Bates Hunter Mine

Bates Hunter At A Glance

The Bates Hunter Mine, a historic shaft mine, is located in the historic Central  City mining district in Gilpin County, Colorado about 35 miles west of Denver. Central City is the oldest mining district in Colorado and the most important one in the Front Range mineral belt. The Mine itself extends over 22 acres and  is home to a series of established gold veins.

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Bates Hunter In The News | Boulder Weekly 

A Return To Legacy
It’s 8 a.m. at Central City’s newly reopened Bates Hunter Mine, the sun just peaking over the valley walls. It’s been over 70 years since gold was last mined here, but as the miners begin to arrive at work on a November day in 2018, it feels like they’ve been here all along, like this is where they’re supposed to be. By all appearances today is a normal day, although on the agenda is at least one extraordinary task; after months of removing water from the main shaft, the miners can finally access the 163-foot level, submerged and unseen since an exploratory visit in 2008.

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The History of Bates Hunter

Gold was first discovered in Colorado in 1858. By 1859 over one hundred thousand people were heading west hoping to strike it rich. One of those people was a fellow named John H. Gregory. He is credited with the discovery of the “Gregory Lode” in a gulch near what is now Central City. That gulch came to be known as “the richest square mile on earth.” The Bates Hunter Mine takes its name from the Bates vein that is part of the Gregory Lode.

Since 1859, official tax records show that the Central City district has produced over four million ounces of gold, of which Bates Hunter produced two hundred thousand (these are tax reporting figures.) The Bates Hunter closed in 1936 after President Roosevelt declared ownership of monetary gold to be illegal and ordered all Americans to turn in their gold in exchange for $20.67 an ounce. The prohibition remained until 1974 when President Ford legalized gold ownership. That year gold reached $183 an ounce. At the date of this paper, gold was trading at $1,283 an ounce.

The Bates Hunter Gold Mine extends over 22 acres of ground cover and consists of a series of proven gold veins. The operation is fully permitted, holding a section 110(2) permit for mining and milling operations and includes an EPA approved water treatment facility. Expert analysis of the mine shows a potential for approximately 154,000 ounces of recoverable gold to the 300- foot level and significantly more below that. There is an approximate eight-hundred-foot shaft in place, and most of it has never had gold extraction. Other area mines have extended recovery to 2200 feet. Reports of the Bates Hunter mine indicate substantial gold resources at lower depths. Current reporting and vein mapping put the future reasonably expected value (just to 2000 feet) at over $2 billion, with potentially billions more at greater depths. The mine is currently served by infrastructure that would cost approximately $40 million dollars to replicate today. It has an elevator system that can service the entire "main"; shaft of approximately 800 feet. It has its own mill that can service the tons of "rock"; that will be removed and processed to be sent to a smelter. It has an EPA water purification system.


Historical Reports & Documentation


Professional Paper 94


Professional Paper 223


Professional Paper 359



Bates Hunter Mine Report


Shotwell Report March, 1934


43-101 Technical Report