Leadville Mining FAQs
Is there a mine where you can go underground?
An underground mine tour is available by reservation at the Hopemore Underground Mine in Leadville. Visitors can descend 600 feet down a vertical shaft and walk at mine level, experiencing what it was like for Colorado miners in the 1800s. You may also visit a walk-through replica of underground mining at the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum. Surface tours are available at the famed Matchless Mine in Leadville. Click here for more information.
Where can I go gold panning?
Gold panning lessons and gold bearing materials are available at Sugar Loafin' Campground on County Road 4, just outside of Leadville. Also, free gold panning lessons are included in the Matchless Mine tour on East 7th Street. The majority of stream and creek access in Lake County is on private land, and mineral rights may be secured by the landowner. Please respect private property.
What did they mine in Leadville?
Gold was discovered in 1860 in Leadville. Mining in the Leadville Mining District began in 1860 and continued until 1999. During this time, the Leadville district produced approximately 28.9 million tons of ore, including gold, silver, lead, molybdenum, zinc and copper. In addition, the district produced nearly six million tons of manganese ores, used for steel alloy.
Where can I go to learn more about the mining ancestry and miners that once lived and worked in the mines?
Leadville is home to many museums that explore and portray its mining heritage. For more information, visit our Museums and Tours page.
Why did the mines in the region shut down?
Some mines shut down because of ore depletion, and others shut down because of economic trends and changes in demand.
What is the mine we drove by north of town on Highway 91?
The route from Copper Mountain to Leadville passes by the Climax Mine. Freeport-McMoRan has invested over $600 million in a new mill and production facilities to restart the mine, which has been idle since the 1980s. Climax Mine is the world's largest primary molybdenum deposit, with a reserve of more than three million tons. It is one of only five primary molybdenum producers in the United States.
What is molybdenum?
Also referred to as "Moly," molybdenum is a metal with many uses, from agriculture to making steel. It is an important metal in both the industrial world and in our daily lives. The name is from the Greek work molybdos, which means lead-like.
Sources: www.mininghalloffame.org - 719-486-1229 / www.climaxmolybdenum.com / www.hopemoreminetour.com - 719-486-0301 / www.sugarloafin.com - 719-486-1031