It was a golden opportunity. 

In my early days in Wenatchee, radio work was hard to come by, so over the years I had several “in between” jobs. I worked at Mann & Ferrington (Now Northern Fruit, on Grant Road, E. Wenatchee) I worked at Belmont Music (now a large antique mall). C & O Nursery and the most unusual job I had was working for The Cyprus Mining Company. 

According to Wikipedia, “The Cyprus Mines Corporation was an early twentieth century American mining company based in Cyprus. In 1914, In 1979 Cyprus Mines Corporation was acquired by Amoco Corporation. Amoco expanded Cyprus into a diversified worldwide mining company.” Cyprus Mines bought the mineral options of the Lovitt gold mine located up Squilchuck Canyon. The mine was first staked in the 1890s.

 The property changed hands several times prior to Ed Lovitt appearing on the scene in 1949. Lovitt employed contract miners who shared in the profits. In 1959, the miners discovered “Nellie’s Room”, a very rich pocket of ore in a room of 15x15x20 feet.  In today’s dollars, about $40 million in gold and silver was recovered. The company was raided by the IRS before any payouts could be given to the miners, just to make sure the proper federal tax was deducted. 

After the mine suspended operations in late 1966, Cypress Anvil optioned the property and spent about three years exploring for gold in the area.

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That was when I got a job as an “exploratory geologist”. I knew nothing of mining or geology. My major qualifications were that I was not afraid of the dark and I did not mind tight enclosed spaces or the idea of working underground. 

We worked in pairs. The foreman would give us a spot in a tunnel (or drift) and we would cut a two-inch wide one-inch-deep horizontal channel six to eight feet long about three feet above the floor. One of us had a hammer and chisel and the other would have a plastic container to catch the chips. 

I did this for about three months until the job ran out. Later that spring they hired me again to supervise a core drilling crew. Basically, I kept track of and documented what the crew did, how deep they went, and how many drill bits they used, and cataloged the core samples. 

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When the Lovitt Mine closed in 1966, gold was priced at approximately $360.00 an ounce. When Cyprus Mining bought the mine, gold was at about $650.00 an ounce. When the Cannon Mine was optioned in the early 1980s, gold at one point was as high as $2,200.00. Today the gold market is hovering at about $2,100.00. 

The Cannon Mine adjoining the Lovitt Mine to the north produced about 1.1 million ounces of gold in the late 1980s and early 90s. Taken together, the Lovitt and Cannon Mines produced over $2 Billion in gross revenue in today’s dollars and gold price. 

It was not a particularly glamorous job, but it paid some of the bills and got me through to my next radio job. 

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