United Park City Mines Company
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This page was last updated on December 31, 2020.
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In 1953, United Park City Mines Company was formed by consolidation of the Silver King Coalition Mines Company and Park Utah Consolidated Mines Company. By the 1960s, more than 90 percent of the district properties were owned by United Park City Mines Company and New Park Mining Company. In 1970, The Anaconda Company and ASARCO formed Park City Ventures and leased all mining properties of United Park City Mines Company in the district. After Park City Ventures ceased operations in 1978, Noranda Mining Company leased the Ontario mine from 1979 to 1982, and was the last company to operate a mine in the district.
On March 3, 1953, the consolidation of Silver King Coalition Mines Company and Park Utah Consolidated Mines Company was approved in special meetings of each company's shareholders. (Spokane Daily Chronicle, March 4, 1953, "yesterday")
May 8, 1953 is used on real estate legal documents as the transfer date of property from Silver King Coalition Mines Company, to United Park City Mines Company.
United Park City Mines Company was incorporated in Utah on May 13, 1953 (Utah corporation 28666), with Anaconda and American Smelting, Refining & Mining Company having controlling interest. The two companies each had two directors, of a total of seven (later, six) directors of the joint venture. From 1953 through 1970, the focus was on mining, with a small side line of a small resort developed in late 1963, that included nineteen ski runs, an aerial gondola, a ski lift, and a nine-hole golf course.
With the 1953 merger of the region's two largest mining companies, the Park Utah Consolidated (which included the pioneer Ontario claim) and the Silver King Coalition, forming the United Park City Mines Company, UP's business in Park City was greatly diminished. Although organized in 1953, the only work being done was tunnel extension and development work. According to the September 23, 1954 issue of the Park Record newspaper, actual mining began in that month. The Silver King Coalition's ore loading station was closed, and the "Park City Con Spur" in Deer Valley was abandoned and removed in 1954. Almost all rail traffic, except the occasional carload from the Park City truck dumps, was focused at the Ontario mine opening at Keetley on the Ontario Branch, which had been completed in 1923.
On September 9, 1954, United Park City Mines announced that production would resume at its Park City properties. The company was to employ 80 to 100 men, working in the old Ontario property. Production was expected to start within ten days to two weeks, and reach 6,500 tons per month within 60 days. About 200 men were expected to be working soon, at which time, production will be about 250 tons per day. The men entered the mine, and the ore was to be shipped, through the Keetley unit. The old Silver King property was to remain quiet in the near future. The mines had been shut down due to uncertain metals prices, and uncertainty concerning lack of political support on the national level for support of a strong domestic lead-zinc mining industry. (Park Record, September 16, 1954; September 23, 1954)
United Park City Mines Co. merged with Daly Mining Co. on June 28, 1957. Daly Mining Company was incorporated in Utah on November 22, 1884, and along with the old Ontario Mining Co. pioneered in development of the district. By mid April 1957, United Park City Mines owned 91 percent of Daly Mining Company, and a special stockholders meeting was scheduled for May for a proposed merger. The merger would unify ownership of the Ontario Drain Tunnel No. 2 by eliminating large numbers of leases and operating agreements. The United Park City properties completely surrounded the Daly property, and would allow extension into productive areas of the main Ontario drain tunnel controlled by the Daly company. The meeting for stockholders of the Daly company was held on May 21, and for the United Park City company on May 28. The Daly meeting was delayed because of a lack of two-thirds votes, as required by law. The Daly meeting was held on June 25th. The merger was finalized on June 28, 1957. (Park Record, April 18, 1957; June 27, 1957; Utah corporation 241)
McFarland & Hullinger were contract operators and truckers from the Tooele area, and by 1956, had been hauling from Park City area mines "for several years." Work resumed during early April 1957, after a shut down during the winter. Trucks were "hauling the dump at the Ontario mine to the loading platform in the Union Pacific yards." (Park Record, December 13, 1956; April 11, 1957)
In May 1958, hauling of the old Ontario dump resumed. The dumps were being hauled by truck to the railroad cars on Union Pacific, and were being used as flux at the Garfield smelter. (Park Record, May 22, 1958)
