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This page was last updated on December 6, 2018.
(This is a work in progress; research continues.)
Because of the growing production of the Bingham mines, along with other mines throughout the territory, and with the construction of the Bingham Canyon & Camp Floyd, the Galena Silver Mining Company began construction, in late 1872, of a smelter near the Bingham Canyon & Camp Floyd's crossing of the Jordan River. (Reeder, p. 152)
The earliest smelters at Midvale (known then as Bingham Junction) were the Galena, built in late 1872 to early 1873,
The United States smelter at Midvale processed copper from 1902 to 1907, and processed lead from 1905 to 1958. The plant continued milling and concentration of lead ore from 1958 until 1972 when the International lead smelter at Tooele was closed.
From EPA documents describing the history of Midvale smelter sites:
The history of ore processing activities at Midvale covers a period from 1871 to 1971. Five lead and copper smelters operated during that time. The earliest record of a lead smelter built on the sites was that of the Sheridan Hill Smelter, which was constructed by J. W. Kerr and Isadore Morris in 1871 to treat ores from the Nepline Mine at Bingham. The smelter was located just south of the Midvale site of the United States Smelting, Refining and Mining Company (USSRM) smelter. When operations failed at the Sheridan Hill Smelter, the property was acquired by James Carson and Thomas Buzzo who enlarged the smelter and renamed it Galena Smelter. Carson and Buzzo also extended the Smith Stewart ditch by approximately 10 miles to transmit water used to generate power for the smelter. The ditch was renamed the Galena Canal. At the turn of the 20th century, these smelters became known as the Old Jordan Smelting Works, which were replaced by more modern facilities. The smelter site was later acquired by United States Mining Company for construction of their smelter. During that time, Midvale was known as Bingham Junction since it was located at the railroad junction of the line to Bingham Canyon Mining District.
In 1900 and 1901, Bingham Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company constructed a 250-tons per day semi-pyritic copper smelter at Midvale. The smelter treated ores from Bingham Canyon, and rapidly expanded until it was processing about 1,000 tons per day by 1907.
In 1902, United States Mining Company started operation of its 1,000-tons per day capacity copper smelter south of and contiguous to the Bingham Consolidated Smelter to treat copper ores from the company's Bingham and Tintic properties. The United States Mining Company smelter was located on the site of the Old Jordan Smelter Works. By May 1902, the United States Mining and Bingham Consolidated smelters were the second and third largest copper smelters in Utah, respectively.
The changing mineralogy of ore from the United States Mining Company mines warranted an addition of a lead section to the smelter at Midvale. Construction of the new addition was completed in January 1905. In 1906, USSRM acquired the United States Mining Company along with several other interests.
By the summer of 1906, four smelters of substantial capacity were operating in the Salt Lake Valley: two at Midvale and two at Murray. In 1907, the smelting volumes of the Bingham and the USSRM copper smelters were both 1,000 tons per day.
Prevailing north and south winds in the valley resulted in concentrations of sulfur oxides and arsenic fumes from the smelters that severely damaged crops in the Salt Lake Valley. After a series of unfruitful meetings between the farmers and smelter management, a suit was filed in the United States District Court of Utah. The subsequent trial resulted in a verdict against the four smelter companies. A decree was subsequently entered on November 13, 1906 perpetually enjoining the smelters from roasting or smelting sulfide ores containing over 10 percent sulfur. The Bingham Consolidated and Utah Consolidated Copper Smelter consequently ceased operations in 1907. The USSRM smelter discontinued its copper smelting at that time. USSRM continued operation of its Midvale lead smelter due to the lower sulfur content of the lead ore.
The USSRM lead smelter continued to operate over the next 50 years. It was expanded and modified as economics and technologies changed. A lead refinery was added in 1933. Arsenic, zinc, copper, silver, and cadmium were also recovered from the complex ores and concentrates obtained from across the western United States. During World War II, substantial tonnages of arsenic trioxide were produced for the United States government to be used as herbicides. Some of the arsenic was produced from the roasting of arsenopyrite from the Gold Hill District in western Utah. Finally in 1958, the Midvale lead smelter closed due to foreign competition and depressed metal prices.
