Pine Mountain Mine



The Trail:

I saw a picture of a retort building on the Internet, and contacted the person who posted it, but unfortunately was not given the name or location of the mine. With a bit of research I found the the mine and saw that in 2008 the State of Arizona was considering closing the area and leveling the building due to mercury poisoning issues. The report concluded that: "the soils and retort tailings at the Site do not represent an unacceptable health risk to the occasional recreational user of the area", so they chose Option 1 - do nothing.

The trail to the mine is off a well graded Fire Road, and it can be confusing at times to decide which turn to take. There's not much in the way of rock obstacles to overcome, but there are some washouts and narrow off-camber situations, and plenty of Arizona pinstriping.




Date: 1/8/2010

Suspension: TeraFlex 2.5" Spring Lift, BFG 35x12.50x17


Typical scene on the trail:

On the trail:

A narrower portion:

Getting close - the side of the hill was mined, and what looks like a circle is located just about the building:

Jane spotted this shaft before we got to the retort building:

Pretty shallow inside - some cinnabar is visible:

Near the building we saw this pit:

And this one:

Just past the pits there is an area to park where you can see an overlook of the retort building:

We ate lunch and did some exploring before hiking down to the building. We found this shaft when hiking:

Here are some rocks near the entrance to the mine:

Ready to explore the shaft:

The shaft went back a bit, and was dry. There were lots of fly's at the entrance:

We hiked back to the Jeep and decided to drive down to the building:

We made it to the building and tried to figure out how they processed the ore. It looks like they sent the ore down this way...

...and into the hopper...

...which funneled down to a belt...:

...that fed this retort...

...that tumbled and heated the ore inside...

...which caused the mercury to come out in a vapor that was condensed in these tubes and collected:

The tailings from the retort were loaded on carts and dumped on a tailings pile (I bet that was a great job):

Some more shots of the building:

The remains of an electrical panel:

Out back:

Another shot inside the building:

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Last modified: January 09, 2010 01:01:24 PM