USGS Professional Paper 38, p. 302) The spur to the Yampa smelter crossed the canyon just above the Bingham station and continued along the north slope to the smelter.
Shirl Scroggin, a retired Kennecott employee, wrote:
Boston Consolidated Mining Co. -- The company owned 378 acres of patented ground. There was two mines, one sulphide and the other porphyry. The sulphide ore was shipped to Garfield Smelter and the porphyry was shipped to the giant concentrator at Garfield. During the high price of copper at this time, the sulphide mine produced an average of 1000 tons of ore per day. The sulphide ore was mined by the square set method.
The porphyry ore was worked by four steam shovels of the largest type, thirteen locomotives and 160 dump cars. When operating at full capacity this equipment handled as high as 16,000 tons of striping in twenty-four hours.
The ore and stripping are broken by drilling holes, six inches in diameter and seventy feet deep. The holes are loaded with heavy charges of 35 per cent dynamite.
To get the ore down the steep mountain side, they built a tram way 2100 feet long and 900 feet vertically between the headhouse and the ore bin. Each tram was of the balance skip type and loaded twelve tons of ore to each skip load. The tramways had a capacity of 18,000 tons per day. The ore bin at the base of the tramway was unique, being the only one of its kind in the country. It was a cylindrical steel tank 70 feet in diameter and 110 feet high, a capacity of 3000 tons.
Boston Consolidated Mining Company organized in November 1898 as the U.S. subsidiary of Boston Consolidated Copper and Gold Mining Company, Ltd. of London. This new company was organized to consolidate 51 claims (350 acres) and develop them as a porphyry property. (USGS Professional Paper 38, p. 281) During the year from October 1899 to October 1900 the company drove 2,811 feet of development tunnels. (Engineering and Mining Journal, December 29, 1900, p. 762)
April 5, 1903
A party of engineers who came to camp this week are reported to be making the final survey of the Boston Consolidated aerial tramway. To make its lower terminal below that of the United States, it will have to cross the Highland Boy tram." (Salt Lake Herald, April 5, 1903) (The Boston Con. never did complete this planned tramway.)
A Boston newspaper annouced that Boston Consolidated would soon build its own smelter, and that the company had secured the service of George K. Fischer, who had recently completed the Highland Boy smelter, and the United States smelter. (Deseret News, July 7, 1903)
The new Copper Belt spur for Boston Consolidated was built after the mining company signed a two-year smelting contract to supply the Bingham Consolidated smelter in Midvale with 200 tons of ore per day. By October 1903, Boston Con was shipping as much as 500 tons per day from the Carr Fork mine. The mine was shipping 4,000 tons by February 1904. (USGS Professional Paper 38, p. 381) Considering that the average rail car at this time had a 30-ton capacity, 500 tons per day would have been about 16 carloads per day, and 4,000 tons per month would have been a total of about 133 cars per month, or just four carloads per day, averaged out over the month. This ore was all moving over the Copper Belt line to Bingham, then by RGW to Midvale.
Boston Consolidated announced that they would begin working their porphyry property, and in June, they announced that they would build a concentrating mill adjacent to the new ASARCO smelter. This mill would use a different method than the one selected by Utah Copper to concentrate its low-grade copper ore. The final location was selected in November. (Mines and Minerals, May 1908, pp. 453, 455)
Boston Consolidated built a small 20-ton experimental mill to test their own proposed method of concentrating the low grade copper ore. The mill was located adjacent to Utah Copper's main tunnel opening in Main Canyon and served by Copper Belt's "Yampa Spur," and went into operation during early 1906. (Mines and Minerals, May 1908)
Boston Consolidated ordered its first shovel in mid November 1905; noted as being the first steam shovel to be used in Utah. (Salt Lake Mining Review, November 30, 1905, page 14,"Trade Notes")
As part of its 1905 expansion, Boston Consolidated began planning for open-cut mining of its own porphyry property. In July, the company sent representatives to iron mines in upper Wisconsin, and to the Sun Rise iron mine in Wyoming to investigate open cut mining by steam shovel. In December, they received their first steam shovel, after having ordered it just a month before. Although the shovel arrived in December, getting it shipped up to the site of the open-cut operations, and getting it properly assembled took almost six months, and shovel operations finally began on June 24, 1906.
