The DALC Project - Last Chance Mine

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In 1891, the Last Chance  Mine was claimed along the Amethyst vein, adjacent to the Amethyst Mine.  This successful operation extracted 80 tons of profitable ore at it’s height of production.  The underground workings were eventually connected to the Nelson Tunnel in 1898.  The mine expanded its operation quickly when investors installed a surface plant in 1892.  Mining activity at the Last Chance followed the ebb and flow of the price of silver, drawing investors when silver prices were high. The mine workings expanded with the addition of a sorting house, several residential buildings, a dining hall, a surface plant, a large workshop and miles of ore car rail. 

Extensive mining operations at  Last Chance Dump left a massive waste rock pile. The WCRC targeted the site to reduce sediment and metal loading in West Willow Creek. To accomplish this, run-on controls were installed to divert water running from above the site.  The entire slope was reshaped, and upper slopes were moved to locations where snow and water can pond, keeping heavy metals from entering the water table and West Willow Creek.

Retaining structures were built adjacent to the creek to prevent waste rock from making direct contact with running water.  The site was extensively re-vegetated with seed mix and covered with mulch.  An additional retaining wall will be built in 2012.