Ohio Copper Company
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This page was last updated on July 6, 2019.
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In 1903 the Ohio Copper Company was organized to develop the Columbia claim. The company leased the inactive Winnamuck mill in lower Bingham and began shipping its ore from the Columbia mine to the Winnamuck mill by way of the Copper Belt railroad. This remained as the company's method of getting its ore to market, until 1907 when Heinze bought both the Bingham Consolidated and Ohio Copper. Soon after controlling both companies, Heinze began using Bingham Con's Mascotte (or Mascot) tunnel to transport ore from both mines out to Lark, where he built a new concentrator mill.
(Read more about the Mascotte Tunnel)
The Ohio Copper company was organized in October 1903 to work 120 acres of mining claims that included the Columbia and Erie claims in Bingham Canyon. Having discovered the same low grade copper ore that both Utah Copper and Boston Consolidated were taking from their mines, the Ohio company began working the Columbia mine's copper-bearing ores in pioneering What Cheer and All's Well claims. (USGS Professional Paper 38, p. 381; Arrington: Richest Hole, pp. 87, 88)
In 1910 Ohio Copper erected a 2,000-ton concentrating mill in Bingham [sic, Lark], and the mill operated intermittently until 1919. Ohio Copper began to shift its efforts to recover copper from low-grade porphyry ore in 1919, but the decline in the price of copper led the company to defer the project until 1923, when the company used leaching methods to retrieve the copper. The venture proved successful, saving the company financially. In addition, Ohio Copper broke the world record for low-cost copper production. Ohio Copper continued its leaching operations until 1937, as its profitability began to decline. The company operated a mill and plant to re-treat tailings from earlier milling endeavors. When the company exhausted ores in the area by 1947, it ceased operations. United States Smelting, Refining and Mining Company bought Ohio Copper's leases in 1950. (Utah State Historical Society, Finding Aid for the papers of Ohio Copper Company and Bingham Central Railway)
Ohio Copper Mining Company of Utah was a predecessor of U.S. Smelting, Refining & Mining Co. The company was founded in 1903 as the Ohio Copper Company (OCC) and soon thereafter leased the Winnemuck concentrating mill, an old mill that had been used on lead-silver ores in the Bingham mine during the 1870s and 1880s. OCC would operate all its future mines out of Bingham. OCC sought outside financial assistance in 1906, bringing in F. Augustus Heinze. Unfortunately Heinze mismanaged the company and was forced to resign two years after his entry.
In 1910 OCC erected a 2,000-ton concentrating mill in Bingham, and the mill operated intermittently until 1919. Between 1910-1919 the company suffered financial difficulties, including bankruptcy in 1916. In 1912 the company was reorganized as the Ohio Copper Mining Company, and after its bankruptcy in 1914, became Ohio Copper Mining Company of Utah (OCMCU) through reorganization in 1916.
OCMCU began to shift its efforts to recover copper from low-grade porphyry ore in 1919, but the decline in the price of copper led OCMCU to defer the project until 1923, when the company used leaching methods to retrieve the copper. The venture proved successful, saving OCMCU financially. In addition, OCMCU broke the world record for low-cost copper production.
OCMCU continued its leaching operations until 1937, as its profitability began to decline. The company operated a mill and plant to re-treat tailings from earlier milling endeavors. When the company exhausted ores in the area by 1947, it ceased operations. United States Smelting, Refining and Mining Company bought OCMCU's leases in 1950.
Much less is written about Bingham Central Railway. Incorporated in Salt Lake City in 1907 to build and maintain a railroad "for the public conveyance of persons and property between Salt Lake City and Bingham," the company at some point became a subsidiary of OCC and its successors.
Columbia Copper Mining Company (1899-1903)
The Columbia Copper Mining Company had been successful in developing its claim (which included the All's Well and What Cheer claims), sending its first ore to market in December 1899. A mill test run found that after a 15 to 1 concentration, the copper content was 24 percent and the gold value was $2.20 per ton. The mine was closed, pending the building of a concentrating mill. (Deseret News, July 6, 1900) By late December 1900, the Columbia mine was shipping both ore and concentrate; four cars of ore and three cars of concentrate. (Deseret News, December 29, 1900)
In March 1901, the U. S. Land Office refused to patent a claim by Columbia Copper Mining Company that would have placed contiguous claims under a common claim. The refusal was based on inadequate survey work, with the decision said to affect numerous mining patents throughout the state. All work at the Columbia mine was being done by way of an opening on the What Cheer claim, which was patented in 1883. W. S. McCornick and J. A Cunningham were shown as principle owners of the Columbia property. (Salt Lake Herald, March 10, 1901, "Mining Decision of Importance") The question of a land patent was settled in favor of the mining companies, and the Columbia company was looking for a mill to process its ore. (Salt Lake Herald, March 12, 1901) J. A. Cunningham "emphatically" denied that he was looking to buy the Dewey mill to process the ore from the Columbia mine. (Salt Lake Herald, March 27, 1901)
In May 1902, the Columbia mine shipped ore that was 40 percent copper. The ore had come from the Dedrick tunnel, that opened into the All's Well vein. (Salt Lake Herald, May 7, 1902)
Development of the Columbia property continued and by January 1903, the mine was shipping about 100 tons per month, stemming from continued development of the underground ore body. (Deseret News, January 7, 1903) The Columbia company used the Rogers mill to concentrate its ore, and in May 1903 put out a request for bids for its own mill, with a desired capacity of 60 tons per day. (Deseret News, May 6, 1903)
The stockholders of the Columbia Copper Mining Company held a special meeting on October 1, 1903 to vote on the sale of the company to the Catrow syndicate. The purchase contract was dated August 31, 1903. (Salt Lake Herald, October 1, 1903, "today")
"Col. H. G. Catrow" "took charge" of the properties that later became Ohio Copper company. (Salt Lake Mining Review, January 1, 1905; three Catrows are shown as officers of the company: N. J. Catrow; H. G. Catrow; and Henry Catrow.)
