Montana-Bingham Consolidated Mining Co.
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This page last updated on May 1, 2022.
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(The focus of this narrative is the Montana-Bingham drain and haulage tunnel at Bingham, and includes information about the various predecessor companies that became part of the Montana-Bingham group, which in-turn became part of the Bingham Mines group, and which still later became part of United States Smelting Refining and Mining.)
The Montana-Bingham tunnel portal opening and mine dump was adjacent to the east side of Main Street, about a quarter mile up-canyon from the D&RGW Bingham depot.
As mining company consolidations took control of mining activity in Bingham, starting in the late 1890s and early 1900s, some of the early claims were taken up and new exploration found new ore veins. In most cases these new veins were much deeper that the original claims that had been worked only to less than 200 feet below the surface, at the top of what some have called "East Mountain." Some of the older claims were down in Bingham canyon, very near the Rio Grande railroad depot. With names like Winnamuck, Tiewaukee, Damphool, Copper Hill and other colorful names, these claims dated from the days of placer mines along Bingham creek from the 1870s. As the mining engineers explored these pioneering claims they found indication that they were connected into the mountain with other veins that had their apex almost 1500 feet higher at the top of East Mountain. With names like Fortuna, Illinois, Congor, and Keystone, these claims at the top of East Mountain held the outcroppings, or apex of many much deeper ore veins.
(Concerning the name of "East Mountain," USGS maps do not show a name for this peak on the east side of the open pit mine, but do show an elevation of 7,493 feet. The Montana-Bingham tunnel portal at Bingham was at approximately 5,950 feet elevation.)
Within a few short years these small claims were gathered into groups of larger claims and many attempts were made to develop the deeper veins. But development cost much more than the small operators had at hand, and more consolidations took place. One of the earlier consolidations created the Bingham-Butte Consolidated Mining company, which brought investors into Bingham from the great mining camp at Butte, Montana. It was the Bingham-Butte company that took a lease on the Tiewaukee property and began driving a drain and haulage tunnel from a site very near the D&RG depot at Bingham. Within a few short years, the tunnel had reached over 4,000 feet into the mountain, and was draining the properties that would later be gathered into the Bingham-Butte company. These other properties, or groups of claims included the Tiewaukee, the Eddie, the Copper Glance, the Copper Hill, the Congor, the Fortuna, and the Illinois.
More consolidations and the need for more money resulted in the Bingham-Butte company being reorganized in 1910 as the Montana-Bingham Consolidated Mining company. As the potential of these properties became more and more obvious to the large investors of the East, the Montana-Bingham company became part of the larger Bingham Mines company in 1925, and in 1929, the massive United States Smelting Refining and Mining company took an controlling interest.
There were numerous small shareholders, so this myriad consolidation of mining companies and groups of mining claims, known as the Montana-Bingham properties, remained separate from other USSR&M holdings. By 1949 the USSR&M company was able to obtain clear title, or at least majority control, and the properties were identified as being fully-owned USSR&M properties. Through it all, the Montana-Bingham tunnel remained an important part of the USSR&M sphere, providing an outlet for smaller and minor ore shipments from those underground workings that were closest to the tunnel. After 1929, a connection was made to USSR&M's Mascotte tunnel and its opening at Lark, 2.5 miles to the southeast, and the majority of ore shipments was made through that property.
(Read more about the Mascotte tunnel)
The opening for the Montana-Bingham drain tunnel was moved down-canyon about 1/4 mile in late 1944 or early 1945 to avoid interference with the lower end of Kennecott's 6040 railroad tunnel. The new Montana-Bingham opening was immediately south of the D&RGW depot in Bingham.
(Read more about the 6040 tunnel)
Changes in the late 1940s and early 1950s brought about the end of the use of the Montana-Bingham tunnel, and in 1962 Kennecott bought all of the USSR&M property in that particular area of Bingham. The Montana-Bingham remained in place as a drain tunnel under Kennecott ownership until the early 2000s when the lower parts of Bingham canyon itself became a disposal site of waste rock from the ever-expanding open pit mine, burying the tunnel's portal. But the tunnel itself remains to this day, feeding a pipeline connection made before the waste rock fill-in started, providing an important source of water to Kennecott's current facilities at Copperton.
December 18, 1905
The Bingham Copper Hill Mining Company was incorporated on December 18, 1905. The Copper Hill group encompassed five claims and 100 acres, and the new company included another 50 acres that adjoined the Copper Hill group. "The property is most eligibly located in the camp of Bingham, the Copper Hill group adjoining the northerly end lines pf the Congor and its possessions running right down to the railroad line in the main Bingham canyon, east of the Winnamuck." The tunnel was already over 500 feet, and would be extended another 315 feet to reach the porphyry ore. "This tunnel has been driven from the Bingham canyon and its portal is just above the Rio Grande railroad. Cleaning up the tunnel is now in progress." (Salt Lake Herald, December 19, 1905, "yesterday")
December 20, 1905
"Bingham Copper Hill Mining Co. Office: care of Abram Hanauer, Jr., secretary, Salt Lake City, Utah. Henry P. Clark, president; Wm. M. Bradley, vice-president. Organized December 20, 1905, under laws of Utah. Lands, 5 patented claims, known as the Copper Hill group, adjoining the Congor. Considerable gophering has been done in the past, by shafts and tunnels." (The Copper Handbook, 1907, page 360)
(The first reference to a Copper Hill Lode in the West Mountain district in available online newspapers was in April 1899. A patent survey was requested in April 1901, and the "Copper Hill Lode" was formally patented in February 1902. The claims were sold to G. L. Bemis and J. T. McHugh on August 8, 1901, then in December 1903, Bemis sold his interest in 77 acres to "Copper Hill," but likely remained as an officer and director of the company. -- Salt Lake Tribune, April 18, 1899; Salt Lake Mining Review, April 15, 1901; Deseret Evening News, August 8, 1901; Salt Lake Mining Review, February 28, 1902; Deseret Evening News, December 8, 1903)
December 27, 1905
"The Bingham Copper Hill Mining company, in which several officials of the United States Mining company are extensively interested, has let a contract to extend the tunnel run by former owners 350 feet further on the basis of $10 per foot. The tunnel is now 500 feet long. The Copper Hill group is near the Congor mine." (Deseret Evening News, December 27, 1905)
(Two of the organizers of the Bingham Copper Hill mine were Andrew P. Mayberry and Clarence E. Allen. Mayberry was superintendent of all of the U. S. company's mines, and Allen was mines manager of the U. S. company. -- Salt Lake Herald Republican, June 12, 1906)
November 28, 1906
The Bingham Copper Hill Mining company made the final payment on its options for the 105 acres of mining claims that were the basis of its organization and development work. The tunnel was 800 feet deep, with 100 feet more needed to reach paying ore. (Salt Lake Herald, November 29, 1906, "yesterday"; Salt Lake Tribune, November 29, 1906; Salt Lake Herald, December 4, 1906, large banner ad)
Bingham-Butte Copper Mining Co.
