Boras Shaft

Boras #2 Shaft

 

 

Cages at the Boras Shaft Circa 1962

 After ore was discovered in the Boras incline, Boras Leasing Company decided that a new vertical shaft needed to be sunk for handling of ore. Sinking of this shaft began in 1919, about 100ft northeast of Boras incline.  Soon ore was hit on the 300 level and the shaft was sunk to the 600 level. In 1920 a winze from the 400 level struck a sulphide orebody. This same sulphide orebody was then intercepted by a crosscut from the 600 level.  Soon the lessees reported that enough ore had been blocked out to continue mining until the end of their lease with Phelps Dodge. During the year the Boras Leasing Company paid an impressive $60,000 in dividends. In 1921, interested by the success of the Boras and White-Tail Deer mines, Phelps Dodge contracted Boras Leasing Company to sink the shaft to a final depth of 1,024ft and enlarge it to 2 ½ compartments.  In 1922 Phelps Dodge purchased the Higgins Mine at this time they transferred all the supplies including timber from the Higgins to the Boras .Mining continued until 1926 when the Boras was shut down. It remained inactive until 1938 when it was reopened by lessees who continued to mine until 1944. During the 1950s the shaft was refitted to serve as an upcast ventilation shaft and as an emergency escapeway for the Cole and Dallas mines. During stench training* the miners in the Cole would follow the marked escapeway until they reached the 800 level Boras station. The miners did not continue to the surface, but rather after a time would return to their workplaces following the same path. In 1964 a hoistman was lowering a cage when it became jammed in the shaft. Normally, when the hoisting cable became slack, one of the radio bells on the cage would ring a bell signally the hoistman to stop the cage. For an unknown reason the radio bell failed to signal and the hoisting cable coiled on top of the cage. Richard Graeme III and Benny Hamrich were sent to resolve the issue. Arriving at the Boras they climbed down the manway to determine the location of the stuck cage. Then they slowly went down the shaft on a cage in the second compartment. This needed to be done carefully in case the hoisting cable from the trapped cage had entered the shaft compartment they were travelling in. Upon reaching the jammed cage they built a platform over the bonnets of the disabled cage with aluminum I beams and shaft boards. The second cage that they had ridden down remained in the compartment next to the cage they were working on with its bonnets open so they could access the supplies, like the aluminum beams and shaft boards. Slowly, the hoistman was began reeling up the  piled cable Richard and Benny  watched the loops of  cable being drawn up and signaled the hoist to stop if the cable tried to kink. The shaft was kept in operational condition, until 1975. In the mid-1980s the shaft was intact with a rusty, battered blue and white stonehouse bell chart nailed to the headframe. The hoist house was also intact being relatively clean like operational hoist houses are. It contained a clean double drum hoist an early black hand crank telephone hanging on the wall with a blue and white signal chart in much better condition, but had obviously been attached to a headframe at one time. All appeared well until one walked in front of the blower, even though the blowers was not running, the natural upcast ventilation was filled with fire gasses, indicating an active fire below probably in the Cole fire zone . Caving in the mine reopened the fire zone to the main ventilation paths. The water level in the mine is probably above the 1000 level, but it is difficult to be certain as the mine environment has changed dramatically since 1975. The Boras headframe was the last of the wooden headframes in Bisbee and it attracted attention and in 1990s the headframe and hoist were dismantled and moved to Phoenix, Arizona and reassembled by 1997 at The Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum. The shaft itself was filled at this time. This museum closed in 2011. Since that time many of the museums possessions have been transferred to other museums and there have been rumors that the headframe would be erected again in Bisbee for a museum display, but considering the expense, this would seem unlikely. Today, the headframe still stands in Phoenix next to an empty museum building.

  • Stench training consisted of injecting butyric acid into the airline, the accompanying smell would warn the miners to evacuate the mine. This was occasionally practiced as part of the safety program.

graemite@hotmail.com.

© 2013 by Doug Graeme