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The Boriana Mine

Whenever we think about old mines in Arizona we tend to think about either gold or copper. This mine however was a tungsten mine and of course never got that much recognition like many other noteable mines. However it should be noted that this tungsten mine was the leading producer in Arizona and was probably the second largest producer in the all of the united states.

Veteran prospectors knew about this prospect way back in the early 1900's but because it wasn't gold there wasn't a whole lot of interest. Then around 1914 a miner by the name of HarveyKlatsch and his son acquired the mine and began operations as the Yucca Tungsten Mine. This father and son team got in just at the right time because this was just prior to the start of the first world war. Within a year the price on tungsten rose to $125 per ton in support of the World War and production was ramped up and in 1918 the mine was Arizona's leading tungsten producer. However after the end of the war, tungsten prices fell and the mine shut down in 1919. In 1923 the company sold off its some equipment and abandoned the site.

The mine sat idle until 1929 when the property was taken over the Boriana Mining Company. This company worked and explored some of the surrounding claims and in 1932 the mine started back up again. This time the mine went into production with a powerhouse, blacksmith shop, boarding houses, assay shop, bunk houses, and a manager's residence. The mill was fully operational and modern, with a 150-ton capacity over twenty-four hours, but it had never treated more than half of that amount. A minimum of five men could produce fifty tons per eight-hour shift. They had been using the cut and fill method to mine the ore. By 1935 the mine was starting to become an actual community with houses being built and families moving in and soon there were around 350 people living there. They even had a small school house.

Then in 1937 a fire destroyed the mill and so for the next couple of years a new mill was being built and that mill began production in 1939. Over the next decade mining continued and soon there were around 150 workers at the mine.At this point the mine consisted of seven levels, and was advancing at the rate of 150 feet of new stope per month. The mine needed to blast out two hundred tons a day in order to yield sixty tons of mill feed and the company was shipping a carload of high-grade concentrate a month to the smelter.

Then in 1942 things took a turn for the worse. The mine was running into bad ground and stopes needed more timbering, but the ore grade was falling also. Instead of producing 150 tons a day they were down to just 40 tons. Infact by the end of that year the mill had an output of only 6 thousand tons compared to 16 thousand tons the year before. To make matters worse some of the most skilled men that worked at the mine left to other higher paying jobs and in January 1943 the mine shut down and by 1945 most the mine had been stripped apart and equimpent sold off.

Then within a year in 1946 the mine was aquired by the Omega Metal Company. With only five men on site, this small company set up a small gravity mill started by running ore from the waste dumps to get a cash flow and by 1951 had shipped out 108 tons of high grade tungstrn from the waste dumps alone. However in order to keep mining they would need to go in a develope new tunneling to get to the ores and by the summer of 1953 had reopened two thousand feet and sent some ore to the mill. By 1955 this small mine was once again one of Arizona's leading tungsten producers. However by 1957 with the mine running low on ore, the metal prices collapsed and the mine was once again shut down.

Then in 1962 the company leased the mine to another company but once mining started they ran into problems with bad drifts and collapsed tunnels. For the next couple decades the mine continued to draw in potential investors and specualtors but no one reall stepped up to the plate with money. Even Union Carbide sent drill specialtists to the mine site to do an investigation however they decided against taking the mine over.

In 1975 two men took over the lease of the mine and had high hopes also of reopening the mine but nothing happened and then in 1987 a mine site investigation concluded the mine was uneconomical to operate and most workings and tunneles were flooded and contaminated with hydrogen sulfide gas. This ending the mining history of Boriana, which was at one time the leading tungsten producing mine in Arizona and second largest in the USA. Over all the years of operation, the Boriana mine produced the mine produced 2,400,000 pounds of high grade tungsten.

You can still go to this old mine site today. Once there you can see the remains of the old mill and other buildings. You will see lots of old concrete foundations and of course lots of tailing dumps.