Ready Pay Mine

Ready Pay Mine, Ready Pay Gulch, NE of Hillsboro
The Ready Pay Mine site is one of the better sites in the area.  
As always, open shafts and old structures can be dangerous
and the usual critters are about - a good area for
Western Diamondback Rattlesnake, for instance.

ready pay on geo map

The Ready Pay Group was patented in 1914 and has also been known as the Gold Star, Scandia, and Unecorn.  The primary commodities taken from the site were Gold, Copper, and Silver in ores of Chalcopyrite,  Argentite, and Bornite.  The first year of production for this site was 1885 and the last was 1934.  In 1914 Fanny Garrison Villard was the owner, in 1934 Edward D. Tittman (see Diary of a Hunt) of Hillsboro owned the site.  “The estimated value of production from the site between 1885 and 1931 was about $10,000 USD...workings reported in the 1930’s consisted of a 160 ft. vertical shaft, a tunnel 500 feet in length and about 200 ft. of drifting”.

The Ready Pay Mine is one of the mines shown on the sketch map (p. 273) from 1910 in The Ore Deposits of New Mexico, Professional Paper 68 of the USGS by Lindgren, Graton, and Gordon. (LARGE FILE = 64.7 MB) - See Below.

D. C. Hedlund’s 1985 (preliminary) report “United States Department of the Interior Geologic Survey - Economic geology of some selected mines in the Hillsboro and San Lorenzo quadrangles, Grant and Sierra Counties, New Mexico” page 9 & 11 describes the Ready Pay Vein as “The Ready Pay vein is located in Ready Pay Gulch where it has been intensively mined and trenched over a length of about 5,000 ft (1,500 m). The vein strikes N. 15°-20° E. and isan anastomosing fracture zone 10-15 ft (3-4.6 m) thick that contains abundant quartz veins. Pyrite, bornite, chalcopyrite, and free gold have been reported to occur in the subsurface at the Ready Pay shaft. Minor amounts of placer gold have been mined from the south end of Ready Pay Gulch.”

George Townsend Harley’s 1934 paper “New Mexico State Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources, Bulletin 10, The Geology and Ore Deposits of Sierra County, New Mexico”  is a seminal work on the geology and mining of this area.  At page 140 he notes that mining and/or development work was being done at the Ready Pay site during 1931-1933.  At page 157 he describes the operations at Ready Pay as:  

Ready Pay Gulch Mine Sites

"The Ready Pay vein is located in Ready Pay Gulch. Near the south end it is on the west sidehill below the Sherman vein, but about half way to the head of the canyon it crosses the creek bed and then continues up the slope on the east side. The main shaft, old millsite, boiler house and campsite are located in the canyon. The plant is completely dismantled and the shaft is caved, and the mine workings could not be entered. From the surface, however, it could be seen that the vein is a fractured zone in andesite breccia, varying from 10 to 15 feet in width, and that this zone is traversed in all directions by stringers of mineralized quartz. The ore is said to occur within the vein in  shoots, one of which was 400 feet long on the levels. Hard lumps of bornite up to 2 inches in diameter were said to have been found in the vein, which would average $110 in value per ton.

Operations on the property were discontinued in 1908. The plant at that time consisted of a steam-driven hoist and a 30-ton amalgamation and concentration plant. The ore was ground in two Huntington mills and then treated on two plates and two Wilfley tables. The plant handled 24 tons per day for six months, during which time the full width of the vein was mined and treated. The mill heads ran $8 a ton and the tails $2.50, resulting in a saving of about $5.50 a ton. The ratio of concentration was about 12 into 1, and the concentrate assayed about $66 per ton. The direct cost of producing a ton of concentrate is given as $23.50, of which labor accounted for $19.50 and fuel $4.00."

In the 1957 Bulletin 39 of the State Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources - “The Metal Resources of New Mexico and Their Economic Features Through 1954” Eugene Carter Anderson notes that (p. 124) “lode mines that operated at intervals during the period 1935-1938 were the...Ready Pay.”

These photographs shown here were taken at the upper and most southerly of the shafts at the site.  The two top photographs show the headframe and equipment (primarily old winches).  The bottom photographs shows the concrete foundation for one of the structures at the site, probably the mill, and other items of interest.  The photographs were taken on May 31, 2016, other photographs from this area may be seen at the Ready Pay Gulch Walk page and the photo gallery which supports that page.  

Ready Pay Mine, Ready Pay Gulch, NE of Hillsboro

© Robert Barnes 2018