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.
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.