ALLEGHANY- It has been a long time since the Sixteen to One mine has hit it really big. Once-young miners remember the million dollar day of 1993 and the million-dollar week two years later. Since then, while the mine has often made steady money, there has been no “big” bonanza.
In the course of the past six days, miners of the Sixteen have daylighted about 1,000 ounces from one pocket, worth well over a half million dollars when sold as bullion, specimen and jewelry gold. There is still gold showing in the face of the drift.
The find is in a newly mined block of ground not far from the “ballroom,” the source of the 1993 bonanza.
“It validates the mine,” said mine CEO Mike Miller. “It won’t cover all our debts, but it keeps us afloat and proves again there’s gold in this mine.”
Mine Foreman Ian Haley, who has spent his career in the mine, is loving the success. “This is mining at its best. The crew is together, working one heading, obviously really enthused. If it ends tomorrow, it’s still a sweetheart. That’s the nature of a pocket mine. But you know, a lot of men put a huge abound of time and energy into this, but they just couldn’t afford to hang any longer. It’s just lucky for those of us who could afford our faith in the mine. It’s mining, it’s shaking the dice.”
Reid Miller has been working this block of ground for months. “We were all under pressure to come up with something. The rent has to be paid. But I knew if we could only stick to it, it would pay.”
Joe Watterman is the miner who first hit the bonanza, peeling “cornflakes” out of the pocket before his drill got stuck in the soft metal. “Ian saw a little bit of gold on Wednesday. From then on, that’s all we could see. Three rounds and we were really into it. I’ve spent 25 years underground, in Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and I’ve never seen the likes of this. I love his mine, hope the best for it and hope I retire here. There’s more. Lots more.”
Mountain Messenger July 22, 2004