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Lost Mineral Locations near Wickenburg Arizona

Last Updated: 8th Nov 2016

By Rolf Luetcke

Lost Mineral Locations near Wickenburg Arizona
By Rolf Luetcke

Back about ten years ago, a good friend, Clive Bailey, was working as a geologist near Wickenburg Arizona. The project he was working on was a drilling project assessing the gold potential of an area around the Queen of Sheba Mine near Wickenburg Arizona. He often brought samples to me from some of the mine tailings at the localities where he was working. I helped him identify minerals in the ores and took photos of the minerals and he was able to pass those on to the people he was working for and I was able to get specimens for our collection from places I had never visited.
Most of the ores Clive brought me from this project were iron stained quartz, what he was looking for with his gold drilling project. He found a couple of the old mine tailings that had nice mineralization with interesting copper minerals that were small but well crystalized in some of the specimens he brought me.
Clive talked to me about stopping at one place that was a mile and a half south of the Queen of Sheba Mine where he found an open area to stop and write in his logs and have some lunch. The place was full of old trash that was made up of broken bits of bottles, metal items and lots of broken pottery. The pottery was not native American but more recent china pottery so he called the place "China Camp" because of all the broken china wares. The area where he was working was mostly hilly with few places that were level enough to camp or pull off the dirt road.
Clive thought this had been a stopping over point for a long time for not only modern visitors like hunters who came into the area but also of the early prospectors who had been traveling through. It was an open area that was relatively flat in the rolling hill country around there. One trip to the various sites he was mapping he stopped to have some lunch and walked around a bit. It was possibly an old wagon road leading to Wickenburg used for many years and this one open area was a nice spot to stop for the night. It would be interesting to see early maps of the area and see if this had been a main access road that went back to the 1800's.
There were two piles of rock that didn't seem to fit the area and ores Clive had studied. On this stop he picked up a sample bag of rock from those piles that looked interesting, to have me look at.
When he dropped off the sample bag I immediately noticed that this was much more interesting material than the species poor material he had brought me before from the Queen of Sheba. I noticed right away that the species didn't fit the immediate area. In the ores were minerals I was familiar with but not from the Queen of Sheba mine. The minerals were much more uncommon and had come from some other place. There was wulfenite, galena, anglesite, chrysocolla, pyrite, wickenburgite, mimetite, fornacite or vauquelinite, cerussite and what looked like hemihedrite but I could not be sure on this one. It was not from the mines of the immediate area.
We discussed this at length and Clive had no idea where these two piles of rock had come from. My only idea was that at one time someone had been traveling through, maybe to an assay office in Wickenburg in the old horse and wagon days and something had broken on the wagon and the ore that they were carrying had to be left behind, to not be returned for later. It could also have been an early auto or truck that had the same problem. Clive thought the piles had been there for some time and he didn't think they were left by recent visitors.
The mines I knew of that had this kind of mineralization were a distance away and I was not familiar with mines close to Wickenburg that had these minerals. So, the question still remains, where did this material come from. I know mineralization has been hauled from place to place for a long time and often things got discarded along the way. The one mineral that I checked on was the wickenburgite since it is a fairly rare mineral and from not too many places in the area. Maricopa County has only six localities that have wickenburgite listed, the Rat Tail Claim, Moon Anchor Mine, Evening Star mine, Potter-Cramer Mines, an Unnamed Prospect and one listed as Wickenburg-East of. The Potter-Cramer is a mine with these minerals listed but in a different mountain range within the distance things could have come from. There were several other minerals also on the list of what I found that were from these same six mines. I believe the ores at the "China Camp" spot probably came from one of these localities. Finding old maps of the area would possibly show roads from early years which could tie this spot to one of the mines on the list above. If they are not from one of the above mines, there could be a deposit in the area with rare species that has been lost to time.
The minerals I found in the mystery ore were all microscopic but I had seen the same minerals from the mines listed above. The only question was why leave the ores out in the middle of nowhere? With quite a lot of research one might be able to figure out where the material came from but for such small amounts it might not be worth the effort. The main thing it does is make one wonder how the material got to that place.

There is another unknown location near Wickenburg that happened a few years ago, in the 1990's. In this case a different friend had been to the Purple Passion Mine to collect one day with a group of people from a club and the people at the mine had asked if his group wanted to look at another place on the way back and that it was near Wickenburg. They had been given directions and told that a piece of equipment had scraped one area to expose some underlying mineralization and that was the best place to look for specimens. The people at Purple Passion said the new place was called The Lumina Mine.
The friend, Phil Partington, stopped with others on the trip at the location given and collected in the slightly trenched area. He gave me a box of the material he found there to study. He said it was near Wickenburg and just off the main road. When I looked at the material I found some things that were well crystalized and interesting. I took those samples along to visit a friend and he also showed a lot of interest and had me leave a few samples to go to a lab with things he was having looked at.
When the samples were analyzed the blue turned out to be cyanotrichite and the green acicular was atacamite. I found about 8 species I could identify and half a dozen I didn't identify visually. The friend who had sent them to the lab for me asked if I knew where the place was because he would really like to get some of the material. I told him I had not been there myself and all I knew was the mine had been named the Lumina Mine. I told him who had sent my friend there and he contacted the people at the Purple Passion Mine and nobody there knew what he was talking about. They had never heard of a Lumina Mine. The location search was put on the back burner but every time we talked by phone the Lumina came up in the conversation. This went on for nearly a year and then the search began again.
The same friend who was now looking for the Lumina Mine also knew people in the Arizona bureau of mines who could trace any newly filed claims but there was nothing at all listed under a Lumina Mine, so that search turned out to be a dead end.
I contacted Phil again and he had written down the GPS coordinates in his log. He gave those to us and I passed them along to the friend. They drove out to the coordinates Phil had given me and said there was absolutely nothing around there. No diggings, no mining or anything that looked like it had minerals. They had looked all around but found nothing. That trip was another dead end. This had me wondering about GPS readings and if they were wrong or if they had been recorded wrong. This was not the first time I found a GPS unit not to be trustworthy.
I contacted Phil again and unfortunately he didn't remember where the place was. I had a great memory for re-finding places I had visited many years before but apparently Phil did not. He said his memory of the trip was just not there and he really couldn't help any more. As far as I know the Lumina Mine search was given up and nobody ever did figure that one out. I have the specimens in the box Phil gave me with the name Lumina Mine on the box but its actual location remains a mystery.

The Wickenburg area has a lot of history with mining that goes back to the early days of prospecting in Arizona. The two stories above are mysteries from the Wickenburg area that I have never been able to solve.

Article has been viewed at least 1489 times.


Very cool, Rolf! "The truth is out there."


Kyle Beucke
8th Nov 2016 3:52pm

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