"Bingham-Butte Copper Mining Co. Mine office: Bingham Canyon, Salt Lake County, Utah. John T. Cowan, president and general manager; George A. Bellinger, superintendent. Organized circa 1907, as successor of Copper Hill Mining Co. Lands, 240 acres, including the Copper Hill group, opened by two tunnels, on the Caledonia fissure, upper tunnel giving ore assaying up to 25 per cent copper, 35 per cent lead, 26 oz. silver and $5 to $9 gold per ton. Also has a 2" vein of ore said to assay 5 per cent lead, 55 oz. silver and $11 gold per ton. Has shipping bins at mouth of lower tunnel, at the railroad track." (The Copper Handbook, Volume VIII, 1908, page 369)
March 14, 1907
Bingham-Butte Consolidated Mining Company was organized, and was the consolidation of the Bingham Copper Hill property, and the Midland property, both of which were controlled by Salt Lake City capitalists. The new company, incorporated in Nebraska (or South Dakota), was controlled by Montana investors. The predecessor companies were comprised of 250 acres, on 14 patented claims, and four unpatented claims, and were located on what was called the "porphyry belt." (Salt Lake Tribune, March 15, 1907)
(Research suggests that the entire Bingham-Butte enterprise, and its predecessor companies Bingham Copper Hill and Midland Mining, was controlled by Salt Lake City owners and investors. The Salt Lake City interests were apparently G. L. "Roy" Bemis and his fellow investors. Roy Bemis had been active in Bingham mining and milling since 1874. The organization of the new company, Bingham Butte Consolidated, was in response to investors from Butte, Montana, becoming involved to provide much needed capital for development of the various claims held by Bemis and his associates.)
Bingham-Butte Consolidated Mining company bought the Tiewaukee property. (Salt Lake Herald, November 26, 1907, "something like six months ago")
(Read more about the Tiewaukee mine)
November 26, 1907
The Bingham-Butte Consolidated hit a large vein of high value lead-silver-gold-copper ore 640 feet in and 500 feet below the surface. (Salt Lake Herald, November 26, 1907)
December 29, 1907
"Bingham-Butte Consolidated. The strike made on the 26th of November was made in the old Tiewaukee mine, by which name the property was known before the Bingham-Butte company acquired the property about seven months ago." (Salt Lake Herald, December 29, 1907)
December 1, 1908
"The Bingham-Butte company, of which Mr. Treloar will be general manager, is the owner of the Tiewaukee properties at Bingham, comprising 12 patented claims of 67 acres. The mines have produced about $2,000,000 in gold and silver, but the Bingham-Butte company was organized and acquired the properties only last year. W. E. Hubbard of Salt Lake is president of the company." (Anaconda Standard, December 1, 1908)
(Sam H. Treloar was a well-known and trusted mining man from Butte. He had visited the Bingham-Butte's Tiewaukee property the week before, at the request of some of the mine's Butte owners. Treloar had been a resident of Butte for over 20 years. After a visit just one week before, he had been impressed by the very recent discovery of high value ore found below a fault line that was 100 feet below the current Tiewaukee tunnel. He immediately accepted the offered position of manager, and reportedly took a financial interest in the mine.)
December 4, 1908
"The Bingham-Butte company, of which Mr. Treloar has taken the management, owns a group of 12 patented claims (on 57 acres) in one of the most highly mineralized portions of the Bingham district. Not less than five distinct veins are known to traverse the property, and in most of these good ore bodies have been opened on and above the tunnel level. The tunnel is in 1,000 feet and is due to cut in another 150 feet the Caledonia vein, which is believed to be the main one of the series. Graders for the Utah Copper company's new railroad recently cut an entirely new vein some distance above the Caledonia, with a good ore showing on the surface. From the upper workings of the Bingham Butte property something like $2,000,000 of gold and silver was produced in the early days." (Salt Lake Herald Republican, December 4, 1908; December 27, 1908)
January 27, 1909
The Bingham-Butte company purchased the adjacent Eddie and Puritan groups, which included four claims and 65 acres, bringing the Bingham-Butte holdings to 115 acres. The company was making plans for a new tunnel that would open up the Tiewaukee and the new Eddie and Puritan ground at depth. (Salt Lake Herald, January 28, 1909, "yesterday"; Salt Lake Mining Review, February 15, 1909)
April 29, 1909
After sinking a new shaft down from the Tiewaukee tunnel level, good amounts of high value ore were found at the bottom of the shaft, at 180 feet. Then the water came and all work was abandoned. As of mid October the mine was still shut down. (Butte Daily Post, April 29, 1909; Salt Lake Tribune, October 17, 1909)
October 16, 1909
The Bingham-Butte company was about to start a new tunnel to reach good milling ore. The new tunnel would be about 1,400 feet into the property. Work on the tunnel would begin as soon as surveys were complete. (Butte Daily Post, October 16, 1909)
February 17, 1910
"Bingham Butte Has Ore In New Tunnel. A face of vein material which is shot full of chalcopyrites and carbonates has been opened in the new tunnel which the Bingham-Butte Mining company recently started to develop at depth the ore bodies in the old Tiewaukee and Eddie properties, now a portion of its estate." (Salt Lake Herald Republican, February 17, 1910)
February 19, 1910
"In the face of the new tunnel, which has only been run for 100 feet, the face is now spattered with chalcopyrite and carbonates. Thus far the work has not progressed a sufficient distance to determine the value of the body of ore. The new tunnel is at the ends of the old Tiewaukee and Eddie properties and will develop the famous old ore bodies in both. It is practically in the center of the Bingham Butte holdings." (Butte Daily Press, February 19, 1910)
March 15, 1910
The new tunnel for the Bingham-Butte company was in a distance of 240 feet. (Salt Lake Mining Review, March 15, 1910)
July 14, 1910
"Bingham, July 14. The Bingham-Butte Consolidated Mining company comprising a group of fourteen patented claims, is fast forging to the front. The new Tiewaukee tunnel, upon which work was inaugurated the first of the year, has already been driven a distance of 250 feet. Much to the gratification of the management, the entire face of the tunnel is in ore, bearing copper, gold and silver; in fact, the ore is sprinkled throughout with native copper. It is the purpose of the company to drive this tunnel a distance of 2700 feet." (Ogden Standard, July 15, 1910)
"Bingham Butte Consolidated Mining Co. Was succeeded, June, 1910, by Montana-Bingham Consolidated Mining Co. Organized in 1907, under laws of Utah. Lands are 14 claims, 13 patented, including the old Tiewaukee mine, opened by tunnel and shaft, with about a mile of workings." (The Copper Handbook, 1911, page 413)
July 16, 1910
The property of the former Bingham Butte Consolidated Mining company was transferred to the new company, Montana Bingham Mining company, by resolution of the board of directors at a special meeting of shareholders. Shareholders of the old company would receive one share of the new company in exchange for one share of the old company. On October 6, 1910, the board of directors notified shareholders that any outstanding shares of the old company must be exchanged by October 18, 1910. After that date the right to exchange shares would be terminated. (Salt Lake Tribune, June 10, 1910; October 6, 1910)
The main reason that the Bingham-Butte company was reorganized as the Montana-Bingham company was to change the corporate structure making the stock assessable, which was done immediately to provide funds for the new tunnel.
