Utah Apex Mining Company
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This page was last updated on December 30, 2020.
The Utah Apex Mining Company was organized in May 1902 as a merger of the Copperfield Mining Company and the York Mining Company, working 33 claims on 254 acres. The Utah Apex absorbed the Highland Boy Consolidated, Petro, Minnie and Phoenix mining companies, which included the York, Copper Field, Petro, Highland Boy Consolidated (different from Utah Consolidated's Highland Boy mine) and Phoenix groups of mining claims. All claims were located on York Hill on Carr Fork in Bingham Canyon, adjoining the Utah Consolidated claims. The mine was primarily a producer of high grade lead ore, with considerable copper and silver and gold values. All ore had high iron content which made for low smelting costs. After the decline of the copper market in 1907, the mine was mainly devoted to silver-lead ore. In 1909 the Utah Apex had rebuilt its mill at the mouth of the old Phoenix tunnel, upgrading it to 200 tons capacity, with plans during 1913 to increase the mill to 350-tons capacity. Daily production in November 1913 was reported to be about 50 tons of silver-lead ore and 150 tons of concentrates, all being shipped by way of a spur on the railroad of Utah Copper Company. Utah Apex had earlier constructed a 3000-foot Bleichert aerial tramway to transport ore from its Andy tunnel to a loading station, but the tramway was not in use during late 1913. (The Copper Handbook, Volume 11, 1912-1913, page 927)
The following comes from the 1914 issue of Poor's Manual of Industrials:
Incorporated in May, 1902, in Maine, as a consolidation of Copperfield Mining Co., and York Mining Co. Has absorbed since organization, the Highland Boy Consolidated Mining Co., Petro Mining Co. and Minnie Mining Co. In December, 1908, purchased control of the Phoenix Mining Co. adjoining, and in January, 1910, purchase completed.
A 100 ton concentrating mill acquired by the Phoenix purchase, has been enlarged twice. Last enlargement, made in March, 1914, bringing capacity up to 400 tons daily. Property comprises 250 acres at Bingham Canyon, Utah.
Development is by ten adits, one vertical 500-foot shaft and two 1,000 feet incline shafts. Vertical extent of the workings now being 1,400 feet. The mine is equipped with electric haulage on the 700 and 1,000 foot levels, and the shipping bins, on the Bingham and Garfield Ry. are situated 500 feet from the portal of the 1,000 level adit.
In 1917 the Utah Apex company completed a large steel hoist on the ridge north of the mill in Carr Fork. The headframe and hoist were used for waste disposal from the Utah Apex mine, with the waste being disposed of at the opt levels of Cottonwood Gulch, north of the hoist and headframe. The vertical shaft that the hoist and headframe served, connected with the Paravenue tunnel thousands of feet below, allowing the hoist to also be used to move mined ore from one level of the underground mine to the transportation level of the Parvenue tunnel. The Utah Apex ore loadout was in the lower part of Carr Fork and was at the same level as the Parvenue tunnel, which itself was at the Utah Apex mill, in the town that most residents knew as Phoenix, named for the original Phoenix tunnel. The Utah Apex loadout was served by a spur of the D&RG railroad, and the sour later sold to Utah Copper's Bingham & Garfield railroad.
The Utah Apex was managed and promoted by Walter C. Orem, who in later years built the Salt Lake & Utah electric railroad that operated between Salt Lake City and Payson from 1914 to 1947. The Utah Apex mine, one of the most successful mines in Bingham, but the fortunes of the Utah Apex mine started to change in 1918 when the adjacent Utah Consolidated mine began encroaching on the Utah Apex ore body. There were several suits and countersuits, and both companies stopped their formal mining operations in 1920, while leasers continued to extract ore on a limited basis.
The court fight between Utah Consolidated and Utah Apex was one of the largest in Utah mining history and essentially broke both companies. Both mines remained largely closed throughout the 1920s and 1930s due to the combination of the court fight and low metal prices. In 1937 Utah Apex was merged with Utah Delaware (successor to Utah Consolidated) to form National Tunnel and Mines Company, a subsidiary of International Smelting, which in turn was a subsidiary of Anaconda.
The Utah Apex Mining Company was organized in May 1902 as a merger of the Copperfield Mining Company and the York Mining Company, working 33 claims on 254 acres. (The Copper Handbook, Volume 11, 1912-1913, page 927)
Utah Apex began shipping ore from the old workings of its predecessor companies; about 20-25 tons per day. (Deseret Evening News, October 31, 1904)
August 7, 1904
Utah Apex purchased the old Tilden tunnel, with its 275 feet of old workings, to serve as a new tunnel that will be extended 1,000 feet to cut into the old Minnie workings. The old Tilden No. 5 tunnel was the lowest of the Phoenix property. (Salt Lake Tribune, August 7, 1904)
(The old Tilden No. 5 tunnel became the later Parvenue tunnel.)
