Monday, March 28, 2016

Yerington Monday: The “Old” Jail

Yerington Monday:  The “Old” Jail

Some of us “old timers”  remember this jail sitting on the corner of Main and Pearl street about a block from the high school.  It set where the parking lot of Joe’s Drive In and latter John’s Fine Food.  This news article was given to me by the relatives of Rose Carlos.

A Poem About The “Old” Jail by Snowy Monroe

Monday, March 21, 2016

Yerington Monday: The Mines of Mason Valley: Pumpkin Hollow Mine

Yerington Monday:  The Mines of Mason Valley: Pumpkin Hollow Mine

This concludes my series on The Mines of Mason Valley.  Pumpkin Hollow is the new kid on the block and we have great hopes that the price of copper and good investors will breath new life into Yerington.

Nevada Copper (TSX:NCU) owns 100% of the Pumpkin Hollow Copper Development Property located in Nevada, United States. Pumpkin Hollow is a large advanced stage development copper property with substantial reserves and resources including copper, gold, silver, as well as a large iron resource.

Project History

  • 1960: Discovered by US Steel using airborne magnetic surveys.
  • Up to 2001: Over 180,000 meters of drilling by US Steel, Anaconda, and other world leading mining companies discovers and delineates large copper and magnetite resources.
  • Up to 2001: Several economic studies were completed with extensive metallurgical, geotechnical and geophysical studies.
  • Acquired by Nevada Copper in 2005 with copper prices at $1.40/lb.
  • Nevada Copper completed over 180,000 meters of drilling to date.
  • Collection of geotechnical, metallurgical, environmental and hydrological baseline data has been ongoing since 2006 to support permitting and feasibility efforts.
  • Nevada Copper completes NI 43-101 compliant resource estimates in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012 as well as a Preliminary Economic Assessment in 2008.
  • Construction on underground operation started in 2012.

Giulio Bonifacio
President and CEO

Mr. Bonifacio has over 30 years in senior executive positions in the mining industry. Mr. Bonifacio is the founder, President & CEO of Nevada Copper. Among his many accomplishments Mr. Bonifacio has been instrumental in providing over $400 million of capital to projects of merit while being involved with and having a very good understanding of every stage of development from exploration to production. Mr. Bonifacio is a Chartered Professional Accountant with extensive experience and knowledge in areas of corporate finance, securities matters, project finance and mergers & acquisitions. Mr. Bonifacio has held senior executive roles with Getty Resources Limited, TOTAL S.A., and Vengold Inc.

Bonifacio’s mantra to his executive team is to build the highest quality organization, which in turn builds a quality mine. It is a success-driven mentality that will assure that this time is the Right Time for Pumpkin Hollow, and that it is built and operated the Right Way both for Nevada Copper and the community of Yerington.

Nevada Copper Corp. President & CEO, Giulio Bonifacio

The Project, located near Yerington Nevada, is 100%-owned by Nevada Copper. The Project currently has proven and probable reserves of 5.05 billion pounds of copper, 760,585 ounce ounces of gold and 27.6 million ounces of silver. The Company continues to advance financing options and expects that these developments will further enhance those opportunities.

On October 13, 2015, pursuant to a pre-existing agreement between the Company and the City, the City conveyed 9,130 acres of the acquired land to Nevada Copper. The final steps between the Company and City to convey the required land to Nevada Copper included completing a subdivision map. The City has advised Nevada Copper that it can immediately proceed with any work necessary to develop the Pumpkin Hollow project (the "Project").

The newly-acquired land, combined with Nevada Copper's existing 1,550 acres of private land, places the entire integrated open pit and underground mine on 10,680 acres of private land owned by the Company and allows the Project to be constructed and operated with its current, approved Nevada State permits.

Head Frame, Hoist House and Shop

South Deposit View

North Deposit Drilling

North Deposit & Compound

East & South Deposits

Core Sheds

Looking up through the Shaft


Pumpkin Hollow Virtual Tour

Monday, March 14, 2016

Yerington Monday: Anaconda Copper Mine - Part Three: Weed Heights

Yerington Monday:  Anaconda Copper Mine - Part Three:  Weed Heights

A company town, Weed Heights, was built to support the Anaconda Mine operations which ran from 1952 until 1978. The Anaconda Copper Company built Weed Heights in 1952, named for Clyde E Weed, vice president in charge of Anaconda operations.  The elevation of Weed Heights is 4,665 feet.
In its peak years, Anaconda employees operating giant shovels, bulldozers and trucks gouged 50,000 tons of earth from a huge open pit mine each day. And every day, 300,000 pounds of copper was refined from the earth they removed. The mine at one time employed 550.
Aerial view of Weed Heights and the pit.

