Montgomery brothers, George, and Bob, discovered gold in the Panamint Mountains in 1896, they named their claim The World Beater Mine. This would be the same Montgomery brothers that would go on to operate the Montgomery Shoshone Mine in Rhyolite, NV and even later the Skidoo Mine also located in the Panamint Mountains.
Between the World Beater and the nearby Ratcliff Mine, the number of workers in Pleasant Canyon grew to over 200 very quickly. The biggest problem was having enough space to house so many workers, in 1897 a town was built at the bottom of Pleasant Canyon. The town was in need of a name, and a young miner named George Riggins suggested the name Ballarat after the mining town of the same name in Australia.
Ballarat boomed for a short number of years, as did the World Beater, and the other mines located in Pleasant Canyon. 1901, would see a large exodus from Ballarat and the Panamint mines. Many of the miners made their way to the big gold strike in Tonopah, NV. The World Beater was seeing a second wind during this period as well. It’s employees managed to keep Ballarat from going exclusively to the rats, at least for a short time.
In 1905, it was believed that all the high-grade bullion was exhausted in the World Beater. This was a good enough reason for everyone to move on to more promising ventures like Rhyolite and Skidoo. The World Beater would go on to be mined several more times over years. Production estimates are as follows: $185,000 prior to 1930 and another $75,000 from 1936-1942.
In May of 2012, CMC Metal Ltd. publicly announced the Acquisition of both the Ratcliff and World Beater Mines. The following is the press release as released by the company:
CMC Metals Ltd : Radcliff/Worldbeater Property Acquisition
05/01/2012 | 02:53pm US/Eastern
Vancouver, B.C.: CMC Metals Ltd. (the “Company”) is pleased to announce that the Radcliff/Worldbeater property has now been Title registered 50% interest under CMC Metals Corp., a 100 percent owned subsidiary of the Company after payment of an additional US$100,000. Mine Development Associates (MDA) have been retained to update the past historical resource estimates to a current status by including any additional data that could influence the historical resource estimates. Exploration and development work is proceeding to bring the Radcliff Mine to a point that the mine can sustain an on-going production for the Bishop facilities.
The purchase agreement was amended allowing the balance of the purchase price of US$800,000 to be paid by June 16, 2012.
In compliance with NI 43-101, Don Wedman, P.Eng., President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company, is the Qualified Person who prepared or supervised the preparation of the technical information presented in this news release.
This news release was prepared on behalf of the Board of Directors, which accepts full responsibility for its contents.
On behalf of the Board:
“Donald W. Wedman”
Donald W. Wedman, P.Eng.
CMC METALS LTD.
What this means for both mines is uncertain, but it sounds as if plans are in place to reopen and begin working the mines in the near future. Until that happens, enjoy them for what they are today.
The World Beater Cabin is open for anyone to stay in, relax in, and enjoy. It is not a structure that dates back to the early mining days, but has become a historic location in its own right. It was built in the 1970’s after the collapse of the original cabin that was located just below the current site.
The cabin is furnished with tables, cots, a book shelf, and a functioning wood burning stove. A working oven and stove top are also inside the cabin, just bring a propane tank and hook it up. A car battery is supplied that you can charge off of your vehicle, and hook up for lighting. Some food items and liquor are on the shelves for those that may have forgotten items or are just in need of a meal or a good belt. If possible bring some extra items along with you that you are comfortable donating to the cabin (food, cooking supplies, maintenance material). As a general rule, leave the cabin in better condition that what you found it, that is the only way that it will be here for years to come.
UPDATE: March 2014 – I have been contacted by Derek Cooper of Ridgecrest, CA. Cooper is the claim holder to the land immediately surrounding the World Beater cabin, including the cabin itself. Cooper requested that I make it publicly known that the World Beater has never been a part of the BLM Adopt-A-Cabin program, and has no desire to be affiliated with the BLM in any way. The cabin and it’s surroundings are privately owned, but all are welcome.
The World Beater Mine, located just around the corner from the cabin, there is some good exploring that can be done. The furnace is still here and in tact, as well as parts of the tram line, and there are a large number of massive stone walls still standing. The 10-stamp mill that once stood here was sadly burned down in the 1980’s by vandals.
A trip to the World Beater is highly recommended, not only for this particular site but for all the history, wildlife, and scenery that lies within Pleasant Canyon. Again, I stress to you to please take care of the cabin so that it is here for many generations to come.