Archive | United States Mining History

Coal miner stereotypes shattered in humanizing ‘Black Rock Blues’ documentary – by Christina Gregg ( – March 23, 2017)

In President Donald Trump’s inauguration speech this past January, the newly-elected commander in chief shared a message aimed at America’s defeated and downtrodden, saying, “From mountain to mountain, from ocean to ocean, hear these words: You will never be ignored again.”

Trump made this promise to many Americans while on the 2016 campaign trail, but he perhaps courted none with the vow of overdue consideration more so than coal miners working in one of the country’s most fragile industries.

A new Rated Red production, “Black Rock Blues,” features one such coal miner and father of three, who — despite being laid off twice in one year — says things have been “more hopeful” since Trump won the presidency. Continue Reading →

Indonesia Wants Control of Freeport’s Grasberg Within Two Years – by Yoga Rusmana and Eko Listiyorini (Bloomberg News – March 23, 2017)

(Bloomberg) — The dispute engulfing the world’s second-biggest copper mine deepened as Indonesia’s government said it planned to take a majority stake in the local unit of owner Freeport-McMoRan Inc. within two years while workers at the pit threatened to go on strike.

The state enterprises ministry has cleared a government-run company to buy a majority stake in PT Freeport Indonesia, the local unit that runs the massive Grasberg mine in Papua province, according to Fajar Harry Sampurno, the deputy minister for mining, media and strategic industries. Freeport-McMoran would have to divest its share to a state-owned entity under a new contract that the Phoenix-based miner is yet to sign.

“We’re ready,” Sampurno said at a press conference in Jakarta on Wednesday. A local aluminum producer, PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium, will be turned into a holding company to purchase the stake, he said. “Once the holding company is formed, they will immediately work on it.” Continue Reading →

[Deadwood, South Dakota] Back to the wild, wild west – by Wayne Newton (Brantford Expositor – April 15, 2012)

There’s no sugar-coating history at the Adams Museum. Violence, gambling, prostitution, stuffed pet cocker spaniels left by a rich pillar of the community, a two-headed calf and a children’s play area. It’s all there for visitors to absorb at the too-often-overlooked Deadwood, South Dakota, institution.

While Eastern-style honesty might not have been a hallmark of Deadwood when it was set up as a rogue mining camp in the Dakota territory during the 1800s, integrity and frankness have become hallmarks at a museum, which should be the starting point for tourists who truly want to appreciate Deadwood and its colourful, controversial history.

First-time tourists arrive for the main street stroll, where historical re-enactors stage gunfights with quick storylines, check out where legendary Wild Bill Hickok held his dead man’s poker hand of black aces and eights, and maybe make the arduous trek to Mount Moriah Cemetery to view the graves of Wild Bill, his adoring Calamity Jane and sheriff Seth Bullock. Those without children in tow will find scores of casinos, where poker remains the big draw amid the enticing din of modern slot machines. Continue Reading →

SOUTH DAKOTA LEGENDS: The Painted Ladies of Deadwood Gulch

“Working girls” in Deadwood were as prominent a fixture as that of the many miners in the bustling boom camp. Though these “ladies”most likely arrived almost as soon as the first man, the first record of prostitutes coming to Deadwood was in July, 1876.

Arriving with Charlie Utter’s wagon train, along with Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane, were several “professional” women, including two madams who went by the names of Dirty Em and Madam Mustachio. The two seasoned veterans had previously worked in many of the California and Nevada mining camps. The miners were so pleased to see the women that they lined up along the street and cheered.

A thriving industry in the camp dominated almost entirely by men, in 1876, it was estimated that approximately 90% of women of the camp were “painted ladies.” Difficult for a woman to make a living in the American West during these times, many single women or those who had lost husbands or fathers to provide for them were almost forced into prostitution in order to support themselves. Continue Reading →

Donald Trump’s Grandpa Made Fortune Selling Sex, Booze In B.C.’s North – by Jesse Ferreras (Huffington Post Canada – October 26, 2016)

Donald Trump would have you believe he’s a savvy businessman who has made sacrifices and seen “tremendous success.” But it was his grandfather Friedrich Trump who set the family on a course for business success, which he enjoyed early on by selling booze and sex to gold miners in northern Canada.

Bloomberg reported Wednesday on the Arctic Restaurant and Hotel, an establishment that offered food, alcohol and sex workers to miners seeking riches amid the Klondike Gold Rush of the late 19th century.

But Trump, who left Germany at the age of 16 before making his way to New York and eventually B.C., didn’t go looking for gold in any mountain. He was more focused on “mining the miners,” biographer Gwenda Blair told the news agency. Trump and partner Ernest Levin initially established the Arctic Hotel in Bennett, B.C. in 1899, in a place that was once a thriving hub for prospectors. Continue Reading →

Activists: Old uranium mines polluting Angostura – by Staff (Rapid City Journal – September 22, 2016)

Members of three activist groups say recent research shows that abandoned uranium mines are contributing to elevated uranium levels in Angostura Reservoir in the southern Black Hills.

The research was recently published in the journal Environmental Earth Sciences by authors that included two South Dakota School of Mines & Technology scientists, Rohit Sharma and James Stone. The article is titled “Stream sediment geochemistry of the upper Cheyenne River watershed within the abandoned uranium mining region of the southern Black Hills.”

According to the Clean Water Alliance, Dakota Rural Action and It’s All About the Water, the research shows that elevated uranium levels at Angostura are partly caused by human activity, including abandoned uranium mines and a former mill at Edgemont. Elevated uranium levels at Angostura Reservoir are comparable to the elevated uranium levels upstream in the Cheyenne River watershed at abandoned mines, the groups said. Continue Reading →

Mining City History: Germania Mine was prolific source of silver and zinc – by Dick Gibson (Montana Standard – June 26, 2016)

The mines west and north of Butte were some of the earliest to develop because the Butte mineral district is zoned like an onion, with the outer rings richer in silver than the central, more copper-rich sections. While the Orphan Girl was probably the most prolific producer at more than seven million ounces of silver, other mines were important during Butte’s silver era, 1875-1893.

The Germania mine was about a half mile almost due south of the Orphan Girl. It was established by a German immigrant about 1881. He promptly died, and his nephew Louis “Lee” Freudenstein inherited the claim when he came to Butte in 1882.

Butte’s silver boom really began in 1884-85, and by November 1885, the Germania was “being worked night and day… looks very well,” according to the Butte Miner. Freudenstein and his wife Christina were living at 211 W. Galena, a tiny frame house long gone, on the site of today’s Headframe Spirits building. Continue Reading →