July 24, 1910
"Work of driving the new Tiewaukee (sic: Montana-Bingham) tunnel, which will open at depth a mineral some which has been proven to contain important ore bodies, will be continued. The tunnel has already been driven 210 feet into the mountain, with gratifying results. Native copper is in evidence throughout the face of the tunnel. The company owns a group of 14 patented claims lying between the estate of the Ute Copper company and the Starless group. The large stockholders, several of whom are Butte mining men, are elated over the showing already made and predict a glowing future for the Montana Bingham." (Salt Lake Herald Republican, July 24, 1910)
July 27, 1910
"Montana-Bingham Consolidated Mining Co. Organized July 27, 1910, as successor of Bingham-Butte Consolidated Mining Co. Lands, 26 claims, 13 patented, including the Puritan and Eddie groups. Part of these lands were under lease, from the old company, 1909, to the Tiewaukee Leasing Co. Property is an old mine, having about 5,000 feet of workings. Developed by a 2-compartment blind shaft, and several tunnels. The 450-foot upper tunnel, on the Eddie group, shows a 50-foot vein of low grade ore, and a lower crosscut tunnel has been started to intersect the same vein. A 400-foot tunnel is said to show ore assaying up to 21.32 per cent copper, 10.4 oz. silver and 80 cents gold per ton. The new Tiewaukee tunnel, begun early 1910, is planned to be driven 2,700'. Some small shipments were made, 1908." (The Copper Handbook, 1911, page 1202)
July 30, 1910
"The Bingham-Butte Mining Co. which has been driving the Tiewaukee (sic: Montana-Bingham) adit has been reorganized and will continue work as the Montana-Bingham Consolidated Mining Co. The adit will be 2700 ft. long when completed." (Mining and Scientific Press, July 30, 1910)
July 30, 1910
"The new Tiewaukee tunnel, upon which work was inaugurated the first of the year, has already been driven a distance of 250 feet. It is the purpose of the company to drive this tunnel a distance of 2,700 feet." (Salt Lake Mining Review, July 30, 1910)
August 13, 1910
"Salt Lake, Aug. 11. Encouraging conditions are being encountered in the face of the new tunnel of the Montana-Bingham property at Bingham. A force of two shifts is now pounding away at the face, making excellent progress. The tunnel is now in a distance of 280 feet. For the past 40 feet the ground has assayed values, but with each shot it is contended it is growing better. The objective point, which is the big vein uncovered in a tunnel 750 feet above, is at present 250 feet ahead. Twin veins run through the property." (Butte Daily Post, August 13, 1910)
(Later maps show that what would later be the Montana-Bingham tunnel was at 6,058 feet elevation. The relocated Montana-Bingham tunnel, relocated in about 1942, was at 5,875 feet elevation, and the nearby Weir tunnel, formerly the original Winnamuck tunnel, was at 5,897 feet elevation.)
October 14, 1910
The transfer of Bingham-Butte Consolidated property to Montana-Bingham Mining company was completed on October 14, 1910. (Butte Daily Post, October 14, 1910)
November 9, 1910
The Montana-Bingham Mining company purchased the McGuire property. (Butte Daily Post, November 9, 1910)
August 2, 1911
The following comes from the August 2, 1911 issue of the Salt Lake Tribune newspaper.
It was stated on very good authority Tuesday afternoon [August 1st] that the Bingham Amalgamated company and the Montana-Bingham company had entered into an agreement. This contract calls for the extension of the Montana-Bingham tunnel into and through the Bingham Amalgamated to some properties of the former company not now easily within reach without such work as this planned.
According to this agreement, the Montana-Bingham tunnel will eat its way for 4000 feet through the Amalgamated territory, cutting at least 600 feet deeper than the old Copper Glance tunnel, for which the Amalgamated is to pay 50,000 shares of its old stock for the first 2,000 feet driven, and 75,000 shares more for the second 2000 feet. Work is to begin within ninety days from date, and progress is to be made at the rate of 60 feet per month at least.
This arrangement naturally is of great importance to both companies. It paves the way for developing the Amalgamated without calling upon the stockholders for financial assistance, while should the Amalgamated open into the mine expected the Montana-Bingham company wi11 have a substantial interest in the company and the resultant rewards.
(Read more about the Bingham Amalgamated Copper company at Bingham)
April 20, 1912
"Montana-Bingham. A streak of good copper ore, with some gold and silver, is reported to have been opened in the tunnel, which is in 700 ft., the face being 350 to 400 ft. from the surface. The projected length is 4000 ft.; it is being built for drain, transportation and development purposes, and will afford considerable depth to the Bingham Amalgamated, Congor, Fortuna and Starless." (Engineering and Mining Journal, Volume 93, Number 16, April 20, 1912, page 813)
(Read more about the Congor mine at Bingham)
(Read more about the Fortuna mine at Bingham)
June 1, 1912
"Montana-Bingham. The tunnel has between 300 and 500 ft. still to go to reach the Bingham Amalgamated line. Pyrite carrying some copper has been encountered at frequent intervals during the work. The present length is over 800 ft., and progress of 4 ft. per day is being made." (Engineering and Mining Journal, Volume 93, Number 22, June 1, 1912, page 1107)
June 8, 1912
"Montana-Bingham. Copper ore, largely of milling grade but carrying portions as high as 8%, has been cut by this company's tunnel from McGuire's gulch. This tunnel is being driven to develop this company's ground, and to reach the Bingham Amalgamated, Fortuna, Copper Glance, Congor, Starless and other properties at depth. This will enable these properties to send out their ore to the Copper Belt Ry., as the transportation facilities are poor on the east slope of the range." (Engineering and Mining Journal, Volume 93, Number 23, June 8, 1912, page 1155)
January 15, 1916
"The Transportation Tunnel being driven by the company is now in a distance of 4,048 feet, and the company holds contracts for hauling ore and waste from the Bingham-Amalgamated, Bingham Congor, Keystone Extension, and Fortuna Mines." (Salt Lake Mining Review, January 15, 1916, advertising section, page 17)
August 29, 1916
The following comes from the August 29, 1916 issue of the Salt Lake Tribune newspaper.
Montana Bingham Lets Contract For Driving Tunnel. A large compressor to drive the drills in the face of the long Montana Bingham Consolidated tunnel at Bingham is now being installed, and by September 5 work will be started on the driving of 900 feet of the tunnel on a contract. This will be about the last leg of the big bore that the company is putting in the mountain at Bingham to give an avenue of transportation and drainage, as well as allowing the development of at least five properties in that camp. The tunnel is now in a distance of 4042 feet.
With two shifts working the contractor, expect to put the tunnel in the entire distance in slightly over sixty days.
