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Photo Negatives - Mining in Mexico - Guggenheim
Mexico, 1905. Mexico, circa 1905-1910. Set of 36 original panorama format photographic negatives, being views of at least five profitable mines in central Mexico, mainly in the states of San Luis Potosí and Zacatecas. Negatives measure approximately 31 x 9 cm. Together with 3 black and white photographs, corresponding with negatives from the collection. A scant few negatives chipped at corners, otherwise in very good condition with crisp images. The lot housed in a green paper folder for protection. Panoramic views are scarce in any condition, the negatives even more so. These being substantial in number, and in such remarkable condition, make for an exceptionally pleasing acquisition. A fascinating visual archive of Guggenheim mining and smelting operations in Mexico, holdings which contributed substantially to the silver and lead empire's wealth. Manuscript captions imbedded in the negatives serve to identify specific mines as follows: Charcas seen in 18 views, Bonanza in 3, Mala Noche in 1, Asientos in 2, Veta Grande in 2, leaving 10 views from one or more locales unnamed. Most, possibly all, of these mines were discovered and their ores worked as early as the sixteenth century. Either abandoned or used minimally, they would now be revived and modernized with great ambition, at least until the Mexican Revolution when most mining operations were halted. The mines shown in these panorama photographic negatives include the following: • The Charcas mines in the municipality of San Luis Potosí, central Mexico, an area rich in minerals and oil, containing substantial deposits of sulphides of silver, lead, copper and zinc. Charcas went through constant rise and fall in economy of the centuries, directly related to historic conflicts which occurred in the area. In 1862 with the aid of aviaton companies, the mines were modernized and re-established. In 1911, the National Metallurgical Company and the American Smelting and Refining Company acquired the mining rights of the company Minera Tiro General, which had been founded some years before. In 1924 it changed hands once again to become the Conpañia Minera Asarco S.A., which built a concentrator that started operating in 1925. The town of Charcas benefited greatly with the arrivals of telephone and electricity, the installation of which was paid for by these mining companies. • The Veta Grande Mine, in Zacatecas, north-central Mexico, a classic epithermal silver-gold (low sulphide) deposit. The state of Zacatecas is reputed for its rich deposits of silver and other minerals, its colonial architecture and its importance during the Mexican revolution. Much of the state?'s colonial history has been related to its mineral production, especially of silver. In colonial times, only the richest portions of the oxidized veins were mined, however, later sulphide mineralization was also exploited. Metal distribution in the veins varies, however the Veta Grande system is predominately silver bearing with gold and base metals. The City of Zacatecas was first settled by the Spanish in the early 1500's after the discovery of these substantial silver veins. By 1588, large quantities of silver were being shipped from this region to Spain. With increased production, by 1877 silver from the Zacatecas Silver District accounted for 60 percent of the value of all Mexican exports, making it one of Mexico's wealthiest and largest cities of the era. Presently, silver production in Zacatecas state is the primary contributor for Mexico's status as the world's largest producer of silver, accounting for 17% of the world's output. • Bonanza - an important mine in the municipality of Mazapil, also in the state of Zacatecas. Originally established circa 1582-85 by Francisco de Urdinola, M. Guggenheim Sons in 1902/1903 "quietly acquired" the mining operation, known as the Bonanza y Anexas. Licenciado Emeterio de la Garza, a member of president Díaz?'s inner circle, represented the Guggenheims. Acting for Guggenheim Exploration, its two representatives R. C. Gemmell and J. M. Ortiz, acquired sixteen claims over 400 acres about four miles from Mazapil in the northeastern part of the state of Zacatecas. The mines were located on a large ranch, the Hacienda de Bonanza. The owner, Manuel Rodríguez Orozco, had obtained a concession from the state of Zacatecas in 1900 to build a smelter on the ranch. When he decided to sell to Ortiz in 1902, he agreed to sell the mines, ranch, water rights, and appurtenances, but kept half the slag dumps. The ranch consisted of 13,000 acres. It had an orchard, a Casa Grande, and a number of houses for workers. The operation was conveniently near the railroad. In 1907 the Guggenheims transferred the Bonanza group to ASSCO, and subsequently to the Compañía Minera Asarco, S. A. in 1923. During the most tumultuous years of the Mexican revolution, 1913 to 1916, the Bonanza mines suspended work, although ASSCO allowed contractors to mine on a royalty basis. • La Mala Noche [The Bad Night], also in Zacatecas, a mine with a fascinating story involving the evening for which it is named. A destitute 18th century prospector Manuel Reátegui, on the eve of declaring bankruptcy after having invested all of his money and toiled to no avail, was told of the discovery of a new vein of silver. Indeed wealth was on the horizon, he became owner of the mine and soon possessed immense wealth. He built the exquisite Palacio or Casa de la Mala Noche for his residence. • The Asientos lead mine, in the state of Aguascalientes (only a few miles south of the Zacatecas border). The first mining activity of the San Francisco vein was discovered by Don Diego de Ibarra in 1548, who established Mina Real de Asientos, and others nearby subsequent to that. African slaves were brought to Real de Asientos to work in the mines at the end of the 16th century. It is estimated that between 1892 and 1912, one million tonnes (1,250g/t) of silver was mined, which led to the installation of a plant for the company ASARCO, and which operated until 1930. During the Mexican Revolution there was no mining activity. In 1927 the Asientos Mining Co. installed a plant with capacity to process 200 tons daily. It closed in 1950 due to a drop in metal prices. . Very Good.
      [Bookseller: Voyager Press Rare Books & Manuscripts, ]
Last Found On: 2014-12-26           Check availability:      Biblio    

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