In February 1906, Boston Con began surveys for a two-mile rail line that would connect the steam shovel porphyry levels of mine with the Copper Belt line. Construction of the new line, located at the top of Carr Fork, was delayed by winter weather. (Mines and Minerals, May 1908, p. 454; Engineering and Mining Journal, Volume 81, March 3, 1906, p. 436, item dated February 24)
April 14, 1906
The company broke ground for its new concentrating mill at Garfield. The national press saw this as a good opportunity to compare the methods of reduction to be used by the two companies: Utah copper would be using roller mills to crush the ore and Boston Consolidated would be using stamp mills. (Engineering and Mining Journal, Volume 81, April 21, 1906, p. 724, item dated April 14)
In July, they ordered from the S. G. Shaw Company of Denver, another forty cars. these would be of seven-ton capacity. (Salt Lake Mining Review, Volume 8, number 7 (July 15, 1906), p. 32)
December 30, 1906
Boston Consolidated had received their Shay. In a news item about a new Shay for the Copper Belt, "The Rio Grande has ordered another Shay engine for the Copper Belt, which has already been shipped from Dayton, and is expected here within a few days. This with the new No. 10 of the Boston Co., will do much to relieve the freight congestion on the Copper Belt." (Salt Lake Mining Review, December 30, 1906, "Around The State," quoting an item in the Bingham Bulletin)
In mid January 1907, Boston Consolidated converted from steam power to electric power, drawing their electricity from the lines of Telluride Power Company. (Mining Reporter, January 24, 1907, "Boston Consolidated - The change from steam to electric power was made at this company's property at Bingham last week. A new 200 H. P. compressor was put into commission, the power being furnished by the Telluride Power Company. Both steam and electric plants are still in operation, but the steam plant will soon go out of commission.")
In May 1907, Boston Con was using four steam shovels, with five-yard dippers, and nine small narrow gauge steam locomotives in its porphyry operations to mine and ship as much as 750 tons per day. The company was also still shipping from its underground sulfide mine. In addition to moving Boston Con's 750 tons, the Copper Belt line was being kept busy with the other producers in the district, including (in Carr Fork) the Utah Consolidated's Highland Boy mine, the Utah Apex mine, and the Bingham-New Haven mine; and (in Main Canyon) Utah Copper, Ohio Copper, and Bingham Consolidated. U. S. Mining was using its aerial tramway to move its ores down to a loading bin on the RGW Bingham Branch at Bingham. (Mining and Scientific Press, May 11, 1907, p. 597)
Of the producers in Carr Fork, the Bingham-New Haven Copper and Gold Mining Company had been organized in October 1902 to consolidate the Zelnora, Morning Star, and Frisco properties, located along north slope of Carr Fork. (USGS Professional Paper 38, p. 383)
Utah Apex Mining Company had been organized five months earlier, in May 1902, in Maine to consolidate 33 claims (254 acres), also on Carr Fork's north slope. (Wegg, p. 77)
In a 1907 mortgage to fund its continued expansion, Boston Con listed four 90-ton steam shovels, one 90-ton Shay standard gauge steam locomotive, two 25-ton narrow gauge steam locomotives, nine 17-ton narrow gauge steam locomotives, two 40-horsepower electric narrow gauge locomotives used in its underground mine, 200 four-yard narrow gauge dump cars, 4,000 feet of standard gauge track, 5-1/2 miles of narrow gauge track, including underground trackage, and one locomotive roundhouse. (Source not recorded)
In September 1907, a contemporary trade publication, Mines and Minerals, stated that Boston Con was using four of the five shovels they owned (four Marions and one Vulcan, all being 90-ton shovels with five-yard dippers). Boston Con was also using ten 18-ton Porter locomotives (each pulling trains of 10 to 12 four-yard capacity cars) and two 28-ton Porter locomotives (each pulling trains of 15 to 20 four-yard capacity cars). ("Mining at Bingham, Utah," Mines and Minerals, Volume 28, September/October 1907, p. 90; photo of Boston Consolidated on page 92; photo of Utah Copper on page 92; photo of Bingham canyon on page 92)
Boston Consolidated's new steel ore bin, at the base of the new incline tramway, went into operation. To ship the large quantities of ore from the porphyry mine that would be needed to keep the new mill in operation, in November 1907, Boston Consolidated completed a gravity tramway and ore storage bin. The 2,100 foot long tramway designed and built by S. B. Stine and Company Oseola Mills, Pennsylvania, at an average 27 percent grade with three 400-ton wooden storage bins located at the top (open cut mine) and at two intermediate (underground mine) levels. The tramway consisted of two parallel pairs of tracks, with counter-balancing skipcars of 12-ton capacity each, giving the tramway a 300 tons per hour total capacity. At the bottom, the skips fed a 3,000-ton storage bin, 36 feet in diameter and 40 feet high.
