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Author: Subject: ramping up copper mining at el arco
Don Pisto
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[*] posted on 5-13-2021 at 12:46 PM
ramping up copper mining at el arco


big plans on the horizon....

https://mexiconewsdaily.com/news/new-power-infrastructure-in...




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[*] posted on 5-13-2021 at 01:02 PM


This has been a long time coming... The place was once a major gold mine town (early 1900s) and a military base in later years. It even had its own paved highway in the mid-1970s (Mex. #18) since the transpeninsular road bypassed it in favor of Guerrero Negro, in 1973. That road was never repaved once the thin asphalt broke up by the 1980s.

Of interest is this paragraph from the link:
In an interview with the news agency Reuters, Xavier García de Quevedo of Grupo México revealed new investments totaling $3.1 billion over six years for metals refining in Sonora and power infrastructure for the proposed El Arco copper mine in the municipality of Mulegé, Baja California Sur.

El Arco is not in Baja California Sur, but only about two miles north of the border. Maybe the copper deposits are south of the border? Today, only a cattle ranch remains populated in the middle of the ghost town.

El Arco in June 2017:













[Edited on 5-13-2021 by David K]




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[*] posted on 5-13-2021 at 01:11 PM


https://www.mindat.org/loc-191823.html

el arco mines sob

[Edited on 5-13-2021 by Don Pisto]




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[*] posted on 5-13-2021 at 01:47 PM


The open pit mine will require about 1000 MW power, immense water supply (desal, or draining viscaino aq) and a port. Wonder if the port will be on SOC or Pacific? My bet in on SOC.



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[*] posted on 5-13-2021 at 02:02 PM


Who is paying the most for copper? Will the ore be processed at El Arco or shipped to the mainland or Arizona for processing? That will decide what port location they build at. A sleepy Baja is a thing of the past. Maybe a railroad line down the peninsula is coming, 125 years after it was first proposed!



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[*] posted on 5-13-2021 at 02:46 PM


Southern Copper’s (Groupo Mexico) 2020 10-K said:

“Arco - Baja California: This is a world class copper deposit located in the central part of the Baja California peninsula, with ore reserves of over 2.7 billion tons with an ore grade of 0.399% and 0.11 grams of gold per ton. This project, includes an open-pit mine combining concentrator and SX-EW (solvent extraction-electrowinning ) operations with an estimated production of 190,000 tons of copper and 105,000 ounces of gold annually. We are currently in the land acquisition process for the project.”

And pretty PR flak words and pics… https://youtu.be/OV5SreHdAvA







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[*] posted on 5-13-2021 at 10:06 PM


Sounds like it's time to buy property in Baja.





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[*] posted on 5-14-2021 at 11:40 AM


Resumption of copper mining at El Arco has been considered many times but nothing much seems to ever happen. The lack of a nearby seaport or rail line has always prevented modern day copper mining of the low grade copper deposit. The ore would have to be hauled 50 miles to the coast at El Barril, or to the port at Guerrero Negro, by truck. With a cheap source of electricity it might be economical to process the ore on site, and simply haul copper ingots instead of millions of tons of low grade ore.

El Arco, the town, is consistently described by authors as a "gold mining town" (Gerhard and Gulik, Minch, etc.) but I believe this is an error that has been passed down from author to author. Gold mining in the area (at Calmalli and Pozo Aleman) boomed from 1870 to about 1905, when most of the gold mines were worked out and abandoned.

El Arco did not even exist until about 1910 when it grew into a mining town, but it was not a gold mining town, it was a copper mining town. It growth coincided with the invention of the internal combustion engine, that may have allowed for transport of copper ore to the smelter at Santa Rosalia. El Boleo, the French copper mining company, actually took over mining at El Arco in the 1940's until the accessible high grade ore deposits were exhausted and mining was abandoned around 1948. The issue is complicated because there was gold present in the copper ore, so in a sense they were mining gold, but it was a by product of the primary target, copper.