The Congor Mining company is still working its property through the Montana Bingham ground and the Bingham Amalgamated is also doing some work there. The Montana Bingham tunnel is the key to the Fortuna, Congor, Bingham Amalgamated, Starless and several other properties. Starting from the Little Eddy ground, just above the Rio Grande Bingham station, the tunnel runs into the mountain through most of the properties up to the apex of the hill. The Fortuna, Congor and others, although having rich copper ore at depth, have been unable to work for years on account of water. The tunnel drains all the properties and allows an avenue of transportation.
(At 4,900 feet the Montana Bingham drain and haulage tunnel would have been one of the longest at Bingham.)
March 10, 1917
In a letter to shareholders, dated February 23, 1917, reproduced in the March 10, 1917 issue of the Honolulu Star Bulletin newspaper.
The company recently acquired the old Tiewaukee mine. Also, the Thrush and Valentine Patent properties were recently acquired which cover the mineral rights under the town of Bingham, and take the holdings of the Montana-Bingham up to and immediately adjoining the Utah Copper.
The Montana-Bingham holdings now comprise 170 acres patented ground immediately adjoining the Utah Copper and on two sides of the Starless mine owned by Col. E. A. Wall, the man who originally developed the Utah Copper. The Montana-Bingham also owns better than a fifth interest in the Bingham Amalgamated Copper Co.'s property of 300 acres patented immediately adjoining the Montana-Bingham on the east. The transportation tunnel of the Montana-Bingham is now to a distance of 4777 feet, and holds contracts with the Bingham-Congor Copper Co., Keystone Extension and Bingham Amalgamated for the transportation of ores and waste from said tunnel. Very extensive commercial ore bodies of the Montana-Bingham property will be developed through the transportation tunnel.
March 15, 1917
"On the original Montana Bingham ground a drainage and transportation tunnel, commenced several years ago, is now in 4775 feet. Contracts for hauling are from several of the mines reached by this tunnel have been made and in a comparatively short time, when the necessary development work now in progress is completed, the revenue from this source will pay a handsome profit. A large flow of water is developed in this tunnel and a portion of said water is being sold to the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad whose track passes the mouth of the tunnel. The tunnel itself cuts through an immense body of low grade copper ore on Montana Bingham proper. This ore, of about the same richness and character as the adjoining Utah Copper Company's, will require mill treatment and the company by recent increase in capitalization of its treasury stock will soon be in a position to erect such a plant." (Honolulu Advertiser, March 15, 1917)
June 1, 1917
The Montana-Bingham purchased the Fortuna mine group from Simon Bamberger, and had recently purchased the Tiewaukee and Valentine claims, along with a large interest in the Bingham Amalgamated. The new "consolidation" would encompass 640 acres, and included several thousand feet of development work in both the Valentine and the Tiewaukee. The Valentine had been active in the 1870s, and again in 1904, having shipped large amounts of good ore since then. The financing had come from investors in California and Honolulu. The Montana-Bingham drain and haulage tunnel was 5,000 feet long, and another 250 feet, and a raise of 1200 feet would take it under the Fortuna ground, reducing the cost of transportation from $7 per ton (by wagon), to just $1 per ton by the Montana-Bingham tunnel, which was "but a few feet from the Rio Grande railway tracks." To pay as the new shaft progresses, the 1200-foot raise (vertical shaft) would be sunk down from the Fortuna, through the ore vein. (Salt Lake Tribune, June 1, 1917)
(Read more about the Fortuna mine at Bingham)
As of October 1917 the Fortuna group was 1200 feet above the Montana-Bingham tunnel, which surveyors have said was, at 5,720 feet long, one of the longest tunnels in the state, with its end being directly below the Fortuna vein.
Montana-Bingham bought the Fortuna property for a reported $277,778, plus another $10,000 to Higgins and Eccles for their interest in the Fortuna Mine Leasing company. Higgins and Eccles also received 100,000 shares of Montana-Bingham stock. (Salt Lake Herald Republican, August 6, 1919, annual report)
October 2, 1917
Montana Bingham owned 56 per cent of the Fortuna. Higgins, Eccles and Bamberger still owned the remaining 44 per cent. Montana Bingham still owed $3,750 on the Thrush property; $28,000 on the Valentine property; and $37,500 on the Tiewaukee property; a total of $69,250. (Honolulu Star Bulletin, October 2, 1917)
November 20, 1917
The Montana Bingham company was "reorganized" when a syndicate of investors in Hawaii, Los Angeles and Salt Lake City purchased a block of 1 million shares, at $1 each. The shares came from treasury stock held by the company. A $240,000 portion of the infusion of cash was to be used to purchase clear title to the Fortuna, Thrush, Valentine and Tiewaukee properties. The sale also brought a change the officers of the company, as well as the makeup of the board of directors of the company, including an increase of two additional board members that would be local Salt Lake City mining men. The Montana Bingham haulage and drainage tunnel had been extended to the Mayflower lode of the Fortuna group, 1,400 feet below the mine's upper workings. The tunnel was to be equipped with electric locomotives to improve the haulage and handling of ore. (Honolulu Star Bulletin, November 20, 1917)
January 18, 1918
Concerning the reorganization of the Montana Bingham company, the following comes from the January 18, 1918 issue of the Honolulu Advertiser newspaper.
The deal was financed largely by Honolulu capitalists, but associated with them were California banking and mining interests and the Evans-Morris-Whitney company of Salt Lake. A 200-ton concentration mill was erected on the Fortuna side of the property and has been in operation about six months, making very successful savings, the Fortuna alone having netted approximately $20,000 monthly from its shipments.
The object of the consolidation is to open the Fortuna ground at a depth of 1400 feet under its present lowest workings or 2200 feet from the surface, and to handle its immense ore tonnages through the Montana-Bingham transportation tunnel, which emerges on the Bingham side of the mountain directly into the town of Bingham and but twenty-five feet from the Denver & Rio Grande railway tracks. The tunnel, two months ago, reached its objective, cutting the Mayflower and Fortuna veins, the great ore veins of the Fortuna mine, and the management is now raising on these veins to connect with the Fortuna workings. Besides, the tunnel will handle the ore of the Cleveland and Eddy veins, and the ore of the Bingham Amalgamated and Conger mines.
April 7, 1918
The following comes from the April 7, 1918 issue of the Salt Lake Tribune newspaper.
In its report to shareholders, the Montana-Bingham listed its property. "The property consists of the following patented claims:
Fortuna Group - Yucan, Tom Thumb, Contention, Keystone, Keystone No. 2, Calvarus M., Freedom, Fortune, Blaine, Wanty 1, Evergreen, Rustler, Pearl Fraction, Superior, Abe Lincoln, Winebago, Paris Stake, Portland, Mayflower, Wedge, Ann Kempton, Weasel and Enoch - 23 in all, embracing 170.8 acres.
Eddie Group - Cleveland, Charles A. Cramp, Papea and Frida - four in all, embracing 50.3 acres.
Tiewaukee Group - Tiewaukee, Barnes, George, Ely, Accident, Apex, Caledonia, McQueen and Gibbons - nine in all, embracing 44.7 acres.
Thursh, embracing 6.2 acres.
