Boriana Mine - Mohave County

 

Where: Hualapai Mountains East of Yucca, Arizona

 

Travel Conditions:  2WD High Clearance Vehicle

 

Operation Dates:  1915 - 1980

 

Description:  The deposit was known prior to 1908 and produced comparatively little and was purchased by Harvey Klotsch and his son of Kingman. The mine was operated as the Yucca Tungsten Mine with production increasing when the price on tungsten rose to $125 per ton to support World War I.  The time between 1915 and 1919 marked one of the primary production periods of the mine and in 1918 it was one of Arizona's leading tungsten producers.  Also, during 1933-1937 it was the leading producer in Arizona and probably the second largest producer in the USA. Also operated 1951-1957 and 1979-1980.

 

During 1933 to 1937 the mine was operated as the Boriana Mining and Milling Company under the ownership of the Sievers family.  The mining camp began to grow into a community and a baseball team was organized.  They went on to play against other teams in the area including Oatman and Kingman.

 

By 1937, the Molybdenum Corporation of America began operating the mine and mill under a lease and bond arrangement.  Shortly of the start of operation under MCA, the mill was consumed by a fire and had to be rebuilt.  Work continued on the ore body in the mine while the new mill was being built and started production in 1939.  The operation was managed by H.L. Vetech who made advancements in the mill operations which caught the attention of Mining World and an 8-page article was published.  The advancement of greatest interest was the mills agitation flotation equipment.  These were called Vetech cells which required minimal power had low maintenance costs and did not clog upon shutting down.

 

In 1942 H.L. Vetech was no longer working at the mine and the production began to greatly decrease.  Production at the 150-ton mill dwindled to about 40 tons per day with the old drifts and winzes begging to succumb to age.  The mine began to struggle keeping skilled workers at war time wages leading to greater decline in operations.  In January 1943 the mine closed for refurbishment and the owners were actively looking for a buyer.  In December of 1944 the mine sold off some equipment and began to dismantle the mill ending the mine being stripped by 1945.

 

After 1945 some attempts were made at continued operation of the Boriana mine but none lead to a great deal of production.  The continued aging of the mine and having to transport ore at great distances due to no mill operations on site took its toll on the mine.

 

In 1987, Mark Chatman performed the Wabayuma Wilderness Study Investigation and concluded the mine was uneconomical to operate and most workings had succumbed to age, overtaken by water, or the remaining open areas were contaminated with hydrogen sulfide gas.  Thus ending the mining history of Boriana, the leading tungsten producing mine in Arizona and second largest in the USA.

 

Workings had amounted to 1,100 feet deep and included 9 levels plus 3 sub-levels. More than 15,500 feet of drifts. The 5th level was the main haulage adit.  The mine produced 98% of 120,413 short ton units of tungsten (WO3), which equals 2,400,000 pounds of tungsten (WO3).  The principal ore shoot on the West lode had been mined from surface to the 7th. level by June 15, 1941, with a stope length of 8,700 feet; similarly, on the East lode, an ore shoot with a stope length of 1,000 to 1,100 feet had been mined from above the 3rd. level to the 7th level.

 

What you will see today:  Today you will see old mine structures and concrete foundations used for the mining process.  Most of the wooden framing has fallen in on itself and many nails protrude from the old timbers.  It is interesting to walk amongst the ruins but caution is required as the wood is old and many nails protrude from the structure.  There is a small spring near the mine which feeds into a small pond with gold fish swimming in the clear water.  There are a couple wood structures in the area still standing.  There are large tailings piles around in the area.  From my observation, it appears that all mine openings are covered and filled in with dirt.  This is probably for the best due to the declining age and reports of the mines decline.  This is a great place to enjoy a walk and discover a part of the Arizona mining history.

 

Comments:  As at all old mining locations be very careful and observant to your surroundings.  Many conditions exist amongst the collapsed ruins that could make a day of fun turn out for the worst.  As always, be careful, take out what you bring in, and leave the place pristine for other who follow in your footsteps.

 

Minerals Mined: Tungsten, gold, silver, and copper

 

People: 

 

Acknowledgement:

www.mindat.org

www.mininghistoryassociation.org/Journal/MHJ-v10-2003-Dunning.pdf

 

Please take out what you bring in and leave places the way you find them for others to enjoy.

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