Monte De Oro Mill Claim

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The Monte De Oro Mine’s stamp mill still stands in the woods only yards from the busy paved highway south of Woodleaf, CA. The dense forest hides it well from highway travelers and satellite image viewers.

Located on the old Kelly property and originally called the Old Spanish Mine it was sold by Eli Harter to William Beik and his Oregonian partner Joseph Supple in 1908. The claim know as the Beik Prospect consisted of 80 acres.

The 1915 publication “Mining and Engineering World, Volume 42” indicates a 5 stamp mill was built by W. Lewis and Associates of Los Angeles.

In 1922 the California State Mining Bureau’s report No. 18, Beik reported taking a mere 80 tons of ore from a small 20 ft by 20 ft hole and processing it at the Horseshoe Mill for $305 until the mill burned during the run.

The first time the mine is referred to as the Monte De Oro mine is in Rosemarie Mossinger’s 1995 book “Woodleaf Legacy”. She claims the mine was called the Beik Supple Mine but more commonly referred to as the Monte De Oro Mine. There exist a much larger mining operation called the Monte De Oro a bit further west on the other side of Lake Oroville. Perhaps a misunderstanding.

Mossinger also claims the mill was built in 1927 which makes sense as Beik reported milling at the Horseshoe
in 1922. She claims it was shut down shortly there after.

In her book she quotes Jack Dunning as saying a couple high class fellas from back east restarting the mill only to produce one ingot. They sold it to a bank which said it was 50% brass because they had used to much acid to process it and dissolved the workings into the ingot.

Modern USGS Topo Maps refer to the Mine as the Monte De Oro as well as the larger operation of the same name a few miles west. We visited the stamp mill to find it in a collapsing state with much equipment still in place. From the amalgamation table, to the stamps, and up to crushing equipment it is all still there. The ladders and stairs are such that we dared not climb them for a closer look at the upper levels. The adit is collapsed. I hope this one is preserved or relocated to a museum before scrappers get her. I haven’t a clue on current property ownership.

  • JB Bergmann

    Reply
    Rating: 3 / 5

    Thanks to Mr. Nibbles and the Addit Adicts for this one!

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