he Abril Mine is located at the end of a high mountain road on the Western side of the Dragoon Mountain Range. The mine is a notoriously old working, but benefited from a Defense Minerals Exploration Administration (DMEA) Loan in or around 1954. Total contribution to the mine was $63,108.00 This work carried out between December 1, 1951 to July 31, 1953.
The property was reported as a copper and zinc Mine, assays and samples were targeted at Copper and Zinc as strategic minerals which would qualify for DMEA funds. Prior to the DMEA write ups, the mine was known as a gold mine and was productive as a gold mine.
Gold Rush Expeditions, Inc. surveyors noted appreciable amounts of native gold visible while at the mine site, both above and below ground. This gold appears to be in a pure form as can be noted by color, sheen and hardness.
A series of adits access the mine workings which span a number of levels in the mountain and are all thought to interconnect. Mapping was acquired for the mine workings and supports this conclusion. This mine should be noted as a gold mine, although it has produced copper, some silver, and zinc, the primary commodity is gold in its native form.
The mine is located a short distance out of Tombstone, Arizona on good dirt and 4WD roads. There are two technical spots on the road which are a result of seasonal water run off. Extreme caution should be exercised near these areas. Experienced 4WD drivers and operators should be consulted if there is any question of capability. It is recommended that the road be repaired by the claim owner.
The Abril should be considered as an advanced brownfield property in that it is fully accessible underground in its current condition. This status indicates an ease of drilling and sampling throughout the ore bodies both above and below ground. The Abril Mine is located in the same general trend as the Middlemarch, Cobra Loma and other historical gold mines.
The mine was privately held until at least 1992 and claimed to be secured and maintained. When surveyed and documented in 2016, the mine was found to be in excellent condition, slightly neglected but with no major work needed.
Mining Claim Description
The Abril Mines consist of a contiguous grouping of three (3), twenty (20) acre lode mining claims. A total of sixty (60) acres located in the Middle Pass Mining District which is a sub district of the larger Dragoon Mining District in Cochise County, Arizona.
The Mine is said to have been located in or around 1903 by Frank Abril, Jose and Marcos Herrera. According to the DMEA Federal record, the history of the mine is as follows:
The Abril Mine was located in 1903 by Jose Herrera, Marcos Herrera and Frank Abril. It was first worked principally for silver ore which is said to have, been found on the surface.
Equipment and supplies at that time had to be hauled in by burro for several miles. Very little work was done other than assessment until World War II when the government approved an access road for Bargin Mines, Inc., lessees with option. Later in 1946 the mine was subleased to Shattuck Denn Mining Corporation. At the time of acquisition by Shattuck Denn the No. 1 and No. 2 tunnels were the only development. No. 1 tunnel had approximately 200 feet of workings, drifts, crosscuts, and winze. Some good zinc ore was exposed in the lower openings which were on the vein.
The No. 2 tunnel was about 70 feet lower and approximately 300 feet from the first tunnel. This tunnel was in about 40 feet with an inclined winze on the ore for some 70 feet. Good zinc ore was on both sides of this winze. Ore production from the mine before Shattuck Denn obtained a lease is estimated at approximately 4,000 tons and averaged 23% zinc and 20 ounces silver per ton.
Work was started in l947 on the exposed vein on a third level 57 feet lower and 180 feet north of the 2nd level. This tunnel was driven to cut the ore below the winze on the 2nd level. A good ore body was exposed here which spread out and extended up to the first tunnel workings. Tunnel No.4 was started on the mineralized outcropping 37 feet below and. 130 feet north of Tunnel No. 3 to get below the ore body. When ore was found to extend below the 4th level a 5th level was started 150 feet below in the underlying granite. It was driven through the granite and into the limestone for a total distance of 600 feet. Exploratory crosscuts and raises were driven but the only ore found was that in a single small stope halfway between the 4th and 5th levels in the No. 53 raise.
During the time that Shattuck Denn operated the mine they had a diamond drill crew constantly at work and drove many exploratory drifts and crosscuts. The ore mined was from stopes above the 3rd and 4th levels.
“The drop in price of zinc in 1948 caused Shattuck Denn to close the mine although they still had a few thousand tons of ore exposed and some promise of new ore bodies indicated by diamond drill holes.
After the rise in price of zinc in 1950 Sherwood B. Owens obtained a lease from Shattuck Denn and proceeded to mine the ore reserves from the 3rd, 4th and 5th levels.
Anticipating a continuation of the ore body below the 4th level, an incline raise was run from the stope half way between the 4th and 5th levels to the 4th level. This raise was supposedly in the favorable limestone beds. Although a diamond drill hole on the dip of the beds had shown good zinc values some 30 feet below the level, no ore was encountered until within 3 feet of the 4th level. The diamond drill hole with the ore showing was tapped with a short crosscut off the raise and was found to have followed a small stringer of ore.
The ore below the stopes on the 4th level was then mined out by underhand methods and was found to extend only 15 feet below the level at the deepest point.
The unwritten history of the mine is in the gold that has been produced from the property. There are appreciable native gold deposits as verified by Gold Rush Expeditions, Inc. Surveyors. The gold is found in outcrops around the entrances and within the workings of the Abril. It is visible and can be carved with a knife. This leads surveyors to assert that the gold is nearly pure and of high content.
The mine is assumed to have been making shipments of gold ore locally and having it processed locally. In no documents past 1910 is gold mentioned or assayed for, although it must have been just as apparent.
The mines are located near the apex of a small ridge that runs north and south in the Dragoon range. On the opposite side of the ridge less than 2 miles away, are the Middlemarch, Cobre Loma and other gold producing properties.
The gold was likely not reported due to restrictions on gold possession prior to 1971. This is not uncommon as rules and regulations that were in place had harsh penalties for private ownership of gold.
There was no apparent work completed at the mine except for the final consultant report which was filed in early 1991.
The Owens family, held the primary claims on the property from 1909 to 1989. First located by Sherwood Owens in 1909, they were passed to his son, Sherwood Benton Owens. Sherwood B. Owens passed in 1999. Mary DeBille and Gene Bond filed claims on the Abril the very month that Mr. Owens let the claims lapse do to poor health. When their consultant’s reports came back less than satisfactory, they summarily let the claims lapse. Mr. Woodcock reported that neither Mr. Bond or Ms. DeBille had ever set foot on the property and all of their work was done by locals.
The road to portals 1-4 is relatively easy with 2 technical spots where the road could be rebuilt or culverted to avoid consistent run off damage.
The mines have not been addressed or worked except by the Owens family over the years. Mr. Sherwood Benton Owens was well known in the mining world and also held claims on the Blue Bird and Desoto Mines in the same general vicinity of southern Arizona.