On October 12, 1958, in a New York Times article about the declining lead and zinc mining industry in Utah, mention was made that "Engineers are surveying this week the long idle aerial tramway of the Silver King Coalition Mines. They are seeking to determine if the 7,000-foot-long canyon-spanning cable way can be used to haul skiers and sightseers rather than high grade lead, zinc and silver ore which once flowed from the surrounding Wasatch Range." (Park Record, November 6, 1958)
In late 1958, lead was selling for 12.5 cents per pound, and zinc for 11 cents per pound, but 17-cent lead and 14.5-cent zinc would be better for local mines, and allow more exploration and development, resulting in more employment. (Park Record, November 6, 1958, citing the New York Times, October 12, 1958; additional commentary concerning metal prices and long-range mineral policy is in Park Record, March 27, 1958)
During early January 1960, McFarland and Hullinger were using three 15-ton trucks to haul the waste dumps from the Daly No. 2 mine above the Ontario, along Park City's Main Street to be loaded into Union Pacific railroad cars and shipment to Kennecott Copper for use as flux ore. The trucks were making six trips each day and had started up again after stopping in August. During the week between January 7th and the 14th, the trucks loaded 19 rail cars. (Park Record, January 7, 1960; January 14, 1960)
The Park City mines were producing high value ore that contained lead, silver and gold. Known as galena ore, the busy mines included the United Park City Mines Company, which shipped 34 rail carloads during March 1960. The other operators included McFarland & Hullinger, who shipped 30 carloads, and the Mayflower lease, which shipped 15 carloads. (Park Record, April 7, 1960)
McFarland & Hullinger continued loading Union Pacific cars through July 1960, when 30 cars were loaded in one week, a rate that continued into November when 30 cars per week was also being loaded. The trucks usually stopped during the winter months due to bad roads, but as spring arrived, the trucks would resume hauling sand and flux ores to be dumped into the cars of Union Pacific and shipped to Kennecott's smelter at Garfield, and the International smelter at Tooele. (Park Record, various issues throughout the 1960s, under the irregular heading "Shipping, Sales At Park Mines")
The other mines continued to ship ores by rail as late as the early 1960s. There are newspaper accounts, in the form of regular weekly reports of mining activity, saying that 10-20 cars were shipped from various mines in any given one week period. The Ontario mine continued to ship material from its mine dumps above Park City throughout this same period. While the mine dumps were not high grade ore, they worked very well as what was known as flux-ore, a product needed by the smelters to balance the ores they were processing from other mines throughout the region, which included Nevada and Idaho. The Ontario dumps were trucked from the mine site down Park City's Main Street to a truck dump built for the purpose, and located about 300 yards north of the landmark Silver King Coalition building.
During December 1964, "Utah's United Park City Mines are shipping a car-load or so of silver-lead-zinc ore each day." (New York Times, December 10, 1964)
By 1965, United Park City Mines was shipping 33 cars per week from the Keetley site, but Hecla was only shipping five cars per week from the Mayflower. (Park Record, May 6, 1965)
In late April 1968, mining resumed at the mines of United Park City Mining Co., following a 8-1/2 month strike by workers at Kennecott's operations in Utah, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico. The strike was honored by workers at the all of the western smelters, including the United States lead mill at Midvale, where the Park City company was sending its ores, and the International smelter in Tooele where the Park City concentrates were smelted. (New York Times, April 7, 1968, "within two weeks")
In 1970, Park City Ventures was organized as a joint venture by Anaconda (60 percent) and ASARCO (40 percent) to lease and operate all of United Park City's mining property and equipment, with Anaconda and ASARCO receiving two-thirds of the net mining profits, and United Park City the other one-third. The Ontario mine had 500 miles of drifts (horizontal shafts) and raises (vertical shafts). Anaconda authorized Park City Ventures a $17 million investment to close other openings and open a No. 3 shaft south of Park City. Production from the new opening was projected to begin in April 1975, producing 250,000 tons per year and employing 300 miners.
June 18, 1970
The following comes from the Deseret News:
In order to place the company's 98-year-old mining operation on a more profitable basis, the company entered into an agreement and lease as of April 15,1970, with Park City Ventures. Park City Ventures is a partnership of Anaconda Co. and American Smelting and Refining Co. The proposed lease running from Aug. 1, 1970, to Dec. 31, 1995, requires Ventures to spend at least $2.5 million on exploration and development on the Park City mining property during the first two years of the lease. Thereafter, $250,000 must be spent annually. Ventures will pay a quarterly royalty of a third of the profits from the mine operation.