Sign at base of roading leading to Weed Heights.

The first thing one had to get by was the guard shack at the mine entrance.

Then you would pass the administrative building.

Finally you would drive under the overpass where the dart trucks passed back and forth from pit to processor building.

Welcome To Weed Heights

A post office was established March 16, 1953. The town was owned by Anaconda until the company was taken over by Atlantic Richfield Company.

The Anaconda Copper Company built Weed Heights in 1952, named for Clyde E Weed, vice president in charge of Anaconda operations.

Atlantic Richfield ceased operations in 1978 and sold the property in 1982 to Don Tibbals, a Lyon County commissioner, who subsequently sold the entire property to Arimetco, with the exception of the town of Weed Heights, which is now a rental community and RV park.
An article was written in a newspaper with this headline:
Resurrecting a Ghost Town : Couple Reviving Mine--and Its Community
July 05, 1989|CHARLES HILLINGER | Times Staff Writer

When Don Tibbals first arrived here, he was a hay hauler with a broken-down truck. Disgusted with his job, he sold the truck and went to work for Anaconda Copper Co., which owned the town and a nearby mine.
That was 40 years later, Tibbals owned the mine and the town. And therein lies a tale of one man's efforts to bring his community back to life.
When copper prices plunged, Anaconda sold the mine to Arco in 1976. Two years later the mine shut down. Weed Heights became a ghost town. Only Tibbals and his wife remained.
Tibbals, 57, had played a part in the mining operation from the day construction started until the mine played out. He had quit the mine to begin his own business in 1955, Tibbals Construction Co., a company that eventually employed 45 and worked almost exclusively for the Anaconda Copper Mine.
When the mine closed, the mill, shops, offices and 256 company homes stood vacant for seven years. The huge open pit slowly began filling with water. Arco, the last owner, put the property on the market in 1983. Tibbals made a modest bid. It was accepted.
A former Arco executive recalled the sale: "We wanted to liquidate the property. We sold it to Tibbals at a bargain-basement price. Essentially, we gave it away." Neither Tibbals nor Arco revealed the amount.
Tibbals now owned 4,000 acres of land, the huge hole, the old shops, equipment, the mill, offices and the former town of Weed Heights, which includes the homes, the old post office, a community hall, a recreation hall, swimming pool and park.
Tibbals' wife, Joy, 53, worked in accounting and personnel for Anaconda. They live in one of the company homes she and her husband are refurbishing.
"It was Don's idea to buy the old town and mine. He could see great potential here," Joy Tibbals said.
"Joy and I just hated to see the place die," Don Tibbals said. "The homes were well-built. I know. I helped build them. The sewer and water systems were redone in the 1970's. I know. I did the work. We wanted to breathe new life into this place."
Condition of houses before restorations.

100 Homes Restored
The Tibbals have put new kitchens, bedrooms, carpeting, acoustic ceiling and windows in the 100 homes they have already restored. They are renting the one-to-four-bedroom houses for $290 to $375 a month.
Many retired Southern Californians are living in the homes. The Tibbals said they have a long waiting list of people wanting to move into the houses still to be renovated.
A renovated home at Weed Heights.
My uncle & aunts house, Charles and Jerry McGee, after renovation
The Crouse family’s first house at Weed Heights after renovation.  They had twelve children and Mrs. Crouse babysat my mother’s four kids as well.  That made 16 little faces to feed and care for.  Got to take my hat off to that lovely lady.
The Tibbles erected a large gazebo in the town park, opened the recreation hall and fixed up the swimming pool.
They have refurbished the community hall, which now is being used not only by the residents of Weed Heights, but of nearby Yerington as well..
Gazebo in the town park and tennis courts
The swimming pool.