Valentine, embracing 40 acres.
In addition to the above the company owns 165,000 shares (20 per cent of issued shares) of the Bingham Amalgamated Copper company, and 10 per cent of the net returns of its ore transported through the Montana-Bingham tunnel. [The Bingham Amalgamated] embraces 300 acres and is immediately adjacent to the holdings of the Montana-Bingham Consolidated Mining company."
The report also shows that the Montana-Bingham tunnel was 5,900 feet in length, and was 7 feet by 7 feet.
The Fortuna group of claims was the most valuable because several valuable ore lodes had their apex within the group boundaries, meaning that the company, in accordance with apex and extra-lateral mining law, would be able to follow the ore veins even if they passed into other claims of other companies, which included the Bingham Amalgamated, the Starless, and Ohio Copper.
A note in the April 8, 1918 issue of the Salt Lake Herald Republican newspaper, covering the same announcement of an assessment from shareholders, the president of the company stated that the Tiewaukee and Valentine properties would not be worked to allow funds to be used in the expansion and improvement of the Fortuna property.
November 10, 1918
The Montana-Bingham tunnel had reached the Mayflower property, with a length of 5,510 feet. Side drifts from the main tunnel had been extended to the southwest and lead-silver ore had been encountered at 800 feet from the main tunnel. The Fortuna ground was another 300 feet along another drift, or 1,700 feet from the main tunnel, but another drift was only 180 feet from the Fortuna ground. The Fortuna veins were thought to extend downward for a good distance, and plans were being made to transport these additional reserves by the Mascotte tunnel of the Ohio Copper company, which was 550 feet below the current Fortuna workings at the Montana-Bingham tunnel level. Also, "The mill which was erected in 1917, was operated several months by the company at a loss, and was finally closed in March 1918. The construction and equipment of the mill were found to be faulty, and the percentage of recovery of values was very low."
February to May 1919
The Montana-Bingham was shut down from February 1st to May 24th due to its financial condition, with leasers continuing to work the ore veins. In July 1919 the shareholders voted a new board of directors, and new officers, and the financial conditions were immediately improved. (Salt Lake Herald Republican, July 23, 1919; August 6, 1919)
August 2, 1919
The following comes from the August 2, 1919 issue of the Salt Lake Telegram newspaper.
The company owns or controls the Eddie group of four patented claims, the Fortuna group of twenty-three claims, and the Thrush claim, comprising more than ten acres, and which underlies the town of Bingham. In addition, the company has a lease and option on the Tiewaukee group of ten claims in Bingham canyon.
The Montana-Bingham transportation and drainage tunnel has its portal near the northwest corner of the Eddie group, within fifty feet of the Denver & Rio Grande railroad, and is driven on a northeasterly course through the Eddie group, thence traversing the Bingham Amalgamated Copper company group and the Congor Consolidated Mining company's ground to the Fortuna group of claims.
This tunnel crosscuts the Eddie and Cleveland veins of the Eddie group, the Copper Glance and Manifay veins of the Bingham Amalgamated group, the Congor veins of the Congor group, the Chester or Virtik vein of the Keystone Extension company group, and the Sierra Grande, the Fortuna and the Mayflower veins of the Fortuna group.
All of these veins are crossed at nearly right angles by this tunnel, the strike or courses of the veins being northwesterly and southwesterly and dipping to the northwest at an angle of about 23 degrees.
The present length of this tunnel, or the distance from the portal to the Mayflower vein, is 5540 feet. The Montana-Bingham company has transportation contracts with the different mining companies mentioned, also has a large stock and mining interest in the United Bingham Copper company (formerly Bingham Amalgamated), and an option of purchase on the Fortuna group. The object of extending this tunnel to the Fortuna series of veins was to develop and mine the ore bodies known to exist in the Fortuna mine workings and exposed in the Freedom, Keystone and Contention tunnels on that property, the Fortuna Workings being 470 feet vertically and 1400 feet on the dip or slope of the veins above the Montana-Bingham tunnel "horizon." As these Fortuna ore bodies "rake or drag" to the south along these veins, it was necessary to develop them to drive drifts southwesterly along these veins from this tunnel.
(Read more about the Bingham Amalgamated Copper company at Bingham)
(Read more about the Congor mine at Bingham)
(Read more about the Fortuna mine at Bingham)
August 6, 1919
Montana-Bingham bought the Fortuna property for a reported $277,778, plus another $10,000 to Higgins and Eccles, and 100,000 shares of Montana-Bingham stock for their interest in the Fortuna Mine Leasing company. (Salt Lake Herald Republican, August 6, 1919, annual report)
By 1920 the Montana-Bingham Consolidated owned controlling shares (about 22 per cent) of the adjacent Bingham Amalgamated Copper company. (The Mines Handbook, Volume XIV, 1920, page 1413)
The following description of the Montana-Bingham Consolidated Mining company comes from the 1922 (Volume XV) of the Mines Handbook, page 1549.
Property consists of 335.5 acres, patented, in the West Mountain mining district (Bingham). Salt Lake county. Utah, comprising the Fortuna group of 23 claims, 170.8 acres; (2) the Eddie group of 23 claims, 170.8 acres, in the Keystone and Dalton gulches, and the Thrush claims, 6.2 acres, underlying the town of Bingham; (2) the Eddie group of 4 claims, 50.3 acres in Bingham Canyon; (3) leases and options on the Valentine patent and Tiewaukee group, 10 claims, 114 acres, in Bingham Canyon.
The Montana-Bingham Transportation and Drainage tunnel over 5,540 feet long, enters the mountain in the northwest corner of the Eddie group, within 50 feet of the Denver and Rio Grande railway, and runs southeast through the Eddie group, then through the United Bingham Copper Co. group and the Congor Gold and Copper Mining company's ground to the Fortuna group. This tunnel crosscuts, nearly at right angles, the Eddie and the Cleveland veins of the Eddie group, the Copper Glance and Manifay veins of United Bingham group, the veins of the Congor group, the Chester and Virtick veins of the Keystone Extension Co's group and the Sierra Grande, Fortuna and Mayflower veins of the Fortuna group. The three last named veins are cut 470 feet vertically or 1,400 feet on the dip, below the lowest of the three long drift tunnels of the old Fortuna mine, but the south rake of the ore bodies opened in the old mine, carries them 1,700 feet or more south of this tunnel. Extensive lateral development was done to block out ore. The Mayflower vein at this horizon shows an ore shoot estimated by the manager to be 700 feet long, 22 feet thick, and 1,400 feet on the dip, equal to 1,500,000 tons of 2 per cent ore with an equal amount between the Montana Bingham tunnel and the Mascotte (of the Ohio Co.), 475 feet vertically, or 1,000 feet on the dip below it.
The veins of the Fortuna group are opened by the 4,200 feet Keystone tunnel and three other tunnels comprising the old workings of the Fortuna mine.
