By Heather Reid | Lone Tree USA
The high valley of Cripple Creek was once considered valuable only for prime cattle pasture. Many of the historic gold prospectors specifically avoided the area after the Mount Pisgah hoax, a mini gold rush which was merely a few trying to cash in on dusting gold over rocks….a technique called “Salting”.
In 1890, however, a man by the name of Robert Miller Womack discovered rich ore, and the last of the great Colorado gold rush’s began. The Independence Lode, one of the largest gold strikes in history, was found by Winfield Scott Stratton. In three years, the population increased from five hundred to ten thousand. By 1900, Cripple Creek and its sister city, Victor, were substantial mining communities, and remained so for nearly a century.
Underground gold mining started to lag in the late 1980s, when the Cripple Creek Co. shut down its underground mines. Within the last 40 years, Cripple Creek quickly turned into a ghost town. Mining operations moved north, and visitors relished in the photo ops of the nearly abandoned town.
Much to the pleasure of African Mining giant AngloGold Ashanti LTD, the mining operations that pushed north left a territory untapped during the turn of the 19th century. The Cripple Creek mine, owned by AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., launched into an expansion project in 2013 when it announced that it would spend $585 million over three years adding a leach field, recovery center, and mining facility. For the first time in more than two decades, the Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mining Co. is looking for gold underground, a tentative departure from its open-pit mining operation model.
The company’s new underground explorations are the first it has made since the declining days of the early 1980’s, and the company expects underground mining will be years in the making.
Director of Public Affairs, Jane Mannon said, “We are currently doing exploration from the surface — drilling — and we anticipate that we would start developing a portal,