October 12, 1903
Ohio Copper Company was organized to purchase the interests of the Columbia mine in Bingham, and would soon purchase the Dewey mine. The company was organized by H. G. Catrow, from Ohio. (Deseret News, October 12, 1903)
December 14, 1903
Ohio Copper Company purchased the Erie claim in Markham Gulch. (Deseret News, December 14, 1903)
December 29, 1903
The Winnamuck mill in Bingham Canyon was to go "into commission on next Monday" "This plant will serve the Ohio Copper company, which has leased it for a period of years, until a new plant is installed in the coming year." (Deseret News, December 29, 1903) ("next Monday" was January 5, 1904)
January 2, 1904
"An extension of the Copper Belt from its old lower terminus to the Winnemuck mill bin is being made and on its completion the Columbia's ore will begin to move." (Deseret News, January 2, 1904, "Bingham Mining Notes")
A review of the maps of the vicinity indicates that this extension was merely an additional 500 feet of track.
January 4, 1904
"...the Copper Belt railroad grade would be completed by tonight to the Winnemuck mill in lower Bingham, where the Ohio Copper company will soon commence grinding out concentrates." The opening of the mill would be delayed until later in the week due to problems with delivery of needed equipment. (Deseret News, January 4, 1904, "Grade Completed Today")
January 9, 1904
"The Ohio Copper company expected to have the Winnemuck mill in operation by now, but the day of starting has necessarily been deferred, all on account of a local firm failing to make prompt deliveries of a set of crushing rolls." (Deseret News, January 9, 1904, "Bingham Reviewed")
February 24, 1904
The articles of incorporation for Ohio Copper Company were filed with Salt Lake County Clerk, John James. The Ohio Copper Company was incorporated in Nebraska for the purpose of purchasing and developing a number of copper claims in the West Mountain Mining District, Salt Lake County. Incorporators included H. J. and H. G. Catrow of Miamisburg, Ohio, along with J. H. Friend of Dayton, Ohio, H. L. Newell and R. W. Burns of West Carrollton, Ohio, and Henry Catrow and O. A. Tibbets of Salt Lake City. (Deseret News, February 25, 1904, "yesterday" "Concentrates")
November 30, 1904
Ohio Copper Company completed final negotiations and purchased the Winnamuck group of mines, including the mill. The purchase took place "yesterday" (November 30), with the purchase price reported as $50,000. While under Dutch ownership, the mine became flooded after reaching the 400 foot level, and the owners were unable to continue work. At the Winnamuck mill, new Wilfley tables were being installed, and would be in operation as soon as a new 30-horsepower electric motor is ready for use. (Deseret Evening News, December 1, 1904; Salt Lake Tribune, December 1, 1904; Salt Lake Telegram, December 21, 1904; Salt Lake Mining Review, January 30, 1905, "Bingham's Copper Producers")
Ohio Copper decided against the open-cut mining methods used by Utah Copper. Due to their unique location within the ore veins, the Ohio company saw that the best process was to transport the ore by way of a tunnel from the company's underground mine to a concentrator mill which they would build at Lark, on the east slope outside the canyon. Rio Grande Western built its Lark Branch to serve the new Ohio Copper mill.
January 5, 1906
The transfer of ownership of the Winnamuck property was filed with the Salt Lake County recorder's office "yesterday" (January 5) from Frances Dunlevie and others of Ottawa, Canada, to Ohio Copper Company. The purchase price was reported as $48,000. (Salt Lake Tribune, January 6, 1907)
November 24, 1906
Control of Ohio Copper Company passed to F. Augustus Heinze after he made his final payment for the purchase of over 600,000 shares "on Saturday last." (November 24) (The Sun [New York], November 26, 1906)
(On November 24, 1906, control of Ohio Copper Company passed to F. Augustus Heinze, as a subsidiary of his United Copper Company.)
(Heinze had purchased control of Bingham Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company in February 1906.)
(The following comes from The Copper Handbook, Volume 7, 1907, page 1117: "The United Copper Co. is a securities holding corporation solely, and was organized along much the same lines as its former great rival, the Amalgamated Copper Co. [which owned Anaconda Copper], but owing to the settlement of the war between the Amalgamated and the United Copper interests, in February, 1906, by the selling of the Heinze holdings to the Butte Coalition Mining Co., the status the United Copper Co. has been changed materially." United Copper Co. began business in April 1902 as the owner of stocks and bonds of various subsidiary mining and holding corporations in the Butte district. The settlement of suits and counter-suits with Amalgamated brought United Copper a reported $14 million. Production by United Copper's subsidiary companies during 1905, was 27,081,350 lbs. fine copper, but will be small for 1906, owing to sale of all of the principal mines, in February 1906.")
December 3, 1906
In a direct reflection and result of new ownership, Henry Catrow, A. J. Bettles, and J. S. Gard resigned as directors of Ohio Copper company "today," and were replaced by F. Augustus Heinze, Frank P. Swindler, and W. A. Kidney. The offices of the company were moved to be located with the offices of the Bingham Consolidated company, also a Heinze property. (Deseret Evening News, December 3, 1906)
The following summary of the Ohio Copper company's mill comes from Eva Hoffman's EPA report of 2005:
Billings  reports that excavation for the mill started in March 1907, and by November !907 the concentrator was about completed except for the installation of equipment. But due to lack of funds, construction was shut down. Later after selling other interests, Mr. Heinze got the mill operational by the summer of 1909. Sources seem to give different data on these mills. Further research will be necessary to determine if they describe different facilities or the same facility.
Bailey  reports that the first Ohio Copper Mill was built about 3/4 mile east of the Lark portal of the Mascotte tunnel about 1906. Production was about 250,000 - 300,000 tons of copper annually. The daily capacity was 4,500-tons of ore. [Bailey, 1988] (Oquirrh Mountains Mining and the Environment by Eva J. Hoffman, U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, Denver, April 21, 2005, page 126)
(Using current, as of 2016, satellite photos and measuring tools, the abandoned foundations of the large Ohio mill are 3/4 mile east-southeast of the site of the Mascotte tunnel portal.)