August 13, 1904
"The Utah Apex company has purchased a tunnel site from the Phoenix." (Boston Evening Transcript, August 13, 1904)
Late September 1904
Work began on Utah Apex's new long tunnel, to be driven 3,000 feet, meeting the ore bodies at 2,000 feet. Utah Apex was shipping three carloads per week from its various other workings. (Salt Lake Tribune, October 2, 1904, "Early in the week work was begun...")
October 8, 1904
The new long tunnel, known as the Parvenue Tunnel, was "under cover," meaning that work was progressing and the tunnel was completed to the point that timber bracing was needed. It was to be a long tunnel, intersecting the Utah Apex works at a length of 600 feet, and intersecting other Utah Apex ore bodies at intervals of several hundred additional feet. The compressor plant for the power drills being used, and the lower tunnel opening was located on the Parvenue claim, which was owned by the Utah Apex company. (Salt Lake Tribune, October 8, 1904)
(A "parvenue" is a person of low social standing who is suddenly promoted as a person of wealth; "nouveau-riche, upstart, pretentious. Making claim to or creating an appearance of (often undeserved) importance or distinction.")
November 6, 1904
Work was delayed on the start of the new long tunnel for Utah Apex, by the Phoenix saloon building being the site of, and in the way of the new tunnel's planned portal. (Salt Lake Tribune, November 6, 1904)
"Properties including the Highland Boy Consolidated (located north of the Highland Boy and Yampa on overlying calcareous members) and the Red Wing extension have been consolidated as the Utah-Apex. This ground is also being opened by a long crosscut tunnel, and recent work is reported to have disclosed ore which yielded good assays." (Economic Geology Of The Bingham Mining District, Utah, USGS Professional Paper 38, 1905, page 383)
October 28, 1905
The Utah-Apex was shipping about 50 tons of ore daily. A recent shipment of 70 tons assayed with values of .795 ounces gold and 17 ounces silver per ton. The ore was found to have 4.07 per cent copper and an excess of iron. "Good progress is being made on the long Parvenue tunnel, which will afford means of opening some big ore bodies at great depths, and with this working avenue completed the mine should rank among the heavy producers of the camp." (Salt Lake Tribune, October 28, 1905)
June 7, 1906
The Parvenue tunnel still had 1,000 feet to go before reaching Utah Apex ore bodies. (Deseret Evening News, June 7, 1906)
July 28, 1906
The Parvenue tunnel had reached a depth of 1,400 feet, with its purpose being to open up all Utah Apex ore bodies, and serve as the main working and transportation tunnel when completed. (Salt Lake Tribune, July 28, 1906)
October 2, 1906
W. C. Orem, manager of Utah Apex, reported that the new compressor had been installed. "It is a monster affair and took 24 horses to haul it up the canyon from the Rio Grande depot." The new compressor would support the use of 15 drills within the mine. "The aerial tramway to operate between the portal of the Andy tunnel and the ore bins built on the switch from the tracks of the Copper Belt railroad, is nearing completion. Upon completion of the tramway system the extraction of ore will be resumed and continued into the future without letup. (Deseret News, October 2, 1906)
December 30, 1906
Utah Apex "...has during the year built a new aerial tramway system, which it is planned to operate from the mouth of the Andy tunnel to the bottom of Carr Fork gulch. The tramway will run to a point at the bottom of the gulch, where it will be within working distance of the compressor plant. Here the company plans to erect its ore bins..." "In addition to the big tramway system the company has every assurance that during the present year a spur of the Copper Belt railroad will be built up to these bins, which will place the company in a position to have its ore handled at a much lower rate than it is at present. The company is shipping by teams to Bingham about 100 tons of ore daily." The Utah Apex is part owner of the Markham Gulch mill, under construction, where the mine will have its concentrating ores milled. The new mill was planned for completion in April 1907. The smelting ore will be shipped directly to a local smelter. (Salt Lake Herald, December 30, 1906)
February 1, 1907
