Charlie Manson’s Gold Mine
Charlie Manson, of course, was the infamous leader of the Manson Family. In 1969 the group murdered Sharon Tate among others. He’s still in prison. His truck sits outside City Hall in Ballarat, California, population 1, on the western flank of Death Valley.
(Click on images to enlarge)
I went to California recently to visit the Radcliff (Ratcliff) Mine outside Ballarat, California belonging to CMC Metals (CMB-V) and saw their 100 TPD mill in Bishop, California. CMC owns the mill outright and has a 50/50 JV on the Ratcliff/World Beater gold mine. The company envisions shipping the Ratcliff ore via highway to the Bishop Mill.
Ballarat, California was the supply hub for the Ratcliff Gold Mine and the World Beater Gold mine located up Pleasant Canyon. Henry Ratcliff discovered gold in Pleasant Canyon in 1896. The one-ounce per ton material provided employment for over 200 people at its peak. By 1917, the Post Office closed and the town died. Mining has taken place since then on a tiny scale by a family owned business. At one point, the mine supplied a 20 stamp mill.
The gold ore is found in a shear zone running NNW between three and 13 meters thick. Grade runs up to 30+ g/t Au. On the 18th of March, CMC announced going into production at the Radcliff (Ratcliff). Initially ore will be stockpiled at Ballarat until the mill is commissioned. With the mill in operation, the rock will be trucked up to Bishop some 115 miles north for processing.
I like the potential of the mine a lot. The shear zone containing the gold ore is quite distinct and can be mined visually. It dips steeply and actually there is another mine at the base of the mountains near Ballarat where an open pit operation is mining the same ore body. The company doesn’t really need to do a lot of drilling; they can drift on the shear zone for a long time.
Charlie Manson may have put Ballarat on the map lately but it wasn’t really his gold mine. He and his “family” just hung out in the area. But it makes a good story.
CMC owns the 100 TPD flotation and gravity mill located in Bishop California. The mill was constructed in 1985 and recently upgraded. CMC is in the final stages of permitting and anticipates going into production by June of this year. CMC plans on processing 2000 TPM from their JVed mine at Radcliff (Ratcliff). Since there are no other permitted mills in the area, the company also anticipates doing toll milling for other small operations. Should the demand for toll milling be large enough to support a larger mill, CMC has plans for expanding the mill as necessary.
In addition, CMC has a high-grade silver project in the Central Yukon near Watson Lake with grades up to 56 ounces of silver per tonne called the Silver Hart. The focus of CMC is on getting the Radcliff (Ratcliff) into production and the Bishop mill generating cash flow.
If the mill actually processed 2000 tonnes per month and if the grade averaged 15 g/t gold, the company would be generating about $1.2 million in revenue per month. There is a 5% NSR due the claim owner of the Ratcliff that can be bought down for $1 million but including the NSR and the 50% due to the mine owner, CMC might be generating $5 -$6 million a year in revenue. That isn’t much but the company only has a $6 million dollar market cap at present.
I will say I think their plans are perfectly feasible. Their mine manager is their 50% partner and he’s highly experienced in mining. They have a highly qualified and experienced mill operator. They can make this work with a minimum of capital and get cash flow going. If they can locate some of the higher-grade ore, the one-ounce material that they know is there, the numbers get even more attractive.
I have participated in their most recent PP and the company is an advertiser. I am biased. As always, you are responsible for your own due diligence.