||In a nut shell...
6 miles west of Broken Hills Several fluorite mines in the area, the major mine-- The Kaiser-- produced about six million dollars between 1928 and 1957. It's now "mined out" and no future production is anticipated.
The Kaiser mine in the Broken Hills district, Mineral County, formerly the Baxter mine, was discovered by V.S. Baxter in 1938. Mr. Baxter operated it until 1951 when a lease and option-to-purchase agreement was made with H.W. Gould & Co. This agreement was transferred to the Fallon Fluorspar Mines, Inc. who in 1952 sold the mine to the Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corp. The new owners operated the mine until early 1957 when mining ceased because available ore had been mined.
Nevada Bureau of MInes Bulletin 65, 1964
In 1951, Baxter signed a lease with an option to purchase agreement with the H.W. Gould Company. In 1952, the agreement was transferred to the Fallon Fluorspar Mines, Inc. who soon sold it to the Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corporation. A mill was built in Fallon along the railroad. Operations continued until early 1957, when ore ran out. The mill continued to operate on stockpile for about six months, and Kaiser hasn't seen any activity since.
Wikipedia says: Industrially, fluorite is used as a flux for smelting, and in the production of certain glasses and enamels. The purest grades of fluorite are a source of fluoride for hydrofluoric acid manufacture, which is the intermediate source of most fluorine-containing fine chemicals.
Vet Stephens Baxter was born July 8, 1881 in Salina, Kansas. He married Marguerite Davison (born 11/17/1901) and they were married until she died on 5/21/1967. He died January 14, 1973 and is buried in Fallon.
Mr. Baxter was a fairly well known mining man, and his name appears frequently in papers of the day-- not only in regards to his mining operations here, but in Broken Hills, Quartz Mountain, and other locations. He was also a skilled marksman and entered several local contests. Really, the mine was the Baxter Mine far longer than it was the Kaiser Mine. From some clippings..
VET BAXTER TAKES BROKEN HILLS LEASE
Vet Baxter was in Reno Wednesday attending to the signing of papers under which he will carry on leasing operations on the Broken Hills Mine, in Churchill County.
1925 December 25, Reno Evening Gazette
PROTEST MADE AGAINST TRAPS
Vet Baxter is in from the Ione District with a protest against the hundreds of cruel steel traps that are scattered over 350 miles of that territory at the rate of two or three to a mile. Mr. Baxter says the traps constitute a public menace as he has found them within a few feet of the road. They are powerfully jawed devices that would cause the death of a cow or man if they happened to step into the clutches which are usually carefully hidden in the sagebrush. He proposed enacting an ordinance prohibiting their use within 300 feet of any highway or well traveled road. Capt. Walter Rowson advised the commissioners that the remedy, if any, rested with the legislature and not within the county.
1930 October 9, Reno Evening Gazette
NEVADA PRODUCES SOME FLUORSPAR
From a bulletin published by the United States bureau of mines on the production of fluorspar it is learned that Nevada produced in 1933 and 1934, 1136 tons of fluorspar, and that for the latter year the price was $17.49 per ton. THe bulletin does not so state, but it is believed that all of it came from Vet Baxter's mine near Broken Hills.
1935 May 15, Reno Evening Gazette
At this point, the mine warranted a visit from Mr. Vanderburg.
Mining has been confiined to the production of shipping ore whenever there has been a market for the product. At the time of the writer's visit in October 1936, two men were employed in working the deposit on contract. Drilling is done by hand and the open stope method of mining is employed. A 12 horsepower Fairbanks-Morse gasoline engine and 800 pound bucket are used for hoisting.
DISTRICT REPORT; PROPERTY REPORT; ASSAYS; PRODUCTION;USBM IC 6941 W.O. Vanderburg, 1937
The war hadn't begun for the U.S. yet, so the demand for the mineral was lower than it would be in just a short time.
FLUORSPAR SUPPLY IS EXCEEDING DEMAND
The United States produced Fluorspar in 1940 to the value of $4,744,808, the ore having an average value of $20.31 per ton. Nevada's output was 5801 tons, worth $14.17 each. Most of the state's production came from the Vet C. Baxter mine, in the Broken Hills district. Steel mills, the bureau reported, are the principal consumers of fluorspar, and large quantities also are used in glass and enamel manufacture, and in the production of hydrofluoric acid which is essential in the manufacture of artificial cryolite, and aluminum raw material.
1941 April 23 Reno Evening Gazette
Vet C. Baxter has twenty-two men working on his fluorspar property west of Broken Hills
1941 October 11 Reno Evening Gazette
By 1943 Mr. Baxter was in his early sixties and probably thinking about getting ready for his Golden Years.
VET BAXTER IS OWNER OF FARM
Vet S. baxter of Fallon, foremost producer of fluorspar in Nevada from his mine in northeaster Mineral county, has lately purchased a 25 acre tract of farm land facing highway 50, a short distance east of Fallon, where he is planning to establish his home and headquarters for his mining activities. Fluorspar from his mine is trucked to Fallon for rail shipment to the coast.