Two Midvale copper smelters treated high-sulfur ores from Bingham Canyon. Both the United States Mining and Bingham Consolidated smelters used blast furnaces for copper ore smelting. High-sulfur ores were roasted, emitting sulfur oxides and fumes. The roasted and sintered calcines were then smelted in the blast furnaces, forming a copper-iron-sulfur matte and slag. The slag from the blast furnaces was disposed of on the slag piles, and the matte was treated, ultimately forming a blister copper. The blister copper would be shipped for further processing at a copper refinery eventually producing a useable copper product.
Ore from the USSRM mines, the Old Jordan, and Galena began to show elevated zinc concentrations, which interfered with the lead ore smelting. Consequently, the company developed a process to remove the zinc from the lead ore prior to smelting. Not only did these modifications enhance the lead recovery of zinc-rich lead ore, but also it resulted in the ultimate recovery of zinc as a byproduct. Later, froth flotation was used to separate lead-, zinc-, and iron-rich concentrates from the complex ores.
The United States Smelting Refining and Mining Company was organized in 1906 to acquire the United States Mining Company, operating in Bingham, Tintic and California and to acquire other mining interests in Mexico and Nevada. The Company's first managing director Albert F. Holden.
United States Smelting Refining and Mining Company was also the parent company of Utah Railway, a coal-hauling railroad in Carbon and Utah counties, along with United States Fuel Company, which owned the coal mines in Carbon County served by Utah Railway.
Early Midvale Smelters
Sheridan Hill Mining and Smelting Company, incorporated in the State of New York.
The earliest record of a lead smelter built at Midvale was that of the Sheridan Hill smelter, which was constructed by J. W. Kerr and Isadore Morris in 1871 to treat ores from the Nepline (Neptune?) mine at Bingham. The smelter was located just south of the Midvale site of the United States smelter. (Oquirrh Mountains Mining and the Environment by Eva J. Hoffman, U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, Denver, April 21, 2005)
(The EPA Superfund web site places the location of the Sheridan Hill smelter as 7500 South and 200 West.)
(Billings shows that the Sheridan Hill smelter was built in 1873.)
The following comes from "Department Of The Interior, Statistics And Technology Of The Precious Metals," 1885, page 409:
The Sheridan Hill Mining and Smelting Company, which failed in 1876, had their stacks on the Jordan river, and worked the Neptune and Kempton, Wall Street (now Northern Chief), and the Damn Fool (now Bonanza). These mines were discovered about 1872, and were vigorously worked in 1874, 1875, and 1876. Their total product for these years is estimated at over $800,000. Since that time but little profitable work has been done.
February 24, 1873
"The Sheridan Hill Mining and Smelting Company was incorporated in the State of New York with an initial capital of $600,000 on February 24, 1873." "The company was established to mine ores found in the Sheridan Hill Mine and to smelt that ore and other purchased ores from nearby mines." (Charles Hughes, "The Development of the Smelting Industry in the Central Salt Lake Valley Communities of Midvale, Murray, and Sandy Prior to 1900," 1990, page 60)
"The Sheridan Hill Smelter began smelting operations in September 1873. Only two furnaces were in operation on this date." (Charles Hughes, "The Development of the Smelting Industry in the Central Salt Lake Valley Communities of Midvale, Murray, and Sandy Prior to 1900," 1990, page 61)
October 19, 1873
"Salt Lake, October 18. -- The First National Bank has attached Saturn and Sheridan Hill Mining Co.'s furnaces and Camp Floyd mill. Work will be carried on as usual under the charge of officers. An immense quantity of bullion is locked up and in consequence there is a lack of currency. Silver is selling at less than 70 cents per ounce. General depression in mining circles. Trains are running on the Bingham Canon narrow gauge railway." (The Des Moines Register, October 19, 1873)
November 24, 1873
"Sheridan Hill Company -- Sheridan Hill Smelting Company, West Jordan, are having two additional large smelting furnaces constructed. Schoenberg brothers are the managers of this company." (Deseret Evening News, November 24, 1873)
April 16, 1874
Morris & Evans, contractors, were set to build a reverberatory furnace for the Sheridan Hill company at West Jordan. The same company was already building a similar reverberatory furnace for the Winnamuck company in Bingham. (Deseret Evening news, April 16, 1874)
