Cedar Mt Mine 2

by kfrego

The tunnel at the Cedar Mt mine was turned under on the shoulder of the logging road where the width allowed the logging trucks to pass. The first forty feet of tunnel was decomposed rock which which turned into hard rock at depth. Denny and I fell into a daily routine once the portal was established and all the equipment was installed for mining.

We would come on shift at seven o’clock every morning. One of us would muck out the previous days muck pile while the other fueled and serviced the equipment. Once the heading was cleaned up we set up to drill with our Gardner-Denver Model 83 jackleg. One of us would drill out a six foot round while the other serviced the John Deere 450. Powder, fuse, etc was stocked behind the face during the drilling. When the round was drilled we would muck out our lifter (bottom) drill holes, use a blowpipe to blow and clean the drill holes, then load the round. When we had all the holes loaded with powder we would run the spitter cord from hole to hole. We always made a last check to be sure everything was out of the blast area. One of us would take the extra powder and fuses back to the powder magazines. The other would light the spitter, make sure all the fuses were burning, and head for the portal. We would set together outsiide the tunnel and listen to the holes detonate. The fan was always off when we shot, but restarted immediately afterwards to push out the powder smoke. It was time for lunch.

While the smoke was clearing we returned to camp for an extended lunch of one to one and a half hours. It was kickback time with Linda and the kids. After lunch we would muck out the round, drill another one, and shoot going off shift in the afternoon. There were very few days when we didn’t get our two rounds a day for 12 feet of completed tunnel. If we had problems it was a longer day to complete the two rounds.

The tunnel alignment went straight into the mountain about 400 feet before intersecting the vein. We backed up thirty feet, turned 90 degrees and mined parallel to the vein. The vein was angled about 50 degrees vertical. We mined on the side of the vein called the hanging wall because the vein was angled over the top of us. We maintained about 20 feet of good country (non ore bearing) rock between our tunnel and the vein. Every sixty feet we mined a small four foot by four foot raise up at 55 degrees to interesct the vein. These little bean holes confirmed the vein location and allowed bulk sampling for testing silver content. Short steel pins and three foot rough lumber were used for temporary access in the beanholes. We pulled the boards and reinstalled them for each drill round. Denny and I mined 1200′ of tunnel during the summer.

Denny got cramps from drinking out of a spring near the mine……..and the ore couldn’t be milled because of arsenic in the silver.