The Golconda Mineral property is a large-scale gold mining site in the high mountains of Colorado. The main access portal sits at 12,377’. The property has an established Forest Service Road which leads to the main mine camp. The property consists of 7 lode mining claims, for a total coverage of 140 acres. The last documented work carried out at the property was in 1981 when a bypass tunnel was cut to intercept the original workings which were blocked by ice.
An existing notice of operation is in place and will transfer with the property. This permit will allow for property access and underground access for initial testing and development.
A BLM funded stabilization of the old Bunkhouse and the blacksmith shop was completed in 2015. The site is registered on the National Historic Register, which does not preclude any mining operations but will require care being taken to safeguard and not disturb the historic buildings.
The historic designation has no impact on the mine or the mining activities in the region. However, the historic infrastructure speaks volumes about the output and development of the property.
There is extensive information and details regarding use of the bunkhouse and the workshop. The information that can be learned from this is invaluable. The bunk house is noted in many documents and facilitating up to 100 workers. This would be in shift rotations most likely, with beds being shared on off-shifts. The volume of work being done with a crew of 30-35 miners working round the clock shifts defines the actual returns that were made from the mine. Salaries, food, drink and other requirements would be extremely expensive. This workforce and the mine were well equipped with the latest and most modern equipment. The mine was generating a sufficient income to cover these expenses in addition to shareholder distributions. For the years, the mine was operational, Golconda Mining Company reported profits above and beyond all the costs.
A county maintained, 4WD road leads to the site and has been recently improved. It is possible to navigate full size trucks to the site, but the road is narrow and there are some off camber sections on the initial ascent. There will be wet years when the snow does not melt, and the road will not be open unless cleared by the mine owner.
There are 7000’ of documented, subsurface, drift workings, many of the tunnels have their own names, but they are all noted to interconnect. At current, only the new (1977-1981) Golconda portal provides access. The company working the mine at that time, found it faster and more efficient to cut a new drift through rock than to try and cut through the ice dams in the main drift. This portal is bulkheaded and gated and is not accessible to the public.
The largest impediment to the development of the operation is the climate and the environment. The mine is located at 12,400’. Weather is an issue and small storms can stall on the high mountain valley and drop up to a foot of snow on the site while Lake City, just 18 miles away is still dry and sunny. With that in mind, it doesn’t snow underground, and a properly prepared operation should have no major issues with the weather.
The Golconda is one of only two locations in the district that produced native Gold, native Gold being more valuable as it can be processed without chemicals and the permitting required with said chemicals. Gold is noted to be in fissure type veins. Lodes and veins contain mostly gold and are commonly noted to have pockets of high-grade ore. These large fissures and vugs within the veins contain large pockets of native gold deposits. Assays taken from dump material returned more than 1 oz of gold per ton. Assays taken by USGS from surface material returned 0.86 oz to the ton in gold.
Various accounts from 1900-1940 document that is was a common pastime at the bunkhouse for the miners to discuss the purity of the gold veins and pockets in the mines. High-grade theft by miners was a constant concern the Golconda mining company reportedly had 3 security personnel on hand at all times.
The property is prime for simple development of a standard mining operation. There is no mill at the property, and it would likely be more efficient to ship the ores off site for processing. A notice of Operation will be required for development of the site.