For those interested in precious metals and mining history, here's an article about the Nevada mining town of Tonopah and a silver piece commemorating its founding.
Nevada's biggest silver deposits were discovered well over a century ago: the Comstock Lode, discovered around 1860 and then the Tonopah District discovery of the 1900s.
Nevada became a state as a result of the Comstock – the silver paid for the Civil War and the winning of the Union, said Bill Howard, executive chairman of Blackrock Silver during a June site visit.
It's often said that if Comstock made Nevada, the Tonopah silver deposits were what paid for keeping Nevada a state. That's why we're called the ‘Silver State.'
Below the town, underneath its historical buildings in the surrounding Esmerelda and Nye counties, remain rich gold and silver deposits which again make sense to explore given the use of new technology and higher metals prices. And there's a newcomer to the party – high-grade lithium clays abound towards the north, west and south of Tonopah, which have sent local prospectors into a spin with the potential EV windfall.
However, for the time being, the historical Tonopah silver deposits are receiving the brunt of exploration investment, with Blackrock Silver and Suma Silver looking to breathe new life into the old silver deposits that gave life to the mining town.
One time-worn story holds that prospector Jim Butler, a man driven by curiosity and a touch of luck, stumbled upon the treasure that would define Tonopah's future. It is said his donkey was stubborn, and when the frustrated man picked up a rock to throw at the animal, he found it was quite heavy, signalling the presence of silver.
Sharing his discovery with assay labs, he faced initial disbelief, but his persistence paid off when significant silver deposits were later confirmed. Spurred by his wife's encouragement, Butler staked the land and named the town Tonopah along with his partners.
Tonopah quickly became a bustling mining town, boasting a peak population by the 1920s of more than 25,000, attracting many miners hoping to strike it rich. The town today still celebrates its annual ‘Butler Days'. Leasing their claims to others in exchange for a share of the revenue, Butler and his partners enjoyed considerable success.
Capital poured into the region, consolidating mining operations and the birth of successful companies such as the West End Mining Company and the Jim Butler Mining Company.
Historically, it produced 174 million oz. silver and 1.8 million oz, gold from 7.5 million tonnes.
To read the complete article, see:
Site visit: Tonopah primed for mining renaissance as precious metals attract prospectors
Wayne Homren, Editor
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