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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Re-thinking Richinbar Mine

For your consideration.....

One of the great things about the blogosphere is its networking opportunities.  Because of this blog, I frequently receive emails from like-minded hikers and outdoor enthusiasts telling me of obscure routes, warnings of road closures and contributing interesting info about various AZ trails.  Recently, local mineral expert Gary Carter shared some enlightening observations about Richinbar Mine (a very popular hike in the Agua Fria National Monument area) and gave me permission to share them with you, to augment your understanding of the area's muddled history.  Here are Gary's findings:
The Richinbar Mine area—sure is an interesting old site and easy to get to (which will eventually be its death).
Anyway, I have been out there many times and done some detailed reading and observations about the area at the Arizona  Geological Society (downtown Phoenix).They have a file of over 100 photos on  the Richinbar.
 My intent here is just to make sure you are aware of some falsehoods about the mine.
•      The Az. Pioneer Cemetery group are to be commended on what they are trying to do--however  not everyone agrees with their info or interpretations—especially. those with background/training in geology/mining. They also will not make corrections when they are notified of errors.
2     My background is in minerals and recently I also took an exploration geologist of long standing and  high regard to the site ---to confirm some of my thoughts and to see what else he could tell me. The  mine was not a rich one—in fact they were in pretty low grade ore for much of the time, they operated  on a shoestring.
4      Copper was never a major product from that mine---it was basically a tourmaline/ quartz vein with  minor gold they were following.
5      The two shafts further from the mill workings were probably dug first since the concrete footings for the first stamp mill are directly across from it on the Aqua Fria side of the slope.
        The  dump of waste rock sits right behind and below the Zyke shaft which fed the ball mill and circular cyanide tanks that have left their tailings and depression . Not near enough tonnage  to indicate they could or did process much ore.  A tailings pond (for waste material) is still evident as a small plateau like area of pinkish cyanide tailings below the now dry wash. There is no evidence –either visual nor in the research of any graves or burials on the property.

I have been involved in so much research on old mine sites where folks with no expertise or backup research (other than what they read on the net) have added to the historical falsehoods, myths and confusion. Can’t tell you how many phony stories –even TV docs and videos have been circulated about the old Vulture Mine, outside of Wickenburg. They were done by well meaning folks who did a modicum of reading, guessing and hypothesizing—yet passed on inaccurate info about the subject. Once done it is very difficult to “take it back” or correct it.
LENGTH:  1.5 miles one way to the mine. 
(We wandered around the site for a total hike of just under 4 miles).
RATING: easy
ELEVATION: 3,370' – 3,497'
From Phoenix, go north on I-17 (roughly 35 miles) to the Sunset Point rest area.  From here, continue 1.7 miles  to the turnoff for FR9006 on the right.  A windmill and stock tanks are your landmark. (if you reach Badger Springs Road, you've gone 2.3 miles too far. Turn onto FR9006 and park in the dirt lot being sure not to block the gate. The gate is usually locked, but it's easy (and legal) to squeeze through.   Roads are paved up to the dirt parking area.
Agua Fria National Monument: general info and maps
Arizona Pioneer & Cemetery Research Project: historical info and photos


Jarl Kubat said...

Arizona has so many great hiking spots! You have a great site with great information for hiking in Arizona. Get out and hike everyone... you have no idea what your missing.

Bob Gibney said...

Thanks for creating this post about the Richinbar Mine. This is one of my favorite places in Arizona. The site is the crossroads of Native American prehistoric sites, mining history, rivers, wildlife, and scenic views.

I have written a song about the Richinbar Mine: One of the lines is "The miners all left without telling their stories". The Arizona Geological Survey office has one of the best collections of historic photos showing the miners and crew at work.