The Sheridan Hill Smelting Company began operations in March 1874. (Charles Hughes, "The Development of the Smelting Industry in the Central Salt Lake Valley Communities of Midvale, Murray, and Sandy Prior to 1900," 1990, page 60)
June 26, 1874
"Neptune and Kempton. -- We learn that Dr. Bredemeyer has been engaged to take charge of the workings of the Neptune and Kempton mine, Bingham, and that he will enter upon his new duties this morning. The hoisting works at the mine mentioned, in the Herald a short time ago as being erected, have been completed and are now working satisfactorily. About forty tons of f ore daily are being mined with twenty-five men, but the force is soon to be increased. The company have just secured the services of one of the most experienced furnacemen in the country, Mr. A. Arents, to take charge of their smelter - the Sheridan Hill." (Salt Lake Herald, June 26, 1874)
July 1, 1875
"The Sheridan Hill smelters have started up, indicating immediate work on the Neptune and Kempton mines." (Real Estate and Mining Gazette [Salt Lake City], July 1, 1875)
The Sheridan Hill smelter was still in operation in October 1875, when a spontaneous strike took place by smelter workers. (George M. Addy, "The Economic and Social History of Bingham Canyon, Utah, Considered With Special Reference to Mormon-Gentile Synthesis", 1949, page 107, citing Deseret News, Weekly edition, October 25, 1875)
January 5, 1876
"Edward Balbachs & Son have commenced an action in Utah courts, against the Sheridan Hill Mining and Smelting Company and others to foreclose a mortgage given to secure the payment of $100,000." (Nevada State Journal, January 5, 1876)
March 18, 1876
"A suit for foreclosure of mortgage brought by the creditors of the Sheridan Hill Mining Company, comes on in a fortnight. This involves the ownership of the Neptune and Kempton mine in Bingham, and the Sheridan Hill Smelting Works on the Jordan." (Engineering & Mining Journal, March 25, 1876, page 294)
October 21, 1876
Nine men were arrested for rioting at the Sheridan Hill smelter, in reaction to a new manager not agreeing to limit them to an eight-hour work shift due to the harmful effects of metallic fumes at the smelter. Each was fined $500. (Deseret News, October 21, 1876; November 1, 1876)
January 1, 1877
"The Sheridan Hill Smelter is situated at West Jordan on the Bingham Canyon railroad, and is built on one of the most eligible sites to be found in the country, with an ample and inexhaustible water-power privilege. It is understood to be the property of three Salt Lake gentlemen, it having fallen into their hands on a mortgage from the original owners. It is a good piece of property, and with some needed repairs and improvements in the style of the furnaces, it would rank among the best smelters of the country. Yet it has done, with its three stacks running only a portion of the time, a good year's work. Giving employment to an average of twenty men the entire twelve months, and it has turned out 173 car lots of base bullion of eleven tons to the car, worth, according to Superintendent Rumfield's calculation, $2,000 to the car load, or total value of $346,000." (Salt Lake Tribune, January 1, 1877)
August 21, 1877
"The Sheridan Hill has been idle for months." (Due to the low price of metals?) (The Inter-Ocean [Chicago], August 21, 1877)
November 3, 1877
"The Sheridan Hill Mining and Smelting Company, owners of the Neptune and Kempton mines in Bingham Canon, is another of the good properties which has become bankrupt by official mismanagement and incapacity. When a change was made in the direction, it was already too late, and last spring it "passed in its checks" to its creditors. The smelting works are idle, but the mine is being worked by Jackson & Co., lessees." (Engineering and Mining Journal, November 3, 1877, page 333)
(A review of available online newspapers shows no more references to the Sheridan Hill smelter after November 1877.)
(By July 31, 1881, the Neptune and Kempton mines were shown as being part of the Jordan group. -- Salt Lake Herald, July 31, 1881)
The location of the Galena smelter on the Jordan River was where, in late 1872, the Bingham Canyon & Camp Floyd crossed the Jordan river, and continued eastward to connect with the north-south line of the Utah Southern railroad at Sandy. In 1881, the point was where the north-south line of D&RGW crossed the east-west line of BC&CF, and it then became known as Bingham Junction, and later as Midvale.
