Stibnite Mine

Three Phases of Mining

Nancy Richter is a geologist who also runs the grocery store in Yellow Pine, Idaho.

“There have basically been three pulses of mining activity in this area. The first one was in the early twenties, when the folks that went from Warren over to Thunder Mountain for the gold rush ended up migrating over the hill to this area.

“That was somewhat fruitful for them, not nearly as fruitful as the second phase of mining, during World War Two. The government subsidized the mining here of Bradley Mining Company, and you were able to serve your military time here.

“This was a very significant time here during World War Two. In excess of 80% of the tungsten used during the war effort came from this site. Tungsten is used as an alloy of steel; it’s a hardener of steel.

“The antimony mineralization occurred in the form of a mineral called stibnite. They reduced that to an antimony oxide mineral which is used in munitions. With the end of World War 2, so went the end of the second phase of mining activity at Stibnite.

“In the early ‘80’s Superior Oil Company decided to come back in and re-evaluate this property, as did Hecla Corporation.

“And they found a significant amount of gold. The price of gold was up into the $300-400 an ounce mark, which made this a very profitable site. I know that Hecla alone has pulled out well over 100,000 ounces of gold here.

“Now with the decline in the gold price and playing out of the oxide mineralization, we’re left with some beautiful terrain and a very sizable sulfide resource of gold. Only changes in technology or a significant rise in the price of gold will encourage additional mining activity here.”

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