There is a remarkable lack of historical information available about El Arco. It seems to be a forgotten town. If anyone has different info I would love to hear it. btw great shot of the old ore cart, DK wonder if it could be dated by some ore cart aficionado?

[Edited on 5-14-2021 by bajaric]
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[*] posted on 5-15-2021 at 04:36 PM


Quote: Originally posted by bajaric  

There is a remarkable lack of historical information available about El Arco. It seems to be a forgotten town. If anyone has different info I would love to hear it. btw great shot of the old ore cart, DK wonder if it could be dated by some ore cart aficionado?

[Edited on 5-14-2021 by bajaric]


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[*] posted on 5-15-2021 at 04:55 PM


Ric, the Lower California Guidebook is generally very accurate on history.
In the 1956 edition, it mentions El Arco (population 160) history:
"The gold mines of El Arco, which at one time employed over 1,000 workers, began to be developed by an American company in the 1920's, but operations ceased after a prolonged strike of the miners. A new company is now endeavoring to reopen the mines." (1956)

I will site other sources as I 'dig' further!




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[*] posted on 5-16-2021 at 11:58 AM


Quote: Originally posted by David K  
Ric, the Lower California Guidebook is generally very accurate on history.
In the 1956 edition, it mentions El Arco (population 160) history:
"The gold mines of El Arco, which at one time employed over 1,000 workers, began to be developed by an American company in the 1920's, but operations ceased after a prolonged strike of the miners. A new company is now endeavoring to reopen the mines." (1956)

I will site other sources as I 'dig' further!


Dig further ha ha I get it --

The Lower California Guidebook got that wrong, sorry to say. Per E. Heylmun, PhD, in an article published in ICMJ's Prospecting and Mining Journal: "The Asarco porphyry copper-molybdenum mine at El Arco was the principal mining operation in Northern Baja between 1883 and 1929".

This argument is bolstered by the reported population of 2000 people at El Arco in the 1920's. Gold mining, in comparison to copper mining, employed relatively few people, due to the smaller amounts of ore that were mined and processed. Thus, El Alamo, the largest gold mining town in the largest gold producing district in Baja, had a maximum population of about 500 persons. A gold mining town with a population of 2000 people would indicate a giant gold mining operation, comparable to the largest lode mines in Alta California such as the Kennedy and Argonaut mines near Jackson, CA. (population 3000 in 1900). These mines were a mile deep and produced 25 million ounces of gold, each. If such a mine were present at El Arco it would be famous. So what was this giant mega gold mine at El Arco called? Answer, it did not have a name because it never existed. They were mining copper.

The question that remains unresolved is what happened to the copper ore they dug up at El Arco. If it was processed on site there would be piles of slag all over the place. This is why I believe that copper ore from El Arco was hauled (or shipped) to the smelter at Santa Rosalia for processing. I have not been able to verify this, partly because an internet search for El Arco Baja California invariably brings up several hundred web pages for time shares and condos in Cabo San Lucas!

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[*] posted on 5-16-2021 at 01:58 PM


"So what was this giant mega gold mine at El Arco called? Answer, it did not have a name because it never existed. They were mining copper." I don't know who said it was a giant mega gold mine but the GOLD mine in question is the "La Otilia" gold mine. opened in 1883.....not a huge producer. as far as gold at El Arco goes.....obviously its still in the ground but they're looking at a 105,000 ounce gold mine along with the copper.

[Edited on 5-16-2021 by del mar]
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[*] posted on 5-16-2021 at 03:46 PM


Digging up more gold...

In the 1992 book, 'Modest Fortunes, Mining in Northern Baja California', on page 175:

"In the twentieth century, the town of El Arco, which sits next to boundary of Baja California Sur, became a major gold center."




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[*] posted on 5-16-2021 at 07:19 PM


Prior to 1960s, al arco was site of small mining operations, including some placer ops.

Beginning in 1960s, Asarco (and later others) started spending significant $$ on exploration work.

Mining has probably never taken off there because of the remote location and lack of water.

