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Friday, October 16, 2009

Gold Mining in South Carolina

Gold was discovered in South Carolina in 1827 in placers at the Kaile mine, which was to become the largest gold producer in the Southeastern States. Placers were also worked at the site of the Brewer mine before 1830. The first record of gold production in South Carolina was in 1829, when a shipment was sent to the mint. Another major gold-producing property in South Carolina, the Born mine in McCormick County, became productive in 1852. The early period of intense activity was terminated by the Civil War, and though the mines were reopened afterward, the Haile mine was the only property in South Carolina that prospered. But by the early 1900's production at the Haile also declined, and except for a brief revival during World War I, the gold mines of South Carolina were largely dormant from 1900 to 1937. With the rejuvenation of the Haile mine in 1937, South Carolina became the leader in gold production in the South-east. The War Production Board Order L-208 forced the shutdown of the gold mines, and the State has not produced any gold since 1943. Total gold production of South Carolina through 1959 was 318,801 ounces.


The Brewer mine is about 1 1/2 miles west of Jefferson in northwest Chesterfield County. Gold placers were discovered in 1828 on this property and were worked even after the vein deposits
were discovered. In the 1880's the surficial deposits were mined on a fairly large scale by hydraulic
methods; the vein deposits also continued to be worked. By 1894 or 1895 the mine was closed and was operated only during brief intervals after that time. The most recent activity was in 1939 when 8 ounces of gold was recovered from placers. Production of the Brewer mine was estimated at about $450,000 in gold (about 21,840 ounces).

The Haile mine, in southern Lancaster County and 31/2 miles northeast of Kershaw, is the most
productive gold mine in the Southeastern States and is probably the oldest mine in South Carolina.
In 1827 gold-bearing placers were discovered along one of the creeks on the property. By 1829 the lode deposits were found and were quickly developed; lode mining supplanted the placer activity. The California gold rush and the Civil War curtailed operations, but by 1880 the Haile was again active and remained open until 1918. During this period pyrite, useful for manufacturing sulfuric acid, was an important product in addition to gold. The mine was opened again in
1935 after the increase in the price of gold, and from 1937 through 1942, it produced a total of 60,013 ounces. During this period the Haile accounted for most of the gold production of the southern Appalachian States. The Haile mine was closed at the end of 1942 and remained idle through 1959. Total gold production of the Haile mine through 1959 was 278,080 ounces.


The Dorn mine is in the town of McCormick, in central McCormick County. The first record of gold production from this property was for a shipment in 1853 worth $300,000. Although little
else could be found concerning its early history, the mine probably was operated for several years before the Civil War. It was idle from 1880 to 1932, at which time some development work was done. No production was reported from this most recent activity; the mine was apparently closed and remained inactive through 1959. Total gold production through 1959 is estimated to be worth
9900,000 (43,700 ounces).
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