January 4, 1907
"The Ohio Copper Company, which has recently passed into the control of Mr. Heinze, will build a concentrating plant at a cost of between $750,000 and $1,000,000. It will probably be located at the mouth of the Mascott tunnel of the Dalton and Lark, owned by the Bingham Consolidated, where there is an adequate water supply." (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 4, 1907)
February 9, 1907
"Ground has been broken for the new 2,000-ton mill on the Ohio Copper Co., at the mouth of the Mascotte tunnel, on the Lark side." The Mascotte tunnel was to be extended an additional 1-1/2 mile to "tap both the Ohio and Commercial properties." The tunnel was 7-1/2 feet at the top and 8 feet at the bottom, and would be driven 7,500 feet from its present terminus. (Deseret Evening News, February 9, 1907)
In August 1907 Ohio Copper was reorganized to finance the construction of the Lark mill. At the time the company projected that it would be shipping between 1,500 and 2,000 tons of copper per day. (Wegg, p. 75)
The old company was incorporated in Nebraska, which was not friendly to mining companies. The new company was incorporated in Maine to take advantage of the mine-friendly laws of that state. By August 9, 1907, the new company was already in existence and in control. The Ohio Copper Company was incorporated in Maine "a few weeks ago." (Brooklyn Daily Eagle, August 9, 1907)
August 8, 1907
The Ohio Copper Mining Company was incorporated in Maine. (Deseret Evening News, January 21, 1909)
One of the Boston newspapers, in the name of the Boston News Bureau, ran a story about F. Augustus Heinze and his entrance as an investor in Utah mines. (Deseret News, September 17, 1907)
His first venture was with the Bingham Consolidated company, "...which has heretofore not attained a very great amount of prominence, except in unfulfilled promises. When organized, that company immediately built a large smelter to treat its ore before it had the ore. Hence the smelter operations have been largely on custom ores and net profits to Bingham Consolidated stockholders have been disappointing."
"When Mr. Heinze became interested in Bingham Consolidated the most valuable asset was a large tunnel, known locally as the Mascotte tunnel, which was planned to open the Dalton & Lark mines of the Bingham Consolidated at depth and provide drainage. The tunnel provided the drainage but failed to open the ore expected hence the operations of of this big tunnel to date have not been productive of net results. This tunnel has cost the Bingham Co. over $30,000. It is six feet high and six feet wide and has penetrated the mountains for a distance of 9000 feet, or 1-3/4 miles."
"At about the time Mr. Heinze became interested in the Bingham Consolidated, he also purchased control of Ohio Copper Co., which adjoins Utah Copper Co."
"Soon after acquiring the Ohio Co. Mr Heinze arranged with the Bingham Consolidated Co. to extend the Mascotte tunnel 3000 feet farther to the Ohio Copper Co., the Ohio Co. bearing this extra expense, thereby putting the Ohio ore bodies 800 feet below the previous lowest workings. He immediately set about to build a 3000-ton concentrator at the mouth of the Mascotte tunnel. This tunnel will also be extended to open the Commercial properties of the Bingham Consolidated 500 feet deeper than the present lowest workings."
(Read the Wikipedia article about F. Augustus Heinze)
October 14, 1907
Of the 1,000,000 outstanding shares of Ohio Copper Company, 600,000 were owned by United Copper Company, which itself was controlled by F. Augustus Heinze. (New York Times, May 11, 1910)
The manipulation of United Copper stock, which included Ohio Copper and Bingham Consolidated, was the cause of the Panic of 1907. Investigation of the cause of the panic resulted in the creation of the Federal Reserve System in 1913.
(Read the Wikipedia article about the Panic of 1907)
Apparently, work stopped on both the new mill at Lark, and on extending the Mascotte tunnel due to financial difficulties for Heinze and his associates. Rio Grande Western put a lien on the Ohio Copper company in the amount of $26,249, being the freight charges it was owed for the shipment of building materials for the tunnel work and the construction of the mill. (Cincinnati Enquirer, December 17, 1907)
By mid January 1908, the difficulties were taken care of and work had resumed. (Salt Lake Herald, January 18, 1908)
January 2, 1908
"The Mascotte tunnel has been enlarged and extended another 8,000 or 9,000 feet recently by Mr. Heinze's Ohio Copper Mining company. If Mr. Heinze's plans are successful the Bingham Consolidated company's to be paid $156,000 for the tunnel, which was its cost. Its ores are to be drawn out through this tunnel by contract at 10 cents per ton, which is about half what it costs the company to do the same service itself. Bingham Consolidated also has a lease of 10 percent of the capacity of the new Ohio mill, 200 tons daily, which has been erected near the mouth of the Mascotte tunnel. It is proposed that this capacity shall be used to treat a very large body of concentrating ore carrying values in lead, silver, copper and gold, which has been opened up in the Dalton & Lark Property." (Salt Lake Herald, January 2, 1908)
By mid February 1908, the mill building was completed and was ready to have the machinery installed. (Salt Lake Tribune, February 16, 1908)
In June 1908 the Lark mill went into partial production, with a stated daily capacity of 3,000 tons. (Salt Lake Mining Review, May 15, 1908)
August 1, 1908
Augustus Heinze was reported as having sold his interest in Ohio Copper Company. (New York Times, August 2, 1908)
During early August 1908, general manager of Ohio Copper, Colin MacIntosh, returned to his office in Salt Lake City from a trip to Boston and New York, with the news that work would resume on both the Ohio Copper mill and the Mascotte tunnel. Work had been suspended due to financial difficulties. (Salt Lake Tribune, August 6, 1908)
August 14, 1908
Work was to resume on the Ohio Copper incline tunnel to connect it with the Mascotte tunnel. The Mascotte tunnel was 12,600 feet in length, with about 600 feet yet to go to reach the point where it will meet the Ohio Copper incline tunnel, when that project is completed. The bottom of the incline tunnel was 720 feet above the Mascotte level. The work in the Mascotte has laid idle for the past few months due to financial difficulties in the East. Before the tunnel can be pushed ahead, much work is needed to repair connections in the air system, and replace rails in the rail system, as well as improving the drainage system. Work in the Ohio Copper portion has laid idle for a year or more, also due to financial difficulties. (Salt Lake Tribune, August 14, 1908)
