Oro Amigo Mine is located South of Las Vegas, Nevada. Nearest towns are Jean, Nevada, Goodsprings, Nevada and Sandy Valley, Nevada. Primary mining in the area included: copper, lead, silver, gold and zinc.
About 3 or 4 years ago, we saw pallets of unopened bags of a product called Paste-Fill and were excited that a company serious about mining would be working the area. Paste-Fill is a type of backfill most often used as shoring in deep cut and fill mine projects. When used according to design and label purposes, the Paste-Fill would be mixed with crushed tailings and water. Then the slurry would be pumped into large adit and stope filling bags or an entire level is filled and flooded with the product.
As the product sets it retains the water, but is non-draining, and maintains a consistency somewhere between wet concrete and toothpaste. The purpose is to provide ground support around irregular ore bodies, exhausted mine areas, and generally unstable areas, decreasing the possibility of void collapse.
When we returned, we found about 6 inches of a wet clay-like mess that covered the floor and settled into low lying areas. We didn't know this to be a deep mine requiring specialized shoring. Our first impression was that whoever used this Paste-Fill just opened and scattered the bag contents throughout the mine and added water. It took years of exposure to dry out the mess they left. Now there is a thick dessicated layer of the cracking paste-fill. In low spots along the first level, there is still a pool or two of the paste puddles.
Paste-fill is expensive and we couldn't imagine why they would waste such an expensive product intentionally until we found their test drill site which added more context. It now appears that the drilling company was using the paste as a drilling lubricant which makes way more sense than just flinging the stuff around for no logical reason. With the increase in fracking technology, there are now more economical and purpose designed products like Hectatone that meet government requirements as a non-pollutant drilling lubricant.
There are two lower levels to Oro Amigo. Level two had some thick pockets of copper and limonite, but few other features. There were two level three's accessible from two different locations. As is the case with the lowest levels in many mines, there was little depth and little to see.
This mine has recently been made "safe" and interior access is no longer possible. There is a current round of mine closures in progress which mostly affects the mines along the I-15 corridor closest to the upcoming solar farm. This closure was not part of those closures, but in preparation of a new business venture by Vertical Aviation.
They now offer target shooting from an aerial platform. Specifically, helicopters. This area is now well posted and should be considered extremely dangerous. Crossing warning signage and/or physical barriers can result in serious injury or death.
As far as we know, these are the only interior images of Oro Amigo Mine available online and there's nothing to see inside worth dying for.
Notice we received and posted by request below. Mine gallery follows:
Oro Amigo Mine. Goodsprings, Nevada.
Now an active civilian air shooting range. Stay clear.
USGS Full Report
Primary Mining: Copper
Secondary Mining: Silver, Platinum, Gold
The most complete guide to Southern Nevada's mining history.
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