Monday, July 18, 2011

Hard Mine

Joe Ryan with hazard notice.

Monday 18th July 2011.

Hard Mines

An archaeological walk of the Ute Ulay mine with Liz Francisco, Bureau of Land Management, Gunnison Field Office.

Not a complete account: Human entrophy set in…

Hot day, scorchio. 11 am meet at 'Moose'.

Grant says ‘ Put sunscreen on’ ‘Drink plenty of water’. Liz says ‘Hi, I’m Liz’ and the adventure begins.

WARNING: Hanta virus, DEADLY mouse droppings, cyanide, lead, asbestos, cadmium, did I forget something.

Illegal dumping by unknown suspect(s)

Full steam ahead after Brunot Treaty in 1873, but without the steam.

Almost continuous use 1873 - 1912, high quality Silver and Lead, some Gold and Zinc before 1900’s.

12 MILLION $$$$$$$$$$$$

Historical integrity of buildings lost after layers of development, like a cake. At 50 years archaeological significance begins. Must strip back for integrity.

Listed as historical site? No, well, maybe.

Environmental Status? BLM capped 5 ‘tailings’ , the ones not on private property. The rest: slurry pits, mountains of ‘tailings’ remain.


3 hold mine, shaft head, Sheave wheel, Ford tractor driven. Hoist up and down

1926 Red Wood Water tower storage tank, SUPER COOL . Unique. Later metal additions, not 50 years old….


Surface tram, too steep for animal power. Mine no: 1: 1890 -1904 other 3 concurrently mined 1870 – 1880’s.

Tipple – cart loading bay.

Grizzle - Slatted metal platform sorts ore into grades.

Waste tracks

Carcass of Coal fired boiler - massive heap of coke.

Metal pieces of unidentified machinery strewn about, good elevated view of mine site.


3 buildings, 2 old log constructions and ‘dunny’ for 4. Intimate. Good view of hills.

Newer bunk house. 1970’s lounge chair covered in dust and cobwebs.

Crossing road…..Rain,: shelter in 1960’s buildings. Blacksmiths….engine room?

1874 Hydro electric dam, decommissioned in 1951, Flume broke down, or the wooden structure holding it up disintegrates?

Flume feeds water tank, metal pipes drive turbines to power the mill. Completed in 1882. Hydro powers town too.

After this diesel engine powers new mill.( huge) Inaccessible but with pretty exterior detail of pressed copper(?) hold on tarp in grid formation. Diametric wooden slatted construction.

Bunk houses. Assay office. Smelting for value.

Crushing plant, dust, froth floatation tanks, mixed with mercury, slime, squeeze out water, dry and smelt.

Car, home, tired. Thunder storm.

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