December 27, 1908
The Ohio Copper company's mill building at Lark was completed and waiting for machinery, some of which was already on the ground. The Mascotte tunnel was completed to within 550 feet of connecting with the incline shaft of Ohio Copper at the Bingham end of the tunnel, and was to be complete by January 15, 1909. The mill was to be put into operation in March 1909. (Salt Lake Herald, December 27, 1908)
January 9, 1909
Twenty-two car loads of machinery were being unloaded at Ohio Copper's mill at Lark. The Mascotte tunnel was to be connected with the incline shaft "by the end of next month." (February 1909) (Deseret Evening News, January 9, 1909)
March 10, 1909
The Ohio company connected its incline shaft with the Mascotte tunnel at 1 o'clock on the morning of March 10, 1909. The Mascotte had been extended to a total length of 14,000 feet. It connects with the Dalton & Lark shaft at 8,500 feet from its portal. (Salt Lake Telegram, March 10, 1909)
April 7, 1909
Officials of the company said that the first section in the Ohio Copper's mill at Lark would be in operation "by the last of this week." (Deseret Evening News, April 7, 1909)
June 30, 1909
Officials of the company said that two sections in the Ohio mill at Lark would be in operation "by the middle of July." (Wall Street Journal, June 30, 1909)
July 20, 1909
The first section of the Ohio Copper mill at Lark was completed but not yet in commission. There were delays in receiving material for the steel trestle that connected the Mascotte tunnel and the mill. The second section would soon be complete and both sections would be put into operation at the same time. (Salt Lake Tribune, July 20, 1909)
July 21, 1909
As part of a statement for the entire company, and the Ohio Copper concentrator mill, "The first unit is being equipped at the present time and should be in operation in August." (Arizona Daily Star, July 21, 1909)
"The [Ohio Copper] property is developed by a main shaft 1,400 feet deep, sunk on an incline of 50 degrees, and by the Mascotte tunnel, 14,000 feet in length. This tunnel connects the bottom of the main working shaft with the mill, which is situated at Lark. The tunnel, which is equipped with double track and electric haulage, will be the outlet for all ore of the Ohio company." (Arizona Daily Star, July 21, 1909)
September 16, 1909
The steel for the trestle was received "yesterday" (September 16), and would be used immediately to complete the connection between the Mascotte tunnel and the Ohio Copper mill at Lark. "There will be no delay in putting the steel in." (Deseret Evening News, September 17, 1909)
The first section of the Ohio Copper mill at Lark went into "commission." The building had been completed in 1907, but machinery was not installed until August 1908. (The Copper Handbook, 1911, Volume X, page 1329; USGS Professional Paper 111)
November 7, 1909
Harry M. Layne, chief electrician for the Ohio Copper company, was electrocuted and killed instantly while making the 5,000 volt connection from Telluride Power company to the Ohio Copper company mill at Lark. (Salt Lake Herald Republican, November 8, 1909)
Late November 1909
"The first unit which started in operation in the latter part of November has demonstrated that the average capacity will be 750 tons of crude ore each day, which is equivalent to 3,000 tons for the entire plant." (Deseret Evening News, December 18, 1909)
November 30, 1909
"The concentrator is located at Lark, Utah, and was started on November 30, 1909, and marks the entry into the copper field of another large producer from Bingham." (The Mining World magazine, Volume 32, January 8, 1910, page 49)
"The first unit of the plant began operations in December, but it was reported that no shipments of concentrate were made in 1909." (USGS Mineral Resources of the United States, 1909, Volume I, page 476)
December 8, 1909
The first unit of the Ohio Copper's mill at Lark "is working satisfactorily." The second unit would be put into operation "within two weeks." About 1,000 tons of ore was coming through the Mascotte tunnel every day. (The Sun [New York], December 13, 1909)
The following comes from the December 1909 issue of Mines and Methods magazine, page 148:
"One advantage that the Ohio [Copper Company] property has over others at Bingham is that it can have its employees live at Lark instead of at Bingham. Those acquainted with conditions at Bingham will appreciate the importance of this. But for those who do not know, it may be added that Bingham is a string town, following the narrow gulches marked by the main water courses. It is over 40 years old, but probably no mining camp in the United States is less inviting. It has no sewerage system. Everything flows into the creek, along which the houses are built. No amusement places are provided other than the moving-picture and 'spieler' adjuncts to the saloons, all of which, or so nearly all that there is little error in the statement, run gambling games, generally of all descriptions, from crap to faro. There are practically no sidewalks, and the main street for blocks is almost a continuous string of saloons, which do such a flourishing business that it is said on good authority that the saloon proprietors of Bingham deposit close to $150,000 a month in the Salt Lake banks. There are at least 24 saloons on the short main street, and all the foreign boarding houses sell liquor whenever desired by their patrons without any license. As a result, drunken miners race up and down the canyon mercilessly spurring the horses, up and down the steep grades, firing pistols promiscuously.
"Bingham is a disgrace, and especially so to the mining companies operating there, for they have made little effort to correct the conditions. They have not even established one respectable place of amusement, not even a clean, respectable moving-picture show. The monetary loss to the companies arising from this short-sighted policy, the loss of life that results from drunken miners, are hard to estimate, but Bingham only goes to show how short-sighted mining companies are.
"The Ohio Copper Company can have its workmen live at Lark, away from all this, in conditions where a married man need not constantly deplore his fate, for Lark is in a broad valley, with abundance of gently rolling ground, where a nice, clean town is possible."
