Story of Chief Consolidated Operations in Tintic
The following article is excerpted from the article “Story of Chief Consolidated Operations in Tintic”, in the August 8, 1916 issue of the Eureka Reporter
Iron Ore, one of the mining publications of the great copper district of Michigan, in its issue of August 2nd, 1918, has a most interesting front page story of the Tintic mining operations of Walter Fitch, whose keen foresight and splendid business ability gave our district its largest mining enterprise.
How the Chief Was Born
The idea of the enterprise was started by a trip made over the mountain to Eureka, Utah by J. R. Finley and Walter Fitch in 1906, this following the time when Mr. Fitch had given up his mining affairs in the Michigan iron and copper districts to take a look through the great west. They had made an inspection of the Mammoth and Grand Central mines laying in the southern part of the district, and concluded to walk back following the lime beds on their strike to the north. These lime beds Finlay recognized as of the same character as those enclosing the ore in those mines. These beds were followed over to the north slope of the mountain until on that side they were lost to view by the covering of rhyolite. The eruptive at this point presents its thin edge, gradually growing thicker until in the gorge where Eureka City is, it is estimated it has a thickness of approximately six or seven hundred feet. The Chief shaft occupies a position about midway between the large mountain and the town and there this rhyolite is about three hundred feet thick. The complete covering of lime stone measures in that section accounts for the failure of the prospectors and miners of the ore possibilities there and led to its being dubbed Poverty Flat.
There Was Small Shaft That Was Abandoned
The shaft referred to was at the time Mr. Fitch and Finlay made their trip of inquiry about eight hundred feet deep and was owned by a company known as the Little Chief. This company had been operating twelve years and had the distinction of having levied 43 assessments and of finding no ore. Mr. Fitch and Finlay wanted to go into the mine and were told this was against the rules.
Mr. Fitch finally decided that the opportunity was just as good as he had expressed himself concerning it, and he went in and carried out the plan, finding the ore zone, and ore in it of commercial grade and quantity.
The Good Results
The Chief Consolidated Company was then organized, and on February 16, 1909 took over all the property of the Little Chief. Since that time the company has mined 352,000 tons of ore which has yielded mineral as follows:
Gold 45,000 Ounces
Silver 8,250,000 Pounds
In addition to the foregoing, several tons of manganese has been produced. For the sale of these products the company received $5,600,000, and has expended for opening the mine equipping it, making better than nineteen miles of workings: mining the ore, enlarging and sinking the shaft to the eighteen hundred level, enlarging the stations, putting in a pumping system, together with pump stations and reservoirs, and all the electric appliance connected with the pumps, also for exploring for ore in the different parts of the district, and the unsuccessful trying out of one mine outside of the district – the total of these cost about $3,000,000. There have been expended in acquiring new mineral lands about $1,000,000. The additions give the company an ownership of about 5,000 acres as against about 50 acres with which it started business. There has been paid out in dividends $1,124,342.12 and there are still on hand $300,000 in cash and $420,000 in liberty bonds.
Changed Views of Many Mining Men
The developments of Chief Consolidated have brought about a great change with respect to this particular mining camp or district whose early glories failed so fast because developments were not properly directed. Now that new ore zones have been found at greater depth and at considerable distances from former openings mining men have been attracted but find the best located claims are now all in the ownership of the Chief through the enterprise and far-sightedness of its management.
Are Wise Financially
The directors believe in the protection of infant industries, that good old Republican doctrine that has always worked out so well for those who practiced it. They therefore propose to maintain a liberal treasury, and have regularly set aside from the earnings of the company a liberal allowance each year, and this reserve has now reached a figure not far from the amount of its capital liability. This they deem necessary to insure proper protection to the enterprise, possibly to insure or to help maintain regularity of the dividend disbursements, to meet the contingencies resulting from the irregularity of its ore depositions, and the contained values, to meet the increasing exactions of war, and to prepare for the extending working capital demands of an expanding business.
Securing These Fine Results
A considerable part of these quite satisfactory results are said by those who are familiar with to be largely attributable to the concentrated efforts of the Fitch family, which was not only contented to leave Salt Lake City and live in Eureka, but has confined itself, with slight exception, exclusively to this particular enterprise. In doing this it has commandeered all outside necessary technical skill to help the work along and this included expert mechanical, electrical, metallurgical, geological and accounting men. The geology of the district has been intensively studied and plotted all the time, and for the last four years has had Mr. G W Crane, a special geologist, devoting his undivided attention to that special department.
To the sons of Mr. Fitch credit is given for having had direct charge of the work and of building up the fine organization now possessed. They opened the mine and established it as it is today. Cecil Fitch has always been the superintendent, taking that place on his graduation from the Michigan College of Mines at Houghton, Michigan. His brother Walter graduated a little later and worked as his assistant for six and a half years, and then went into the business of doing mine development work, having a couple of hundred expert shaft and drill men, and is conducting operations in three states.