La Moigne Mine  (Lemoigne Mine; La Moigne Lead Mine; Bullet Mine), Wildrose Mining District (Wild Rose Mining District), Panamint Mts (Panamint Range), Inyo Co., California, USAi
|Regional Level Types|
|La Moigne Mine  (Lemoigne Mine; La Moigne Lead Mine; Bullet Mine)||Mine|
|Wildrose Mining District (Wild Rose Mining District)||Mining District|
|Panamint Mts (Panamint Range)||Mountain Range|
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Latitude & Longitude (WGS84):
36° 28' 14'' North , 117° 19' 13'' West
Latitude & Longitude (decimal):
Köppen climate type:
Other/historical names associated with this locality:
Blossom claim; Captain claim; Captain No. 2 claim; Captain No. 3 claim; Hunter claim; Atlantic claim; Pacific claim; Sunshine claim
A former Pb-Ag occurrence/mine located in sec. 10, T17S, R43E, MDM, 5.1 km (3.2 miles) NE of Panamint Butte (coordinate of record), along the South Fork Lemoigne Canyon, on National Park Service wilderness land (Death Valley National Park/Death Valley Wilderness). MRDS database stated accuracy for this location is 500 meters. NOTE: The topo map reflects the presence of this mine in the center E½ sec. 9.
NOTE: The USGS MRDS file #10285232 presents geographic coordinates of 36°26'26"N and 117°16'57"W for this mine. Those values place the mine significantly S of Lemoigne Canyon, the stated locality of the mine and clearly reflected on the topo map as named mine witha cluster of 6 adits along the South Fork of the canyon. There are no mining symbols on the topo maps where the coordinates provided place the mine. The coordinates presented in this Mindat file are discerned from the topo map.
The Lemoigne Mine is located in Lemoigne Canyon, the southernmost canyon of the Cottonwood Mountains, which form the northerly extension of the Panamint Range. The claims, ranging in elevation from 4,950 to 5,700 feet, are reached via a jeep trail, crossing an alluvial fan, that is often subject to severe washing and that trends north off of California State Highway 190 approximately three miles east of the Emigrant Ranger Station. The claim area is reached after about 9-1/2 miles of very rough 4-wheel driving.
Jean Francois de Lamoignon, (was) born in February 1857 at Lamoignon, France, and educated in England, Paris, and Germany as a mining engineer.
Once in this country, and possibly forced to stay by a lack of money, Lemoigne quickly became Americanized and acculturated, dropping his aristocratic name and donning the garb and life-style of a Death Valley prospector, although never completely losing his distinctive aura of education and intellect. Reportedly meeting some Indians in the Cottonwood area of the Panamint Range and learning from them the location of a silver-lead mine at which they fashioned bullets for their muzzle-loaders, he filed on this property, known as the Bullet Mine, about 1882, although one source stated it was not located until 1887.
His lead mine, which remained active through the 1950s, was located in present-day Lemoigne Canyon. According to Crampton, Lemoigne's silver prospect, complete with shack, was located north of Skidoo (La Moigne Mine ), and it was this property that actually supported him and paid his bills and grubstakes. This is at variance with Southworth's assertion that "He [Lemoigne] was known to depend entirely upon his highgrade silver property in Lemoigne Canyon whenever ready funds ran low." George Pipkin states that Lemoigne opened the "LeMoigne Silver Mine at the extreme north end of the Panamint Mountains in Cottonwood Canyon," and also discovered lead "in what is known today as LeMoigne Canyon northwest of Emigrant Springs. LeMoigne's silver mine could have been the 'Lost Gunsight Lode'. . ." The 1896 location notices indicate that he did have property in Cottonwood Canyon, and, indeed, evidence of mining activity was found here in 1899...
Because no heirs were known to exist, Beveridge Hunter and Bill Corcoran relocated Lemoigne's eight mining claims, soon, disposing of the property to a W.J. Loring and associates. Because of the area's remote location, Hunter and Corcoran realized they would either have to sell the mine outright or enlist the cooperation of someone with the investment capital necessary to turn the property into a paying concern. A Brandon & Co. of Boston had an option on the group, but Brandon was killed before a sale could be consummated. Corcoran and Hunter then managed to interest Harry C. Stemler and Associates of Tonopah, who were in some way connected with the Loring interests, in the property, but they insisted on visiting the mine before making a firm decision. Despite a harrowing experience during the return from the mine, during which Stemler and Corcoran almost died from thirst and exhaustion, the former decided to take a bond on the property. The claims deeded to him in Lemoigne Canyon were the Blossom, Captain, Captain No. 2, Captain No. 3, Hunter, Atlantic, Pacific, and Sunshine. 
In August, despite the heat, Corcoran was told to take charge of development work and intended despite the 132-degree temperature to begin a force immediately at three places on the ledge; ore would be hauled to Beatty by tractor across the floor of Death Valley. Incentive to begin operations was provided by an engineer for the Loring interests who declared that the ore in the mine would average 61-1/2% lead for the full length of the three claims, and who also estimated that there was $2,500,000 worth of ore in sight. Development work already consisted of a twenty-five-foot tunnel previously excavated by Hunter and Corcoran and a twenty-five-foot-deep shaft, plus several cuts made to keep track of the vein's course and of the consistency of its values.