"The Utah Apex Mining company, on Feb. 1, began the movement of ore over its system built between the mouth of the Andy tunnel and the ore bins situated in Carr Fork canyon. The installation of this ropeway removed the necessity of working ore teams over a grade not easily traveled in the winter time. Until the Parvenue or deep tunnel is completed all ore will come from the mine through the Andy tunnel and be transported over the tramway. Probably during the coming year a branch of the Rio Grande will be built to the ore bins, thus doing away with the necessity of ore teams entirely. A event of importance to the Utah Apex Mining company was the completion of the Markham Gulch mill towards the latter part of March. This plant was built by the Markham Gulch Milling company, the stock being owned jointly by the Utah Apex and Utah Development companies, both of which were under the management of Walter C. Orem. A few months ago, however, Mr. Orem resigned the management of the Utah Apex to give more attention to the development and operation of the Nevada Douglas Copper company's properties at Yerrington; but retaining his managerial supervision of Utah Development." (Deseret News, December 14, 1907)
February 4, 1907
The new tramway of Utah Apex Mining company went into operation. The tramway was 2,800 feet in length. (Deseret Evening News, February 5, 1907, "last night")
July 8, 1907
The new Parvenue tunnel of Utah Apex Mining company was 2,800 feet in length, and was 7 feet by 6 feet. (Salt Lake Telegram, July 8, 1907)
January 23, 1908
"The Utah Apex company owns 200 acres in the Bingham camp adjoining the Utah Consolidated property on the west. By the use of Parvenue tunnel of the Utah Apex company and drifting to the south, the Utah Consolidated could open its ore bodies to the west at considerable depth, which it is now unable to do except by driving a tunnel for a distance of 9,000 feet at great cost in time and money." As of late October 1907, the Utah Apex was still not shipping ore, or operating its mill. It was, however, employing a large force of men with development work. There were rumors that Utah Consolidated would purchase the Utah Apex, Yampa, and Phoenix properties. Utah Consolidated already had control of the Yampa, but did not own it completely. (Salt Lake Tribune, January 23, 1908)
April 27, 1908
The Parvenue tunnel had reached a depth of 2,600 feet, in a westerly direction. Utah Apex had not yet explored its ore bodies, but the adjacent Utah Consolidated and Yampa had both developed their properties at depth, and were both watching the progress of the Parvenue tunnel closely. The tunnel would provide excellent access to Utah Apex ore bodies, doing away with the expense of hoisting ore to the existing opening, and using the aerial tramway to transport the ore to the mill and smelter. A new contract was let to provide more powerful drills and would speed the completion of the Parvenue tunnel. Work had been stalled due to cost concerns of eastern investors. (Salt Lake Herald, April 27, 1908)
August 15, 1908
"After a shut-down of eight months, the Utah Apex has resumed shipping ore. Fifty tons per day is being shipped to Murray to the American Smelting and Refining company's smelter. A large body of ore has been blocked out and the bins are full to overflowing." (Salt Lake Tribune, August 15, 1908)
August 29, 1908
Utah Apex clerical staff would soon be occupying "comfortable" offices near the portal of the Parvenue tunnel. (Salt Lake Herald, August 29, 1908)
March 24, 1909
Utah Apex had "recently" purchased the Phoenix properties, and was using the Wall mill, and the Phoenix mill, which had been relocated at the mouth of the Parvenue tunnel. The Phoenix mill had a capacity of 200 tons per day. "A raise is being put up from the Parvenue tunnel to connect with the incline shaft of the [Utah Apex] mine, about 600 feet below the Andy tunnel." The Utah Apex was shipping about 150 tons of ore per day. About 50 tons was "first class" ore and went directly to the Murray smelter. The remainder was sent to the mills to be concentrated to 40 percent lead, 1-1/2 percent copper, and nine ounces of silver. (Salt Lake Tribune, March 24, 1909)
August 21, 1909
The raise from the Parvenue tunnel was completed, and the incline from the Andy tunnel was just 50 feet short of connecting. A new hoist would soon be installed. This would allow Utah Apex to ship its ore by dropping it 350 feet from the Andy tunnel to the Parvenue tunnel, saving transportation costs. A daily total of 250 tons was planned, and the new arrangement would save at least $1 per ton in costs. (Salt Lake Herald Republican, August 21, 1909)
