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Spray mine

Silver Spray 

























In April of 1899, The Copper Queen Consolidated Mining Company was developing what they wanted to be a “model shaft” It was located 100ft.  above the Holbrook Mine and near the Silver Bear House. It was built on a solid rock foundation that allowed the future steel gallows frame to sit above the collar of the shaft. This would allow the construction of the headframe without interfering with the timbering of the shaft. In April, the shaft was 30 ft. deep and two windlasses were used to hoist muck from the three compartment shaft. A pipe line was being sent from the Holbrook mine to provide water. By April 1900, the shaft was 550ft. deep and had struck ore. The company had hoped to sink the shaft outside the ore zone, so it would have limited ground movement caused by mining stopes. On November 10, 1902, miners located a fire in No.40 stope. The stope had been backfilled with sulphides that did not meet ore grade (pyrite, chalcopyrite, bornite, etc.) The sulphides spontaneously ignited and miners began to smell the sulfur fumes and discovered the fire. Pipe fitters worked all night and were able to install a pipe line to flood the burning (smoldering) stope. The a few months later, on March 25, 1903 another small fire was discovered burning in two sets. The mine continued to a major producer of ore. In April 1914, the Spray mine was closed to reduce production. It was noted that when the Spray area was to be mined again, it would be mined through the Gardner and the Holbrook Mines. This action would eliminate the need for using the surface facilities at the Spray. The headframe at the Spray was dismantled and erected at the Calumet and Cochise Shaft. Waste dumps from the Sacramento Pit covered the shaft in 1918. Before the shaft was covered it was bulkheaded to prevent the dumps from filling the shaft. During the early 1930’ a lessee repaired the lower sections of the Spray shaft by accessing the area from the Holbrook Mine. Then lessee then impressively raised through the 80 ft. of Sacramento dump material covering the shaft. A dangerous and challenging feat. A small wooden headframe was erected over the shaft. The shaft was still accessible underground from the Holbrook Mine in the early 1960’s and by climbing up the shaft a person could examine the part raised through the dump. In 1940, the Spray was closed for the last time and in 1968 the dumps from the Lavender Pit covered the site again. The shaft can be located on google earth images by a distinctive conical depression that formed after the Lavender pit dumps began subsiding and filling in the shaft.  At the end of mining the shaft was 1,059 ft. deep and had 3 compartments. In the very early days it was sometimes referred to as the Silver Spray Mine.



“A Model Shaft” The Weekly Orb 16 April November 1899 page4

“Copperings” Tombstone Epitaph 29 April 1900 page 1

“Excitement in Bisbee” Arizona Republican 15 November 1902 page 3

“ Fire in Mine” Bisbee Daily Review 26 March 1903 page 5

R. Graeme Personnel communication 2006

Spray mine Bisbee, Arizona

Spray mine circa 1908

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