DJ’s Tee Off (the miniature golf course)

Weed Heights RV Park

"Joy and Don Tibbals are certainly on the right track," said Joe Dini, 60, owner of the Lucky Club Casino in Yerington and Speaker of the Nevada State Assembly. "They're resurrecting a ghost town that would have sat there and rotted away if they hadn't come along."
The Tibbals had high hopes for Weed Heights, They hoped to see it become an incorporated town. They  looked forward to the reopening of the Weed Heights Post Office.
Don and Joy Tibbals and Their Burros
When you first meet Don and Joy Tibbals they strike you as the kind of friendly, hard working grandparents you remember from your youth. Owners of a 56-acre ranch along the Walker River just west of Yerington, Nevada ("the hay truck I was driving broke down here in 1951 and I stayed," says Don), the Tibbals can boast of having eight children, twenty-seven grandchildren, thirteen great-grandchildren, two dogs, two mules, eleven cows, and twenty-two, count-em, twenty-two burros. The burros were adopted off Bureau of Land Management (BLM) public lands in Nevada and California.
The Tibbals are without a doubt some of the most successful adopters to participate in the BLM’s adoption program for excess wild burros from rangelands in southern Nevada and California. They love animals and the feeling seems mutual.

"People around the valley often refer to me as ‘The Donkey Lady of Yerington,’" says Joy. "We get asked about them all the time. They are quite visible to the public because a Nevada State Highway and rest stop border our fields. People love to come pet them – they’re gentle and have been trained not to bite or kick – plus, they’ll bring them apples and carrots. But you know what their favorite treat is? Pancakes!"

Adoption Success in Nevada

The burros all came originally from BLM managed public lands surrounding Death Valley National Park and from near Needles, California. Don and Joy spotted a number of them at the BLM wild horse and burro holding center outside Ridgecrest, California. "We immediately went about adopting as many as BLM could allow," says Joy. "Don had animals as a boy, but I grew up in Ogden, Utah, so it was all new to me. But they’re like family now. Our grandkids just love to come feed and hang on them."

Burros & Baseball

Don admits he grew up with burros around Bishop, California, and has always thought that they are the smartest and most trainable of hooved animals. "Burros like to participate in things you would never dream of trying with a horse. I remember playing donkey baseball at a Lion’s Club sponsored event in Bishop back in 1948," says Don. That’s when you form up teams where the players have to lead a burro around with them while they bat or try to field the ball. It leads to some really hilarious moments. The burros will cooperate for most of the game, but they do live up to their stubborn reputation at times – they don’t always want to go where you want them to or when you want them to."

Donkey Days

In addition to their ranch and Don's position as a Commissioner for Lyon County, the Tibbals own the rental community of Weed Heights west of Yerington and annually host their own "Donkey Days" festival in the park there. Guess what the biggest event of the week is? Yep, Donkey Baseball is back, followed by a big evening barbecue; both are a hit with players and spectators alike. Word-of-mouth among RV camper owners is spreading the news of the family-oriented festival held every September. The Tibbals have traveled in their RV, too, and they provide some nice facilities for those who come to Donkey Days.

How do you properly prepare for Donkey Baseball?

Don says there is a secret to burro base running success when rounding the bases in Donkey Baseball. "Keep talking to them as you’re walking alongside," says Don. "They’ll usually go right along with you. Most people think you have to get behind them and yell ‘yee-haw, let’s go,’ but they’ll run straight past first base and won’t stop until they get to the right field fence."
Any last minute base running advice?  "Yeah, don’t forget to let go of the rope if you trip," says Don.

Tibbals Tidbits on Raising Burros

Do the Tibbals have advice to potential adopters of BLM burros? "Burros are very social animals so remember that they are happier in a group and love company. They also are good companions for mules, horses, and even sheep," says Don. "You also should take time to work with each animal. Remember to approach them from the side and keep talking in low, gentle tones. Most of them respond very well if you don’t approach them directly from the front – they perceive that as a threat. Burros are desert animals so they don’t like wet soil conditions. Make sure they have some dirt and dust to roll around in since that is their way of taking a bath and keeping the bugs off."

The Tibbals were glad to pass on their experiences and suggestions to future potential adopters of BLM burros. Potential adopters are also invited to the annual Donkey Days each September.

A portion of the small town of Weed Heights sits on the edge of the large open pit mine owned by Arimetco near Yerington.

