Photos by Jason Stephenson
John and I went up to the Esmeralda Mine on December 21 to check equipment and to have a look around. It was a sunny and cool, wintery day as we wound our way up to our latest hole in the ground. To our surprise the road into the mine had dried up nicely and we were able to drive all the way into the mine without too much trouble.
Arriving at the mine for the first time since my initial visit with Bill, Will and John back in August 2011, I began to notice all the new developments. The roads on the property had been improved and cleared to access the new point of entry. There are three main surface levels now established.
As you drive in the top of the glory hole is on the right with the water tank, as you pass through the main cut in the top of the pegmatite, then down to the lower access to the glory hole and the platform for the magazines and the solar panels, then curving down the hill to the new platform where all the equipment is stored and the new tunnel has been established.
A huge ventilation system is set up along with all the proper signage as the supportive structure opens the way for the freshly cut adit to take shape. The tunnel instantly hit a branch of the pegmatite and follows the vein in about 40 feet. About halfway in, an old smaller tunnel was intercepted, so we know someone was fishing around down there. The pegmatite is mainly big grains of schorl, biotite, quartz and feldspar. This section of the dyke is about 10 feet thick and sits at a steep 68-degree dip to the north and striking east to west.
Back on the top level the dyke is closer to 20 feet think and another branch was discovered (upon road clearing) on the lower level. So we have extrapolated a split in the pegmatite that occurs about where the original glory hole lies. Maybe a position where the melt slowed up concentrated some of those rare earth elements that are crucial in tourmaline building. So now we follow the branch of the dyke at depth back toward the glory hole and start exploring what was below the original tunnels.
On the way down we spotted two bobcats. One was kind enough to stop for a quick photo shoot. It was a pleasant surprise, topping off a great day up to the Esmeralda Mine. So now we have all the elements in line for a successful push into the heart of the proven claim.
√ Proper equipment
All systems go!