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History of Mining, Utah
Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia (Links Added)
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Denver and Rio Grande Western main line. Wagon freighting costs in 1900 were reported to be from $10.00 to $15.00 per ton to carry the ore to the railhead, with rail costs at $10.00 per ton to Chicago or St. Louis. In 1911, the railway was extended to Watson, then four miles southwest to the Gilsonite mine at Rainbow. A wagon road called the Uintah Toll Road was built to carry freight and passengers over the sixty miles between Vernal, Fort Duchesne, and Dragon.

Mining the vertical fissures of Gilsonite was difficult, as the veins were often quite narrow. Pick and shovel were the most useful mining tools. Ore would then be hoisted from the shafts. In the early days, veins were worked on a rising slope to permit the ore to roll back down the slope. When a sufficient amount had been loosened, the mineral would be loaded by hand into a burlap bag holding about 200 pounds. This method limited the depth of these operations to about 100 feet.

Uintah and Duchesne counties produced the principal Gilsonite mines--Dragon, Rainbow, Watson, Little Emma, Bonanza, and Little Bonanza were among them. In Duchesne County, the Parriette Mine (closed in 1900 because of an explosion) was located near Parriette Bench. In 1935 the main operation had been moved to Bonanza and ore was trucked to Craig, Colorado. This resulted in the eventual abandonment of the Uintah Railway.

Production figures illustrate the growth of the Gilsonite industry: 1904 (2,977 tons), 1905 (10,916 tons), 1929 (54,987 tons), and 1961 (470,000 tons). A new development plan in the 1950s by the American Gilsonite Company, successor to the Barber Asphalt Company, produced the increase in production to the 1961 level.

Other hydrocarbons found in eastern Utah which were some-

times mined on a small scale included kerogen (in the oil shales of the Green River formation), bituminous sandstone, wurlitzite ("elaterite" or mineral rubber), bituminous limestones, ozokerite (mineral wax), nigrite, and tabbyite.


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