October 7, 1909
The Parvenue tunnel face had reached an ore body with 50 percent lead, and it was believed that the main goal had been reached. (Salt Lake Herald Republican, October 7, 1909)
September 13, 1911
The Parvenue tunnel was about 1,000 feet vertically below the surface, allowing 20,000 to 25,000 tons to be removed so far from the mine. (Salt Lake Tribune, September 13, 1911)
November 10, 1911
Utah Apex had made an agreement with Bingham & Garfield railroad that would save 20 to 30 cents per ton, for the construction of a spur to access a new large ore bin, and directly load ore at the same level of the Parvenue tunnel, which was only a few hundred feet distant from the new ore bin. During the previous six months, Utah Apex had shipped 38,000 tons of ore. (Salt Lake Tribune, November 12, 1911)
January 3, 1912
The Parvenue tunnel was to be extended to the northwest into the old Phoenix workings. The tunnel was currently at 3,500 feet in length. An extension of 500 feet at 1,100 or 1,200 feet vertical depth would access ore on the other side of the fault that had limited the development of the Phoenix property. (Salt Lake Tribune, January 3, 1912)
April 2, 1912
The Parvenue tunnel of Utah Apex was to be converted to electric haulage, replacing horses. The tracks were in place, and orders for motors, wires, and other essential items had been placed. Work began on the conversion in late June 1912. The new electric locomotives were in service by mid July 1912, daily shipping 20 tons of first class smelting lead-silver ore and 145 tons of milling ores. (Salt Lake Tribune, April 2, 1912; June 29, 1912; July 19, 1912)
Throughout late November and early December 1913, the workings of the Utah Apex company were the site of the hunt for the bandit Raphael Lopez. During that time, miners refused to enter the workings for fear they might meet him and be injured. By late December, it was determined that Lopez had escaped thorough some other opening than the openings being protected by the sheriff and his deputies.
During 1914 and after, both the Utah Apex and the Utah Consolidated produced at very high rates and expanded their plants considerably both constructing mills and various other facilities. The Utah Apex was considerably hampered in the spring of 1917 by a severe mine fire but otherwise production was high till the depression of 1921 forced the halting of full scale operations however both operations did very well in the years following up to 1929 when both companies found it necessary to stop operations. (George M. Addy, "The Economic And Social History Of Bingham Canyon, Utah", BYU, 1949, page 72)
August 29, 1914
"Utah Apex (Bingham) -- New mill, which was designed for 350 tons a day, has been treating up to 425 tons, and is doing excellent work. Problem of tailings disposal has been solved by the purchase of land jointly with the Bingham-New Haven Co., which will accommodate tailings for a number of years. Earnings have been fairly good in spite of low price of lead." (Engineering and Mining Journal, August 29, 1914, Volume 98, Number 9, page 416)
September 19, 1914
"Utah Apex is working about as usual, treating 300 to 350 tons of milling ore per day, concentrating four or five into one, making 70 to 95 tons of concentrates. The company is also shipping about 100 tons of crude ore daily." (Engineering and Mining Journal, September 19, 1914, Volume 98, Number 12, page 547)
Apex Law Suit (1918-1922)
Utah Consolidated Mining Company filed a suit against Utah Apex Mining Company for encroaching its ore body. Utah Apex filed a counter-suit, alleging that the ore body in question, known as the Yampa limestone, was altered mineralized to the point that the "vein" was not continuous and extralateral rights did not apply.
The district court and the appeals court found in favor of Utah Apex. The result was an agreement in 1922 that Utah Consolidated would pay Utah Apex for the value of the ore already extracted.
Utah Apex and Utah Consolidated both shut down those areas of their mines that were subject to the suits and counter-suits. The shut downs continued until the U. S. Supreme Court found in favor of Utah Apex in March 1922.
