Information On Field Trips Sponsored by this Section


2010 So Cal Mining Section Field Trip to Elko, NV, Barrick Cortez & Ruby Hill Gold Mines
Slide show of Elko Field Trip

North Star Minerals Clay Mine Operations Field Trip, 11 April, 2008

About 20 members and guests went to see the North Star Minerals Clay Mine mining site in Acton, CA, and found it to be a most enjoyable and informative trip. We all want to express out gratitude and appreciation to North Star Minerals for their hospitality and the opportunity to take a up close look at their operations.

To photos of the field trip, click on below link.

North Star Minerals Clay Mine Slide Show

Vulcan Materials Dredge Operations Field Trip, 18 January, 2008

About 20 members and guests went to see the dredge operations of Vulcan's aggregate mining site in Irwindale, CA, and found it to be a most enjoyable and informative trip. We all want to express out gratitude and appreciation to Vulcan Materials for their hospitality and the opportunity to take a up close look at their operations.

To photos of the field trip, click on below link.

Vulcan Dredge Slide Show

Vulcan Materials Reliance Mine Field Trip, 19 October 2007

About 25 members and guests gathered in the parking lot at Reliance Mining early on Friday, 19 October, 2007 to tour their aggregate operation. The tour consisted of the open pit mine, the crushing and screening plant, storage and loadout silos, and the water treatment facilities. It was found to be informative and enjoyable by all that attended.

To photos of the field trip, click on below link.

Vulcan Slide Show

Mesquite Gold Mine, Imperial Valley, CA - - -
21 October, 2006

On Saturday, 21 Oct 2006, about a dozen members of the Southern California Mining Section went on a tour of the recently re-opened Mesquite Gold Mine, located in the Imperial Valley. The Chief Geologist, Donald Wagstaff conducted the tour, gave a presentation prior to the tour discussing the geology and mine plan for expanding the existing pits at the Mesquite Mine. The mine plan calls for re-opening the pits. Some cost savings will be realized since the ore will not require crushing prior to leaching, since it breaks easily (has a powder factor of 2 lbs/ton). When operations are up to speed, they expect to produce 150,000 ounces of gold per year while mining about 13,000,000 tons of ore, and mining between 30,000,000 and 50,000,000 tons of material per year.

This mine is a low grade heap leach mine with a average grade of ore running about 0.019 ounces per ton (about 0.5 g/t). Projected costs/ounce of gold are around $335. They have about 165,000,000 ounces of gold that is recoverable, so far, with a projected mine life of about 10 years. We went to the 3 open pits, one of the operating heap leach structures, where they are still recovering about 30 ounces of gold per month from previously mined ores, went through the plant, collected a few specimins of the mineralized biotite schist, and all appeared to have a good time. After the tour, the group had a picnic lunch just off the mine site in the Imperial Valley Desert, then parted company for the day. It was a very nice tour, and we all would like to express our appreciation to Donald Wagstaff and Western Goldfields for their time and hospitality during the tour, taking time to answer each question on that sunny but windy morning.

A link to a slideshow of the tour follows:
Slide Show

Mitsubishi Field Trip - - - 15 October 2005

On Saturday, October 2005, about 16 SME members and guests went on the field trip to Mitsubishi Cement Company's Tour of their Mine and Plant in Lucerne Valley, California. The tour was hosted by Doug Shumway, and included the mine, the geology of the deposits mined, the cement process, and a tour of the plant and facilities. It was an excellent trip and experience, and all attended appeared to enjoy it very much.

The tour began with a explanation of the cement raw materials, then proceeded to a geology presentation by Dinah Shumway. We then went to the pit bench where drilling had been completed and the actual mining of the ore was explained by Doug. From there we went through the plant and each process was explained, from the crushing to the blending, the kiln, the clinker grinding and the production of powdered cement that is used in construction, including the different types of cement produced and their respective uses.

Along the way, Doug pointed out all that Mitsubishi does to minimize the impact of the mine and plant on the environment and the procedures they take to insure the preservation of plants and animals within the operations. We all came away with a better understanding of the cement process, and what goes into operating a mine and plant in California. We ended the trip with lunch at a local establishment eating native California Cuisine (Mexican). For a more detailed description, including photos, go to Cement

Or for field trip group photos, go to the field trip slide show.