"The Boston Consolidated gravity plane, at Bingham, Utah. Its length is 1,900 feet and its vertical height 737 feet, thus giving an average grade of 22 degrees 49 minutes, although its maximum grade is about 29 degrees. Probably this is the longest and steepest ore plane in the United States. The arrangements are such that the cars can be loaded at the three receiving bins which are seen to span the tracks. The skips are large and have a capacity of 12 tons. One double-track unit, lowers 1,350 tons of ore per shift of 8 hours." (Mines and Minerals, July 1910, page 715)
At the same time, in late 1907 to allow movement of its copper ores to RGW's new Low Grade line, Boston Consolidated completed a one-mile rail connection between the new Copper Belt Junction (where the upper end of the new Low Grade Line connected with the Copper Belt) and the company's ore bin in the lower part of Carr Fork. The new ore bin was at the base of the new gravity tramway. The cost of the railroad connection, which included a tunnel, was $22,842. (Mines and Minerals, May 1908, p. 455; Mining Scientific Press, April 17, 1909, p. 553; Mines and Minerals, December 1909, p. 264)
With its new rail connection completed, and its new gravity tramway and storage bin in place, the new expanded Boston Con's operations began. Although Boston Con's open-cut shovel operations began in June 1906, they were involved in testing, development of the new method, and removal of overburden to get at the ore itself. The first ore was mined by the new open-cut operations on January 13, 1908, and on January 27, the new concentrator mill at Garfield (later referred to as the Arthur Mill), was placed into operation. (1908 Boston Consolidated directors report)
Boston Con's Shay locomotive had been delivered less than a year before, and was likely used to move cars to be loaded at the steel ore bin. The Shay was also likely used to move materials from the RGW connection at Copper Belt Junction, along the spur up Carr Fork, through the tortuous switchbacks to the top of Carr Fork, where Boston Con had maintenance shops for its mine locomotives and steam shovels.
The mill of the Boston Consolidated company was not placed into operation until January 1908. The company had chosen the site, about two miles west of the Utah Copper Magna mill, in July 1905. But because of construction delays caused by the sudden demand in San Francisco for structural steel and other construction materials to rebuild from the April 1906 earthquake and fire, Boston Con was not able to complete its new mill as rapidly as did Utah Copper.
March 16, 1908
Boston Consolidated reported that it was shipping 400 tons of sulphide ore daily to the Garfield smelter. (New York Times, March 16, 1908)
September 30, 1908
Boston Consolidated's annual report for the accounting year ending September 30, 1908, issued on February 19, 1909, reported that the initial success of the company's open-cut operations was dimming. The company found that the high iron content of the ore it was taking by open-cut operations made the difficult to concentrate, and the costs were too high. The company announced that they would end their open-cut operations, but continue to mine both sulfide and porphyry ores from their underground operations. (Salt Lake Herald, February 20, 1909)
October 26, 1908
Boston Con had started actual mining operations with steam shovels "six months ago." Prior to that time (and since summer 1906) the steam shovels had been used to strip overburden from the ore body. When mining was started with steam shovels, the ore was found to be too high in iron content for economical smelting, and mining had focused on underground operations. A upraise was extended upwards from the Ben Hur tunnel, and reached within 50 feet of the surface operations. The ore was found to be neutral in its iron content, meaning that surface mining could resume after the iron-bearing ore was itself removed, thus once again opening up the massive quantities of ore to development. (Salt Lake Herald, October 26, 1908)
February 15, 1909
Boston Consolidated resumed open cut mining, using steam shovels. Open cut mining had stopped during late 1907 or early 1908. "When work stopped over a year ago, it was stated that the stripping was too expensive and that it was better mining and more economical to follow the system of tunnels in the porphyry dike. This has been followed with excellent results. The hill is a network of tunnels. The Ben Hur tunnels particularly have yielded up an enormous tonnage of the low grade metal." (Salt Lake Telegram, February 15, 1909)
December 17, 1909
The Guggenheims announced that their interest in Boston Consolidated Copper and Gold Mining Company, and Nevada Consolidated Copper Company, would be merged and consolidated with their interest in Utah Copper Company. The exchange was to be one share of Utah Copper for 2-1/2 shares of Boston Consolidated, and 2-1/4 shares of Nevada Consolidated. (New York Times, December 18, 1909, "yesterday")
March 1, 1910
Boston Consolidated Mining Company was merged with the Utah Copper Company, with two and a half shares of Boston stock being traded for each share of Utah stock. (source not recorded)
The 1910 merger of Utah Copper and Boston Consolidated was the result of the intense competition between the two mining giants in Bingham Canyon. The workings of the Boston Consolidated were high above those of Utah Copper and there were continuing safety problems with the control of loose materials and slides from above. Both companies wanted to expand their operations but each was hindered by the other. Jackling was quoted as saying "I knew that either they would take us or we would have to take them".
Preliminary merger talks were started in early 1906, but by mid March, the talks broke off because the two parties could not agree on the tonnage of ore reserves that each company had available. The talks had been between Samuel Newhouse for Boston Consolidated, and Daniel Guggenheim, president of American Smelting Securities, which held controlling interest in Utah Copper. (Engineering and Mining Journal, Volume 81, March 31, 1906, p. 630, item dated March 24, 1906)
Between 1908 and 1911, while the Bingham and Garfield was being built, the traffic patterns from the mines in the canyon were changing. The three large smelters that had been built in Salt Lake Valley, starting in 1899, were the subject of a suit brought in 1905 by farmers over crop damages from air pollution in the agricultural areas surrounding the smelters. The settlement of the suit called for the mining companies to stop processing copper sulfide ores at their Salt Lake Valley smelters.
Corporate information for Boston Consolidated Mining Company