Mineral County Single Stamp Mill

In late spring of 2012, I was out exploring the hills around Mineral County in western Nevada with my friend Ed. (We were looking for old mines and cabins, of course.) We stumbled across this old mine site with some colorful tailings while hiking to another mine. We didn’t expect to see anything along the way, so this was a pleasant surprise. I couldn't find anything on the history of the site yet, but it is old. My guess is that it was sometime before WWII or even earlier. It was a small operation, so I doubt we wouldn't be able to discover much history anyway.

We hiked down and came across the remains of what looked like an old blacksmith shop. The stack of rocks appears to be the remains of a crude forge, and an anvil would have sat on that wooden post.

At the mine site, we found this square concrete basin. After some thought and investigation, we decided this probably wasn’t a sink to keep prospectors clean. Instead, I believe it was the mortar for a one-stamp mill. (Perhaps a two-stamp?) A rare find indeed! I guess concrete was the poor man’s version of the usual iron stamp mortar. Anyway, you can see the other parts of the mortar if you look closely. The screen is still in place, and there are slots for the ore sands to pour out. Strangely, the slots are on both sides. So that is another mystery.

There was enough wood and debris down in the gulch to make me believe there once was a cabin or small building at the stamp mill. That long metal pipe is part of a smokestack. Perhaps there was a headframe here, too? I couldn’t see any signs of one, but much of the original site seems to have wandered off.

The mine itself is caved, but it looks like it once had a shallowly inclined shaft. This was a nice find, but it is time for us to wander off ourselves and hopefully discover a few other sites.