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New Mexico Mineral Symposium — Abstracts

The most infamous frauds, scams, and poor business practices in the history of Colorado mining

Ed Raines

Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO,

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In 1960 Rodman Paul delivered a presentation titled "Colorado as a Pioneer of Science in the Mining West" at an anniver-sary conference of the Western History Association. His thesis was developed around the idea that many of Colorado’s mining districts presented rather complicated ore suites that demanded new techniques to mine and process. On one hand, the mining business had to turn to science and engineering to make a profit. This is one of the reasons that the study of Colorado Mining His-tory has always proven to be such an intriguing subject.

On the other hand, Colorado has had its share of the frauds, scams, and poor business practices that go hand in hand with most human activity. To mention a few, a group of Dutch investors had to deal with perfectly legal but unethical circumstances thrust on them when they purchased the Caribou Mine from Abel Breed. A few years later the Highland Mary Mine at Silverton was very slow to reach prosperity simply because the mining methods were guided by seances and spiritualism. To say that the Spirits did not understand ore deposits is an understatement.

Leadville, perhaps Colorado’s most famous mining district, suffered from some of the same stock scams that plagued the Comstock Lode. Several of those unscrupulous perpetrators later moved to New Mexico where they marred the famous Bridal Chamber. To round out the story, Samuel Newhouse’s “Mighty Argo” Tunnel went bankrupt several times and then became the scene of one of Idaho Springs’ worst mine accidents of the 20th century.


Colorado, mining, Leadville

pp. 10

42nd New Mexico Mineral Symposium
November 11-13, 2022, Socorro, NM
Print ISSN: 2836-7294
Online ISSN: 2836-7308