August 18, 2022 

Clips from Alleghany


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12/15/2006  8:41AM

Heavy rain mixed with hail this morning. Rain all week. Hear it is going to turn into snow this weekend.

The slab for the floor in the new dry is curing. Looks good. A couple men are continuing with the plumbing etc. The lack of a dry has resulted in the miners using the new office space at the lower shop as a makeshift dry. So getting the dry built will not only provide a dry but it will free up the much needed office space.

The underground crew continues with re-hab on the 1,000 foot level.

The weekly safety meeting was held yesterday morning. The topic was welding, cylinder safety etc. The safety meeting provides a forum for the workers to share any safety concerns they have or near misses(excellent learning tools) in addition to the instruction that takes place. Follow-up on the previous weeks "old business" is an important part of the safety program.

Mike made a visit to the Brown Bear Mine in Trinity County this week. Maybe he will tell us about his trip?

12/09/2006  3:21PM

A long time project could wait no more. When the operation abandoned the upper mine office and change room, the miners lost the “dry”. That’s the place where they hang their underground clothes and change from street clothes to miners’ digs. A new dry has been under construction but looking for gold has been the priority. This week the dry became the focus. Miners worked to pour a concrete floor, so the 1000 foot level had no action for a couple of days. They did get rounds off in the area were gold should be. Heard a little was found. One more wall needs to be built and then with a good heater the guys will have a place to change. There is always more to do than break quartz.

11/27/2006  3:00PM

Impressive, you guys guessed it! The new target is a large block of virgin ground North of the Tightner Shaft on the 1,000 foot level. Historically there was good production above this area around the 600 level. Our geologist Raymond Wittkopp has given it a "thumbs up". Mike and Ian are hopeful. Rehab work is underway to open the area.

Snow in Alleghany. With the exception of a middle of the night storm on the 12th this is the first real snow of the season requiring plowing of the roads. There is 6 to 8 inches in Alleghany and more on top of the hill. It has been snowing on and off all day.

A recent "help wanted" add in the Marysville paper has prompted over 30 calls. Our last add in the Grass Valley paper resulted in only four applicants. The plan is to start interviews next week and hopefully hire two or three new hands. Miners are a rare breed. Finding them and keeping them is more of a challenge now than it has ever been. A substantial investment is made everytime a new hire is brought in. Inexperienced workers require even more of an investment (40 hours of training) making it imperative that we hire men who can make the cut over the long term. Wish us luck as we go "fishing" again.

Thanks to "Tanky" for the recent contributions. Ernie hasn't read them yet to let us know who you are (and your registration didn't help either).

Ernie is our full time safety rep. these days.
 By martin newkom

11/23/2006  1:03PM

If you have a strike north of
the "T" shaft h.l. johnson
will roll over where he is.
Best of luck!!
 By Rick

11/22/2006  7:45PM

Mighty fine, as they say.

Now, if I had a hunch (besides the one I wear as a perpetual testament to my posture), I'd guess and bet that the new target has something to do with roundy rocks, overhead in an intersect with the old Blue.

Or...(and maybe the same)...

Second guess is that this target is one that makes the heart race, somewhere north of the T-shaft.

Best guess is that you guys most likely have a collective twinkle in your eyes.

11/22/2006  4:06PM

No gold production this short week as the focus was on "dead work". Ironically it is the "dead work" that keeps us alive. Things like new lagging on the 800 level, the ever present task of keeping the mine phones working, making sure the second exit is safe etc.

Scoop heard something about a new target at the Board of Directors meeting yesterday. Management is excited, but scoop doesn't know how much is ok to reveal, so will leave that for another day.

We are having an incredibly mild November. If this is global warming bring it on! We are sure old man winter will catch up with us.

The crew would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.
 By martin newkom

11/15/2006  11:49AM

If you have a question as to
the combustible properties of
the wooden shelves in the shop
near the portal. go to some
govt auction and buy some steel
shelves if they are cheap enough or go to the upper shop
and bring some steel shelves
down if you have them there.
good luck. martin

11/13/2006  9:27PM

Scoop got side tracked. Sorry, friends.

When a mine has an issue and is unsure whether it violates a federal MSHA regulation, the owner can ask for an inspection. No citations will be given, It is a courtesy visit. Mike asked for an inspection for a new self-contained shop that is less than 100 feet from the Sixteen to One portal. A regulation is in existence that combustion able stuff must be 100 feet from the mine access because smoke could go into the underground workings and threaten the safety of the miners.

This shop has some wooden shelves inside. The outside is all metal, like a box car. MSHA graciously sent an inspector to Alleghany today to have a look at the situation. The mine has several ways to satisfy the regulation. But is it required? First remedy is paint the wood with fire retardant paint. This is acceptable and would cost a couple of hundred dollars…the paint is expensive. It could put in a sprinkler system with those little sprinkler heads that go off at a certain temperature. This would cost less than paint but the guys have had problems with this method due to water pipes freezing.