Work started on the smelting works of the Galena Silver Mining Company, located where the Bingham Canyon & Camp Floyd Railroad was to cross the Jordan River on its way between a connection with Utah Southern at Sandy, and the mines in Bingham Canyon. Surveying work for the railroad had begun one month previously in November 1872. (Clarence A. Reeder, "The History Of Utah's Railroads, 1869 - 1883, Chapter 5, citing the Salt Lake Tribune, December 10, 1872)
"The Jordan mine is the oldest in the canyon and was purchased by J. W. Kerr & Company, who, in 1872, erected the Galena Smelter. Later the property in Bingham and Midvale was bought by Carson and Buzzo who constructed a 12-mile-long wooden flume, at a cost of $120,000, to furnish water power. After the Galena Silver Mining Company became the owners, they built the Galena Smelter on the Jordan River and, in 1877, sold the property to the Jordan Mining and Milling Company." (Daughters of Utah Pioneers, Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 7, p.88)
November 26, 1873
"Extensive Works. -- Carson & Buzzo are making some very extensive improvements at their smelting works, near West Jordan Bridge. Buildings are in course of erection there 290 feet long by 40 feet wide, for storing fuel and for reverberators for calcining the ores. Another building is also being put up which will be 160 feet long by 36 feet wide, and in which there will be six smelting furnaces. A flue 150 feet long and chimney stack over sixty feet high are already completed. The other additions and improvements will probably be finished within two or three weeks. These are the largest smelting works in Utah. Morris & Evans are the contractors who are putting up the buildings. Carson & Buzzo are the proprietors of very rich mines in Bingham." (Deseret News, Weekly edition, November 26, 1873)
March 5, 1874
Carson & Buzzo had contracted for the construction of a canal from a point on the Jordan river, to their furnaces, a distance of nine miles. The canal was to be completed by June 20th, and "will give the company water power equal to 500 horsepower, with which to run the machinery of their thirteen furnaces, to be erected immediately." The cost was reported as being $35,000. (Salt Lake Herald, March 5, 1874)
March 14, 1874
The water power from the canal, 9-1/2 miles, would be sufficient to smelt 200 tons per day. (Salt Lake Tribune, March 14, 1874)
April 16, 1876
The Jordan mine was producing 400 tons of ore per month. The Jordan and Galena smelter at Bingham Junction was running with three furnaces. (Salt Lake Herald, April 16, 1876)
January 1, 1877
"The Galena Smelter is situated at the same place as the Sheridan Hill and almost joins it on the north. This smelter, which is now in the hands of Captain Selfrdge, has seven furnaces. Three of them have been leased to L. E. Holden, who has torn out the old stacks and is replacing them with others of an improved pattern. They will be ready to fire up early in the spring. Of the four remaining stacks, two , and some of the time, only one is kept running, but they are large and of sufficient capacity to reduce all the ores the company may desire to handle during the coming season. In the last year 235 carloads of base bullion, or 2,470 tons, of an average value of $1,600 per car load, have been produced from the yield of the Jordan mine and custom ores from the Cottonwoods and Bingham." "The Jordan company have in connection with the smelter, a sampling mill, where they have sampled every fifth sack of the 12,0350 tons of ore ran through their smelter in the past year, as well as having much work of the same character for other parties. At present they sample about 300 tons each month, including that which they purchase for their own use. The business is under the able supervision of Captain Selfridge, who is running the concern to win, while Mr. G. P. Lockwood is in charge of the smelter and the gang of workmen, some thirty in number." (Salt Lake Tribune, January 1, 1877)
March 7, 1877
"Prof. Holden, however, has not limited his efforts to mining alone, but proceeded on the hypothesis that what man dare he can do. Last fall he leased a portion of the Galena smelter on Jordan, and engaged Mr. Longmaid to put up three new wrought iron water jacket furnaces, which have recently been fired up on Old telegraph ore, with sufficiency of flux, and it is found to work admirably. The great difficulty in smelting Utah ores has been to avoid blowing the profits out of the stack, which has been done in the form of dust carrying about twenty per cent of the value contained in the ores. High blast and lack of fume condensers have caused the ruin of quite a number who have engaged in the smelting enterprise in this Territory. But the Old Telegraph chief, with an eye single to economy, says it is cheaper to run many furnaces with a low blast, little dust and less waste, than to scatter the profits of the business to the four winds of heaven through a single smoke stack. Hence he has leased the entire Galena smelter and will immediately commence the erection of three more furnaces, all for the reduction of ore from the Old Telegraph." (Salt Lake Tribune, March 7, 1877)
Bingham Consolidated Smelter
Bingham Copper & Gold Mining Company started construction on its Midvale smelter in October 1899. (USGS Professional Paper 38, p. 254)
Construction of the Bingham Consolidated smelter was completed in January 1901, with test runs begun on January 15th. Full production began on January 31st. The new railroad was not yet complete, so the mining company was shipping ore from the mine to the smelter in what was called "a steady stream of wagons". To get the smelter into full production, in addition to their own ore, the mining company used custom ores from the Grand Central and the Tesora mines in Tintic, along with reprocessing the slag dumps from the old smelters at Stockton. Pending completion of the company's Copper Belt rail line, the mine began shipping its sulfide copper ore to the smelter by wagon and team. (USGS Professional Paper 38, p. 254) The new smelter was adjacent to the Rio Grande Western mainline at Midvale.
