Editor’s Note: Maureen Brandon is the author of Darrell Smith’s SUP column for September.
Walt Shubert was the guest speaker at the Sons of the Utah Pioneers dinner meeting held at the Speirs Farm Sept. 7, 2017.
He stated, “I was always proud that I was born and raised in Tooele. As a young boy, I lived at TOD Park and later worked at the Smelter. I learned every road in the county. Later, as Tooele County Sheriff, I learned all the roads again in a different aspect.”
Barrick played an important role in developing the Mercur mine. Mercur became a showpiece in the mining industry of Oquirrh and Tintic ranges.
The minerals Division of Barrick made a movie entitled “Mercur, The Town that Couldn’t Stay Dead.” It showed the work processes of protecting the landscape while excavating the ore.
The movie also depicts how the archeological grid was set up. Many artifacts of metal, glass, toys and bones were found. Residue of the 1902 fire was also found in a layer of carbon ash containing metal and many objects of melted glass. These artifacts were put into two museums, one at BYU and the other at Deseret Peak.
For companies like Barrick, the old mining process entailed stripping the land of minerals and walking away without spending a dime to restore the land or community. The new thinking was to strive to restore and protect everything, as much as possible, while still accomplishing the mining mission.
The Barrick Mercur Mine was a showcase to the world in this respect.
Walt described in detail the processes of extracting and smelting the ore. The ore was a 0.08 concentration. When the Barrick mine was in full production it produced from 4000 to 6000 ounces of gold each week.
Eventually Pennzoil bought out Barrick and then Texaco bought them both out. Mercur continued to produce gold until 1998.
To learn all about another gem of Tooele County, come to our next dinner meeting on Thursday, Oct. 5 at 6:30 p.m. The next speaker will be Jeanette Bunn who will report on the Marvelous Ajax Underground Store. You’ll for sure want to be there for good food, good company and good presentations. Please note that we will meet in the old Tooele Clinic on the south end of Main street that is now the Tooele Chamber of Commerce building; enter through the back door.