It is very unlikely that the volume of wood in the shop would impact the miners, let alone hurt them. It is a judgment call that the inspector felt he was not qualified to make. Who is? What are the criteria for either the enforcers or the miners to sway true with an opinion? Judgment is the characteristic that is essential to sound enforcement of regulations. Therefore something must be done to alleviate perhaps a non-problem.

Mike was most gracious with the inspector, a new ex surface miner who has been qualified as an inspector for a year and a half. Mike offered the example that even water and oxygen are toxic (harmful) in certain amounts. It is not the substances but the dosage that is the crucial factor in determining harm.

Scoop has never been in one of America’s coalmines but would be very nervous about his safety. The hard rock mines of Alleghany may make an unfamiliar inspector nervous to the point of writing citations for truly non-concerns. Does this in turn create a violation of a federal regulation and subsequent financial penalties?

Scoop thinks they will just paint the shelves or maybe do both.

10/30/2006  7:31PM

California’s oldest weekly newspaper makes its home in Downieville, the county seat of Sierra County. Each week on the back page is a slice of history, sometimes 100 years ago, sometimes less. Last week carried a story from the Saturday October 27, 1906 edition. The headline in big bold print said, “$100,000 In Three Blasts.”

Scoop knows that $100,000 in 1906 was about 5,000 ounces (gold sold for $20.67 an ounce). Here’s is the short article:

“The above is the latest record for the Tightner mines in Alleghany in the southern part of the county. The above amount was taken out last Tuesday. We would like to hear from other sections of the world for a better record.”

Well, there is no record challenging this production. On December 17, 1993, the greatest recorded single day production of 2,500 ounces was blasted from the 1330 stope of the Sixteen to One for a record amount of $1,000,000 (gold spot was $450 an ounce).

10/11/2006  11:31AM

MSHA arrived for its quarterly inspection yesterday. Still inspecting today. More gold was sacked and brought to headquarters on Monday and Tuesday from the last round. After the blast, the vein material spread over an area about 600 square feet, so it takes time to locate and gather the high-grade gold. The other lower heading in the same ore zone showed some worthwhile color yesterday. Patience with this target is paying off. Two headings in gold always boost morale. As the physical size of promising vein diminishes, its future relevance as coughing up huge is shortened. Scoop believes that as rounds continue, the chances for a multi thousand ounce day diminishes; Ian and Mike may not see it that way, but no one ever knows until an area is abandoned.

09/28/2006  8:33AM

Zero citations from the recent OSHA inspection.

Most of the crew is in a first aid class this morning.

A little gold came up yesterday. Nothing to brag about but nobody is complaining either.

Mike and Ian are at the Empire Mine today. The job is almost done.

Cool nights and warm afternoons. Lovely fall weather. A little rain would be welcome to knock down the fire danger.

09/22/2006  7:22AM

Water has been the big issue for the operation. We know the 58 hp pump grounded out, hauled it to the surface from the 1500 foot level and transported it to a repair shop for servicing ($5,550). Although a costly surprise, the major issue has been an ongoing loss of water to the underground. Miners use water in their drilling process to both clean out the holes and keep the drill dust at a minimum. Without water, they cannot drill and progress stops.

Parts of the complex water transfer system are over sixty years old. The rest is about twenty-three years old and has been repaired many many times. Water is flowing again but not without untimely delays in production. Instead of mining, the crew could be seen dragging hundreds of feet of poly pipe up and down the steep terrain and under the main roads of town. The Company owns the water rights of the “Ram Springs” since 1919. Water is an asset that does not show up on its balance sheet.

09/14/2006  8:30PM

The Company developed a method of accounting its production fourteen years ago. Gold (high-grade, which is sacked and sealed with custom numbered tags at the face) is in an ore form or in a quartz matrix. The sacks from the day’s rounds, sometimes numbering in the teens, are brought to the office, where they are weighed and inventoried as gross pounds. Usually, David or Mike will examine one or more of the sacks to “estimate” the ounces of gold at .999 fine, which is also part of the daily inventory. This takes some mental calculations, which has become routine. The first estimate grades the ounces per pound according to how it looks and feels. Doesn’t sound too scientific, but this crew is pretty sharp as further analysis develops. The next calculation takes that estimate and transforms it from the natural 83 to 86 percent “gold” found at the Sixteen to One mine to .999 fine, which is the fineness that is quoted daily as “spot”. Now a dollar figure can be reckoned.

The miners usually make an estimate at the face, as they bag the quartz and gold. Ian is particularly good at this (he always is optimistic but will understated the amount as a precaution). David has another sophisticated tool at his disposal, the old Archimedes discovery about specific gravity in his bath tub). Weigh it dry, weigh it wet and calculate the disparity of the specific gravity. Because there may be other metal in the ore that has a higher specific gravity than quartz but a lower specific gravity than gold (19.3) another estimate must be made to predict just how much .999 gold came from the mine that day. Aren’t you glad you asked, Dick?

