Uranium-Mining Practices and Costs at Ten Salt Wash Lease Operations of Union Carbide Nuclear Co. Page: 64
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The area is typical mesa land featured by prominent rims that drop off to
terraces, all dissected by steep-walled canyons. The altitude is approximately
6,840 feet at the adit portal but ranges from 5,000 to 7,700 feet within a 2-
mile radius. Yearly precipitation averages about 13 inches. Winter snows may
accumulate to a depth of 3 feet, but snowfalls average about 6 inches. Violent
storms of short duration may occur in any season. A few springs flow all year
and furnish water for mine and camp use.
The early history of mining in the Gateway district is vague. Mining on
Beaver Mesa reportedly began about 1913. Organized mining in Lumsden Canyon
was begun by George Kuncle, of Grand Junction, about 1916 or 1917 and is be-
lieved to have been near the original group of Lumsden claims. No roads en-
tered the district at the time, and the high-grade ore was transported by pack
animals over a trail that led down Lumsden Canyon to Gateway. From Gateway
the ore was freighted in wagons to the rail point at Whitewater, Colo. The
lower grade ore was stockpiled and later hauled to mills when roads were con-
structed to the top of the mesa. The John Brown Canyon road was built in 1943
by the U.S. Grazing Service and has been improved steadily during the last 7
years. The Lumsden No. 2 claim was located in January 1939 by U & V Alloys
Co. and the Lumdsen No. 6 claim in November 1943 by United States Vanadium
The thickness of the Salt Wash member of the Morrison formation ranges
from 260 to 300 feet in the area, and the uranium-vanadium ore bodies occur in
its upper sandstone lenses. The sandstone lenses are 10 to 70 feet thick and
average about 40 feet thick. The beds dip approximately 30 NE. in the immedi-
ate vicinity of the Lumsden mine, and the ore bodies on the Lumsden claims are
found at depths ranging from 35 to 220 feet.
The deposits consist of clusters of ore bodies of various sizes, gener-
ally connected by thin seams of uranium-vanadium minerals. The distribution
of the ore bodies appears random, no definite trend being apparent. The un-
oxidized ore minerals are commonly referred to as black ores. The uranium-
vanadiumi oxide ratio is about ito 4 in ores produced from Beaver Mesa, but
locally the ratio may vary considerably within a single deposit. Consequently,
experienced miners will drive toward a drill hole that penetrated good vana-
dium ore, even if samples from the hole indicated a low uranium content.
The maximum thickness of ore mined trom the Lumsden No. 2 mine before May
1957 was 14 feet; the average thickness was 4 to 5 feet. Ore as thin as 10
inches is mined selectively, and even thinner seams that frequently contain
0.45 to 0.50 percent U308 are mined. Although thin bands of uranium-
vanadium minerals often connect the ore pods, the thicker ore usually is
sharply bounded and terminates abruptly. Sandstone and occasionally a lens
of blue mudstone overlie the ore, and almost always a blue mudstone seam un-
derlies it. The ore sandstone contains some water, which usually collects at
low places on the undulating mudstone. Old timers who have worked in the im-
mediate area stress the wisdom of following the water, so as to keep the bot-
toms of the workings in the mudstone and not drive above the ore zone.
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Dare, W. L. Uranium-Mining Practices and Costs at Ten Salt Wash Lease Operations of Union Carbide Nuclear Co., report, 1959; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc170712/m1/72/: accessed July 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.