ALLEGHANY– “Maybe this will be the technological breakthrough anticipated since metal detectors were first used underground at the Sixteen to One mine,” said Mike Miller, president of the nation’s oldest gold mining company.
The Original Sixteen to One Mine, Inc. became one of 500 one-hundred year old U.S. companies, and its Sixteen to One mine in Sierra County is the longest operating gold mine in North America. The company recently completed negotiating an agreement with Quartzview Corporation, a technology start-up company based in Scotts Valley. Quartzview is a developer of deep sensing technology and believes it can develop and demonstrate its ability to detect the presence of gold at a range of up to ten feet through solid quartz. The developing technology involves both hardware and software. Miller remains cautiously optimistic.
“Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) has proven its ability to penetrate and return a signal well beyond ten feet. We know our mine well and pushing for GPR capable of 50 or 100 feet does not interest us. What we need is fine tuning to distinguish gold from other occurrences for ten feet,” Miller mused.
Quartzview’s software will first create a three dimensional digital map of the mine. The objectives are to evaluate likely gold content, estimate potential gold reserves and target most likely locations and drill patterns within the mine to find gold. It’s not the mine’s first attempt to develop such technology. Miller has years of experiences with other groups with similar intentions. So far, all have been unsatisfactory, but Miller sees no reason to quit trying. During the 1990s off-the-shelf detectors located a gold speck that led the miners into a 10,000 ounce pocket. On December 17, 1993, the greatest recorded single day production of 2500 ounces from the 1330 stope was called “The Million Dollar Day.” A repeat of that haul is worth over $4 million today.
In the agreement with Quartzview, the Sixteen to One will continue to operate the mine, taking responsibility for mine access and safety. Explaining why the mine is only now announcing its long-negotiated relationship with Quartzview, Miller explained there are other pressures than local and stockholder interest.
“We’ve been quiet for too long, dealing with ‘uncommon sense’ interferences from both federally employed people and the legacy left by mean spirited California water regulators,” explained Miller.