Tiewaukee mine: 10 claims, 114 acres, is explored by a main tunnel, 1,000 feet long, cutting several bedded veins, large stopes of old workings north of it, contain much milling ore. Pillars left in stopes show 18.9 per cent lead, 6 per cent copper, 27 ounces silver per ton. Tiewaukee shaft is 90 feet vertical, connecting with a drift from the main tunnel, while shaft continues as an incline on the bedded vein.
Company has contracts with United Bingham Copper company and will receive 10 per cent of net proceeds on all ore shipped through the tunnel. A separate contracts with Keystone Extension Mining company gives 25 cents per ton of ore and 12-1/2 cents per ton for waste; with Bingham-Congor Copper company gives 15 cents per ton ore or waste; with Congor Gold and Copper Mining company gives the same as from Keystone. Also an agreement with Col. E. A. Wall to handle Starless ores when drift from tunnel has been extended on one of Montana-Bingham veins into Starless ground. 300,000 gallons water per day is flowing from tunnel, which is valuable for milling etc.
Development totaled 1,718 feet in 1920, largely below Montana Bingham tunnel, and included sinking an incline to 260 feet depth. Two separate ore shoots of high copper content were developed. Arrangements have been made to exploit property through the Mascotte tunnel.
"From the Mayflower vein of the Montana-Bingham property 9,460 tons of ore was shipped, netting at the smelter $60,925. Most of the ore (9,318 tons) was copper ore, containing 633.68 ounces of gold, 14,892 ounces of silver, and 566,148 pounds of copper. In addition to the copper ore, 26 tons of lead ore, averaging 30 per cent of lead, 1.43 per cent of copper, and 0.045 ounce of gold and 9.30 ounces of silver to the ton, was shipped. Two carloads amounting to 115 tons of sulphide iron ore shipped. An adjoining property, the Tiewaukee, was partly paid for in 1923, and mine development work started." (USGS Mineral Resources of the United States, 1923, page 437)
"At the Fortuna property of the Montana-Bingham Co. lessees shipped 127 tons of ore, on which the net smelter return was $779.91; at the Tiewaukee copper-precipitating plant of the company 45.6 dry tons of cement copper were sold for $5,347.55. The Tiewaukee mine was the scene of most of the development work in 1924." (USGS Mineral Resources of the United States, 1924, page 496)
"In the property of the Montana-Bingham Consolidated Co. a number of ore bodies were opened in 1925 in the Tiewaukee mine, and a little low-grade ore, mined from the beddings and fissures, was shipped. In addition, copper precipitate valued at $9,007 was recovered from mine water." (USGS Mineral Resources of the United States, 1925, page 432)
"The Ute Copper Company owning the underground rights under the Tiewaukee Dump drove a raise to the bottom of the dump and is now drawing off the water into precipitation boxes. The legal right to this water has been awarded to the Utah Copper Company under a decision of the Supreme Court of Utah." (Utah Copper internal history)
Tiewaukee Precipitation Operation. "Montana-Bingham Consolidated Mining Company: ... A small income has been derived from precipitating operations at the Tiewaukee. Percolating waters, containing copper in solution, are collected in the old mine workings and piped to a plant on surface below. Here the copper is precipitated by the use of scrap iron and tin, resulting in an economical recovery of copper that would otherwise be lost." --AIME Guidebook, 1925, in Wilbur Smith Papers, UU Ms 563 Box 9
(Read more about the Leaching and Precipitation Plants at Bingham)
September 21, 1925
D&RGW sold its Bingham Low Grade Line, the Copper Belt Branch, and the Yampa Branch to Utah Copper's Bingham & Garfield Railway. (D&RGW Agreement 4163 and Deed U-3267)
D&RGW Employee Timetable #97, June 6, 1926 -- This employee timetable shows the D&RGW railroad's Salt Lake Division in 1926. Specific research was completed to determine the existance of what remained of the old Copper Belt railroad in Bingham Canyon. By the time of the 1926 timetable, only a short portion of the Copper Belt remained, serving the loading bins of the Montana-Bingham mine. (See page 7 for the remnants of the Copper Belt Branch). (PDF; 11 pages; 10.9MB)
To answer the question, the Montana-Bingham loading bin was about 1/4 mile up-canyon from the D&RGW Bingham depot. As the timetable shows, the old Copper Belt line ended at the Montana-Bingham loading bin, just 0.3 mile from its start. The Montana-Bingham mine itself was owned by U.S. Mining, Smelting & Refining by this time, and as part of the construction of its 6040 haulage tunnel in 1944-1945, which would intersect the underground Montana-Bingham mine tunnel, Utah Copper paid for a new Montana-Bingham underground haulage tunnel that exited about 1/3 mile lower in the canyon, with a new Montana-Bingham loading bin built adjacent to the D&RGW Bingham depot. This allowed the last remnant of the old Copper Belt to be retired and removed.
October 3, 1925
"Bingham Mines Buys Property. Montana-Bingham Control Acquired. The Salt Lake office of the Bingham Mines company today announces that the company has recently acquired from Honolulu interests control of the Montana-Bingham Consolidated Mining company, which property is situate in the West Mountain mining district, Salt Lake county, comprising the Tiewaukee, Eddie and Fortuna groups and the Thrush claim, a total of 277 acres. A large part of this property adjoins the Winamuck and Dixon properties recently acquired by the same company. The Bingham Mines company now owns and controls in Bingham, or West Mountain mining district, a total of 1843 acres. It is proposed to carry on extensive development work in the Montana-Bingham property with a view of putting it into productive stages at as early a date as possible." During August 1925 alone, Bingham Mines made $70,000 profit, and $247,000 in profit during January to June 1925. (Salt Lake Telegram, October 3, 1925; Salt Lake Mining Review, October 15, 1925)
(Read more about Bingham Mines Company)
"The Montana Bingham property, including the Fortuna, Eddie, and Tiewaukee groups, controlled by the Bingham Mines Co., produced oxidized lead ore, some silver ore, and copper from mine water precipitates. The company received $49,777 from the sale of 1,083 dry tons of ore and 142 tons of copper precipitates. Development consisted of 3,395 feet of work, chiefly in the Tiewaukee group." (USGS Mineral Resources of the United States, 1926, page 501)
According to a D&RGW employee timetable dated June 6, 1926, the Montana-Bingham loading bin was about 1/4 mile up-canyon from the D&RGW Bingham depot. As the timetable shows, the old Copper Belt line ended at the Montana-Bingham loading bin, just 0.3 mile from its start. The remainder of the old Copper Belt line was abandoned in 1925, or sold to Utah Copper earlier. The Montana-Bingham mine itself was owned by U.S. Mining, Smelting & Refining by this time, and as part of the construction of its 6040 haulage tunnel in 1944-1945, which would intersect the underground Montana-Bingham mine tunnel, Utah Copper paid for a new Montana-Bingham underground haulage tunnel that exited about 1/3 mile lower in the canyon, with a new Montana-Bingham loading bin built adjacent to the D&RGW Bingham depot. This allowed the last remnant of the old Copper Belt to be retired and removed.
October 10, 1926
The following comes from the October 10, 1926 issue of the Bingham News newspaper. This indicates that full ownership was acquired in October 1926, after control was acquired in October 1925.