The expansion of operations for Bingham Consolidated brought other changes. In May 1902, a year after the Copper Belt railroad in Bingham Canyon was brought under the mining company's control, the smelter was expanded to allow the production of lead. (Hansen, p. 273)
In his History of Bingham Mining District, Thomas Billings wrote:
The Bingham Copper and Gold Company was organized in December 1898 to work the carbonate and oxidized ores of the Commercial Mine which under the ownership of the Bingham Gold Mining Company was exploited for oxidized gold ore and treated by the cyanide process without success. Under the new ownership extensive exploration at depth was carried on and the results led to the construction of a semipyritic smelter in 1901 at Bingham Junction, now Midvale, Utah. This smelter went into commission in November 1902, originally built with a capacity of 1,000 tons for treating copper ore and in 1905 a plant of 400 tons capacity for treating silver-lead ores was added on a tract of land adjoining on the north the United States Company smelter. The Brooklyn and Dalton Lark properties acquired by this company in 1901 were unwatered by the driving of the Mascotte tunnel and shipments from these holdings commenced in 1903. These with increased productions from the Commercial mine and contracts for the treatment of the Boston Consolidated Stewart mine production and the copper concentrates from the Utah Copper porphyry operation necessitated additional furnaces and converters. Also, with the development of silver-lead ores in the Dalton Lark group, a lead furnace was added.
Bingham Consolidated began shipping copper sulfide ores from its former Brooklyn property. (Economic Geology of the Bingham Mining District, USGS Professional Paper No. 38, 1905, page 381)
December 24, 1907
Bingham Consolidated closed its Salt Lake valley smelter.
When it opened in 1901, Bingham Consolidated's smelter was the second copper smelter in the Salt Lake City area. Its fires "will be extinguished within the next few hours." The Utah Consolidated's Highland Boy smelter had been the first copper smelter (opened in 1899), and the United States smelter was the third. Judge Marshall's decree was to take effect on January 6, 1908, shutting down all smelters in Salt Lake Valley due to sulfur and arsenic emissions causing damage to farmers' crops. (Deseret News, December 24, 1907)
(Additional information about the Salt Lake valley smelter smoke case can be found in Michael Church's excellent article "Smoke Farming: Smelting and Agricultural Reform in Utah, 1900-1945" in Utah Historical Quarterly, Volume 72, Number 3, Summer 2004)
(Although there was very little coverage in the local newspapers, the smelter smoke suit likely included a financial settlement for the farmers from the smelting companies. This sudden financial drain was likely the cause of the failure of Bingham Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company in late 1907. Or, maybe the company declared bankruptcy to avoid having to pay any such settlement. More research is needed.)
United States Smelter
May 21, 1901
The board of directors of the United States Mining Company voted to begin construction of a 1,000-ton smelter. (Salt Lake Mining Review, May 30, 1901)
United States Mining Company completed its smelter in Midvale in November 1902. (Hansen, p. 274)
March 7, 1903
The United States Smelting Company was incorporated in Maine on March 7, 1903. The corporation was "revoked" in Utah on January 30, 1920 after the assets of the smelting company were absorbed into USSR&M in January 1918. (Utah corporation, index number 4172)
January 1, 1905
"In addition to this copper smelter, which has been in operation for over two years, a lead smelter, with a capacity of handling nearly 400 tons of lead ores daily, is now nearing completion, and will probably be blown in within the coming month. It is composed of three stacks of an estimated capacity of 125 tons of ore a day each. The arrangement for handling ores, fluxes and slags and the feeding is by an electric system. This equipment also includes ten roasters." (Salt Lake Herald, January 1, 1905)
March 9, 1906
United States Smelting Refining and Mining Company, incorporated in Maine, was filed as a corporation in Utah on March 9, 1906. (Salt Lake Tribune, February 23, 1907; Deseret News March 9, 1906, "today")