"A second unit was added to the Ohio Copper mill, which brought its capacity up to 1,800 tons a day—an important gain." (USGS Mineral Resources of the United States, 1910, Volume I, page 579)
January 8, 1910
"The Ohio Copper Co. has placed in commission the second unit of its mill, after having adjusted the first unit and operating it with satisfaction." (The Mining World magazine, Volume 32, January 8, 1910, page 79)
January 15, 1910
"The first section of the mill is handling its quota of 500 tons per day, while the second is going through the adjustment stages and will soon be handling its quota." (The Mining World magazine, Volume 32, January 15, 1910, page 119)
January 22, 1910
"The Ohio Copper Co. has overcome its financial difficulties the past year and is just entering upon production. The past year witnessed the completion of the Mascotte tunnel and its connection with the Ohio shaft and workings. The mill has been started up, though the full complement of units is not yet in operation. At present about 1000 tons per day is being treated." (The Mining World magazine, Volume 32, January 22, 1910, page 206)
March 23, 1910
Financial problems again plague the company, and as soon as funds can be found, the remaining sections were to be completed, "it may take two months or more to get the equipment on the ground, and two months to install the same. So it is believed that four months from the latter part of March the mill will be in shape to handle 3,000 tons of ore daily." Ohio Copper company general manager Colin McIntosh had left Salt Lake City for New York City with plans in hand for the completion of the mill. By late April, funds were still not yet available; with the mill producing 35 tons of concentrate daily. (Salt Lake Tribune, March 23, 1910; April 22, 1910)
June 6, 1910
According to a report by Heinze to stockholders, it cost Ohio Copper 50 cents per ton to mine its ore, then 15 cents per ton to transport it through the Mascotte tunnel, which was a separate corporation. The cost of milling at the Lark mill was 38 cents per ton, bringing the cost to mine, transport and mill the ore to $1.03 per ton. Smelting added another 47 cents per ton, with the final total being $1.50 per ton. After smelting, one ton of ore produced 20 pounds of copper, with the market for copper being 13 cents per pound, this resulted in about $260 gross income per ton of ore mined. Each ton of concentrate produced by the mill held 21 percent copper, and 4.8 ounces of silver, with .05 ounces of gold. Simple math indicates that if the company could get its short-term debt under control, the operation would be very profitable in the long term. (Salt Lake Herald Republican, June 6, 1910)
(Research in the New York and Boston newspapers indicates that the short-term debt problems were mostly the making of Fritz Augustus Heinze himself, along with his associates as they tried to make large amounts of money very fast. A common method was to borrow money using certain properties and shares of stock as collateral, then almost immediately sell the collateral to other investors, then using the courts to delay the resulting law suits charging fraud.)
June 15, 1910
According to a report by a "well known" mining engineer in mid June 1910, Ohio Copper was sending 1,400 tons per day through the Lark mill, and meeting all operating expenses. It was also making a profit of $30,000 per month. (Salt Lake Tribune, June 15, 1910)
"Two of the four units were in commission at the beginning of 1911." "Production, under the old management, was circa 850,000 lbs. fine copper in 1904, and 3,000,000 lbs. in 1905, and production is estimated as approximately 6,000,000 lbs. in 1910. The company was milling about 1,500 tons of ore daily, April, 1911. (The Copper Handbook, 1911, Volume X, page 1330)
(Research in available online national and local newspapers has not yet found the date for the first operation of the second concentrator section at the Lark mill.)
March 31, 1912
"For the six months ending March 31, 1912, the company milled 311,067.63 tons of ore (852 tons per day, average), with an average copper content of 1.176 per cent. The loss in treatment was 44.13 per cent. The smelter returns were 3,754,866 pounds of copper." (USGS Mineral Resources of the United States, 1911, Volume I, page 303)
July 8, 1912
The Ohio Copper Mining Company was incorporated on July 8, 1912 as a reorganization of the Ohio Copper Company. The Ohio Copper Mining Company assumed $1.2 million of the Ohio Copper Company's bonded debt, dated September 1, 1907 and due on September 1, 1917. On September 1, 1914, the company defaulted on the interest on those bonds and on September 14th, receivers were appointed by the U. S. District Court of New York. On September 9, 1914 the company filed for bankruptcy, and two years later, on August 30, 1916 the company's assets were sold at foreclosure. The new reorganized company took the name of Ohio Copper Mining Company of Utah. (The Mines Handbook, Volume 13, Ohio Copper Mining Co., page 1366)
The Lark mill's third, and last, section was completed in April 1913 and the mill went into full production, by which time, Ohio Copper had produced 690,001 pounds of copper from 71,225 tons of ore processed (9.7 pounds of copper per ton of ore). (Engineering and Mining Journal, June 7, 1913, p. 1172)
May 23, 1914
The Salt Lake County assessor was reported as being surprised to have discovered a new railroad in the county. That new railroad was the Bingham Central Railway, operating in the Mascotte tunnel and owned by F. Augustus Heinze. The source of income for the railroad was the transportation of ore, at 15 cents per ton, for Ohio Copper and other mines in the Bingham district. The assessor has levied a $30,000 tax on the property, but would not make the tax retroactive to collect past taxes. (Ogden Standard, May 23, 1914)
The following comes from the September 26, 1914 issue of Engineering and Mining Journal:
Ohio Copper Co. Bankrupt -- A friendly petition in bankruptcy was filed in New York on Sept. 16 against the Ohio Copper Mining Co, by certain Utah creditors. Under a joint bond of $20,000, M. J. Hirsch and George C. Austin were named receivers in New York.
The Ohio Copper Mining Co. is a successor to the Ohio Copper Co. and it is stated that its liabilities amount to $170,000, aside from its mortgage bonds on which it defaulted interest payment Sept. 1. The affairs of the company have lately been in the hands of a new management headed by Pres. W. O. Allison. For a number of years the management had been controlled by F. Augustus Heinze, who still controls the Bingham Central railway, which transports the Ohio ore. The Ohio company sued to recover for alleged excess transport charges and the Bingham Central retaliated by suing for money due for services. The Ohio accounts were attached and these steps, in conjunction with the business situation and the decline in the price of copper, prevented the management from carrying the company's operation to a satisfactory conclusion.
The mine in the Bingham district and the mill at Lark, Utah, have been closed. (Engineering and Mining Journal, September 26, 1914, Volume 98, Number 13) (Heinze died on November 4, 1914)
September 20, 1914
Ohio Copper company filed for voluntary bankruptcy "this afternoon." Assets were reported as $1,343,000, including copper in the hands of American Smelting & Refining Company, valued at $316,000. Liabilities were reported as $1,668,000. The company was placed in the hands of trustee receivers in mid November 1914, with the result that Heinze and his associates were dismissed. (Baltimore Sun, September 20, 1914; Chicago Daily Tribune, November 16, 1914)
August 31, 1916
The assets and property of the Ohio Copper Company were to be sold at auction. The winning bid of $750,000 was to E. H. Sykes of Sullivan & Cromwell, New York, representing the bondholders. (New York Times, August 21, 1916; Brooklyn Daily Eagle, September 1, 1916)
The company was reorganized in 1916 as the Ohio Copper Company of Utah. (The Mines Handbook, 1922, page 1557)
November 1, 1916
The sale to the bondholders was blocked by a District Court, affirming a suit brought by a committee of shareholders contending that the property was worth considerably more than $750,000. The sale to the shareholders committee was confirmed by the district court on December 5, 1916, allowing for the formation of a new reorganized company. The purchase price was reported as $1,350,000. (Wall Street Journal, November 24, 1916; The Sun [New York], December 5, 1916)
Moody's investment service for 1917 reported the following for the Bingham Central Railway:
History: Incorporated under laws of Utah, May, 1908, for the purpose of constructing a railway between Bingham and Salt Lake City, Utah, and various mines in the vicinity, a distance of 30 miles. 3.5 miles of 2-foot railway is in operation, of which about 3 miles is tunnel, extending from Lark to mines.