1943 December 18 Reno Evening Gazette
While fluorspar might be a boring mineral compared to silver or gold, it was certainly an important mineral during the War.
FLUORSPAR MINE OF VET BAXTER AMONG LEADERS
Supplies mineral of Rare Quality to War Industry
Under the heading "Fluorspar Deposits in the Western States," J.L. Gillson describes briefly in Mining Technology the productive operation conducted for a number of years by Vet. S. Baxter of Fallon, whose highly important contribution of essential high-grade fluorspar to war industries has commanded relatively little attention here. Metallurgist Gillson's article says concerning the Nevada deposit:
A remarkable deposit worked by an energetic individual is that known as Fluorspar mines, about 75 miles east of Fallon, on the line between Churchill and Mineral counties.
The operator is V.S. Baxter, who should be classed as one of the ablest operators in the fluorspar mining business. The deposit is unique in that acid-grade fluorspar of very high quality can be produced by selective mining, without blasting, and by hand sorting only. The mine is in an area known as Broken Hills, within sight of a big magnesium-ore development for Basic Magnesium, Inc.
Although there is neither water, power, nor rail transportation, nevertheless, thanks to Mr Baxter's energy and ability, there is an important, if small, fluorspar mine which has been in operation since 1929.
Drilling and breaking are done entirely by hand, which is possible because of the soft nature of the country rock. The fluorspar is broken out separately, without contamination with the wall rock and dropped piece by piece down chutes. The waste is used to backfill the stopes In this way a very high grade product is prepared.
1945 May 19 Reno Evening Gazette
In the 1950's, he leased the mine to the Gould Co.
HIGH GRADE ORE IS REPORTED AT BAXTER MINE
Property Listed As Big Producer Of Fluospar
Fallon, Jan. 26-- THe Vet Baxter mine, southeast of Fallon now under lease and option is listed at the largest producer ofFluorspar in Nevada and one with arond half a million tons of milling and shipping grade ore on the dumps and blocked out.
A survey completed last fall by the U.S. bureau of mines disclosed from diamond drillings that high-sgrade ore extends downward for 256 feet below the present workings at a depth of 250 feet.
Samples showed, according to Vet Baxter, owner, that the six foot vein at this depth has a purity of 96.66 percent.
All of the 70,000 tons shipped out by Baxter since 1932 has been high grade which rates it in the nation's leader in fluorspar of this quality. No ore under 94 per cent has been shipped. hundreds of tons, said Baxter, have been better than 99.94 percent.
Five shafts have been sunk on the property. Three winzes have gone down 50 feet more, all of them in shipping-grade ore. One drift is 2800 feet long. A bureau of mines survey a few years ago brought an estimate that there was better than 400,000 tons or ore of shipping and milling grade. That was before the recent drilling showing the ore body down to 500 feet. Baxter says there is 35,000 tons of milling ore in the dumps.
MILL IS PLANNED
A 250-ton mill is now being planned by W.H. Gould & co., of San Francisco which recently too a lease and option on the property from Baxter, the ultimate purchase price being $350,000. It is indicated that the company is studying a site south of the mine near Broken Hills, along with a wash towards Gabbs where ample water is available. Should this site be chosen, the mill would not be far from the highway north of Gabbs to highway U.S. 50. It is beleived power could be had by extending lines from the airport north of Gabbs. It has also been indicated that such a mill site would lead to shipping through Luning, largely a down-hill haul, rather than through Fallon as has been the case with Baxter's shipments. It is beleived that there is not enough water at the mine to handle a 250-ton mill. What definite plans the company has for the future, Baxter says he has not learned. J.O. Greennan of Reno is to be the mining engineer and mine superintendent, it is understood. Mickey O. Boyle has been named the foreman.
FORMER OPERATERS HERE
The Gould company is not unknown locally. It was W.H. Gould & co. during the war that mined quicksilver from the Wild Horse property in northeastern Churchill county. A considerable quantity of cinnabar was reported at the time.
The Gould people have an international reputation as specializing in quciksilver. They have operated over this country and in South America.
The fluorspar claims were located by Baxter himself in 1922. "It was nearly ten years before I shipped an ounce."
His early work was exploring, gophering, sampling. A camp grew until there are not 14 buildings.
As shafts were sunk and drifts were extended to follow veins the ore was sorted with only the shipping grade being sold. Most of the outlet was to Pacific coast points.
With lower prices for fluorspar, mining and shipping has been on a smaller scale during the last three years, although, contrary to reports, the mine has continued to be a producer. A shipment left Fallon on the 16th of the month.
Baxter says he has no definite plans for the future. "I'll probably be out prospecting," he added.
-1951 January 26 Reno Evening Gazette