Among the close corporations of the district, the closest is The Free Coinage Gold Mining Company. Very little of the stock of the company is out, the great bulk being held by three people.
Little information is given out concerning the workings of the mine, as John B. Neville, the president, does not believe in mining with a brass band.
The board of directors of the company is strong in the belief that the best way to work a property like theirs is on the leasing system, and the fact that such a condition prevails is due entirely to President Neville.
He believes that a company with such a large estate as is owned by the Free Coinage Company, can obtain better results from the leasing system than by working on company account.
The Free Coinage Company owns a compact group of forty acres on Bull hill, on which the town of Altman, the highest incorporated city in the world, is situated.
The claims consist of the;
situated in the northeast quarter of section 20.
The estate lies in the pathway of the great fissured zone of ore-bearing veins that trend from the southwest to the northeast, having their commencement on the south slope of Battle mountain and extending northeasterly across Bull hill.
Situated on this great system of veins are such great producers as Stratton's Independence, Portland, Modoc, Last Dollar, Blue Bird, American Eagles. Pharmacist, Acacia and the Empire State.
Already there has been produced from this ore-bearing system of veins sufficient ore to pay dividends amounting to better than ten millions of dollars.
A perfect network of veins outcrop on the estate of the Free Coinage Company, of which only a few have been prospected as yet, so it is readily seen that the territory is hardly scratched.
While the shaft is 500 feet deep, very little lateral work has been performed, proving that the officers little know how wonderfully rich their territory is.
That the greater part of the Free Coinage Company's estate is virgin, is demonstrated by the little work that has been performed, and what future development may demonstrate is conjectural.
Suffice it to say, that situated as it is, there is every reason to believe that development will yet prove the estate to be one of the richest in the entire district.
The Free Coinage property is surrounded by such well-known producers as the Pharmacist, Acacia, Empire State, Isabella, Deadwood, Trachyte and the Shurtloff, while to the west is the famous Wild Horse, and to the south is the Independence Consolidated, where extremely good ore is being broken at the depth of 1,050 feet.
The ore shoot of the latter property has a trend to the north, so with greater depth the Free Coinage Company will encounter the great ore-producing shoots.
Lately the estate of the Free Coinage has enhanced in value very considerably, on account of the new developments made in the Empire State, on the north. In the latter property, at the depth of 750 feet, and near to the line of the Free Coinage Company, there has been opened an ore shoot entirely new to the hill.
In the Empire State 750-foot level, this new ore shoot is being broken better than forty-two feet wide, and neither wall has been disclosed, so the extent has not been determined.
With additional depth, the Free Coinage Company will cut this shoot, and then the richest estate on Bull hill will be opened.
Another feature of the find in the Empire State, is the presence of gray copper, which mining engineers are of the opinion is an indication of secondary enrichment.
The ore shoot passes through the Free Coinage. That is known, for it has already been opened on the Pharmacist, on the south of the Free Coinage, proving continuity.
If a secondary enrichment of ore is encountered with depth, in the Free Coinage, it will be a bonanza, as the ore now being broken, at various places, is wonderfully rich.
As the ore opened in the Empire State lies just north of the Free Coinage line, and continues in the face of the drift extending south in the Empire, the Free Coinage Company knows that it has vast reserves that a miner's pick has never yet touched.
A steady production is maintained by the lessees operating the various blocks of the estate. At present seven sets of lessees are breaking and shipping ore.
The greatest tonnage is being made from the Jacquette lease, on the Rising Sun claim, which adjoins the Pinto, where the main working shaft has been sunk.
The best proposition in the way of a lease on the property is that being operated by Wilhelm and Goldsworthy, on a block of the Wilson claim.
Those lessees ship a carload of ore every two weeks, and the lowest settlement they have received so far has been a trifle better than twenty ounces of gold to the ton, making the value of the ore better than $400.00.
The Wilson is located on the south side of the estate. While other portions of the estate contain rich ore bodies, the great future of the property is looked to be on the south side. Down the draw, near the Independence Consolidated, is a volcanic vent, and the geologists who have made a thorough study of the district, claim that in the draw above, the placer, the richest ore is to be found at the greatest depth of any mines in the entire Cripple Creek district.
As depth is being gained in the Wilson, the ore is getting richer and the veins wider, proving that with depth the Free Coinage will open a veritable treasure vault.
During the past sixteen months the company has paid three dividends.
The first one, paid a year ago last September, amounting to $120,000.00.
Last year two dividends of two cents each, amounting to $40,000.00 total were paid, making the total amount of dividends to date reach the sum of $160,000.00.
The money for the dividends was derived solely from the royalties from the lessees who are operating the property. That such an amount could be distributed in dividends from the royalties received from lessees, gives a person a faint idea of the richness of the ore-bearing veins that traverse the estate.
The officers of the company are:
John B. Neville, president
Charles Cavender, vice-president and treasurer
A. H. Martin, secretary
The officers form the board of directors that manages the affairs of the company.
The office of the company is located at the mine, in Altman.
John B. Neville, the president of The Free Coinage Gold Mining Company, is one of the best-known men of the district. Besides being president of the company, Mr. Neville is the general manager.
He spends most of his time here in the district, watching the development of the mine. He is quick to take advantage of any change that may be for the better.
Mr. Neville is a mining man of wide experience, having risen from the ranks. He knows how to drill and shoot a hole as well as the best of miners.
His judgment is appreciated by others, and his standing in the community is unexcelled. Mr. Neville has resided in the district since the early days, and has watched the growth of the greatest gold camp on earth.
Charles Cavender, the vice-president and treasurer, is a lawyer in Leadville, and is one of the foremost business men of the City above the Clouds.
A. H. Martin, the secretary, is a well-known attorney of Denver. Mr. Martin has had a wide experience in mining, takes an active part in the affairs of the company, and is a close observer of geological conditions.