Location: Lark, Utah, to mines. Equipment: Electric locomotives, 5; 150 steel ore cars, 50 of which are side-discharge, and 100 bottom-discharge, and 2,225 h.p. 150 k.w. 600 volt motor-generator sets.
Reorganization: Proposed reorganization plan of the Ohio Copper Co. provides that $850,000 stock of the new company is to be reserved in the treasury for possible purchase of this property which transports the company's ore from the mines to smelter.
Management: OFFICERS: Alfred Frank, Pres. and Gen Mgr., Salt Lake City, Utah; Frederick Eckstein, Treas., New York; P. T. Farnsworth, Secy., Salt Lake City. DIRECTORS: Alfred Frank, W. H. King, J. E. Bergh, J. W. Caswell, P. T. Farnsworth, Salt Lake City, Utah; Frederick Eckstein, New York. Annual meeting, third Wednesday in Sept. GENERAL OFFICE, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Bonded Debt: $975,000 Bingham Central Ry. 1st 6s. Dated April 1, 1908; due April 1, 1948. Interest paid A. and 0. 1, at company's office in New York City. Coupon and registered, $100 and $1,000. Metropolitan Trust Co., Trustee. Authorized, $3,000,000. $900,000 reserved for construction of railway to Salt Lake City; $500,000 reserved for additional trackage; $375,000 for tunnel section, and $250,000 for additional equipment. Sinking fund of $75,000 per annum became operative April 1, 1911. Callable at 105 and interest. First lien on entire property. Income tax is not deducted from interest. In default.
Capital Stock: Authorized, $3,000,000 6% cumulative preferred and $5,000,000 common. Outstanding, $975,000 pfd. and $1,624,987 common. Par, both issues, $100. Preferred has preference for assets and dividends. Stock transferred and registered at Salt Lake City, Utah. (Moody's Analyses of Investments, Steam Railroads, 1917, page 794)
January 1, 1917
Ohio Copper Mining Company was reorganized as Ohio Copper Company to assume the debt of the costs of construction of the Mascotte Tunnel, called the "Bingham Central Railway". The property had been operated under lease since June 1915 by the General Exploration Company, a company organized for the purpose by the plant manager, who remained in the position after the reorganization. (Engineering & Mining Journal, October 28, 1916, p. 806; September 23, 1916, p. 566; January 27, 1917, p. 182)
March 31, 1917
The management of the new Ohio Copper Company of Utah has purchased most of the bonds and all of the preferred and common stock of the Bingham Central Railway. This gave the mining and milling company control of the transportation of its ore from its mine to its mill. (Wall Street Journal, March 31, 1917)
May 30 1917
The U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals of New York dismissed all proceedings affecting the title and property of the new Ohio Copper Company of Utah, which had acquired the property of the bankrupt Ohio Copper Mining Company. The dismissal included an injunction against all suits attacking the title and property of the new company. (Wall Street Journal, May 30, 1917) (Finally, it appears that the legal and financial problems caused by Heinze and his cronies had come to an end.)
August 4, 1918
Ohio Copper announced that they had started using the third floatation unit at their Lark mill, and that the fourth unit would start by October 1, 1918. (Salt Lake Herald, August 4, 1918)
August 10, 1918
About a fourth of the Ohio Copper's Lark concentrator mill was destroyed by fire. The portions destroyed included the coarse crushing section and part of the concentrator section. The newer floatation section was only lightly damaged. The fire originated in the store room, which was a total loss. "The Ohio crushing department had a capacity of 2500 tons of crude ore a day. The flotation was using fines and slimes from the mill. It had an ultimate capacity of 3,000 tons but only four of the proposed five units have been brought up to operating condition" "It is the expectation to have at least one crusher operating again inside two weeks. This will start up the floatation plant." (Salt Lake Telegram, August 10, 1918; Salt Lake Tribune, August 11, 1918; Salt Lake Herald, August 11, 1918)
"Property: 14 claims, patented, 120 acres, bounded on the N. and W. by holdings of the Utah Copper Co., on the E. by the Montana Bingham Con. M. Co., on the S. by United States Mining Co., and on S. W. by the Boston Consolidated. The Mascotte tunnel, owned by the Bingham Central railway, a subsidiary company, charges toll on all ore hauled to the mills." (The Mines Handbook, 1922, page 1556)
Note that the Dalton & Lark, and old Yosemite and Brooklyn properties are not included. These were held by Bingham Mines Company.
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)
Ohio Copper Leaching Plant
"The Ohio Copper company continued to produce till 1918 when the newly remodeled mill was crippled by the burning of the crushing plant. This circumstance coupled with declining grade of ore and a drop in copper prices led to the curtailment of operations. However in 1922 the company commenced the interesting project of leaching the ore body in place water was pumped to the top of the old caved stopes and distributed through them, being allowed to percolate through the broken ore thus taking into solution the copper content. When the water reached the Mascott tunnel level it was collected and the copper content precipitated (inside the mine) by scrap iron and the water recirculated. This practice was highly successful, large amounts of copper being produced. For instance in 1927 production was 4,825,587 pounds of nearly pure copper. This operation was maintained till 1931 when the depression forced a shut down. The Ohio Copper property remained dormant till 1935 when a tailings retreatment plant was built at Lark. This plant was operating successfully in 1940." (The Economic and Social History of Bingham Canyon, by George M. Addy, December 1949 thesis, BYU)
Beginning in 1922, and continuing through 1931, Ohio Copper had an in-place copper leaching operation that applied water that was high in sulfuric acid to the surface of its workings in Bingham canyon, and which gathered the water in its mascotte tunnel, after its had percolated down through the copper ore body. The operation was shut down in 1931 when the amount of copper being recovered was not allowing economic recovery, due to low metal prices.
