Looking for gold
Charles Senter breaks open some yellow-encrusted rock at 12,000'
elevation on Bartlett Mountain.
He finds a dark grey ore laced with bluish-black veins,
but has no idea it represents the world's largest deposit of
Crews from the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad (D&RG)
lay track from Leadville to the top of Fremont Pass
and name the site “Climax.”
The Denver South Park & Pacific (DSP&P) connects Leadville
and Frisco, cutting five hours off the trip from Leadville to Denver.
Climax Molybdenum Company is formed.
World War I rages in Europe.
Demand for molybdenum soars.
The Leal Tunnel is driven into Bartlett Mountain.
A shipment of molybdenite ore is processed and sold at a profit.
Wartime demand for molybdenum leads three companies to compete
for control of Bartlett Mountain.
Climax Molybdenum Company buys out its competition,
World War I ends,
the price of molybdenum drops and the mine shuts down.
The mine re-opens.
75% of all the molybdenum produced in the world
comes from Climax Mine.
The technique of underground block-cave mining is implemented.
A new school that also serves as recreation center, dance hall,
and movie theater is built,
as well as some employee housing.
The Phillipson Tunnel is driven into Bartlett Mountain.
The largest blast (up to that time)
in the history of underground moning fractures the ore
body inside Bartlett Mountain,
causing it to crack and begin to collapse under its own weight.
The Fremont Trading Post opens on this spot with
a general store, gas station, and bar.
Twenty-two feet of snow fall at Climax in a five-week period,
blocking rail and highway traffic.
Trees are cleared for a down hill ski area,
which becomes popular despite its lack of lifts.
Mine production triples.
Apartments, a new school, a hospital, and
recreation hall are built.
The U. S. enters World War II,
and a top-secret observatory is built on Fremont Pass.
Climax Ski Area gets a rope tow.
Men and machinery are pushed to the breaking point
maintaining high production levels for the war effort.
Climax is considered the highest priority mine in the nation.
Armed guards confiscate cameras and film from
tourists on Fremont Pass.
The mine is awarded the coveted Army-Navy Production Award
of “E-Pennant” for its contribution to the war effort.
Colorado and Southern Railroad narrow-gauge steamer #76
makes its last run,
and the Climax-Leadville High Line Route is converted to standard
Climax becomes the first town in central Colorado with television.
The community also boasts new employee housing,
an expanded hospital and school,
ice rink, improved ski area, a gym/auditorium,
and a lighted baseball diamond.
The Fremont Trading Post features shops selling clothing,
appliances, and records,
a full-service grocery store, saloon, beauty parlor
and barber shop, diner, gas station and garage.
Climax Mine produces its 100,000,000th ton of ore,
and becomes the largest underground mine in the world.
Climax Molybdenum Company merges with
American Metals Company to become
American Metals Climax, Inc.
(Officially renamed AMAX in 1973).
The buildings of the town of Climax are moved to Leadville
to make room for mine expansion.
Climax's payrolls tops 2,000 employees.
Steam locomotive #641 of the Colorado & Southern makes its last run.
417,000 pounds of explosives are detonated in the largest
blast in underground mining history.
Earthquake sensors in Golden register the blast at 2.9 on the
Climax Mine produces its 200,000,000th ton of ore.
Year-round open-pit mining operations begin.
Climax mine produces its 300,000,000th ton of ore.
The Phillipson Tunnel,
the oldest continually-producing mine level in the nation,
is closed after 41 years.
A master plan for land reclamation with an 80-year time
horizon is published.
Strict new environmental regulations on mining operations
go into effect.
Climax Mine produces its 400,000,000th ton of ore,
and mine employment tops 3,000 people.
Lake County has the highest per-capita income of any rural
county in Colorado,
and collects 86% of its property taxes from the mine.
The world molybdenum market becomes erratic and unpredictable.
Climax Mine shuts down,
except for sporadic and limited production that lasts until 1987.
Trains quit running the Climax-Leadville route for the first time
in 105 years/
Only twenty-seven employees remain in the mine payroll,
mostly engaged in water quality projects and land reclamation.
Cyprus Minerals buys AMAX, Inc.
Cyprus-AMAX Minerals Company is acquired by Phelps Dodge Corporation.
The mine wins a prestigious national award from the
Environmental Protection Agency
for its biosolids compisting operation
that produces the topsoil used in land reclamation.
2007 - present
Land reclamation and water treatment activities continue.
the primary water storage facility for many communities
along Colorado's Front Range,
receives 70% of its total water volume from the mine site.