At Salt Lake City the company owns a plant of eight furnaces for the reduction of copper ores and six furnaces for the reduction of lead ores. At Bingham, the company owns all the extensive holdings usually designated as the United States Mining properties. At Tintic is the Centennial-Eureka mine, the ores of which are about equal parts gold, silver and copper, and in which it is estimated there are blocked out ores of a net value of $10,000,000. (Salt Lake Tribune, February 23, 1907)
After the settlement of the smelter suit in 1907, in which several area farmers sued the smelters at Midvale and Murray over crop damage from sulfuric acid emissions, the smelters either closed or changed their operations. United States Mining Company closed the copper portion of its Midvale smelter and Bingham Consolidated closed its Midvale smelter completely due to smoke litigation (sulfur fumes from smelting of copper sulfide ores). (Hansen, p. 274; Kennecott Historical Index)
March 7, 1907
For the United States company, the changes were so extensive that they organized a new company to fund the changes in its Midvale smelter. The new company, named United States Smelting Company, was organized on March 7, 1907 as a new subsidiary of the larger United States Smelting, Refining & Mining Company. (Utah corporation files, index 4172)
January 28, 1908
The copper smelter of the United States Smelting Refining and Mining Company at Midvale ceased operation on January 28, 1908. It was the last of three smelters affected by smoke litigation in Salt Lake Valley. Ore for the smelter was being furnished by the Centennial-Eureka mine at Tintic at the rate of 250 tons per day. With the closure of the copper smelter at Midvale, 200 tons per day would be sent to the United States smelter at Kennett, California, and 50 tons per day would be sent to the Yampa smelter in Bingham Canyon. (Deseret News, January 28, 1908, "tonight")
March 23, 1916
USSR&M was listed on the New York Stock Exchange for the first time "Today." USSR&M was the second largest smelting company in the United States, and was organized in 1906. (New York Times, March 23, 1916)
During 1931, the Midvale smelter of United States Smelting, Refining and Mining company received 750 tons per day from the company mines at Bingham, including 400 to 450 tons per day from the U. S. mine, 100 to 150 tons per day from several leasers of U. S properties, and more than 200 tons per day from the Lark mine. The smelter also received tonnage from mines at Park City and Tintic, as well as mines in Colorado, Idaho and Nevada. The total amount of ore received at the smelter was between 900 and 1000 tons daily. (Ax-I-Dent-Ax, September 1931, page 27)
Utah's three big smelters at Murray, Midvale, and Garfield were closed by a 150-day strike that was settled on June 30, 1946. (Murray Eagle, June 20, 1946)
June 25, 1952
United States Smelting, Refining and Mining Company celebrated the 50th anniversary of its Midvale smelter:
Built originally as a copper smelter, the Midvale plant began operating in 1902, smelting copper ores from United States Mining company at Eureka and Bingham Canyon, Utah. two years later development of lead ore bodies in the company's mines at Bingham Canyon led to the construction of lead smelting facilities at the same plant site. This construction was started in 1904 and lead smelting began in 1905. Operations have been practically continuous since that time. Copper smelting was discontinued in 1908 and that section of the plant was subsequently dismantled. (Murray Eagle, June 27, 1952)
U. S. Smelting closed its lead smelter at Midvale and contracted all of its lead smelting operations to Anaconda's International Smelting Company at Tooele. At the same time, International stopped milling and concentrating lead-zinc ore at its Tooele plant. The United States company continued the milling and concentrating of lead-zinc ores at Midavle along with those of the International company. The announcement was made on Monday June 16, 1958. (Deseret News, June 17, 1958; December 10, 1958; November 5, 1971)
By late 1958 there were only three lead-zinc-silver (known as galena) mines active in Utah: the United States mine at Lark, and the United Park City and New Park City mines at Park City. There was no mention of Anaconda's Carr Fork mine which shipped the ore from its underground mine in Bingham Canyon, to the International smelter at Tooele by way of the Elton Tunnel. (New York Times, October 12, 1958)
July 4, 1960
The stacks of the Midvale smelter were brought down by the use of explosives at their bases, making the stacks collapse to the ground.
