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Location DB > United States > California > Mojave National Preserve > Morning Star Mine
Morning Star Mine
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 Database Info
created by rapcw on 1/19/2008 8:57 PM
last modified by robk700 on 12/29/2009 2:04 AM
Publically Viewable Publically Viewable
This location has been labeled as Demolished, and therefore can be viewed by anyone.
A modern gold mining and milling operation abandoned in the early 1990s consisting of several structures including a trailer, a large building containing a multilevel workshop/warehouse, offices, and living areas, a milling area with equipment and foundations, a large ore hopper, various debris.
 Basic Information
Type: Outdoors
Status: Demolished
Accessibility: Easy
Recommendation: Not worth it anymore, Everything is gone and NPS has replanted desert cactus.
 Physical Information

Mojave National Preserve, California
United States
Owner: National Parks Service
  • See a map of this location
  •  Hazards
  • rust
  • unsafe flooring
  • water
  •  Interesting Features
    The large workshop/office building, the remaining milling equipment, the trailer, the large ore hopper, massive tailings.
     Security Measures
  • fences
  • locked gates
  • welded doors
  • difficult dirt road up to the property, followed by half mile hike to remaning structures
  •  Historical Dates
    Built: 1907
    Closed: 1993
     Required Equipment
  • binoculars
  • long pants / sleeves
  •  Recommended Equipment
    Camera, water
    The Morning Star mine property was first located during the mining boom of the region in 1907 as the Clansman, though it doesn't seem to have been a large producer and was not reported in the following years. The next mention of the property is during the period of 1927 - 1933, when the property was extensively explored for gold and silver deposits. During 1937 - 1938 an Angeleno named Richard W. Malik leased the property and the mine was developed with 17,000 feet of crosscut drifts being driven and winzes sunk in the main tunnel. In April of 1939, Erle P. Halliburton, owner of the now infamous Halliburton oil service company, purchased the mine and operations began with 10 men employed on site. Work continued until 1942, when the War Production Board's Order L-208 suspended all gold mining in the United States, in order to focus more manpower and resources towards industries needed for the war effort.

    After work was halted, the mine lay idle until 1964, when it was purchased by the Vanderbilt Gold Corporation, who began drilling and sampling the property. By 1979 Vanderbilt had raised enough financial capital to begin extensive development and during the early 1980s the mine was reactived using modern equipment, with ore shipped 17 miles away to be milled at Vanderbilt, unrelated site of a gold mining boom in the 1890s. The mill referred to is likely the abandoned Goldome facility. Work continued until 1982, when the drop in the price of gold caused mining to cease, though exploratory drilling continued. In 1983 milling was converted to the more effective cyanide carbon-in-leach method, and the results of drilling revealed a promising reserve of 8 million tons of ore averaging .062 ounces of gold. In 1984 a $500,000 heap leach facility was constructed on site and the mine was readied for large scale open pit operations. In 1987 full-scale leaching began and by the end of the year 10,000 ounces of gold and 15,000 ounces of silver had been recovered, with an ore production of 75,000 tons per month. Initial problems involving inadequate water supply and lower than expected recoveries were solved by switching from spray to drip leaching, which reduced the amount of water consumed and increased the amount of solution leached into the heap.

    When the mine was operating at its height during the late 1980s and early 1990s, the price of gold was relatively high, reaching a peak at nearly $500 per ounce in 1988, and up to 1991 was continually within a range of above $350 per ounce. During 1992 however, the price of gold went into a continuous decline, ending the year at around $330/oz. By the time Vanderbilt ended operations at Morning Star in February of 1993, gold was at under $330/oz. and with no signs of increasing in value anytime soon.

    It was in this context of constantly declining gold prices combined with environmental violations due to cyanide poisoning of wildlife and leaking cyanide ponds that Vanderbilt Gold ended operations in 1993. When the Mojave National Preserve was established in 1994 by the passing of the California Desert Protection Act, the newly created park inherited the Morning Star property, as well as its environmental problems. The site was designated a Superfund and cleanup efforts have been slowly implemented at the site since then, though according to the NPS itself "actual mitigation of the hazards could be years away."
     Media Coverage

     Future Plans
    Will likely remain in its current state for the forseeable future, despite NPS wishes to reclaim the property. If the NPS gets the necessary funding, additional cleanup efforts will likely result in the demolition of the remaining buildings and filling in of the concrete milling foundations.

    Add your own story
     Photo Galleries
    Click to view gallery
    December 2007 Visit
    Sat, Dec 29th, 2007
    posted by rapcw
    25 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    End of March 2008
    Wed, Apr 2nd, 2008
    posted by insainly sound
    11 pictures

    Add your own photos

    Mark all galleries as Seen
     Web Links
    http://vredenburgh..._mining_later.html - History of the Morning Star Mine - NPS article containing information on the Morning Star property - SEC report on Vanderbilt Gold Corp. containing history regarding the Morning Star property.
    http://www.usagold...rices/history.html - Price of gold per ounce info during the Morning Star's operating years under Vanderbilt

    Edit this Location
     Moderator Rating
    The moderator rating is a neutral rating of the content quality, photography, and coolness of this location.

    This location has not yet been rated by a moderator.
    This location's validation is current. It was last validated by Steed on 12/29/2009 4:35 AM.

     Latest Changes
  • on Dec 29 09 at 4:35, Steed validated this location
  • on Dec 29 09 at 2:04, robk700 changed the following: City, Latitude, Longitude, Co-ordinate Accuracy, Status, Hazards
  • on May 23 09 at 14:54, Steed validated this location
  • on May 22 09 at 19:58, sYnOnYx changed the following: Recommendation
  • on May 22 09 at 19:56, sYnOnYx changed the following: Status
  • on Jul 13 08 at 23:02, Emperor Wang validated this location
  • on Apr 2 08 at 18:39, insainly sound updated gallery picture Looking down
  • on Apr 2 08 at 18:38, insainly sound updated gallery picture Down the Well
  • on Apr 2 08 at 18:37, insainly sound updated gallery picture Well Me
  • on Apr 2 08 at 18:37, insainly sound updated gallery picture The Fallen
  •  Forum Threads about this Location
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    You must log in for this feature to work.All gone.sYnOnYx09445/21/2009 10:30 PM by sYnOnYx
    You must log in for this feature to work.The Mojavegoblinmerchant210456/8/2009 6:56 PM by Charlie_Dunver
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