Planchas de Plata (Spanish for slabs of silver), sometimes called Bolas de Plata (balls of silver) is a historic silver-mining district near Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, and a few miles south of the border with the US state of Arizona. Native silver was discovered here in 1736 by Antonio Siraumea, a Yaqui Indian, on the Rancho Arizona of Bernardo de Urrea. Historian Donald Garate believes Urrea's Arizona Ranch to be the likely source of the name of the present US state of Arizona, and he claimed the origin of the name of the ranch was the Basque phrase "aritz ona" (good oak). Other historians have, however, debated this. For more detail on the etymology of the name Arizona, see Arizona.
Heroica Nogales, more commonly known as Nogales, is a city and the county seat of the Municipality of Nogales. It is located on the northern border of the Mexican state of Sonora. The city is abutted on its north by the city of Nogales, Arizona, across the U.S.-Mexico border.
Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometres (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the tenth most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity that is also the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana and León.
Arizona is a state in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the Western and the Mountain states. It is the sixth largest and the 14th most populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix. Arizona shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico; its other neighboring states are Nevada and California to the west and the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California to the south and southwest.
|“||Toward the end of last October, between the Guevavi Mission and the ranchería called Arizona, some balls and slabs of silver were discovered, one of which weighed more than one hundred arrobas (2,500 pounds), a sample of which I am sending to you, Most Illustrious Lord. --Captain Juan Bautista de Anza to Bishop Benito Crespo, January 7, 1737.||”|
Prospecters and miners rushed to the area of the great silver discovery of October, 1736. It was given the name San Antonio de Padua by Justicia Mayor Juan Bautista de Anza when he arrived on the scene in November and ordered that all the silver that had been taken from the site be impounded and brought to Urrea's Arizona Ranch, some fifteen miles down the canyon.
Because the large pieces of silver were found in a placer deposit (unusual for silver, and unique for such large masses) the Spanish colonial government maintained that the silver was an artificial treasure trove and so belonged to the crown. The miners maintained that it was a natural placer deposit that belonged to the discoverers under Spanish law. The court case dragged on for years, and in the meantime, Spanish soldiers ejected the miners.
Treasure trove is an amount of money or coin, gold, silver, plate, or bullion found hidden underground or in places such as cellars or attics, where the treasure seems old enough for it to be presumed that the true owner is dead and the heirs undiscoverable. The legal definition of what constitutes treasure trove and its treatment under law vary considerably from country to country, and from era to era.
Because his escribano (scribe), Manuel José de Sosa, dated all the impounding documents at Arizona, people in faraway places like Guadalajara and Mexico City were soon referring to the silver as the "silver of Arizona." Arizona became a household word in early 18th century Mexico, associated with great and sudden wealth.
Guadalajara is the capital and largest city of the Mexican state of Jalisco, and the seat of the municipality of Guadalajara. The city is in the central region of Jalisco in the Western-Pacific area of Mexico. With a population of 1,460,148 inhabitants, it is Mexico's second most populous municipality. The Guadalajara metropolitan area has a reported population of 5,002,466 inhabitants, making it the second most populous metropolitan area in Mexico, behind Mexico City. The municipality is the second most densely populated in Mexico, the first being Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl in the State of Mexico. It is a strong business and economic center in the Bajío region.
Mexico City, or the City of Mexico, is the capital of Mexico and the most populous city in North America. Mexico City is one of the most important cultural and financial centres in the Americas. It is located in the Valley of Mexico, a large valley in the high plateaus in the center of Mexico, at an altitude of 2,240 meters (7,350 ft). The city has 16 boroughs.
Some modern writers on lost mines have assumed Planchas de Plata to be "lost," although the location has always been well known.
After the initial placer silver discovery, the district was idle until silver veins were discovered in the vicinity, and between 1872 and the 1930s, at least six mines operated, and ore was treated by a stamp mill and pan amalgamation. The amount of silver produced is not known, although the amount of ore mined has been estimated as between 50,000 and 100,000 tons. No mining has been done since the 1930s, but a Canadian firm has had some encouraging results from exploration drilling in 2007.
A stamp mill is a type of mill machine that crushes material by pounding rather than grinding, either for further processing or for extraction of metallic ores. Breaking material down is a type of unit operation.
The Pan amalgamation process is a method to extract silver from ore, using salt and copper(II) sulfate in addition to mercury. The process was widely used from 1609 through the 19th century; it is no longer used.
This article incorporates text from Arizona / Planchas de Plata, a public domain article produced by the US National Park Service.
The public domain consists of all the creative works to which no exclusive intellectual property rights apply. Those rights may have expired, been forfeited, expressly waived, or may be inapplicable.
The National Park Service (NPS) is an agency of the United States federal government that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations. It was created on August 25, 1916, by Congress through the National Park Service Organic Act and is an agency of the United States Department of the Interior. The NPS is charged with a dual role of preserving the ecological and historical integrity of the places entrusted to its management, while also making them available and accessible for public use and enjoyment.
Mother lode is a principal vein or zone of gold or silver ore. The term is also used colloquially to refer to the real or imaginary origin of something valuable or in great abundance.
Potosí is a capital city and a municipality of the Department of Potosí in Bolivia. It is one of the highest cities in the world at a nominal 4,090 metres (13,420 ft). For centuries, it was the location of the Spanish colonial mint.