Bingham Mines Co. Acquires New Property -- During the past week an announcement was made by the Bingham Mines company that it had acquired from Honolulu interests control of the Montana-Bingham Consolidated Mining company property, which is situates in the West Mountain mining district, Salt Lake county comprising of the Tiewaukee, Eddie and Fortuna groups and the Thrush claim, a total of 277 acres. A large part of this property adjoins the Winamuck & Dixon properties, recently acquired by the same company.
The Bingham Mines company now owns and controls in Bingham, a total of 1843 acres. It is proposed to carry on extensive development work in the Montana-Bingham property with a view of putting it into the productive stages at as early a date as possible.
During the last six months, the Bingham Mines company has adpoted an aggressive polity in the matter of acquiring acreages of promising mineral land. In this way the company proposes to perpetuate its enterprise and guarantee stockholders income over a long period of years.
The current year has been the most prosperous in the history of the company. Production has been increased until during August the company made an operating profit of over $70,000, as compared w*ith earnings after tax reserves, but before depreciation and depletion, amounting to $247,000 for the first six months of 1925.
This improvement in the financial condition of the property as the result of stronger metal prices and larger output has been reflected in the stock's advance to new high levels. Reduction of the company's outstanding stock to 50,000 shares has also been an important factor in increasing the price of the stock.
"The Montana Bingham property, including the Tiewaukee mine, controlled by the Bingham Mines Co., produced 1,439 tons of ore that was a mixture of first-class siliceous silver ore, oxidized lead ore, and several hundred tons of lead-zinc milling ore. In addition to the metals recovered from crude ore and concentrates, about 200,000 pounds of copper was recovered from mine-water precipitates. The company received $32,351 from the sale of 1,439 dry tons of ore and 162 tons of copper precipitates. The ore contained 64.80 ounces of gold, 10,401 ounces of silver, 8,307 pounds of copper, 346,711 pounds of lead, and 93,305 pounds of zinc. Development in drifts, raises, and winzes consisted of 2,387 feet of work, which cost $18,004. The report of the Montana Bingham Consolidated Mining Co. for 1927 gives the following paragraph: Operations were carried on throughout the year in a limited way, the development work being confined to the Tiewaukee property, principally above No. 3 tunnel, which has its portal in Tiewaukee gulch. A raise from this tunnel connected with the old workings of the Caledonia mine." (USGS Mineral Resources of the United States, 1927, page 666)
July 24, 1927
Bingham Mines Company, which also controlled Montana-Bingham, signed an agreement with adjoining Ohio Copper establishing a defined vertical boundary between the three properties. The agreement would prevent costly litigation and did away with any potential problems concerning apex and extra-lateral rights, allowing Ohio Copper to explore into lead-silver bearing veins that had their apex in either Bingham Mines ground, or in Montana-Bingham ground. (Salt Lake Tribune, July 24, 1927)
"The Montana-Bingham property, including the Tiewaukee mine, controlled by the Bingham Mines Co., produced 693 tons of ore, a mixture of first-class siliceous silver ore and sulphide lead ore. About 642 feet of work was done in 1928 in No. 3 tunnel. The company received $3,157 from the sale of 693 dry tons of ore and 9 tons of copper precipitates. The ore contained 41 ounces of gold, 4,574 ounces of silver, 7,612 pounds of copper, and 74,811 pounds of lead." (USGS Mineral Resources of the United States, 1928, page 515)
"The Montana-Bingham Consolidated property, including the Tiewaukee mine, controlled by the Bingham Mines Co., was purchased in July by the United States Smelting, Refining & Mining Co. No development was done during the year, but lessees shipped from the dump eight cars of siliceous ore containing chiefly silver, lead, and gold." (USGS Mineral Resources of the United States, 1929, page 623)
United States Mining (USSR&M) completed its purchase of the Bingham Mines group. (USSR&M Annual Report for the period ending December 31, 1929; Wilson thesis, page 5)
July 23, 1929
Bingham Mines Company was purchased by the United States Smelting Refining and Mining company. (Billings, page 31)
(Read more about the United States company after it purchased Bingham Mines in 1929)
(Due to large numbers of small shareholders after the sale Montana-Bingham to Bingham Mines in 1925, and then to USSR&M in 1929, the stock of the Montana-Bingham company continued to be listed and sold on the Salt Lake Stock Exchange. The sales on the exchange continued through December 1934 when USSR&M levied a third assessment on the shares of Montana-Bingham stock. The first assessment had been due on December 5, 1932, and the second assessment had been due on May 26, 1933. The third assessment was due on January 15, 1935. After each assessment, blocks of shares were sold at public auction to pay the assessment, cost of advertising, and cost of sale. USS&RM likely continued to buy these shares at auction until after the third auction in January 1935, at which time it owned all outstanding shares. After December 1934, the stock of Montana-Bingham was no longer listed on the stock exchange.)
(From this point, the narrative will focus on the Montana-Bingham drain and haulage tunnel at Bingham)
November 14, 1935
The portal and dump of the Montana-Bingham tunnel was located on the east side of Main Street between 307 Main Street, and 338 Main Street in Bingham. In November 1935 as Bingham was having a sewer line installed as a project of the federal Works Progress Administration, the route of the buried sewer line under main Street was diverted from the east side of the west side. "This change was deemed necessary to avoid undermining the Montana Bingham mine dump, which fronts the east side of Main Street at this point." (Salt Lake Telegram, November 14, 1935)
Kennecott Copper financed the move of the lower portion of the Montana Bingham tunnel in 1944-1945 to allow the completion of its 6040 tunnel, which had its lower end and portal at Bingham, and would have intersected the Montana Bingham tunnel, which at this point was at 6,038 feet elevation. The Montana Bingham tunnel was diverted underground just south of where the underground intersection would have occurred, and was extended underground about 2,000 feet to the northeast, with a new vertical shaft (known as a raise) at a new lower 5,881 feet elevation, and a new exit portal down-canyon. The new exit portal was on the southern hill side adjacent to the D&RGW railroad depot at Bingham. A new loading platform was provided that allowed ore from the Montana-Bingham mines to be loaded into rail cars furnished by D&RGW. Previously, D&RGW had maintained a short spur about 1,000 feet up-canyon from its Bingham depot, that served a loading bin for the Montana-Bingham mine. This spur was the last remaining bit of the old Copper Belt railroad, and crossed over the intended route of the new Kennecott track exiting the new 6040 tunnel, at the site of the portal itself.
This intersection of the old Montana-Bingham tunnel, and Kennecott's new 6040 tunnel was recalled recently at a retiree's picnic at the Copperton city park. The person recalled that the intersection was large enough to allow transfer of personnel and materials, if the need ever arose. Kennecott train crews were known to wave as they passed U.S. workers at the top of the new vertical shaft down to the new U S. portal.
