Mining History of Wyoming
Mining History Association 1994 Annual
Professor W. Dan Hausel
Wyoming was subject to a copper boom that began in 1874 following the discoveries of rich copper deposits in the Sierra Madre of southeastern Wyoming. This led to the development of a cupriferous gossan on the western flank of the range named the Doane-Rambler deposit. The development of the mine was relatively slow due to the harsh environment: the copper ore was loaded in wagons, transported across the Sierra Madre on a narrow and rocky trail cut through the forest, and loaded at Walcott Junction more than fifty miles away to be shipped to smelters in the East.
In 1897, Ed Haggarty found another cupriferous gossan in quartzite along a creek later to bear his name. This was even more impressive than the Doane-Rambler. In the following year, a shaft was sunk on the gossan and intersected massive copper at a depth of thirty feet. The ore was hauled by wagon to the nearest Union Pacific rail junction and shipped to the Copper Refining smelter at Chicago.
The first fourteen-ton shipment averaged 33.18% Cu! This led to the development of the greatest copper mine in Wyoming. According to Houston (1992), this was also one of the most important copper mines in the West at this time in history and at one time ranked as the 27th largest producer in the world. E&MJ (4 February 1899, · 155) reported ore from the Ferris-Haggarty was mixed chalcocite and bornite, and shipments often yielded more than 35% Cu.
In 1899, the Ferris-Haggarty was shipping forty tons of ore daily (E&MJ, 12 August 1899, 199). By 1900, the Ferris-Haggarty mine was averaging about 550,000 pounds of copper per month (E&MJ, 12 May 1900, 570). In 1902, a mill and smelter were constructed at Riverside adjacent to the town of Encampment along the eastern flank of the Sierra Madre.
But to get the ore to the smelter complex, a major engineering feat had to be accomplished.
This involved the construction of a more than sixteen-mile-long tramway from Riverside at an elevation of less than 7,200 feet, across the eastern flank of the Sierra Madre over the Continental Divide at more than 10,600 feet above sea level, and down the western slope to the Ferris-Haggarty mine at an elevation of 9,700 feet.
The Boston-Wyoming smelter at Riverside operated from 1902 to 1907. But in 1908, mine operations terminated following a series of financial disasters. The mill was partially destroyed by fire in 1906 followed by the destruction of the smelter in the following year.
The final nail in the coffin occurred in 1908 when copper prices dropped 35% (Hausel, 1993b). Production records indicated more than twenty-one million pounds of copper were mined from the district with credits in gold and silver--most of which was produced by the Ferris-Haggarty (Hausel, 1989).
FHMC has located a great deal of research data regarding the Ferris-Haggarty from work performed by Professor W. Dan Hausel, a professional Geologist for the Wyoming State Geological Survey for many years.
By far, Prof. Hausel has provided some of the best resources we have found. Our thanks to him and his professional integrity and commitment to the scientific and historical research concerning the history, geology of Wyoming and the West.
The recording and cataloging the rich history of the mines, mineralization, the times and miners who discovered these claims. We owe him a debt of gratitude for his amazing collection of credible historical data through the WYGS. Professor Hausel's websites can be found at; http://ferris-haggarty.blogsite.com, and; http://gemhunter.webs.com/
FHMC is proud and honored to announce that in February 2016, Professor Dan Hausel has become our Head of Geology and Exploration as our Chief Geologist & Executive Vice President of Ferris-Haggarty Mining Corporation.