The Quartette Mine near Searchlight, NV, a mine that first operated in the 1890s, could begin processing ore again by September.
Jetco Enterprises Inc. plans to work through the tailings and ore close to the surface followed by plans for an openpit mine. It is one of at least three new mining efforts in the region, the Associated Press reported. Another is north of Searchlight, with yet another across the Colorado River in Arizona, east of Bullhead City.
Gold mining is rare in southern Nevada. The area generally lacks the rock type that contains gold deposits. Restrictions on federal wilderness areas and protections for the desert tortoise also play a role.
Gold veins in the region are generally small and erratic in length and height, said Bill Durbin, a geologist and chief of southern Nevada operations for the Nevada Division of Minerals.
L.R. Tad Tinnell, president of Jetco Enterprises Inc. has long eyed the mine. From 1993 to 1995, he explored and drilled on the property, which was still owned by Searchlight Mercantile. He abandoned this exploration after a cave-in during some underground mining.
He has returned to the mine as the price of gold has increased in recent years.
In August 2011, Tinnell got a lease from the owners: family members of his former wife and also descendants of B.F. Miller, the original owner of the Searchlight Mercantile.
“I’m happy for the whole family,” Tinnell said. “They’ve waited for a hundred years to get something out of this place.”
Eight workers are currently setting up equipment at the mine. Thirty employees will handle the ore in a 24-hour operation processing up to 9.1 t/h (10 stph) ore.
Initially, the company expects to handle 3,000 to 6,000 oz of gold and silver a year.
The tailings aren’t the only part of the mine with potential. Eventually, Tinnell intends to have an open-pit operation that is about 400 ft deep and 500 ft wide.
Clark County has approved his application for a permit. Other environmental and federal permit applications are pending.
That’s not the only mine effort underway in Searchlight.
The county in May approved an application for a project on the north end of Searchlight, near U.S. Highway 95. That project, overseen by Nevada Milling & Mining, is to produce gold at another old mine, using a similar gravity method to process ore. About 40 to 60 employees are anticipated, according to county documents. The company couldn’t be reached for comment.
Northern Vertex, a Canada-based company, plans to expand Moss Mine, an old gold mine a little under 6 miles east of Bullhead City, following research at the site that started in 2011.
The mine is expected to produce between 40,000 and 50,000 oz of gold a year.
The company formed by the Canada company for the mine is Golden Vertex Corp.
About 40 people are doing preparation work at the mine site while the company completes a feasibility study and prepares to go on the market and raise capital, Whittington said.
Within about 12 to 15 months, company officials anticipate hiring about 200 people.