Ed Workman discovered gold and silver deposits at Orizaba in 1909. He soon began shipping ore from the mine to Millers, the milling center of Tonopah, in Esmeralda County. By 1911 prospectors in the area staked six claims covering 120 acres and included gold, silver, lead, and copper deposits. The property came under the control of the Diamondfield Black Butte Reorganized Mining Company, based in Goldfield, who then sold the claims to the Orizaba Mining and Development Company but maintained a financial interest in the new company which was incorporated in 1915 with $1 million in capital.
By 1918 the property had expanded to nine claims covering 180 acres. The mining district changed hands many more times but ultimately over 1,500 tons of rich ore had been mined from the Orizaba, with another 1,200 tons of low grade ore being processed there on-site. The district production level continued to increase for a while, but by 1918 production had slowed due to water issues.
The mine was last worked, according to records, in the 1950's, however, according to Norman Coombs, who began working the Orizaba in 1926 at age 12, the mine continued paying until the late 1970's when he was too old to go down the shaft any more. Coombs reported that the mine was rich in a strange “brassy” colored gold that formed like dice (cubes) but had no pyrite or iron. Mr. Coombs reported the sale of $1,000,000.00 in this “dice” gold to the US Mint in Denver in 1976.
The mine had several different owners during the period from 1909 to 1950's, with only marginal success reported. The claim had changed hands so many times in its production era that the history of the mine names and production rates are sketchy. There is a documented history of the mine and the reported output, of which, much is likely unreported as to avoid taxation.
However, between 1909 and 1918 alone, the combined value of minerals mined were reported at $127,980.00, this with silver at $0.70 per oz and gold at $20 per oz.
With inflation accounted for to Feb. 2018, this is over $3.25 million dollars.
The Orizaba’s main disadvantage was the fact that 100,000 gallons of water were seeping into the mine every day. The Orizaba Mine suffered from a common problem of the early to mid-1900's which has been easily remedied today, that is water. Where pumps and machinery struggled to remove 1000 gallons per hour prior to 1960.
In the 1960's when pump technology made great improvements and then made it possible to pump 100,000 gallons per hour with a portable pump for a reasonable price, but the Orizaba has not been commercially mined since the 1940's.
It is possible that with some degree of engineering and modern equipment the remaining site at the hoist house could be made to run again.
The mine at Orizaba is the largest and most developed site in the general region for gold, silver, lead and copper extraction. The Property is contained on a series of four (4) contiguous twenty (20) acre lode Mining Claim(s), for a total of eighty (80) acres. The Orizaba Mine Property is in the Republic Mining District outside of Tonopah, Nye County, Nevada. It is located about a mile east from Republic and is developed to a depth of about 100 feet. It has been properly staked and marked at all corners.
There are several workings that are contained on the claims and lumped into the Orizaba name. The most notable workings are west of the Orizaba shaft and have been known as the Cloverdale Ranch. The Hyland properties and the east Orizaba are also recorded mines areas and seems to be the most notable production zones.
The claim had changed owners numerous times so the mine names can be hard to track. The area these days is mostly referred to as the Cloverdale District or the Orizaba Mining District. Gold and Silver are the primary commodities of the mines.
Although it was worked by some smaller mining outfits through the 1940's, 18,000 tons of reserves were reportedly left in the mine in 1929 when it was mothballed by the largest production company due to shaft flooding. The dump at the main portal is currently estimated at 400k tons and the dump at the secondary portal is an estimated 200k tons. The mineral report states that with improvements and some development, it is estimated the property may be worth $2M or possibly much more, with the mineral reserves estimated at an average value of 70 oz/T Silver and .5 oz/T in Gold.
The Mine, waste pilings, camp areas and dump sites are spread out over a wide expanse. A series of stone construction houses, workshops and other various buildings are strewn about the region. The most notable is an engine powered hoist at the main shaft. Boilers, abandoned shafts and remnants of the mining operation from 1909 to 1950's are visible throughout the claim.
According to the 2018 Survey: "The Orizaba is an overlooked, undeveloped property that could be very profitable if developed by a serious mining operation..."