Anaconda and ASARCO own approximately 30 per cent of the United Park City stock. They have indicated they will vote their share in accordance with the vote of the majority of the other stockholders, according to the proxy statement issued by the company.
The proxy statement also calls for a vote on an agreement made May 28, 1970, giving an option to Treasure Mountain Resort Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Street Development Co., Inc., to purchase some 4,200 acres of Park City area property suitable for resort and recreational development for $5,450,000, to lease from the company approximately 6,110 acres of property for the development of ski lifts and runs and to purchase water rights for $500,000.
September 21, 1970
The following comes from the Rocky Mountain Oil and Mining Journal:
Before the turn of the century, the old Ontario No. 3 shaft produced millions of dollars in rich lead, zinc and silver ores. Now, after 20 years, the Ontario shaft is taking a new lease on life. It will become the production shaft for the Park City Ventures.
Ventures is a new consortium of the Anaconda Co. and the American Smelting & Refining Co., which has agreed with United Park City Mines Co. to undertake a major exploration and development program on the UPCM property. Part of the venture involves rehabilitation of the Ontario shaft as the nucleus for overhaul of the current mine transportation system and a new exploration and development program.
The Ontario will be taken down to the 2,200 ft. level. There it will connect via existing levels to the current No. 6 main operating shaft, which starts at the 1,500 ft. level and drops to the 2,300 ft. level. Then the venture will prospect northwesterly from the Ontario shaft to the Spiro Tunnel. The connection will be somewhere in the current location of the Spiro Tunnel underground mining museum, now a popular tourist attraction.
Venture crews have moved in a 80 ft. high steel head frame from which hoist cable and digging equipment will be lowered into the shaft.
Until the new opening for Park City Ventures was completed, and during the development phase, miners entered the mine at Keetley and traveled by rail a distance of 13,000 feet to the new deposits. The vertical No. 3 shaft was first opened in about 1900 as a ventilation shaft, and was being considerably expanded and improved to serve as the headquarters and primary center of future operations. Improvements include new steel supports down to the current 1,700-foot level, with the shaft to be extended down to the 2,200 and 2,500-foot levels. The Ontario mine was to be connected with the Silver King mine by a new 7,200-foot tunnel to allow access to additional known ore reserves, bringing the total miles of the connected mines to about 1,000 miles of tunnels and shafts. The present operating shaft at Keetley, used since 1894 primarily as a drain shaft, was to be abandoned. (Deseret News, November 17, 1973)
As an indication of the continuing mining traffic coming from Park City, in one week in mid March 1970, United Park City Mines shipped 22 carloads of ore over Union Pacific from the loading station at Keetley. (Park Record, March 19, 1970)
March 27, 1971
The following comes from the Salt Lake Tribune:
The company [United Park City Mines] got into an entirely new operation in 1970. Park City Ventures, a joint venture of the Anaconda Co., and American Smelting & Refining Co., took over operations in August, 1970. And with that, the emphasis was changed from production to one of exploration. development of new targets and improvement in mine operating facilities.
-- Extension of known ore zones to greater depths by developing a new lower level from the internal Ontario No. 6 shaft.
-- Development of similar geologic objectives near the historic old Ontario No. 3 shaft.
-- Development of favorable area in the Judge Mine and Silver King properties.
-- New, larger mine cars have been purchased.
-- Pumping capacity was increased three times by installation of new pumps.
-- The Ontario No. 3 shaft is being rehabilitated from the surface to the present Ontario No. 2 tunnel haulage level.
"We visualize the eventual location of all shop and office facilities at the surface collar of this shaft," Mr. Romney said.
"The hoisting of ore and waste materials some 1,500 to 2,200 feet vertically to the surface will eliminate the present time-consuming and expensive three- to five-mile underground haulage system," he said.
There is a major change for the resort activities. As previously reported that operation was acquired this Feb. 16 by Treasure Mountains Resort Co., a subsidiary of Royal Street Development Co. in a $5.5 million deal.