Aerial view of Weed Heights and the pit.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Yerington Monday: Anaconda Copper Mine, Part Two: Anaconda Mine in Mason Valley

Yerington Monday:  Anaconda Copper Mine, Part Two: Anaconda Mine in Mason Valley

The Anaconda Copper Mine
Copper was discovered in the Yerington District in 1865, and operations at this mine site began in 1918 as the Empire Nevada Mine. Anaconda purchased the mine in 1941. From approximately 1952 to 1978, Anaconda conducted mining and milling operations at the open-pit, low-grade copper mine.The Anaconda Mine first opened in 1918 as the Empire-Nevada Mine. In 1941 the Yerington property was acquired by the Anaconda Copper Company. Mining and milling operations began in 1952 and ran until mining operations ceased in 1978 due to low copper prices and declining grades in the open pit.

Authentic Yerington Nevada Copper Mine Gem Stone w/Turquoise Cabochon

The Anaconda arrowhead logo is still visible on the water tank near the Yerington Mine.

Old Anaconda mine.

Anaconda Haul Truck 1956
Anaconda & Weed Heights, 1960’s

Excavator 1962

Blasting Crew 1962
Abandoned processing facilities at the Anaconda Copper Mine,

Weed Heights. Former company town, now a rental community.

Tailings Pond.

Open pit mine. Too toxic to be a water park

The Anaconda mine operated for 25 years and produced approximately 360 million tons of material from the pit. Most of the material remains in tailings or in leach heap piles. The copper was processed from the extracted ore using two processes. Copper oxide ore (from the upper portion of the pit) was processed by heap leaching, either directly with sulfuric acid in vats to produce a copper solution precipitated by passing it over scrap iron, or by leaching successively in acid and kerosene solutions, subsequently electro plating onto stainless steel sheets. Copper sulfide ore from the lower portion of the pit was processed by crushing, and flotation with calcium oxide added to the solution to maintain an alkaline pH.

The Anaconda Copper Mine site covers more than 3,400 acres in the Mason Valley, near the city of Yerington, in Lyon County, central Nevada, approximately 85 miles southeast of Reno. The Singaste Range and the town of Weed Heights lie to the west, open agricultural fields and homes to the north, U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) managed public land to the south, and the Walker River and the city of Yerington to the east. Portions of the site are owned by Arimetco (in bankruptcy) and portions are BLM managed public lands.

Anaconda Pit filled with toxic water

Pictured is a portion of the area of the Anaconda mine the EPA has proposed to be listed on the National Priorities List as a Superfund site.

Anaconda Pit
Anaconda processed both copper oxide and copper sulfide ores. They removed overburden and ore from the pit, which required pumping groundwater out of the pit to get to the ore. The processing of the copper oxide ore involved large quantities of sulfuric acid, made in an on-site sulfuric acid manufacturing plant. The ore processing created liquid and solid wastes, such as: tailing piles, waste rock areas, liquid waste ponds, leach vats, heap leach pads, and evaporation ponds. Anaconda mining operations generated approximately 360 million tons of ore and debris from the open pit and 15 million tons of overburden resulting in 400 acres of waste rock placed south of the Pit, 900 acres of contaminated tailings, and 300 acres of disposal ponds.
Atlantic Richfield Company

Anaconda had become a subsidiary of Atlantic Richfield Company in 1977. Environmental liability for the Anaconda Mine remains with ARCO, which is now a subsidiary of British Petroleum, and known as BP West Coast Products LLC.
In 1977, Atlantic Richfield Company (ARC) bought Anaconda. A decrease in copper prices, lower priced foreign imports, and declining grade and amount of ore available forced the closure of Anaconda’s copper mining operations in 1978. All activities were shut down in 1982. Groundwater pumping out of the pit stopped when Anaconda operations ceased, resulting in the 180-acre Pit Lake. It is about one mile long, 800 feet deep with 500 feet of water, and contains around 40,000 acre-feet of water which increases at the rate of 10 feet/year.
Atlantic Richfield Company (ARC) is an oil company that was formed by the merger of East Coast-based Atlantic Refining and California-based Richfield Petroleum in 1966. Since 2000, ARC has been a subsidiary of British Petroleum (BP), and is officially known as BP West Coast Products LLC.
Don Tibbals