The eight claims acquired by Stimler were later quitclaimed to the Interstate Silver Lead Mines Corporation of Nevada, but by 1923 a W. R. McCrea of Reno and a John J. Reilly, who once leased on the Florence Mine at Goldfield, were developing the property, on which they held a lease with option to buy, and were driving a crosscut tunnel to intersect the rich ledge. In May 1924 it was thought that the main lode was discovered when a rich strike, "bigger than anything before encountered in any of the workings at the mine," was made on the Birthday Claim west of the old workings.
y June Corcoran had purchased more machinery for the mine and, in addition, all the buildings and pipelines belonging to Carl Suksdorf at Emigrant Spring, with plans underway to make this one of the biggest lead-producing mines in the western United States. A year later John Reilly had organized the Buckhorn Humboldt Mining Company and had purchased the Lemoigne Mine from Corcoran and Hunter for a substantial amount of cash and stock. McCrea became the company's manager and principal owner and, later, president, after Reilly's death in March 1925. Immediate plans were made to construct an eight-mile auto truck route to the Trona-Beatty Road in order to facilitate shipping to the smelters. Four leasers were also working on ground near the company property, though by April the number had increased to ten, forcing two trucks to leave every day loaded with shipping ore. Property of the Lemoigne South Extension Mining Company (composed of Messrs. Turner, Burke, McDonald, Clark, and Smith) adjoined the Lemoigne Mine proper and was uncovering ore running up to 80% lead.
Development was still being steadily pushed by the Buckhorn Humboldt people in the spring of 1926 to uncover the large amount of high-grade ore in sight as well as the vast quantities of low-grade milling ore that seemed to be present. Several lessees were at work, notably on the Miller Lease and the Dollar Bill Matthews ground. By May only four sets of leasers were operating, and the number was evidently reduced to three by June. In 1926 the California Journal of Mines and Geology described the mine as located in the LeMoigne District and still owned by the Buckhorn Humboldt Mining Company. It was under lease to L.P. (?) McCrea, M. L. Miller, and associates of Beatty, Nevada. A twenty-five-foot tunnel had been driven west in the canyon north of the main camp and was intersecting an ore lens from which 150 tons of ore had been shipped running 50% lead and three to five ounces of silver per ton. South of these workings on a ridge above Lemoigne Canyon a 165-foot tunnel had developed a lens from which 100 tons of ore had been shipped averaging 50% lead with five ounces of silver per ton. The ore was being hauled by truck to Beatty at a cost of $18 per ton. Two men were employed at the mine. The property must still have been active in 1928, because in May of that year Margaret Long mentions a road that was washed out and would have to be regraded by the next truck through to Lemoign."
McCrae and the Buckhorn Humboldt Mining Company continued to hold the Lemoigne Mine from 1937 through 1948, although by 1938 the twelve claims were reported as idle. Bev Hunter later refiled on the property, subsequently leasing it to W. V. Skinner of Lone Pine, who produced a little ore in 1953. By 1962 Roy Hunter was evidently attempting some sporadic mining activity at the old mine. Total production from the property was said to have a gross value of approximately $38,000, realized from the shipment of over 600 tons of ore containing 30% lead, 7% zinc, and 4 ozs. of silver per ton. During its active lifetime up to 1963, the Lemoigne Mine was developed by about 600 feet of workings taking place on three levels and one sublevel, which were connected by a vertical shaft, and by three stopes. The shaft on the property had been extended to about eighty feet in depth. Again in 1974 mining activity resumed on the site, and by December 1975 a Harold Pischel was working on a previously unexplored hillside looking for sulfide ore. Material reportedly carrying 14 ozs. of silver per ton was being stockpiled at the adit entrance.
The Lemoigne silver-lead-zinc Mine was probably first worked in the late 1880s, though the exact location date was not found by this writer. The mine was only sporadically worked by Lemoigne, who spent most of his forty years in the Death Valley region searching for minerals and performing assessment work for fellow miners. A newspaper article in 1923, in fact, mentioned that Lemoigne had confined his development of the area to shallow surface holes.  According to a recent study of the claims, they have been developed through the years by about 1,300 feet of workings. Most ore removed was high-grade, the many low- and medium-grade pockets being considered economically infeasible to mine during the 1920s when the mine saw its highest production rate. According to a 1976 report, the total value of all metals recovered at the Lemoigne Mine, based on January 1976 prices, would be about $116,000.
Local rocks include Tertiary volcanic flow rocks, unit 16 (Northern Mojave Desert).
Workings include unspecified surface openings/operations.
Regions containing this locality
|North America Plate||Tectonic Plate|
|Death Valley National Park, California/Nevada, USA||National Park|
Commodity ListThis is a list of exploitable or exploited mineral commodities recorded at this locality.
No minerals currently recorded for this locality.
List of minerals for each chemical element
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Hall, Wayne Everett & Hal G. Stephens (1963), Economic geology of the Panamint Butte quadrangle and Modoc district, Inyo County, California: California Division of Mines & Geology Special Report 73: 36-37.
USGS Bulletin 1299 (1971): Pl. 1.
Greene, Linda I. (1981), U.S. National Park Service, Historic Preservation Branch, Pacific Northwest/Western Team, Denver Service Center, Death Valley – Historic Resource Study – A History of Mining, Volume I (Parts 1 and 2): part 2: III.B.2.i.)(26)(a)i), ii) & v) + (b) & (c).
USGS (2005), Mineral Resources Data System (MRDS): U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia, loc. file ID #10285232.
U.S. Bureau of Mines, Minerals Availability System (MAS) file ID #0060271237.
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