The Copper Tunnel property is a 60-acre lode mineral property that contains values in lead, silver and copper. The Copper Tunnel adjoins the historic Bullshead property which was largely worked for lead and silver up through the early 1960s. The smelter, slag, tails and dumps from the Bullshead property are now part of the Copper Tunnel.
The Copper Tunnel is tied to the Bullshead Mine because of the mined material and the haulage tunnel. The Bullshead mine is a patented property that fell into disrepair in the early 1960s due to a lack of minable ores near the surface and extremely sandy soils which caused costly collapses and cave-ins. In the 1950s, Index Mining Company out of Salt Lake City, Utah, punched a haulage adit running south-southwest with the intent of reaching the Bullshead workings. This plan did not work, and their drift was 200’ off. Instead of coming into the Bullshead workings, they found new copper, zinc and silver deposits that were not a part of the patented Bullshead property.
The valuable aspect of this discovery was the evidence of a massive porphyry copper deposit as noted by Sam Keith acting as a mining engineer for Cerrocorp (later Cerro Gold).
The property was also acquired by Anaconda Copper Company in the mid-1940s, noted as a copper development, but financial difficulties caused it to be dropped from their portfolio in the early 1950s. It was purchased in 1960 by Harold Ginsberg of Cornish Associates out of New York City, who optioned the property to Cornish Associates for $100,000 per year with a buy out price of $1.5m.
Multiple drifts were cut, reportedly by Anaconda, into the south slope of the mountain between 1940 and 1960. As noted in Newmont development maps, these drifts were cut into dolomite type material which was assumed to be the crust on the top of the porphyry copper. The main cut, known as the Copper Tunnel, drove north-west and was at least 2000’ in 1960 .
The crushing drop in silver, lead and copper pricing in the early 1970s destroyed any hope of development and the Copper Tunnel property was mothballed. The portal fell victim to loose surface material and was caved at the entrance by 1978 .
The Star King smelter was taken over as a part of the Copper Tunnel property. It is unknown how much material was smelted at the Star King Smelter by the Copper Tunnel Mines, but there is a substantial amount of slag at the site that contains lead, silver and likely zinc.
The Copper Tunnel Mine workings run generally northwest into the mountain. All of the portals are currently collapsed. Material in the dumps and nearby the workings show galena (lead and silver), possible zinc in a granite porphyry. This matching with historical assessments of locations of the ore bodies (replacements in dolomite).
The Copper Tunnel property retains ownership of the main mining camp, the CS Spence or Star King Smelter and the Bullshead Millsite. The Index Tunnel portal is contained on the property and is collapsed but said to run southwest and with a broad turn to the northwest. The Copper Tunnel property also contains the Copper Tunnel adit and various adits and workings on the south slope of the mountain that were explored for copper, lead and silver, most recently by Newmont Mining who made a detailed map of the site.
There is substantial material containing lead and silver at the millsite, surveyors estimate 20 tons of tailing and 5 tons of high-grade silver ore that was not processed. At the mine portals, the material is a broken dolomite and granite with copper and iron oxides and some crystals of galena found at the main haulage portal.
Good access from the northern roads makes this a site easily accessible by large trucks and or heavy equipment. Permitting will be required for excavation equipment and the excavation of the portals that have collapsed. This would be an invaluable expenditure to gain insight into the deposits that have not been sampled or accurately assayed in over 50 years.
Recovery values here will be in surface silver and refining the slag initially. Assay numbers and dump volumes are contained in this document. Beyond the surface material, development of the copper ore body could produce millions if not billions depending on the size and scale. It has been verified to exist, but the extent and quality has not been defined.
This property should be seen as a long-term commercial operation that can be initially developed with a small team of miners and operators.
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