Tonopah Field Trip - - 16 April, 2005

SME Field Trip to Round Mountain Gold Mine On Friday April 15, 2005, most of the participants met at the Tonopah Station for refreshments and final plans for the next days excursion. The group left Tonopah at 8 AM for the 55 mile drive north to the Round Mountain Gold Mine. It was a beautiful day and the basin and range setting was magnificent. The Round Mountain Gold mine is a joint venture between Kinross and Barrick. Kinross is a Canadian company and is the operator. Approximately 20 SME members were on the tour.

We were met by Craig Pickens, Senior Site Geologist, who gave an excellent description of the geology and the gold occurrence. Mr. Pickens handed each person a packet of detailed information on the mine and the geology. The Round Mountain staff took us in small buses to the mine and the mill. The mine is a large open pit operation mining gold in volcanic and Paleozoic sedimentary rocks. The gold occurs on the rim of an ancient collapsed caldera. The gold is mainly fine grained with some visible gold occurring in structural intersections.

The mine is a large open pit bench type mining operation. Mining is drill and blast with shovels loading 150, 190 and 264 ton capacity trucks. The mine runs 24 7 and produces approximately 110,000 tons of ore and waste per day. Most of the gold ore is heap leached, some is crushed and heap leached. Sodium cyanide is used to extract the gold form the ore. High grade gold occurrences are processed separately. Since 1986 approximately 9 million ounces of gold have been poured. The average gold content of ore is 0.022 ounces per ton and cutoff is 0.006 ounces per ton.

After the Round Mountain tour, the group toured the old mine towns of Manhatten and Belmont and proceeded to the mining museum in Tonopah. Copious amounts of refreshments were enjoyed by the group Friday and Saturday nights. This Round Mountain Mine tour was spectacular and the mining museum was worth the trip.

Douglas C. Shumway
Mitsubishi Cement Corp.
5808 State Hwy 18
Lucerne Valley, CA 92356
(760) 248-5136
(760) 248-9002 FAX

Our Field Trip, March 23d-24th, 2001 To Yucca Mountain, Nevada

In March the Southern California Mining Section, The Northern Nevada and the Southern Nevada Sections of SME held a joint field trip to the DOE's proposed Yucca Mountain Nuclear Storage Facility. A full compliment of 50 people took advantage of this opportunity, and judging from reports, all had a good time, and found the experience to be informative and beneficial. The Yucca Mountain Facility is being studied to determine its suitability as a Nuclear Waste Depository for our country's radioactive waste. The tour included observations of work in progress by scientists assigned to the project; tour of the field laboratories and see equipment that is used to conduct testing rock samples, view exhibits , photos and videos of the work at this site.

Our March, 2000 Field Trip To DEATH VALLEY, CA.

The Southern California Mining Section held a joint meeting with the Western Nevada Section of SME, during the 18th and 19 of March. The meeting was held at the Furnace Creek Inn in Death Valley, CA, with trips to historic Ryan, a former mining site and ghost town owned by US Borax, Inc. The old Ryan mine site is located about 15 miles SE of the Furnace Creek Ranch along State Route 190. Presentation of the geology was given by Steve Carpenter, a Geologist with US Borax. The Photo's were taken by David Van Horsen.

Photo of a typical house in mining camp at Ryan.

Some of our Field Trip participants in Ryan, CA. In March, the weather is quite pleasant in Death Valley, the low 80's. In July it is generally between 120 and 130 degrees F.

Following the trip to Ryan, a Dinner Meeting was held at the Furnace Creek Inn. A presentation was given after dinner, by Ted Faye, a Death Valley Historian, covering some colorful stories and historical facts of California's Death Valley.

The interior of the church at the mining camp at Ryan.

On Sunday morning, a National Park Ranger gave a short presentation on the natural history and wildlife of the Death Valley area. About 50 people participated in this field trip, and all reported they had a good time.

The Southern California Mining Section generally has at least one annual field trip, and, depending upon interest, has one in the Fall and one in the Spring. Check back with this web site, or read our local newsletter to keep appraised of upcoming field trips.

More Ryan Photos
Eagle Mountain Field Trip