Donald H. Tibbals

In 1982, the property was sold to Don Tibbals, a Lyon County Commissioner, who refurbished Weed Heights, conducted some operations, and leased portions of the site to various companies. Following Anaconda’s sale of the site, portions of the site were used for extracting copper from the tailing and waste rock piles and as a metal salvage and transformer recycling facility. Arimetco bought the property from Tibbals in 1988 and pursued leaching operations on the site, eventually building an electrowinning plant and five heap leach pads to produce copper. They used tailings material left by Anaconda and added some new ore resulting in 250 acres of heap leach piles and 12 acres of heap leach solution collection ponds. Arimetco went bankrupt in 1997 and abandoned the site in 2000.
Arimetco, also known as Arizona Metals Company, based out of Tucson, AZ, purchased the property from Tibbals in 1988. Arimetco built additional facilities and operated at the mine until 2000 after filing for bankruptcy in 1997.  In 1997 Arimetco went bankrupt and effectively abandoned the site in 2000.
Arimetco pursued leaching operations on the site, eventually building an electrowinning plant and five heap leach pads to produce copper. Arimetco, Inc. owns and operates mine deposits in Yerington, Nevada. It offers porphyry copper deposits, copper minerals, and oxide and sulfide ores.
The company was founded in 1989 and is based in Yerington, Nevada. Arimetco, Inc. is a prior subsidiary of Arimetco International, Inc. As of April 27, 2011, Arimetco, Inc. operates as a subsidiary of Quaterra Resources Inc..
Unison Transformer Services
Unison Transformers leased a portion of the property from Arimetco and operated for a few years in the 1990s to collect, crack and recycle transformers. Its operation left a discrete area contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
Quaterra Resources Inc
In 2011 Quaterra Resources Inc. purchased all the Yerington Mining District assets of the bankrupt Arimetco and could see production in 5 years.
Vancouver-based Quaterra Resources has completed its acquisition of properties around and including the old Anaconda copper mine, in Yerington, Nevada, and could get the project into production within five years, CEO Tom Patton said.

The initial focus at Yerington will be on completing an NI 43-101-compliant resource estimate, which should be accelerated by the fact that the company has access to historic data compiled by Anaconda, until the mine closed in 1978.

After that, the company will move onto the usual prefeasibility and feasibility study work before it can make a decision to go ahead with development. “But we think a five-year window is reasonable” to get to production, Patton said in an interview.
Ann Mason and the Revival of the Yerington Mining District

The company already owns the Macarthur project, about five miles north of Yerington, and has a preliminary economic assessment under way on developing oxide mineralisation there, while also drilling for primary sulphide deposits. “And the more we looked at Yerington proper, the more we liked it,” Patton commented.

Quaterra - Video Tour

Environmental Issues

The mine covers 6 square miles of land owned partly by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Atlantic Richfield acquired the property in 1977 from Anaconda Copper, which built the mine in 1941.
Previous owners left behind 90 million gallons of acidic solution that continues to threaten the groundwater. That's equivalent to the amount of liquid it would take to cover about 80 football fields, 10 feet deep.
Earle Dixon
In 2008 a U.S. Labor Department review panel upheld a whistleblower claim by ex-mine cleanup supervisor Earle Dixon, who said the BLM illegally fired him for speaking out about the risks in defiance of local politicians.
This 2004 photo shows the Yerington mine site, adjacent to the small farming town of Yerington, Nevada. Photograph: Cathleen Allison /AP

Farm near Anaconda Mine in Mason Valley
Anaconda, the former owner, produced 1.7 billion pounds of copper from 1952 to 1978 at the mine in the Mason Valley, an irrigated agricultural oasis in the otherwise largely barren high desert.

In this Nov. 30, 2004, file photo, an evaporation pond holds contaminated fluid and sediment at the former Anaconda copper mine near Yerington, Nev. The Environmental Protection Agency wants to add the abandoned site to its Superfund National Priority List.
(Debra Reid / AP)

The EPA determined that the uranium was produced as a byproduct of processing the copper and that the radioactive waste was initially dumped into dirt-bottomed ponds that leaked into the groundwater.

Artist rendition of toxic waste at Anaconda Mine
The mining wastes at the closed mining site have been investigated by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Since 2000, it has spent approximately $6 million addressing this issue and ARCO has spent $2.7 million to clean the site. In 2009 ARCO committed to spending $10.2 million for future and past cleanup work. Of the $10.2 million, $8 million was for future work and $2.2 million was to reimburse the EPA for past work completed. ARCO had reimbursed the EPA $2.7 million in 2008.
In 2013 Yerington residents were awarded up to a $19.5 million in settlement of a 2011 class action case that accused ARCO and BP America of leaking uranium, arsenic and other pollutants into soil and groundwater for decades and of covering up the extent of the contamination.
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