THE UTAH SILVER MINES.
SUCCESSFUL SHAFTS—ABSENCE OF EXCITEMENT REGARDING THE UTAH MINERAL DISCOVERIES.
To the Editor of The Tribune.
SIR: Salt Lake City is now the headquarters for all mining operations in Utah, and is the rendezvous of capitalists who come to invest. Miners who have "struck it," and come to "realize;” and of all who come to try their fortunes, seeking the ledges of precious ore among the crags and clefts of the rugged ranges which rise high and bold for a hundred miles from the town. In addition to these active strangers, the city is visited by nearly all pleasure travelers over the trans-continental route, who find here much that is interesting in the Mormons. But the "Gentile" element is rapidly gaining strength, and will soon place Mormons and Mormonism in the back-round in Utah. To traverse the main street of Salt Lake City at noon-day, would quickly give the impression that California, Montana, Nevada, and the whole mineral West had broken loose, and sent their stalwart and rollicking delegations here to take possession. The crowds of miners, speculators, &c., on the streets, the new stores full of goods, the new house-fronts and enlarged buildings, the assay and mining offices, the miners' outfitting stores, etc., all give the city the outward appearance of what it is really becoming—i. e., a great mining headquarters. Stages leave every morning for the Cottonwood, Bingham, Ophir, Tintie, and other principal "districts," where deposits have been found so numerous and rich as to attract and engage large numbers of men, and to rapidly create new towns or mining camps. In Cottonwood, 26 miles from the city, numerous rich lodes have been opened—the principal one, the "Emma" mine, bidding fair to be one of the greatest silver mines in the world. The surprising extent of this great bed of rich ore is not yet known, although shafts and drifts have been sunk and run for hundreds of feet in various directions.
Leaving Salt Lake to visit some of the mining districts, I reached Ophir City at 5 p. m., after a ride of ten hours in the stage. This place, although only 6 months old, has about 150 houses, including numerous well-built stores, two somewhat primitive hotels, several restaurants and saloons, reduction works, and four assay offices. The town is laid out, or rather strung out, in a narrow deep gorge of the Oquirrh range, called East Canon, and it is in and on these great rugged heights, rising sharply 2,500 feet on each side above it, that the many and extensive leads have been found, which have established here a busy mining district and built a "magic city of the West" in this wild and romantic spot. The principal mines at present in this district are the “Silver Shield," "Veloci-pede," "Mountain Lion," and "Mountain Tiger." The first-mentioned two, situated high up on the north side of the canon, are working in an immense deposit of ore, the limit to which, as in the case of the "Emma," is not yet known. The other two are taking out quantities of very high grade rock, but have probably not so large a deposit as the first-named. Beside these, there are numerous mines not much developed, but yet taking out fair amounts of good ore which will pay their owners handsomely. There are also hundreds of locations or claims developing, many of which promise richly. One also finds in clambering about the mountains many abandoned claims; as in every mining district, where a few days' or weeks' work had been employed without favorable result. At present the drawback to great activity here, is the need of reduction works, smelters, stamp-mills, &c, There are now living on the "dumps" of the various mines in this district alone, thousands of tons of valuable ore which cannot be worked here at present, and on account of the exorbitant freight charges on the Pacific Railroads cannot be profitably shipped either East or West for treatment. The result is that many mines have to suspend work and wait. Meanwhile there is a great scarcity of money among the men, many of whom are almost penniless and yet are possessors of valuable mines. There are, it is true, two small smelters here of a rated capacity of 30 tons per day; but as yet they have not worked regularly. There is also just completed an arastra, which works the ores on the old Mexican plan. Its capacity as yet is insignificant. Work is also just begun on the erection of three stamp mills of 15 or 20 stamps each, which are to be completed within two months. Meantime, the unworked ore is rapidly accumulating, and it will doubtless be several months before the real richness of the district can be known.
It is somewhat surprising to note, in comparison with mining fevers of former days, how limited has been the excitement at a distance in regard to these developments in Utah. All men here from White Pine, and elsewhere in Nevada, agree in pronouncing the ledges and deposits of silver ore in Utah more numerous, rich, and permanent than those of any part of Nevada ever developed. There can be no doubt, however, that it will be best in the end that the development of all this mineral wealth should be slow, rather than accompanied by the wild speculation, "wild-catting," and swindling which has been associated with all gold and silver mining in the past. J. H. B.
Ophir City, East Cañon, Utah, June 30,1871.
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