The Cripple Creek Mining Company is a close corporation that is operating the property of the Independence Consolidated Gold Mining Company under a three years' lease and started operations January 4, 1902. During the year that has passed, royalties paid by the Cripple Creek Mining Co. has taken the Independence Consolidated out of the $50,000 they were in in debt and to were they to-day commence the new year with all indebtedness cleared away and close to $20,000 in the treasury.
The fact that enough money was derived from royalties alone gives an idea of the vast amount of ore that was broken and shipped by the lessees to not only meet their own expenses but pay such an enormous sum in royalties to the owner company.
When the lease started, the shaft was down to the depth of 850 feet and conditions were not the brightest. The bottom level had a "sick" appearance. With very little ore in sight the management started the work of development, which was pushed along steadily and without interruption.
A drift from the 850-foot station was extended northward, with the result that a splendid body of ore was opened that with development proved permanent. The shaft was sunk an additional 100 feet, making the shaft 950 feet deep.
At that depth the ore body was again proven. Then the work of sinking the shaft was resumed, and an additional 200 feet was gained, making the total depth 1,150 feet. The ore has already been proven as low as the 1,050-foot level, and the bottom level is now being extended west to cut the ore which they expect with almost any shot.
As depth is being gained the ore bodies are not only proving to be larger, but the general grade of the rock shipped is of higher value, demonstrating that the prospects for the future are rosy with promise. The ore shoot was first encountered in the fourth level and does not belong to the ore-bearing vein system that was worked when the mine was first opened.
The development of the past year has been a most important one, and, being in a part of the company's territory that had hardly been exploited before, goes to show that little is known of the future greatness of the Independence.
In the southern end of the company's estate little development work has been done, and for that reason that portion of the estate can be called virgin territory. What may lay hidden beneath the surface is hard to tell. The southern part of the territory consists of a piece of ground 700 to 1,600 feet.
The only development, to speak of, is the old King and Whitting shaft, which is sunk to the depth of 900 feet. No very great amount of work was performed there, but ore bodies of sufficient dimensions were encountered to prove that the territory is a veritable treasure vault, and but needs work to uncover the vast deposits of gold-bearing ore that lay in the great veins and dykes.
Only one ore shoot has been demonstrated from the King and Whitting shaft. A second vein was encountered, but it was not thoroughly prospected from the shaft. From the main shaft a level has been driven down the hill and the second vein opened.
There is a marked improvement with each shot, and the showing is getting better steadily. Ore is being broken and shipments started, proving that the vein contains ore in paying quantities.
That it is the same vein as has been opened in the lower shaft has been proved by a survey, so it is but reasonable to suppose that in the southern end of the territory the vein will yield immense values.
The future development in the southern end of the Independence Consolidated Company's territory is being watched with considerable interest by every one who has the slightest knowledge concerning the surrounding conditions.
One of the big things looked for in the future is the opening of the Vindicator ore shoot that trends toward the Independence. The Vindicator ore shoot has yielded hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of ore, and with depth is proving to be richer than in any of the upper levels.
Little of the forty-seven acres of territory owned by the Independence Consolidated Company has been prospected, so it is readily seen that the greater part of the estate is practically virgin ground.
The past year has proven that little is known of the richness of the ore shoots, and what the future will bring forth in the undeveloped part of the estate is conjectural.
The property of the owner company lays in the draw below the town of Altman, the highest incorporated town in the world. The town of Independence is situated on the property of the Independence company.
Many rich and known ore shoots in adjoining properties are converging into the territory of the Independence Consolidated, and the future prospects are extremely bright, for development is proving new and wonderful things steadily.
The property will be operated by the Cripple Creek Mining Company until January 1, 1905, according to the terms of the lease.
The Cripple Creek Mining Company is being managed by R. P. Russell, a mining man of considerable experience, whose success in locating great ore bodies has been phenomenal. Mr. Russell is the type of a manager who does his work underground and says very little. Keeping everlastingly at a thing brings success, seems to have been his motto.
That he has been successful every one in the district well knows.
At the present time the Cripple Creek Mining Company is breaking and shipping about sixty-five tons of ore a day, that will average $40 to the ton, so it is readily seen that the Independence company is receiving a considerable amount of money each month in royalties.
The equipment of the company is as fine as there is in the entire district. The ore and shaft houses are constructed of steel, and will last for an indefinite period. The air compressor is large enough to furnish air for fifteen drills.
The tracks of the Midland Terminal and Florence & Cripple Creek Golden Circle Railroad Companies run to the ore bins, so the loading of ore is accomplished with hardly any expense at all.
The development of the property is being pushed forward as rapidly as possible, and each month sees an improvement that makes the future of the property that much brighter.
Some of the richest ore bodies and the widest known in the district are to be found in the draw in which the company's estate is situated, and many of the known ore bodies are trending right into the heart of the property, so with considerable more depth it is hard to tell just how really rich the property may prove to be.