Goldome Mining Complex (Mojave National Preserve)

Goldome - Possibly the Mojave Deserts most intact abandoned mining operation.

Goldome – Possibly the Mojave Deserts most intact abandoned mining operation.

 

Thousands of mining operations have come and gone in the Mojave Desert over the past 150+ years.  Many of them small-scale owner/operator operations, most of which there is little evidence remaining with the exception of a hole in the side of a mountain, a can dump, and some scattered wooden boards or fallen stone walls. Every once in a while a gem will be found, with a few structures still standing, and various mining equipment odds and ends.  Then there is the diamond (or gold rather), this is where a site like Goldome falls into, a modern mining complex…abandoned only in the past 20 years.

Despite Goldome’s “newness,” the area surrounding is rich in history. Goldome’s neighbor is the Vanderbilt mines and town site that date back to the 1890’s.  Vanderbilt was once the home of Virgil Earp, who owned the town’s only two-story building, a saloon. Little remains of Vanderbilt today with the exception of a few dug-out storage areas, and scattered rusty relics left over from when the town had its boom, over 100 years ago.

Goldome itself remains mysterious, after extensive research very little information could be tracked down. I’ll share with you what little I have managed to obtain.  I believe that the Goldome mine was founded in the 1950’s, by who remains a rather baffling mystery. The last owner to operate the mill was New Jersey based Allstate Acceptance Corporation; whom was sued by Allstate Insurance in 1997 due to confusion between the names.  Allstate Acceptance Corporation agreed to change their name, despite having had claim to it since 1959; they would become known as Mineral Acceptance Corporation.

Goldome - This warehouse style building houses the abandoned processing mill.

Goldome – This warehouse style building houses the abandoned processing mill.

 

Goldome - Overlooking the processing mill operation floor.

Goldome – Overlooking the processing mill operation floor.

 

Goldome - Equipment that has gone unused for 20 odd years.

Goldome – Equipment that has gone unused for 20 odd years.

 

Goldome - What does it do?

Goldome – What does it do?

 

In 1998, the MAC website boasted, “MAC is a vertically integrated precious metals mining, refining and marketing company. Its available mineral reserves – located in Nevada, California and New Mexico – are conservatively valued at over $275 million. These reserves will keep MAC in the processing and refining business until the 22nd century.” They also went on to say, “Located in Nipton, California, the 2,500 ton-per-day (nominal capacity) ‘Goldome’ mill’s unique production system, as well as the Company’s available refining facility in Jean, Nevada, will produce quality doré bullion for further refining into ‘Good London Delivery’ ingots for the foreseeable future.”

Interesting enough, it was around this same time that Goldome closed it’s doors. Why would a company that had foreseen such a successful future, just up and walk away; leaving behind a working mill and processing plant? Sadly, that is the question that goes unanswered.

In 2002, the Environmental Protection Agency listed the Goldome Complex as a Superfund Site. The EPA states that, “A Superfund site is an uncontrolled or abandoned place where hazardous waste is located, possibly affecting local ecosystems or people.”  The purpose is to remove such hazards, so that additional contamination can not take place. A 2007 notice was issued by the E.P.A. to a National Gold, Inc., listed as the site’s current owner.  National Gold, Inc., is still in business today, their website shows a satellite image of the Goldome Complex under their “past mining operations” section of the website. It is unknown if they ever actually did any mining here.

Nevertheless, what we have left is one of the Mojave Desert’s most impressive examples of modern mining. Vandalism has remained minimal, and much of the machinery is still in tact.

If you worked at Goldome, and would like to tell your story, or you can fill in the details of the Goldome mystery please get in touch with me. 

Goldome - A massive cyanide vat

Goldome – A massive cyanide vat

 

Goldome - Inside the cyanide vat is mixer/rake.

Goldome – Inside the cyanide vat is mixer/rake.

 

Goldome - Holding tanks

Goldome – Holding tanks

 

Goldome - Underground conveyor system.

Goldome – Underground conveyor system.

 

Goldome - Modern day ore shoot

Goldome – Modern day ore shoot

About the author

Jim Mattern

Jim is a scapegoat for the NPS, an author, adventurer, photographer, radio personality, guide, and location scout. His interests lie in Native American and cultural sites, ghost towns, mines, and natural wonders in the American Deserts.

6 Comments

  • Wow. I’m going to have to go locate this place.

    Perfect place for derelict building photography

  • Just went there last week. I believe it was involved in litigation with the US Government closing Mojave to public commercial use in1992. There were news stories about it at the time – the owners had purchase several new trucks and other equipment and were give a “drop dead” date to move out or lose whatever they had on site. Apparently, mine continued to operate into the late 90’s. Paper work in one of the buildings includes lots of overdue bills.
    Side note: anyone traveling on this road gets a great view of the huge solar farm across the valley – looks like something from another planet!

  • I’m kind of surprised by the degree to which the heavy equipment itself has decayed in less than 20 years. You can still tell it was recently used, with the paint on the rails in good shape, etc, but many parts serve to make you think “Wow so this was a bustling workplace in operation in the late 90s”? Already I doubt any of this equipment can ever function as intended again. Kind of a conflicting feeling I get from looking at these photos.

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