In early November 1971, Anaconda announced that it would be closing its lead smelter at Tooele, and one week later, the United States company announced "phased shutdown by year's end" of its lead smelter at Midvale. With the closing of the Midvale and Tooele plants, several mines in Utah, including the United Park City mine at Park City and Keetley, were faced with having to ship their raw ores to either the ASARCO and Bunker Hill smelter at Kellogg, Idaho, or to the ASARCO smelter at El Paso, Texas. All of the mines faced likely shutdown due to the high cost of transportation, and the low market value of lead, zinc and silver. Hecla Mining Company was already sending its ore from the New Park mine at Mayflower to ASARCO at El Paso. (New York Times, November 27, 1971)
Mining ended at the re-opened Ontario mine in December 1971, due to the closing of the United States smelter in Midvale, and the Anaconda smelter in Tooele. Exploration and development work continued, with a tripling of known underground reserves of lead-silver-zinc ore. (Salt Lake Tribune, January 13, 1973)
June 10, 1972
In a New York Times article from June 1972, the Anaconda Company is shown as holding 21 percent of United Park City Mines common stock, and American Smelting & Refining Company is shown as holding 14.5 percent. (New York Times, June 10, 1972)
August 29, 1973
The following comes from the Provo Daily Herald:
Anaconda Co. and American Smelting and Refining Co. have announced plans for a $17 million mining and milling operation here that will increase its work force from 100 to 350. Park City Ventures, a joint operation of Anaconda and ASARCO, said Tuesday it would resume mining operations at the Ontario Mine of the United Park City Mines Co. The firm will also build a new mill on the site of the old Ontario No. 3 mine dump. The mill is scheduled for completion in 1975 and will be able to handle 700 tons of ore each day.
Miles P. Romney, president of United Park City Mines, announced earlier this year the discovery of new ore bodies in the mine. Park City Ventures leased the property and Clark L. Wilson, Anaconda manager for Utah, said Tuesday, an exploration and development program tripled the lead-zinc and silver reserves of the mine. The estimated annual production of the new operation is 43,000 tons of zinc concentrate, 25,000 tons of lead concentrates and 1.2 million ounces of silver.
Mining activities in this now popular ski resort had dwindled to almost nothing in recent years. Only 100 miners are now employed by United Park City Mines, which is partly owned by Anaconda and Asarco. Ore from the mine was once shipped to a United States Smelting Refining and Mining Co., mill in Midvale for concentrating and then to an Anaconda-owned smelter in Tooele. Both the mill and smelter closed two years ago because of economic conditions.
September 13, 1973
The Ontario mine "is operated by Park City Ventures, a partnership owned 60 percent by Anaconda and 40 percent by American Smelting and Refining Company (Asarco). Earlier this week, the two companies announced plans to deepen the mine shaft to the 2500-foot level and construct a 700-tons-per-day floatation concentrator." (Wasatch Wave [Heber], September 13, 1973)
November 17, 1973
The following comes from the Deseret News:
Anaconda officials were obviously impressed recently by the lead ore samples they viewed taken from the mine. Consequently, they approved a $17 million improvement and expansion project to relocate mine headquarters to the No. 3 shaft, south of Park City, and add new facilities. Mining officials have estimated that about one million tons of ore is presently ready in the Ontario and waiting for processing. When the mine swings into full operation, April 1, 1975, the company expects to process 250,000 tons per year. About 300 more miners will be employed.
Meanwhile, the mine will remain the in the development stage. That is, about 100 miners are taken by rail 13,000 feet into the Keetley mountain daily to search for new deposits. Once ores are uncovered — at various points in 500 miles of drifts — they are left unworked. That is, until 1975. In preparation for 1975, two operations are being conducted simultaneously at the mine: above ground and underground.
First, the underground development is taking place — which consists of "mucking," a process of digging out worthless rock and hauling it to the surface — preparing the mine for production. This process is continuous, even while in production, to keep the mine going for years. Secondly, above ground construction is underway about two miles west of Keetley, over the mountain, at No. 3 shaft, for the new headquarters, a hoist building, warehouse, maintenance shops, and a concentrator.