(Read more about Ohio Copper's leaching operation)
(Read more about Ohio Copper's in-place leaching, as part of the larger overall operations of Bingham's leaching and preciptation plants.)
Ohio Copper Shut Down
"An experimental plant equipped for leaching and flotation was built by the Ohio Copper Co. to test the large dump of low-grade copper tailings at Lark." (USGS, Mineral Resources of the United States, 1930, page 568)
Ohio Copper Co. closed its operations, which included its leaching plant at Lark. (Utah Copper Company Annual Report, 1931)
October 17, 1933
Ohio Copper sold portions of its holdings to United States Smelting Refining & Mining Co.
Upon his death on February 19, 1934, Charles A. Kittle was reported as being the president of Ohio Copper Company, and vice president of Bingham Central Railway, indicating that the two companies were closely associated. (New York Times, February 20, 1934)
Ohio Copper Company sold all of its surface rights and minerals rights above the Mascotte tunnel to Kennecott in 1937. Ohio retained its dumps and leaching plant at Lark, which were later sold to United States Smelting, Refining and Mining Company in 1950. (Arrington: Richest Hole, p. 88)
February 25, 1937
Utah Copper offered $600,000 for Ohio Copper's property in Bingham Canyon. Utah Copper needed the surface for railroad track right-of-way, and as waste rock dumping grounds for its open pit mine. A portion of the underground workings would be used for the proposed vehicular tunnel between Bingham and Copperfield. The vehicular tunnel would allow Utah Copper to close the county road at the bottom of Bingham Canyon. (Deseret News, February 25, 1937)
February 25, 1937
"Kennecott Copper Co. Makes Offer. -- New York -- Feb. 24. -- Kennecott Copper Corp., has offered to purchase from Ohio Copper Co. of Utah, a portion of its property containing low grade ore, Percy H. Kittle, president of Ohio, announced today in a letter to stockholders in which he recommeded approval of the purchase. The property in question has been delinquent in taxes for four years and will be sold to the highest. bidder in May if not redeemed. The Kennecott offer involved a payment of $600,000." (Los Angeles Times, February 25, 1937)
February 26, 1937
The law firm working for Ohio Copper company sent a letter to all stockholders asking for their proxy votes for a special stockholders meeting to be held on March 12, 1937. (Letter, Rogers & Whitiker, Counselors At Law, New York City; dated February 26, 1937, courtesy of Tim Dumas)
It is desired to get a proxy covering your shares in order that they may be voted at a special meeting of stockholders called to be held March 12, 1937 to approve the sale of a portion of the property of Ohio Copper Company of Utah to the Kennecott Copper Corporation for $600,000.
The Ohio Copper Company of Utah is many years in arrears in bond interest and several years in arrears in taxes.
The proceeds of the sale will free the Company of all debt, and put over $300,000. cash in its treasury.
The portion to be sold to Utah Copper Company is to enable that Company to build a vehicular tunnel.
Ohio Company of Utah will have remaining the Mascotte tunnel and a large portion of its property.
March 13, 1937
"Mr. Moffat's announcement [of the letting of bids for the Utah Copper Bingham-Copperfield vehicular tunnel] followed receipt of word from Augusta, Me., that stockholders of Ohio Copper company met Saturday (March 13, 1937) and ratified the recent sale of the company's property to the Utah Copper company. Ohio Copper company's property comprises 320 acres on the east side of Bingham Canyon, opposite Utah Copper company's open pit mine. The price was $600,000." "Ohio Copper company retains title to the property involved below the main haulage level. Ratification of the sale will provide the company with funds to carry out its announced program of retreating more than 5,000,000 tons of tailings from former milling operations." The original date of March 12th was changed to March 13th due to president Kittle's delay in flying from Salt Lake City to Augusta. (Salt Lake Tribune, March 15, 1937)
The sale was apparently made final on Wednesday March 31, 1937. (Salt Lake Telegram, March 31, 1937, "negoitations completed Wednesday")
June 29, 1937
Ohio Copper began construction of a new mill capable of processing 1,000 tons daily from the 5,000,000 tons of tailings of the mill that was "abandoned and dismantled in 1919." The work was to be completed by September 1st. The new mill, using a combination of precipitation and floatation, would produce concentrate that would be 22 to 23 percent copper. (Salt Lake Telegram, June 29, 1937)
(There was no apparent press coverage in available online newspapers of the completion of the mill.)
December 8, 1937
The Ohio Copper company and the Bingham Central Railway were sold at a sheriff's auction and foreclosure sale on the order of the Third District Court. The two companies were reorganized as a new company by the same name, Ohio Copper company. The value of the bonds sold at auction was reported as $3,298,327, on bonds of $975,000, but the sale was finalized at $72,774.
Upon his death on March 17, 1939, Donald G. Goss was reported as being a director of both Ohio Copper Company and Bingham Central Railway. (New York Times, March 18, 1939)
May 21, 1943
The following comes from the Salt Lake Tribune, May 21, 1943:
Several factors led to the leaching of the Ohio ore body in place. After the fire which destroyed the Ohio concentrator at Lark in 1918, a new flotation plant was constructed and completed in February, 1919, only to close the next month because of no market for copper. During these years the caving of large blocks of ore was the method employed to extract the ore from the mine. From 1919 to 1923, operations ceased except for experimental work involving leaching and mining methods.
In 1923 the first large scale leaching of Ohio ore in place was started. In 1926 extensive removal of overburden was done to permit better leaching of additional ore bodies. In general, the leaching method employed was to pump several hundred gallons of water per minute over the top of the caved ore body. This and several hundred gallons of water from other drainage would seep down through the ore and into the Mascotte or main haulage tunnel the Ohio company had acquired from Bingham Central railway in 1917. In addition, the mine drainage water below the Mascotte tunnel was pumped to surface in stages for distribution at points best suited for the leaching. The leaching water, after coming through the ore body, was put into launders in the tunnel where the contained copper was deposited on detinned iron scrap, a method which today contributes considerable copper to the Utah Copper company's total output. Much of the Ohio Copper ground above the Mascotte tunnel is now owned by the Utah Copper company.
