David K. Joyce

Recent Activities -Return to the Planet Mine, Winter, 2020

I've been to the Planet Mine before with Paul Wray, the Yukon miner, Yukon Rock Shop owner and rockhound extrordinaire. I did NOT find the malachite or drusy quartz-coated chrysocolla that I really hope to find, so I contacted Paul to head there again! I also thought it would be a great locality for Daniel to experience and for Daniel to meet Paul! So away we went. An itinerant mining engineer, John, came along with us. Paul knows those back roads and washes very well and has a great pick-up truck to navigate them.

The Planet Mine is a former underground Cu-Fe-Ag-Au mine located about 57 miles north east of Quartzite, AZ. It was discovered in 1863 and straddles a tributary of the Williams River, which was bone dry during our visit. I think it is pretty well always bone dry, unless it picks up runoff during Arizona monsoon season, during the summer.

I did another write-up on the Planet Mine in this same "Recent Activities" section of this website in 2014 so if you go to the Recent Activities index and scroll down, you'll find more information and insight.
Herer are a series of photo's and captions describing our trip which included a trip to the BBC Mine also described earlier this year in these same "Recent Activities". Sorry, the photos are out of order and I don't know how to unscramble them. You'll figure it out!

 

Recent Activities -Return to the Planet Mine, Winter, 2020

We checked out several spots on the property and explored one of the adits at wash level. The declined adit must be flooded right to the top during rainy season! You can't tell from the photo but the drift is actually a decline that goes down at at a 10% or so grade. Lots of old stopes and drifts off to the sides of the main decline.

Recent Activities -Return to the Planet Mine, Winter, 2020

Here is yours truly exploring an old stope with dubious timber support. Secondary copper mineralization is everywhere in the iron-rich rock.

Recent Activities -Return to the Planet Mine, Winter, 2020

Here is Daniel and me exploring an old open stope. There is interesting mineralization everywhere but not great specimen potential in this particular area.

Recent Activities -Return to the Planet Mine, Winter, 2020

Daniel located a good-looking seam of malachite in the wall of one stope. We'll go back there some time to see if we can excavate good specimens.

Recent Activities -Return to the Planet Mine, Winter, 2020

Paul Wray brought a new light to use for photography and that is why the lighting was so good for his underground photo's of Daniel and me. Thanks, Paul!

Recent Activities -Return to the Planet Mine, Winter, 2020

I finally found a spot near an adit up on the canyon wall that seemed to have some good malachite. The malachite was in green hemispheres in dark matrix, sometimes associated with quartz crystals. This specimen is about 8.0cm across.

Recent Activities -Return to the Planet Mine, Winter, 2020

Here is a close-up of some of the hemispheres. Field of view is about 3.5cm across.

Recent Activities -Return to the Planet Mine, Winter, 2020

Another close-up of malachite hemispheres, field of view around 3.0cm across.

Recent Activities -Return to the Planet Mine, Winter, 2020

The Planet Mine straddles a wash in a steep valley. There are adits, trenches and workings on both sides of the waterless wash and many places to explore. Here is a view of the north side of the wash showing loads of barrel cacti amongst the rocks. Those cacti are about two feet high, or so.

Recent Activities -Return to the Planet Mine, Winter, 2020

Much of the "road", between the BBC Mine and the Planet mine is composed of dried up rivers called washes. Sometimes a grader will run through some of the washes to tidy them up for traffic. They can be very rough after a rain storm, which can happen on occasion.

Recent Activities -Return to the Planet Mine, Winter, 2020

You know that you are close to the Planet Mine, if you encounter wild donkeys grazing. There are quite a few of these beasts in the Planet mine area and they are reputed to be descended from the original donkeys that were used by the miners and pioneers of the Planet Mine back in the 1800s. They just wander around. Must be enough food and water for them each year!

Recent Activities -Return to the Planet Mine, Winter, 2020

This is what the countryside looks as you approach the Planet Mine. At the BBC Mine, you are surrounded by typical Sonoran desert. The Planet Mine is at a bit higher elevation and, there, you encounter desert grasslands, as well as chollas, saguaro, creosote bushes and other desert plants.