"The vertical shaft No. 3 was once used as the operating shaft for miners around the turn of the century. It's now being reworked and will again serve as the operating shaft in 1975, when the headquarters is relocated here." said Niles J Andrus, Ontario resident manager. "The shaft is being refurbished with steel sets (supports) where necessary to the 1,700-foot level below surface. Eventually, the shaft will be operational to the 2,200 and 2,500 foot levels," Andrus pointed out.
The present operating shaft, dug at Keetley and completed around 1894, primarily as a drain shaft, will be abandoned. "Eventually, the Ontario will be connected with the Silver King Mine in Park City, which will allow us to get at undiscovered ores there." Andrus continued. "When the 7,200-foot gap between Ontario and Silver King drifts are closed, there will be nearly 1,000 miles of underground workings around Park City — all interconnected," he added.
March 7, 1974
Construction of the Park City Ventures concentrator mill was approved by the Summit County Planning Commission. "Construction of the plant will include a total plant site consisting of seven buildings. Total cost of the project was set at approximately $1.1 million dollars. According to the Park City Venture officials approximately 300 men will be employed at the plant site and when it is in full operation it will make Park City the major zinc producing area in the state. Permission to proceed with construction of the plant site received a unanimous vote of approval from the commission." (Park Record, March 7, 1974)
May 22, 1974
"Mr. Niles Andrus, President of Park City Ventures, was present to inform the [Park City] Council as to the mining company's plans for the hauling of mine concentrates to a railcar loading site. Negotiations are underway with the Union Pacific Railroad and Pressure Vessels Company to route State Highway 224 along the railroad's right of way which runs almost parallel to Park Avenue. The highway would be utilized in the trucking of concentrates to the proposed loading ramp to be located east of lower Park Avenue. The specific site of the loading area has not yet been determined due to rail grade and railcar loading restrictions." (Park City Coalition, May 22, 1974)
June 12, 1974
"One of the current problems faced by Park City Ventures is the construction of a road over which the concentrates will be hauled from the mill. The company, the city, the State Department of Highways, and the railroad are all in favor of constructing a highway on the site of the railroad tracks which run almost parallel to Park Avenue. The sole dissenter seems to be the Pressure Vessel Company. This firm wants the availability of the railroad, even though only two cars have serviced them in the last five years. Plans call for the mining of 1,000 tons of ore a day, five days a week. The proposed mill will be capable of treating 750 tons a day but will operate seven days a week. This rate of production will mean the shipping of 200 to 300 tons of concentrate everyday." (Park City Coalition, June 12, 1974)
June 19, 1975
The management of the Park City Ventures mine and mill was reorganized to "assure more rapid achievement of their production goals, which have been falling behind schedule since the mill began production in May." (Park Record, June 19, 1975)
September 25, 1975
Park City Ventures began hiring additional miners in January 1975, as the mine moved from development and exploration to production. By September 1975 the company was employing 250 people in its mine. (Park Record, September 25, 1975)
(There were two wildcat miner strikes at the Ontario mine in late 1975, and the mining company was fined $140,000 for two discharges of mine tailings into Silver Creek during May 1975 due to a broken pipeline that ran from the new mill, down canyon to Richardson Flat.)