Hillsboro is a small unincorporated community in Sierra County, New Mexico, United States, located in the southwestern part of the state. It was founded in 1877, following the discovery of gold. The community was the county seat of Sierra County from 1884 until 1936 when Hot Springs became the county seat.
The patio process is a process for extracting silver from ore. The process was invented by Bartolomé de Medina in Pachuca, Mexico, in 1554. The patio process was the first process to use mercury amalgamation to recover silver from ore. It replaced smelting as the primary method of extracting silver from ore at Spanish colonies in the Americas. Other amalgamation processes were later developed, importantly the pan amalgamation process, and its variant, the Washoe process. The silver separation process generally differed from gold parting and gold extraction, although amalgamation with mercury was also sometimes used to extract gold.
A silver rush is the silver-mining equivalent of a gold rush, where the discovery of silver-bearing ore sparks a mass migration of individuals seeking wealth in the new mining region.
Batopilas is a small town, and seat of the surrounding municipality of the same name, in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, located along the Río Batopilas at the bottom of the Batopilas canyon, part of the Copper Canyon. As of 2010, the town of Batopilas had a population of 1,220. Its elevation above sea level is 578 metres (1,896 ft). The town is situated in a narrow valley, bordered by steep canyon walls. The government of Mexico declared it a Pueblo Mágico on October 19, 2012.
Silver mining is the resource extraction of silver by mining.
Mineral del Monte, commonly called Real del Monte (Spanish
Juan Bautista de Anza I was a Spanish Basque, and an explorer of a great part of the Sonora state and the south west region of the United States.
Copper mining in the United States has been a major industry since the rise of the northern Michigan copper district in the 1840s. In 2017 the United States produced 1.27 million metric tonnes of copper, worth $8 billion, making it the world's fourth largest copper producer, after Chile, China, and Peru. Copper was produced from 23 mines in the US. Top copper producing states in 2014 were Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Nevada, and Montana. Minor production also came from Idaho, and Missouri. As of 2014, the US had 45 million tonnes of known remaining reserves of copper, the fifth largest known copper reserves in the world, after Chile, Australia, Peru, and Mexico.
Gold mining in the United States has taken place continually since the discovery of gold at the Reed farm in North Carolina in 1799. The first documented occurrence of gold was in Virginia in 1782. Some minor gold production took place in North Carolina as early as 1793, but created no excitement. The discovery on the Reed farm in 1799 which was identified as gold in 1802 and subsequently mined marked the first commercial production.
Tom Childs, Jr. was an Arizona miner and rancher. The Papago knew him as "Muta". He was born in Yuma, Arizona, United States, on June 10, 1870.
Silver mining in the United States began on a major scale with the discovery of the Comstock Lode in Nevada in 1858. The industry suffered greatly from the demonetization of silver in 1873 by the Coinage Act of 1873, known pejoratively as the "Crime of 73", but silver mining continues today.
Lake Valley was a silver-mining town in Sierra County, U.S. state of New Mexico.
Silver mining in Arizona was a powerful stimulus for exploration and prospecting in early Arizona. Cumulative silver production through 1981 totaled 490 million troy ounces. However, only about 10% of Arizona's silver production came from silver mining. More than 80% of the state's silver was a byproduct of copper mining; other silver came as a byproduct of lead, zinc, and gold mining.
Copper mining in Arizona, a state of the United States, has been a major industry since the 19th century. In 2007 Arizona was the leading copper-producing state in the US, producing 750 thousand metric tons of copper, worth a record $5.54 billion. Arizona's copper production was 60% of the total for the United States. Copper mining also produces gold and silver as byproducts. Byproduct molybdenum from copper mining makes Arizona the nation's second-largest producer of that metal. Although copper mineralization was found by the earliest Spanish explorers of Arizona, the territory was remote, and copper could seldom be profitably mined and shipped. Early Spanish, Mexican, and American prospectors searched for gold and silver, and ignored copper. It was not until the completion of the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1876 that copper became broadly economic to mine and ship to market.
Harshaw is a populated place in Santa Cruz County in the southeastern part of the U.S. state of Arizona. The town was settled in the 1870s, in what was then Arizona Territory. Founded as a mining community, Harshaw is named after the cattleman-turned-prospector David Tecumseh Harshaw, who first successfully located silver in the area. At the town's peak near the end of the 19th century, Harshaw's mines were among Arizona's highest producers of ore, with the largest mine, the Hermosa, yielding approximately $365,455 in bullion over a four-month period in 1880.
Between 1830 and 1850 Chilean silver mining grew at an unprecedented pace which transformed mining into one of the country's principal sources of wealth. The rush caused rapid demographic, infrastructural, and economic expansion in the semi-arid Norte Chico mountains where the silver deposits lay. A number of Chileans made large fortunes in the rush and made investments in other areas of the economy of Chile. By the 1850s the rush was in decline and lucrative silver mining definitely ended in the 1870s. At the same time mining activity in Chile reoriented to saltpetre operations.
Elgin Bryce Holt was an American geologist, mine owner and engineer, amateur scientist and entrepreneur who reorganized and managed the Cerro de Plata Mining Company in Magdalena, Sonora, Mexico.