January 1, 1965
The property where the lead smelter had been was sold. "Purchaser was Valley Materials Corp., a new Utah corporation owned by Beloit Pipe & Dredge, Inc., Beloit. Wis. The smelting company sold slightly less than 500 acres of land in the transaction. The price of the property was reported as a little over half a million dollars. The smelter was closed down July 1, 1958, when smelting operations were combined with the smelter at Tooele as an economy measure. Neither plant could be kept running full time and it was found to be more economical to operate one plant than two. Following the closing of the plant, most of the buildings were razed and three huge smokestacks were toppled as the site was cleared for future development by a new business. Since then, the property has been up for sale as a unit, and USSR&M gave no consideration to offers to purchase small portions of the acreage. (Midvale Sentinal, January 1, 1965, "this week")
By the year 1967, the concentrator section at the International smelter had been shut down. The United States company had been shipping concentrates from its mill at Midvale to the International smelter for smelting. By that time, the International smelter was the only lead smelter in the state. (Utah Mining Industry, Utah Mining Association, 1967, page 81)
USSR&M closed its Lark mine, and its Midvale mill and concentrator. The concentrate was being shipped to the International smelter near Tooele. (Deseret News, November 12, 1971)
May 2, 1972
United States Smelting, Refining & Mining Company announced that it would change its name to UV Industries, Inc., its symbol on the New York Stock Exchange. The company was becoming more diversified and the name no longer reflected its "principle interests and direction." (New York Times, May 3, 1972, "yesterday")
The United States smelter site at Midvale, along with the United States Fuel mine at Hiawatha, and the Utah Railway, along with other assets, were sold by UV Industries to Sharon Steel Company. UV Industries had been holding talks earlier with Reliance Group, but those talks broke down. A group of railroad employees had hoped to be able to buy the railroad. The announced sale brought those hopes to an end. (Deseret News, November 27, 1979)
EPA proposed adding the Midvale smelter site to its National Priorities List (Superfund).
April 17, 1987
United States brought suit against Sharon Steel for it to clean up the Midvale smelter site. Opening arguments were heard on April 10, 1987. A week later, Sharon Steel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. (United States v. Sharon Steel; Deseret News, April 18, 1987, "yesterday")
April 17, 1987
Sharon Steel declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy. (Mueller Industries, SEC Form 10K, 1993; Wall Street Journal, July 19, 1988, p. 10)
The bankruptcy of Sharon Steel was intended to shield the company's assets from the liability of the Midvale smelter site being designated as an EPA Superfund (National Priorities List) site.
The Midvale smelter site was completely fenced as a restricted zone, to prevent public access due to health concerns.
February 14, 1991
EPA added the Midvale smelter site to its National Priorities List (Superfund).
Work began to clean up the Midvale smelter site, and adjacent slag disposal areas.
July 14, 1992
The federal EPA approved the demolition of the smelter buildings, situated on 270 acres of land. Work to start by the end of July. The site had been sold to Mining Remedial Recovery Company. (Deseret News, July 14, 1992)
Additional research finds that Mining Remedial Recovery Company had its corporate offices in an agent/broker office in Tucson, Arizona, but the Arizona Corporation Commision, a state agency, showed its street address as Martin, Utah. The same address held the local offices of Mueller Industries, the corporate remains of Sharon Steel, which itself had been United States Smelting, Refining & Mining, the smelter's original owner. Mueller Industries was the parent company of Utah Railway, and what was formally United States Fuel Company, owner of the coal mines served by Utah Railway.
Midvale City annexed a portion of the smelter site as part of redevelopment efforts. Over the following years, other annexations took place as developers presented their plans for successful redevelopment.
The 262-acre former USSR&M site at Midvale, most recently known as the Sharon Steel smelter site, was set to be sold to a developer in February 2004. That developer was planning on building 1600 homes, condominiums and apartments, with possible some office buildings on the site. The Sharon Steel site was noted as being bounded by 7800 South Street on the north and 8400 South Street on the south, and by the Jordan River on the west and Midvale's 700 West Street on the east. The adjacent slag dumping site, located across 7800 South to the north, and extending further north to 6800 South, had been renamed Bingham Junction. The 300-acre Bingham Junction site was set to be developed with a combination of retail, residential, commercial, office, and mixed-use development. (Deseret News, January 31, 2004)
August 29, 2006
The cleanup of the Midvale smelter site was removed from the EPA National Priorities List. It was added to the list in 1991, and after 17 months and $17 millions, on August 28th, at a ceremony attended by state, county and city officials, a ribbon cutting was held to mark the removal from the list in July 2006.(Deseret News, August 29, 2006)
The former Midvale smelter site is former EPA Superfund site that has been successfully cleaned up, and is in the midst of extensive development as an important residential and commercial center, right in the center of Salt Lake Valley.