March 23, 1976
The new 800-tons per day mill produced 19,900 tons of concentrate from May 1975 through the end of the 1975. Anaconda sent its 60 percent share to the Bunker Hill smelter in Kellogg, Idaho. Asarco sent its 40 percent share to its East Helena, Montana, smelter. The zinc concentrates were shipped to National Zinc company at Bartlesville, Oklahoma. The concentrates generated $5.4 million for the company, which was reported as being only "break-even" due to the high costs of starting a new mill. (Salt Lake Tribune, March 23, 1976)
March 31, 1977
Park City Ventures' Ontario mine was not producing enough ore to run the mill at full capacity, and the company was having to buy lead-silver-zinc ore from mines in the Bingham district. The mine and mill were employing 110 miners and 270 support personnel. (Park Record, March 31, 1977; August 17, 1977)
January 14, 1978
"Park City to Halt Operations at Mine -- Park City Ventures announced it would suspend its lead, zinc and silver mining and milling operations at its Ontario mine in Park City, Utah, by Feb. 15. Park City Ventures is a joint undertaking of the Anaconda Company, the mining and metal fabricating subsidiary of the Atlantic Richfield Company, and of Asarco Inc. Park City said operations at the mine were being suspended because of reasons that have made the existing operation unprofitable for some time." (New York Times, January 14, 1978)
February 15, 1978
After spending $30 million since 1971 to expand and develop the property, and only selling $5 million in concentrates by 1976, Park City Ventures shut down the Ontario mine. Its revenues simply could not pay off the large debt that had been incurred. The cost of mining in difficult rock conditions, together with more water problems than anticipated, made the cost of mining too high to continue. Gross income from the Ontario mine during 1976 was $8 million, and the cost of operation was $10.7 million, resulting in a $2.7 million loss to the company. A total of $6.7 million was lost during 1977. It was reported that $30 million had been invested in re-opening the Ontario mine, exploring for new ore reserves, and building the new concentrating mill. The old No. 3 ventilation shaft had been cleaned out and rehabilitated down to the 2000-foot level, and the shaft extended down to the 2400-foot level, along with the mine being developed at the 2400-foot level to allow for production mining. The water problems at depth were causing rapidly raising costs, together with difficult mining conditions known as "squeezing ground" that resisted control by steel and concrete lining structures. At its peak, the mine had 350 workers on its payroll. A skeleton crew of 25 workers would be retained as part of the $1.25 million in planned annual maintenance costs to keep the pumps running and the tunnels and shafts drained. The Keetley drain tunnel was at the 1500-foot level, and it was reported that if the pumps were turned off, or stopped working, the mine would quickly fill with water from the 2400-foot level, up to the 1500-foot level. (Park Record, January 18, 1978; Sat Lake Tribune, March 29, 1978; Park Record, August 31, 1978)
In addition, the change in parent companies, from Anaconda, to Atlantic Richfield in January 1977 brought with it a change in vision and mission at the very top. Atlantic Richfield management never did understand the difference between drilling for oil (and selling the associated petroleum products), and mining for metals. Operating metal mines, mills and smelters was different that drilling oil wells and selling gasoline, with different timelines for a return on investment.
The lease to Park City Ventures was turned over in 1979 to Canadian mining company Noranda, Inc., and the Ontario mine was reopened. The mine's new life was short, however, and Noranda closed the mine on April 9, 1982.
April 26, 1979
Noranda Exploration, and its subsidiary Noranda Mines of Toronto, took an option to lease the Ontario mine. They had until August to decide to excercise the lease. Noranda paid $300,000 to Park City Ventures for the right to explore and examine the mine. At the end of a three-month period, Noranda would pay an additional $200,000 to excercise the option. The lease was to last for three years, at $1 million per year. (Salt Lake Tribune, April 26, 1979; May 31, 1979; August 22, 1979)
August 22, 1979
Norada excercised the lease, which took effect on August 22, 1979. (Salt Lake Tribune, August 23, 1979)
January 29, 1982
Noranda Mines closed the Ontario mine due to "depressed metal markets and sagging corporate revenues." The 48 workers were laid off, effective January 29th, leaving 40 employees to maintain the mine. (Park Record, February 4, 1982)
April 20, 1982
Noranda Mines shut off the pumps, and abandoned its lease of the Ontario mine. (Deseret News, April 15, 1982; Park Record, April 22, 1982)
August 16, 1989
"Until 1982, the company and its predecessors had been mining in the Park City Mining District for more than a century. The company founded the Park City Resort in 1962. It disengaged from resort participation in 1976. In 1985, Loeb Investors, New York, acquired the former 33.4 percent position of the Anaconda unit of Atlantic Richfield Co., and Asarco Inc. in United Park City Mines. For three years the firm has been in litigation with the Park City and Deer Valley resorts, claiming a variety of transgressions including violations of fiduciary trust, misstating of lift revenues and misappropriation of the firm's land and water. A state district judge recently dismissed defendants' motions to disqualify the company's counsel on allegations of conflict of interest. Defendants are now seeking review of the district court action by the Utah Supreme Court." (Deseret News, August 16, 1989)
United Park City Mines remained in the mining business, through the leasing of its mines until August 1985, when they sold their mining interests, and became a real estate development company operating in the Park City district. In February 2002, United Park City Mines Company was purchased by Capitol Growth Partners, a Utah real estate developer.
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