"Work commenced on the Montana-Bingham facilities. This consisted of tunnels, shafts, ore-loading trestle, crib and various mine tracks. Work was about 85 per cent completed by the end of 1950. -- Mines Annual Report 1950 - pg.6 (Utah Copper internal history)
T. P. Billings Comments
The following comes from the "History of the Bingham Mining District," an unpublished manuscript written by Thomas P. Billings in 1952:
The Montana Bingham Consolidated Mining Company was organized in 1910 as a successor to the Bingham Butte Mining Company. The property comprised of four contiguous mining claims is located on the east slope of Bingham Canyon extending from McGuire Gulch southerly up to Ely Gulch just opposite from Carr Fork.
When the D&RG Railroad company in 1906 built its "High Line" to serve the Utah Copper open pit it acquired easements on the surface in Ely Gulch for its roundhouse and yard facilities, and the location was called "Cuprum Heights". The Bingham Butte then transferred its mining operations down canyon to McGuire Gulch and drove a tunnel, first called the Miller or Hubbard tunnel and now known as the Montana Bingham Tunnel. This tunnel with its portal in McGuire Gulch is driven on a southeasterly course cross-cutting the strata.
By 1913 the Miller (or Hubbard) tunnel on its southeasterly course had passed through the property of the Montana Bingham Consolidated Company. In 1913 (1911) agreements were made between the Montana Bingham and two adjoining properties to the south and east, Bingham Congor Copper and Bingham Amalgamated companies. These agreements provided for extending the Montana Bingham tunnel into the latter two properties by the Montana Bingham company and the transportation of ores and waste with their handling at surface by the Montana Bingham company at specified rates. The Montana Bingham also received about one sixth interest in the outstanding stock of the United Bingham Copper Mining Company which was organized as the successor of the Bingham Amalgamated Company.
The Tiewaukee mine adjoined the Montana Bingham property in Bingham Canyon on the north. It comprises (13) mining claims on the east slope of the canyon and at its floor extending from McGuire Gulch down canyon to the Winamuck Gulch. These claims are among the oldest locations and patents in the district.
With its portal on the east side of lower Bingham Canyon and about one mile northwest of the Fortuna property, the Montana Bingham Company had extended the Montana Bingham tunnel about 4000 feet southeasterly and it had passed through its property and the properties of the Bingham Congor Copper and United Bingham properties without disclosing a profitable ore body, and the face of the tunnel was in the down dip of the Fortuna sill of porphyry at the boundary line of the Fortune group of mining claims. The Honolulu interests, now in control of the Montana Bingham Company, investigated the Fortune mine and were sufficiently impressed to at least hope that by extending the Montana Bingham tunnel an additional 1500 feet.
By (1925) the Sugar and Pineapple people in Honolulu were looking for a way out of their venture and came to Salt Lake City and negotiated a sale of their Montana Bingham interests, both bonds and stock to the Bingham Mines Company. Further extension of the tunnel southwesterly along the Mayflower vein disclosed the Mayflower ore shoot.
Profitable operations were carried on from 1919 to February 1924 in the development and mining of this ore shoot. A raise was driven on the dip of the vein to a connection with a winze sunk from the Keystone tunnel, which besides providing for ventilation is a facility for development and mining the ore shoot above the level. An incline winze was sunk from the Montana Bingham tunnel about 300 feet on the dip of the vein and at intervals of 100 feet levels were extended therefrom which discloses the downward continuation of the ore shoot.
Due to low metal prices and a falling off in the grade of ore the company was just trading dollars in 1923 and decided to close down February 1924. It was believed certain economies could be obtained in the operation of the Fortune mine as an integral part of the Lark mine operation instead of as an independent unit confronted with large capital expenditures toward reducing mine transportation costs and the cost of waste disposal from the portal of the Montana Bingham Tunnel. Therefore the company planned to drive a crosscut from the Ohio Copper crosscut on the Mascotte tunnel northerly to a projection of the Mayflower vein, at a horizon about 1000 feet measured on the dip of the vein below the Montana Bingham tunnel. However, the company was unable to negotiate a satisfactory agreement with the Ohio Copper Company and the proposed crosscut was placed on the list of deferments.
The Montana Bingham Company exercised its option on the Tiewaukee property and following the closing down of the Montana Bingham tunnel operation collected the copper-laden waters escaping from Utah Copper waste dumps that flowed down Winamuck Gulch. Such waters were diverted from the gulch into the old Tiewaukee mine workings, which were extended to surface and conducted to a precipitating plant constructed on the old mine dump at the portal of the Tiewaukee lower tunnel. The revenue from this precipitating plant provided funds for a small amount of development in the mine itself. A raise was made 125 feet above the lower tunnel as a facility toward the development of a downward continuation of the Caledonia ore shoot. A short crosscut from the top of the raise disclosed a siliceous, extremely honeycombed deposit similar to those found in caverns that carried sand carbonates of lead and relatively high silver content. The ore however, had only about one half the specific gravity of the ordinary run of mine ore. This deposit was about 25 feet in diameter and was mined up to a connection with the early day workings. Its downward continuation was developed by drifting on the Caledonia fissure disclosed on the lower tunnel. A raise on the dip of the fissure in the ore shoot discloses low grade lead-zinc sulphide carrying appreciable amounts of gold, silver and copper.
The courts of Utah entered judgment for the Utah Copper Company which was followed by it building its large precipitating plant at the mouth of Bingham Canyon and the agreements of Utah Copper Company and Bingham Mines Company of February 1929 and the Utah Copper Company and Montana Bingham Company of February 1929.
In 1929 the United States Smelting Refining and Mining Company owned mineral ground in the Bingham district situated in upper main Bingham Canyon and considered the most intensely mineralized area in the district which had yielded many millions of dollars from surface to relatively shallow depths. Now with acquisition July 22, 1929 of the holdings of the Bingham Mines company and its subsidiary Montana Bingham Consolidated comprising (1843) acres, the United States Company had increased its mining property, all contiguous except for the lower Bingham group of claims. Also it had acquired the townsite of Lark and agricultural ground adjacent to the townsite along with mining claims which fills the gap on the foothills between the Lark townsite and the patented mining claims located on the slope at the eastern base of the Oquirrh Range.
Bingham Amalgamated Copper Co. at Bingham -- Information about the Bingham Amalgamated Copper Company at Bingham, including the Copper Glance and other predecessor companies, and the later United Bingham Copper company.
Congor Mine at Bingham -- Information about the Congor mine at Bingham, which after 1916 shipped its ore through the Montana-Bingham drain and haulage tunnel. The Congor mine became part of United States Smelting Refining and Mining in 1951.
Fortuna mine at Bingham -- Information about the Fortuna mine at Bingham. The Fortuna was formerly the Fortune mine, and was purchased by the Montana-Bingham Consolidated Mining company in 1917.
Tiewaukee Mine at Bingham -- Information about the Tiewaukee mine at Bingham. The Tiewaukee was one of the original high value mines from the 1870s and 1880s, but soon played out. It was later developed at greater depth and became part of the Montana-Bingham group in 1907.
Maps and Photos
Montana-Bingham Maps and Photos -- Album of maps and photos showing the Montana-Bingham tunnel opening at various times in history.