The DALC Project - Amethyst Mine
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Located on the Amethyst vein, the Amethyst Mine was likely the Creede Mining District’s richest producer. At its height, miners were extracting 35 tons of ore each day. An aerial tramway was constructed to transport this ore two miles from the top of West Willow’s steep canyon slopes to a set of holding bins on the Denver Rio Grande Railroad in North Creede. Several buildings were constructed including a surface plant, sorting plant, assay shop, and mill.
Mining began in 1891 and continued until the 1930’s. The WCRC implemented BMPs at the Amethyst waste rock pile to reduce sediment and metal loading in West Willow Creek. The project included pulling back waste piles from the creek, constructing a deep channel to divert run-off, and placing rip rap along the creek to anchor the waste pile slope. The area was then vegetated with an appropriate seed mix.
Closer to the creek, debris and water control structures were installed to reduce sediment loading from road and waste pile erosion. A portion of the Amethyst pile lies in a very narrow canyon with an essential road crossing. Therefore water control is necessary to keep the creek in its channel and reduce the risk of significant erosion of the waste during a high-water event.