GPS 33D 40.145 Minuets North -113D 35.487 Minutes West
The region just south of Salome is rich in mining history beginning in 1888 when gold was discovered By Bob Stein, Mike Sullivan and Harry Walton. There are several Mines in the area, some of them still active.
Some artifacts found here describing the mines name used the initials HQH . I take that to be Harquahala but there were several along this stretch of road. It was last ran by the Shell Mining Company in 1989. There are numerous out buildings, cyanide leach ponds, an adobe office building and lots of adits and shafts. The area appears to be open and abandoned, but watch out for any signs, this status might change at any time.
This is the most modern building, a concrete and galvanized steel office and vault,
To get there from Quartzsite go east on the 10 to the 60 and continue east to Salome. In the center of town, just past the Post Office, make a right and go south for .3 miles. You will come to Harquahala Mine road veering right. Follow that for 7 miles. The mine is quite noticeable on your left. You can't miss the pink rhyolite tailing piles and outbuildings. You will pass the mine a little to find the entrance and the road will double back to the mine.
There appears to be several phases and types of activity at the mine. The rhyolite tailings and cyanide leach pits would be from the gold mining . The adobe building would probably be from the turn of the century and the tin shacks, cyanide tanks and leach pits much later.
Copper was also mined here. Malachite, Pyrite and Chalcopyrite ore is plentiful at the ore dump, and some evidence of a smelting. In the picture below you see the ore loading platform in the background. In the foreground is a building used by the miners to change and shower. You can see the remains of the shower bottom.
In the picture below I am sampling the copper oxide/pyrite ore that spilled of of the loading platform. At the shack, in the background is a storage area for coke that would have been used in the copper smelting.
There was also a small scale copper recycling operation there. Printed circuit boards were chopped up and tumbled in an acid bath to recover the copper.
I am sure that this is not the way to retire a copper recovery operation. The smell of the acid permeates the area and just below these workings is a pond that is filled with pink water and not one sign of life. I am no biologist but this is definitely not a place that any living thing would want to wade into.
I tried my hand at finishing the job that these folks began. I started with a bit of this green material and some water in a glass jar. I placed a steel plate in the jar and connected it to a -6 volt dc power source. I then placed a piece of tin foil to the + 6 volt dc side. It immediately began to bubble up HSO2 gas on the negative cathode and the positive side turned a copper color. In the morning I had a nice piece of what looked to be botryoidal float copper where the foil used to be. Electro- winning in action 99% pure copper.
An added by product of this procedure was some crystallization that occurred on the cathode after I had removed the voltage. This formed in what I thought was a copper sulfate solution that had been infused with some dissolved steel (fe) that came off of the cathode. The shape of the crystals confused me because they were cubic. They were a shiny blue green at first but soon oxidized out to a duller color. I fully expected them to be trigonal. I made some more solution and crystallized it out and it was a trigonal rhombohedron. Below are two pictures. The one on the left is after electro winning (cubic) and the one on the right is before (rhomb). I know that pyrite contains both copper and iron and is also cubic. If there are any chemists out there please lend an explanation. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the solution to this puzzle.
Here are some magnified pictures of some of the minerals found on the ore dumps.
This is a great site to visit the next time you go by Quartzsite.