In treating its tailings from former milling the Ohio Copper Company of Utah employs modified leaching in combination with flotation, an operation which is showing improved results each year. The company is currently building a leaching plant at the Big Indian copper property in San Juan county, Utah.
November 29, 1947
Ohio Copper closed its flotation concentration mill at the Big Indian mine near La Sal, Utah, due to high costs and low copper prices. (Moab Times Independent, December 4, 1947)
The mill had opened in 1943 first as an acid leaching mill to produce copper concentrate from low grade copper ore by use of acid. The mill operated until February 1944 when sulfuric acid became unavailable due to the war. A small (40 tons per day) crushing plant and flotation was installed to concentrate the low grade ore, but that plant closed in October 1944. The tests were a success and on January 3, 1945 a larger ball mill was installed and production increased to 150 to 250 tons per day. But the type of ore, and its low grade made profitable operation difficult. (Moab Times Independent, May 30, 1946)
The Big Indian mine and mill are located in the Lisbon Valley, 28 miles southeast of Moab, Utah, in Section 34, T29S, R24E. The mine was worked by underground methods and an acid leaching plant starting in 1918, and was converted to open pit operations after April 1943 when Ohio Copper bought its interest in the mine. Ohio Copper engineers had first visited the mine in October 1939.
May 14, 1948
Ohio Copper sold all of the equipment in its Lark retreatment mill, and its crushing and flotation concentrating mill at the Big Indian mine near Moab. The equipment was sold to Florence Machinery and Supply of Denver. (Salt Lake Telegram, May 14, 1948, "Just Purchased")
December 12, 1949
Ohio Copper Company of Utah filed for reorganization. The properties of the company included the Mascotte haulage tunnel, being operated for the benefit of USSR&M. The Ohio Copper company property was being operated by a leaser. (Salt Lake Tribune, December 12, 1949)
Bankruptcy and Sale
February 21, 1950
Ohio Copper Company of Utah declared a voluntary bankruptcy. The company had not paid any dividend since 1926. (Salt Lake Tribune, March 23, 1950)
United States Mining Company purchased the subsurface mineral rights of the Ohio Copper Company, along with the Ohio company's surface rights at Lark. (Billings, page 26)
January 22, 1951
The bankruptcy court ordered that the assets and property of the Ohio Copper Company of Utah be sold at auction. The company had attempted a reorganization, but was unable to meet the demands of shareholders of the current Ohio Copper Company, incorporated in 1916, or its predecessor company, the Ohio Copper Mining Company, incorporated in 1907. (Salt Lake Tribune, January 23, 1951)
April 30, 1951
The property of Ohio Copper company was sold by order of the bankruptcy court:
Notice is hereby given that E. C. Jensen, Trustee of the Estate of the Ohio Copper Company of Utah, on April 30th, 1951, at 2 o'clock, p.m., at the west front door of the City and County Building in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, will sell to the highest bidder all of the property of Ohio Copper Company of Utah. Said property consists generally of:
- approximately 115 acres of patented lode mining claims situated in West Mountain Mining District, Salt Lake County, Utah, excepting and excluding therefrom that portion thereof heretofore conveyed to Kennecott Copper Corporation and lying above a horizontal plane 50 feet above the present floor of the Mascotte Tunnel where said Tunnel enters the easterly boundary of the Henley Fraction Lode Mining Claim (Utah Copper had purchased all of Ohio Copper's assets *above* the Mascotte tunnel in 1937.)
- such right or interest as Ohio Copper Company of Utah may have in 102.64 acres of unpatented lode and placer mining claims in Lisbon Valley Mining District, San Juan County, Utah
- approximately 1800 acres of land embracing a tailings disposal area near Lark, Salt Lake County, Utah
- approximately 80 acres of land embracing the Lark Townsite area in Salt Lake County, Utah
- improved real estate consisting of a building lot with dwelling house situate thereon located at 1357 Third Avenue, Salt Lake City, Utah
- all mine buildings, shops, warehouses and similar structures located at or near Lark in Salt Lake County, Utah
- all right and interest of Ohio Copper Company of Utah in a certain haulage tunnel known at Mascotte Tunnel extending from portal at Lark, Utah, westerly through the Oquirrh Mountains, including easement and right of way, rails, overhead trolley, block signal, telephone system and all other equipment therein
- all transformers, generators, locomotives, ore cars, passenger cars, timber cars, compressors, receivers, hoists, drills, machines, pumps, blowers and miscellaneous railway and mining equipment
- all operating supplies and inventory and all miscellaneous office and automotive equipment.
- No bid less than $115,000.00 for the aggregate of all said property will be accepted. the said property will be sold in bulk in its entirety and not in separate parcels.
(The minimum bid price was set by the judge in the case, and was equal to the amount that had been advanced to the Ohio Copper company by United States Smelting, Refining and Mining for exploration in the Lark-Bingham mining district. This exploration was annnounced in February 1948 and was a "deep development" joint project of the Ohio and U. S. companies to explore the mineral deposits of the Ohio company at a much deeper level, at 1100 feet below the Mascotte tunnel, with the Ohio company taking whatever copper ore was discovered, and the U. S. company taking whatever lead-zinc ore that was discovered.)
May 1, 1951
USSR&M bought the assets of Ohio Copper Company of Utah, in an auction on the steps of the Salt Lake County courthouse. The U. S. company was the only bidder, and delivered a check in the amount of $6,092.75 as full payment of all fees and expenses of the tranaction. The final bid was $116,000, meant as minimum to cover the debt the Ohio company owed the U. S. company. (Salt Lake Tribune, May 1, 1951)
March 14, 1952
The Ohio Copper Company of Utah was dissolved as a corporation by order of the court, having disposed of all its assets. The account books of the Ohio Copper company were closed on April 16, 1951. (Salt Lake Tribune, March 7, 1952; March 30, 1952)