December 13, 1920
Utah Apex shut down its mine, due to the low price of lead, high freight rates, and uncertain smelter contracts. Over 200 miners were out of work. (Ogden Standard, December 19, 1920)
April 3, 1921
Utah Apex and Utah Consolidated stopped shipping ore. Of 1,200 miners employed by both companies, only 75 remained on the payroll. (Des Moines Register, April 4, 1921; Los Angeles Times, April 4, 1921, with identical wording)
"The United States Mining company has continued to ship lead-zinc ore from Bingham, but the Utah Apex and Utah Consolidated mines, both large producers of lead, were closed." "Utah Consolidated Mining company, a producer of both copper and lead closed its mine at Bingham in February." "Utah Copper company which produces most of the copper in Utah, was active in January, February, and March of 1921, and produced nearly 24,000,000 pounds of copper, but the mine was closed in April." (Ogden Standard Examiner, July 13, 1921, citing a July 13 report by USGS, "Metal Output To Drop Low, Utah's Production This Year To Show Big Dropping Off")
November 1, 1921
A fire had been burning in the Utah Apex mine since 1917, but the area had been closed off to contain the damage. The fire had recently spread to more areas, including adjacent company's mines, and work was under way to close off those areas as well. (Ogden Standard, November 1, 1921)
After The Apex Law Suit
December 23, 1922
"The Utah Apex Mining Co., was organized under the laws of Maine in 1902. The claims of this company adjoins the Utah Consolidated property, and is one of the largest producers of lead ore in the state. Since resumption of work which stated in April of this year, after a fifteen months shut down, the weekly shipments average about thirty carloads. Although the prices of lead are now improving at the time the company resumed operations the lead market was far from satisfactory; but the advisability of starting work in advance of the other mining companies was to be able more advantageously to obtain the necessary labor for the operation of the mine. This mine is being economically worked under the able supervision of V. S. Rood. Mr. Rood is one of the superintendents of this great mining camp who knows one of its greatest problems, and that is the labor market." (Bingham News, December 23, 1922)
"The Utah Apex mill at Bingham, which formerly used jigs, tables, and flotation in the treatment of lead-silver ore, now crushes to flotation size in three stages—jawbreaker, rolls, and Marcy ball mill. Callow cells are used as primary roughers, making a finished concentrate, and the tailing goes to secondary roughers. The tables make a finished concentrate, a middling which is returned to the table, and a tailing which goes to waste. From a feed assaying 7.75 per cent of lead and 2.37 ounces of silver to the ton the recovery is 94.4 per cent of the lead and 90.6 per cent of the silver." (USGS 1924 Mineral Resources of the United States, page 485)
From 1926 to 1930, the Utah Apex was operated by leasers. In 1930 the mine was closed due to low metal prices. (Salt Lake Tribune, May 20, 1945)
Between 1932 and 1937 Utah Apex entirely discontinued company operations and produced entirely by leasing. In 1937 the apparent necessity of more economical production led the company to consolidate its holdings under the name of the National Tunnel and Mines Company for the purpose of driving a tunnel from a point near Tooele in order to drain the deeper workings of both mines thus avoiding much expensive pumping. (George M. Addy, "The Economic And Social History Of Bingham Canyon, Utah", BYU, 1949, page 72)
January 20, 1937
Merger talks were under way between Utah Delaware Mining company, a subsidiary of International Smelting and Refining company, and Utah Apex, owned and controlled by Boston interests. The merger would take place at the same time as the start of construction of the long-projected Bingham-Tooele tunnel. (Salt Lake Tribune, January 20, 1937)
By March 1937, Utah Apex was shown as a subsidiary of Anaconda Copper Mining Company. (Lewiston [Maine] Daily Sun, March 12, 1937)
March 12, 1937
National Tunnel and Mines Company was a merger of Utah Apex and Utah Delaware mining companies.
"UTAH MINING FIRMS AGREE UPON MERGER -- Utah-Apex, Utah-Delaware Plan To Resume Operations -- PORTLAND, Me., March 12. (AP) — Stockholders of the Utah-Apex Mining company voted here today to merge with the Utah-Delaware Mining company to form the National Tunnel and Mines company for operation of copper, lead and zinc mines in Utah and California." "Little more than an hour was required to effect the consolidation and elect officers under a previous joint agreement by respective boards of directors." "By the consolidation agreement, Utah Apex will be the surviving corporation, continuing under the name of the National Tunnel & Mines company. The new corporation will have authorized stock of 1,050,000 shares a without par value, 528,200 shares will be issued to the stockholders of Utah Apex in a share-for-share conversion plan. 328,000 will be issued to the holder of outstanding shares of Utah-Delaware, Inc., International Smelting and Refining company in conversion of a like number of fully paid and non-assessable share of Utah-Delaware now outstanding. The remaining 200,000 shares of the new corporation will be issued in conversion of a like number of partly-paid shares of Utah-Delaware Mining company, for which the Anaconda Copper Mining company has subscribed at the rate of $5 per share." "SHUT DOWN IN 1932 -- Properties of the two companies were shut down in 1932 because of the low price in metals." "The agreement proposed construction of a 22,000-foot drainage it and transportation tunnel through the joint properties." (Ogden Standard Examiner, March 12, 1937)
After Utah Apex
In August 1941, the Elton Tunnel opened as a way to transport the ore from the mines in Carr Fork, underground through the 4.5 mile tunnel, to a spur on the Tooele Valley Railway for shipment to the International smelter.
Anaconda In Utah -- Information about Anaconda and how in later years, after 1941, it operated the mines shown above, until operations were shut down in 1981.