Mining is all talk until they actually start mining,… they may not start large-scale mining at el arco for another 10, 20, 30 years, etc., especially if grupo Mexico has better mines to exploit for the next few decades.

According to the 10-Ks, the owner has been buying up lots of land, so maybe they are getting serious about mining. Who knows?





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[*] posted on 5-17-2021 at 08:00 AM


Now we are seeing much exploration for lithium and that may explain acquisition of land near existing mining areas.
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[*] posted on 5-17-2021 at 08:08 AM


Quote: Originally posted by David K  
Digging up more gold...

In the 1992 book, 'Modest Fortunes, Mining in Northern Baja California', on page 175:

"In the twentieth century, the town of El Arco, which sits next to boundary of Baja California Sur, became a major gold center."


Modest Fortunes simply repeated the erroneous information from The Lower California Guide Book. To appreciate how unlikely it is that a thousand gold miners worked at El Arco in the 1920's you have to understand the history of gold mining in the district. Placer gold was discovered at Calmalli in 1882. A brief gold rush ensued, with 400 miners flocking to the new discovery. In the usual pattern, the placers were soon exhausted and the lode miners moved in, attracted to promising quartz outcrops in the area. Emiliano Ybarra, a man noted for his determination and leadership abilities, consolidated the mining claims around Calmalli. The Ybarra mining company eventually came to employ about 100 miners, and opened up no less than 14 mines, including the Otilla, the most productive mine in the district, hidden in the rugged peaks of the Sierra Calmalli. A little ways to the south, Pozo Aleman grew into a small gold mining town, with a population of 100. After 2 decades of hard work, Ybarra sold his mining properties to an American outfit for $25,000US in 1903, paid in gold coin. By then, the best ore was gone. Black powder and hand drills had been replaced by steam drills and dynamite, and the average lode mine on gold bearing quartz veins was worked out and abandoned in fairly short order. The American mining effort petered out, and by 1910 Pozo Aleman and Calmalli were on their way to becoming ghost towns. The same happened thru out the Southwest, leaving ghost towns where miners had once lived and toiled. Total gold production of the Calmalli / Pozo Aleman district is estimated at about 150,000 ounces.

Then, if the story told by The Lower California Guide Book is true, in the 1920's a massive, world class gold deposit was found at El Arco. Somehow, after scouring every square inch of the district, the early miners had failed to notice this huge gold deposit, about 2 miles south of Pozo Aleman. As the story goes, a thousand miners soon labored day and night at the new mine, blasting out miles of tunnels and hauling up hundreds of thousands of tons of gold bearing quartz ore. The mine, with its employment of a thousand miners, was equal to the largest lode mines in Alta California. It would have had a massive head frame and hoisting room, a hundred stamp mill, and generated a massive pile of mine dumps and tailings. Gold production would have been in the millions or tens of millions of ounces. Somehow, though, this world class gold mine never had a name, and there is no evidence of any head frame, mill, or mine dumps that would have been associated with such a large gold mine. You can see that it just doesn't add up. If you study the history of gold mining in Baja it soon becomes apparent just how small most of the mines were. A gold mine that employed 1000 miners would have been a complete anomaly, and would have gone down in history as one of the greatest gold discoveries of the era. Ybarra, with his 100 employees, was one of the largest gold mining outfits in Baja, anywhere.

On the other hand, a run of the mill copper mine could easily employ 1000 workers, as the method of mining copper is completely different than chasing hydrothermal quartz veins in a gold mine. Copper is found in thick layers of ore that contains miniscule concentrations of the metal, and is mined by the millions of tons. Anyway, I have wasted enough effort on this, unless some other evidence comes up of a massive gold mine at El Arco I remain convinced that this was simply an error on the part of the authors of The Lower California Guidebook that was passed along by future authors.

As far as the future of copper mining at El Arco, I hope it does not happen. A big open pit copper mine would be an ugly imposition on the beautiful landscape of the desert of central Baja, an ecosystem that is almost unique in the world. The whole place should be made into a national park and off limits to mining, but that is a decision for the Federal Government of Mexico.





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