Copper Belt Railroad, Salt Lake Mining Review 1901

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The Bingham Smelter and Copper Belt Railroad

(Salt Lake Mining Review, February 28, 1901)

The issue of the Bingham Bulletin of February 15 contained an excellent description and illustrated article on the mines of the Bingham Copper company, and the new Copper Belt railroad, which, through the courtesy of Editor B. Graham, we are able to reproduce, as follows:

The Bulletin this week presents a photographic view of improvements at the main lower entrance to the Bingham Copper & Gold company's mines; also a view on the new Copper Belt railroad, which yesterday afternoon began delivery of Bingham ores from the bins at the upper terminal--connected by a 600-foot gravity tramway with the lower tunnel--direct to the smelter at Bingham Junction.

A couple of weeks ago reference was made in these columns to a visit to the Bingham C. & G. mines, and a few notes referring to their general character and promising outlook given. Speaking more particularly, notes made at that time show that the ore occurs in an east and west bedded vein in a limestone formation, having an average dip to the north of 45 degrees. The lime belt is about 300 feet wide from north to south, and bounded on either side by quartzite. There are four distinct ore chimneys in the Bingham mine, separated by fissures perpendicular to the strike of the bedded vein. These fissures frequently carry ores in paying quantities for considerable distances north and south of the bedded vein, but more frequently to the north.

The present openings in the Bingham mine consist of the upper tunnel, or old Commercial level, which has its opening near the Old Jordan and Galena mines; the 187-foot level, and the lower tunnel level, 500 feet on dip of vein below the upper tunnel level, while there are fifteen intermediate or sub-levels which have been driven preparatory to working the mine on the caving system.

The sulphide ores begin just below the upper tunnel level, and are continuous to the lower tunnel level. There is little change in the character of the ore from the upper level to the tunnel level, or as depth is gained, excepting that the vein is more regular, while the ores carry a larger excess of iron and a decided increase in gold values.

The Bingham C. & G. mines seem in shape for more than meeting expectations that during their development were expressed or implied by the management; and now that the new smelter in connection has exceeded anticipations, it can safely be predicted results to follow are to compare favorably with the work of the Highland Boy. The "Old Reliable camp" seems at length nearing a realization of the measure of prominence and prosperity to which its great veins of mineral entitle it.

The Copper Belt railroad, construction work on which was begun about the 1st of December last, was yesterday practically completed to its upper terminal at the Bingham Copper & Gold company's mines; so that a steel car, carrying fifty tons, was in the afternoon loaded direct from the mine ore bins. All-rail connection (including in this sense a 600-foot gravity tramway) is thus established via the Copper Belt and Rio Grande Western railroads between the Bingham mines and the new smelter.

The Copper Belt railroad is only about three and one-half miles in length, yet is a conspicuous monument to mining camp enterprise and hustle. It is substantially constructed, on a 6 to 7 per cent. grade, necessitating the use of Shea engines. The bed of the old Rio Grande tramway, widened for a standard gauge track, was utilized as far as Bear fork. The business of the road will be ore hauling and up-freighting exclusively, and its ultimate capacity will exceed 1,000 tons of ore per day. It is understood that when wanted it will be used for transporting ores from the United States company's mines, to be delivered to the elevated bins at the mouth of Bear gulch via tunnel and bucket tram way.