The 16 to 1 mine is a gold, silver, copper, zinc and lead mine located in the Alleghany mining district in California. It is most famous for producing jewelry quality gold in quartz specimens.
Gold was first discovered in the Alleghany region in 1851 by a group of Kanakas sailors who found gold nuggets in what became the Kanaka Creek. Soon a tertiary auriferous channel known as the Great Blue Lead was discovered near the current Alleghany site. This spurred further exploration in the district resulting in the creation of a number of gold claims in the area.
Most of the early miners in the Alleghany mining district used drift mining methods to mine gold. In fact, it is estimated that drift mining accounted for the production of gold worth over $10,000,000 between 1851 and 1880s.
Development of the 16 to 1 Hard Rock Gold Mine
Most of the early miners went for the surface gold and it was not until the 1880s that large companies were formed to mine lode gold deep into the soil. One such operation was the partnership of Charles Currieux, Jack Binning and W.Hildebrande who started the Tightner lode mine in 1891.
The success of this particular partnership inspired a local resident named Tom Bradbury who begun exploring his backyard near the Contract claims and eventually staked a claim that he named Sixteen to one in 1896. The name sixteen to one was in reference to the then ratio of the value of silver to gold.
In a few short years, Sixteen to one grew to become one of the most prolific gold producing mines in California. The mine was actively mined between 1896 and 1965 when it was finally closed only to be reopened again in 1985. The mine produced over a million ounces of gold in the period.
The Sixteen-to-One Mine is located in Sierra near the Middle Fork of Yuba River. The mine sits on the Pliocene Ridge between the Kanaka Creek and the Oregon Creek. It is located on a 550 acres property and can be reached via highway 45 to the south of Allegheny.
The Mine Continues to Expand
Initially, Tom Bradbury worked on the development of the mine as a sole ownership operation until 1911 when it was taken over by the Sixteen to One Mine, Inc. In 1919 when the Tightner Mines Company was found to have trespassed on the Sixteen to one claim they opted to sell the twenty-one Mine to the Sixteen to One mine Inc. the same year the Alleghany mining company bought the Tightner Mine from the Tightner Mines Company. To expand its operation the Sixteen to One Mine Inc. bought the Tightner mine from the Allegheny Mining Company in 1924.
The company also acquired several other neighboring mines such as the Eclipse and the Ophir properties. During the years that followed a number of rich ore pockets were discovered in the sixteen to one mine producing a lot of wealth for the company.
With the increased productivity the Sixteen to one mine continued with the expansion program in the 1930s up to 1950s acquiring several mines such as the Red Star, the Rainbow, the Bald Mountain, the Fraction and the South Fork Mines. By 1960 the company had diminished all the rich gold ore and the cost of production had skyrocketed to unmanageable levels. The company then began to close its mines one by one and eventually by 1965 the company closed down completely.
The company leased the mine to a number of companies in the 1970s before forming the Kanaka Joint venture in 1985 to reopen the mining processes.
Gold in Quartz from the 16 to 1 Mine
Sixteen to one was most famous for its high-grade ore and is now still open for the production of high-quality native gold used in jewelry.
The mine is still in operation mainly producing high-quality specimen native gold used in jewelry.
It is the combination of high purity gold veins running through white quartz that makes the specimens from this California mine so unique and spectacular. When a high grade pocket of gold is identified, it is removed in large chunks, cut into slabs, and then formed into cabochons.
Workers at the mine often use metal detectors to located gold veins hidden within the walls of the mine. A signal can help them identify pockets of high-grade gold.
The gold in quartz cabochons from the 16 to 1 mine are world-class. They are used by jewelers all around the world to make high quality natural gold jewelry.