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The Minerals Education Coalition explains that quartz is mined primarily in the United States and Brazil. Mined quartz is intended for commercial use in both jewelry and electronics and must therefore undergo an extensive cleansing process, which strips the minerals of all chemical impurities and physical flaws
A man-made form of quartz, known as cultured quartz, is manufactured to standards of perfection in laboratory settings. This process relies on a small starting source of quartz, referred to as a seed crystal, upon which further quartz crystals are grown. These seed crystals are difficult to find and are primarily produced by Canada, Brazil, Germany and Madagascar. The Minerals Education Coalition reports that China, South Africa and Venezuela have also been known to provide seed crystals to countries with an interest in manufacturing cultured quartz in a lab
The mile-high basin, just west of the Continental Divide, caught the attention of gold prospectors in the 1860’s. By 1864 they were successfully working the placer deposits of the creek that wrapped around the relatively insignificant hill and the steeper knob to the west. The curve of the creek, shining in the afternoon sun, gave the place a name, Silver Bow, the knob became Big Butte.
Prospectors, living up to their name, also took notice of the many iron and manganese-stained outcrops of veins that cut across the hill, putting down prospect holes to test for the lode source of the placer gold. They found little gold, but got tantalizing assays of silver, frustrating because the remote area offered little hope of working those ores
By 1871 the placers had been worked to the limit of the water available and the area was nearly deserted except for a few dreamers who continued working on the veins. A quartz mill and a small smelter were erected in 1868 but abandoned for lack of experience. Little hardrock work was done until 1874 when there was a resurgence brought on by the relative closeness of the new Union Pacific Railroad at Corrine, Utah. The railroad lowered the cost of supplies and gave a cheaper avenue to ship high-grade ore. W.A. Clark, destined to become one of the five richest men in America, shipped his first ore to Baltimore.
By 1878 there were several quartz mills, and a few small smelters, in operation or under construction, and the post office was established. Just before Christmas, 1880, the Utah & Northern RR was completed into the camp, marking childhood’s end for mining in the district and the start of unprecedented growth and prosperity. Equipment and capital poured into the formerly primitive community. Silver lined the pockets of capitalist and miner alike
Marcus Daly arrived in town in 1876 to manage the Alice silver mine for the Walker Brothers of Salt Lake City. He soon became aware that the silver lodes being mined were showing more and more copper at a time when the electrical age was dawning. With the foresight to realize the future for Butte was brightening, not fading with depth as many of his contemporaries feared, he bought the Anaconda prospect. W. A. Clark, who had prospered with his mining and business investments in and out of Butte, was also positioning himself with astute purchases
In 1882 the district produced nine million pounds of copper. In 1883 production leaped over 250%. By 1884 there were four large smelters operating and Daly was building what would become the world’s largest metallurgical plant at Anaconda, thirty miles to the west
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