The Gold Coin mine produced during 1900 approximately $1,500,000.00. The company distributed in dividends the sum of $240,000. The shaft has been sunk an additional depth of 400 feet. An extensive system of lateral work has been accomplished. The mine has demonstrated in an important manner the continuance with depths of the ore chutes of the camp, new veins having been discovered in the property at great depth and the old ones having shown up bigger and better than ever. The mine has been equipped with a costly and powerful plant of machinery. It is to-day a new mine, both in the matter of new equipment and the discovery of ore chutes at depth which practically double the value of the property. Not very much is made public regarding the Gold Coin mine, but some information regarding the recent developments has been gathered.
At a depth of 500 feet a parallel vein was opened some months ago. Its existence until that time was unsuspected. An ore chute 300 feet long has been proved up in it. The ore body varies from three to six feet in width and assays from two to sixteen ounces are yielded. At 850 feet the main vein has been satisfactorily proved up and in addition what has always before been a stringer has widened to two feet and values ranging from five to twenty two ounces have been had. This has only recently been entered. It is a most important discovery to the property.
Those who have been prating about the pinching of our ore chutes with depth would do well to study this lesson. The Gold Coin is situated practically at the bottom of Squaw and Battle mountains. A depth of 850 feet on it means therefore a relatively greater depth than on the Portland or other mines situated farther up the hill. As greater depth has been attained in the workings of the Gold Coin greater results than ever have been had.
Extracts from a most interesting article recently written by A. C. Bray upon the subject of the new equipment of this mine serve as a fitting edition of this article. Mr. Bray is mining editor of the Telegraph of Colorado Springs. His description in part is as follows:
"A mile deep in Cripple Creek. This is possible with the new monster hoist and engines which are a part of the Gold Coin's $250,000 plant, just installed in this mine at Victor. One thousand horses would be required to do the the daily work of the powerful engines of the plant could their efforts be converted into a usable form. Yet the achievements of modern invention have rigged up an iron horse that does the work of a thousand at this time.
The Gold Coin today has the most complete and powerful plant of machinery put in place over any gold mine in the country, and in all probability in the entire world. Its cost as it stands now is $250,000; the lifting capacity of its engines is 5,000 feet, and on a pinch this could be stretched to the mile limit. To get an idea of the size of the buildings, one must carry a scale 72 feet in his mind's eye, for that is the distance from the stone abutment which forms a retaining wall for the first story of the building to the peak of the cupola over the gallows frame. The buildings look like a well put up cotton or woolen mill of the east, for the entire structure is of brick and steel and is much out of conformity with one's popular idea of a rough and ready mining camp. But in this particular, as markedly as in any other that could be cited, is the stability and greatness of the Cripple Creek district illustrated.
The business of gold mining in Cripple Creek requires implements commensurate to the needs and consequently—the plant of the Gold Coin. Little can be comprehended by saying that this building is so many feet long, so many wide and so high. A clearer impression will be made when it is stated what this plant can accomplish.
However, one will understand when it is said that the main feature of the plant is of coarse the shaft house, which is the central portion of the structure. It is 40 feet square and 75 feet high, and contains all the powerful machinery used every day in lifting the 300 tons of ore from the depths of the mine.
The engine room is the long arm of the building beyond the shaft house, while the other portions of the building are given over to the boiler rooms, from the roof of which the great stack of the mine rises to a height of 145 feet. The heaviest pieces of machinery in the plant are the compressors which are located in the engine room and extend across the entire width of the room, 53 feet. The four tubular boilers in the other end of the building provide 1,068 horse power, and of this 400-horse power is used in running the compressors which operate 30 powerful machine drills.
These drills have eaten their way through the hardest of granite and carved out ten levels, making the underground workings of the mine several miles in extent. Much of this work has been entirely of an exploratory nature, the drifts run having been alongside ore bodies which have been left standing as reserves for future days. It may be stated that the compressor plant of this mine is the heaviest in actual operation in the Cripple Creek district; although the capacity of the combined plants of one or two other mines may exceed this in the aggregate number of drills available.
Interest in the Gold Coin plant centers, naturally, in the mass of machinery that can be seen moving, and not in a bunch of air drills underground, and it is not strange, therefore, that the great hoist, located on the central station, is most often inspected and admired. It seems like a thing of life as it responds to the slight pressure of the engineer who controlls the entire apparatus by a small lever Seven hundred and fifty-eight horse power is needed to operate the great hoist which can whizz a double deck cage 1,500 feet in 60 seconds. Talk about elevator speed in a New York sky scraper; a miner in the Gold Coin shaft will travel upwards or in the opposite direction, with four times the speed and think nothing of it.
The hoist is as near human as can be imagined, the great feature being the counter balance contrivance whereby the descending cage in one compartment of the shaft is used to lift the loaded cage from whatever station the ore may have been taken on. It is a delicate principle of mathematics that is involved, but the results are plain enough to be sure. Simply stated, it is as follows:
The great cable 2,500 feet in length is wound round the reel of the hoist and when the empty cage is at the surface the cable is all wound up. The empty cage is at the other end of another 2,500-foot cable and down in the shaft. When the empty cage starts downward its mass of wound-up cable begins to unwind and the weight of the cage multiplied by the leverage obtained by the distance from the center of the drum to the outer edge of the unwinding cable manufactures enough momentum to hoist the loaded cage from the depth of the mine.
The Gold Coin master mechanic stated that all that was necessary was to start the empty cage downward, supplying a little power at the beginning and the unwinding cable did the rest. This is what is called the counter balance, simple enough when you see it done; but a great revelation in applied mechanics, nevertheless. It is an important feature in the running of this mine for it means the saving of about $10,000 a year on the Gold Coin's coal bill alone each year.
The four great boilers located in the boiler rooms are Titans of strength and generate the steam used in running the many parts of the plant. Their combined horse power is 1,068, their pattern being the Babcock & Wilcox make. Another feature of economy about the Gold Coin property is seen in the boiler room, where the automatic strokers, as the apparatus is called, keeps tab on how much coal each of the great boilers needs and feeds it to it at the proper moment. This arrangement permits of a great saving in coal and also guarantees that the fires be maintained at a steady heat, insuring a regular supply of steam.
The plant, from collar of shaft to top of smokestack, is as complete as could be made and the outlay of a quarter of a million has been most advantageously utilized. It would be incomplete to close a description of the Gold Coin property without stating how it was that the company came to build such a magnificent plant. The former plant which occupied the site of the present one was completely destroyed by fire in the latter part of August, 1899. The intensity of the conflagration can be imagined when it is known that today charred timbers are yet to be found at the 700-foot point in the mine. The shaft was completely ruined to a depth of 250 feet, new excavating having to be done and an entire new set of timbers put in at that depth."