It is not over yet. How did 24 pounds get to five or so ounces and eventually to $7500? Slab is sold per ounce at the gross weight of the quartz and gold. The ore changes as it proceeds through its evolution to become a gem stone in the rarest and most precious gem stone mined in the world. Some turns to saw dust and some will be melted to pour dore bars.

The quality of the quartz is more of a factor in establishing a market price than the gold. This subject of quality and determining its market price will wait for another day to explain. The ore that was mined this week is in the $1000 to $1400 per ounce range. Thus, the market value of the recent production is estimated at $7500 to $10, 000. Hope this answers your question.

09/14/2006  1:43PM

Unfortunately the miners did not have gold in the face when they blasted and the material was blown up. We will get some small slabs out of it.
Gold content 5 ounces.
 By dickdavis

09/14/2006  12:22AM

I'm puzzled. 24 pounds, $7500? is that right?

09/13/2006  11:59AM

Gold. Yesterday’s production weighted in at 24 pounds gross. By orders the crew is drilling and blasting to recover large pieces of quartz. This high-grade came from the left rib of a wing raise. About fifteen feet of virgin quartz vein remains before work will break into an open level. Gold appears possible because a good gold showing exists at both sides of the small remaining target. The slab revenue estimate is $7500.

The 58-horse power pump died over the weekend. One leg went to ground. The pump was removed from the mine and transported to an electrical motor repair shop in Auburn. No word on the damages, but this same pump was rebuilt recently at a cost of $5,000.

The ATF inspection went well with no violations.

09/07/2006  4:04PM

Already two weeks since the last "Clip". A safety meeting was held at the mine site this morning. The crew is larger than its been in awhile numbering eleven.

The mine phones need constant attention as the harsh environment of the mine reeks havoc on anything electronic. The entire crew spends time assuring that thier phones do work. There is a phone at each heading and at various stations, the outside shops and even the Corporate Office. This is one of the most essential safety devices for the miners. Being able to communicate with each other and the outside world and visa versa is paramount to safety.

Gold from the rib on the 950 has been sparse. A little still remains and is being approached from below with a new heading. We have two active headings at this time. One was muckbound yesterday but should be ready for blasting tomorrow.

ATF is expected on Monday for an annual inspection of the powder magazines.

PG&E contractors require constant access to the minesite so they can inspect and re-inspect their poles. Seems putting the lines underground might save them a lot of money in the long run.

Missy the office cat looks pathetic. We never did find out what was wrong with her. The vet said it is most likely some form of cancer. WE are giving her food that she tolerates and keeping her comfy but that is about all we can do for her.

Yellow Dog had been keeping the other stray cats away which is a good thing for Missy.

The apples are getting ripe. Where did the summer go???

08/24/2006  8:05AM

The miners are through with extending their headings past the gold along the ribs or the projected paths based on actual gold finds above and below their workplaces. In other words the block of vein is sufficiently exposed to attack the most probable areas of gold.

In the past the company would set about to stope favorable or suspected blocks. Labor was much cheaper and most of the quartz was sent to the mill. The mill had two different functions. It produced gold in a saleable form, and it was a tool for exploration. Many times the mill foreman was alerted to a pocket that the miners missed, ignored or hoped to steal later. Lloyd Smith was mill foreman in the 1930’s. He told how sometimes the mill would clog up because of unexpected high grade. The mill had to shut down to clean the equipment so normal recovery could take place. Lloyd would call Dick Bennett or whoever was in charge, so word would get back to the underground miners. The mill men hated when heavy gold would interrupt the flow (probably woke them up on the night shift). Lloyd would say, “Get them miners to sack that high grade stuff and keep it out of my mill rock!”

Since 1992, the Sixteen to One miners have wondered what the old timers would think if they saw the metal detectors. Metal detectors have dramatically changed the company’s approach to milling as well as exploration, development and production.

Sacks of high grade were inventoried the past two days. No signs of relief or big smiles so it is probably not significant. Nevertheless any sack is better than no sacks. Ian has enough information now to feel comfortable in attacking the gold. Mike told him to go get it. It was December 17, 1993 when the crew drilled, blasted and sacked 2500 ounces in one shift. With today’s demand for quartz and gold that amount could gross $3 million or more. Wish them luck and good fortune in this current mining target. If you are so inclined, offer up a prayer or two. The success of finding gold at the Sixteen spreads to many people as well as the local communities.
 By Crush

08/22/2006  8:55PM

I been gone for some time, but Ill bet it still fun goin to the face. The reading says gold. Is it?

08/17/2006  7:11PM

Three rounds yesterday. Two round today. Expecting three rounds tomorrow. Gold anytime or maybe never. But… the ground still looks like pay day country.

Alleghany Days scheduled for Saturday. New rocks have been hauled to Main Street for the drilling contest and muck has been dumped nearby. Tents are going up and the weed eaters have been humming.

Many of the miners have chosen to attend the celebration of life for Warren Johnson. If you know nothing about his sad death, check the NEWS section of the site.

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Alleghany, California 95910

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