Aerial photograph of the Kennecott Denton-Rawhide Mine, January 2001

Denton-Rawhide Mine

Denton-Rawhide Mine
Location: 55 miles South East of Fallon, Nevada
Kennecott Employees: 102
(51% Kennecott owned and operated;
Partner: 49% Dayton Mining (U.S.), Inc., Vancouver, B.C., Canada )

Kennecott Rawhide Mining Company is a part of the Kennecott
 Minerals Company ( a wholly 
owned subsidiary of Rio Tinto, plc ( one 
of the world’s leading mining companies.

Old town of Rawhide, circa 1907

    The Rawhide gold, silver deposit was discovered on Christmas day in 1906. (See an early photograph of the town of Rawhide left.) At its height, depending upon the historical account, the town had reached a population of nearly 10,000 people.  However, by 1909 with much of the gold and silver already recovered by the technology of the day, and the town being nearly destroyed by fire twice, many of the early miners left the area for more productive mines elsewhere in Nevada.

Rawhide jailhouse after restoration, located in the City of Hawthorne, Nevada at the City and County Complex.


    When Kennecott acquired the Denton-Rawhide property in 1982, the only structure left standing from the early twentieth century townsite of Rawhide was the old dilapidated rock jailhouse. Kennecott dismantled the jailhouse and restored the building at the City and County complex in Hawthorne, Mineral County, Nevada. The picture at left shows the jailhouse after restoration.
Kennecott Rawhide Mining Co. began operations in 1990 pouring the first gold/silver doré bar in April of that same year. By the end of 2000, over 1.1 million ounces of gold and 9 million ounces of silver had been recovered. Over the years, benefits to the surrounding communities have consisted of jobs, taxes, and support of local businesses and community activities through donations and employee volunteerism. 

Safety is of paramount importance and employees are proud of the accomplishments of working over 1.1 million man-hours without a lost time injury. In addition the Denton-Rawhide mine was recognized for its exceptional safety record by receiving the Nevada Mining Association’s first place award in 1999 for the lowest total incident rate for a medium-sized surface mine in Nevada. Also, for 1997 through 1999 the mine has been awarded MSHA’s Certificate of Achievement in Safety for its outstanding mine safety record.  

At the Denton-Rawhide mine, ore is mined by traditional open pit methods consisting of drilling, blasting, loading via front end loaders and truck haulage. Ore is crushed in a three-stage crushing plant and conveyed to permanent heap leach pads where gold and silver are irrigated with a dilute cyanide solution. Due to the silver content of the ore, Merrill-Crowe technology is used to recover the gold and silver by processing nearly 3,400 gallons per minute of solution through the plant. About 75 percent of the gold and 40 percent of the silver will be ultimately recovered from the ore. The end product is a 98 percent gold/silver doré bar.

Mining is currently scheduled to end during the second quarter of 2002, while crushing and stacking of a low-grade stockpiled ore is slated for completion by the first quarter of 2003. Additional exploration is scheduled for 2001 with potential to discover additional reserves.

Concurrent reclamation has been ongoing at the mine site. Growth media, consisting of native desert surface soils, was stockpiled prior to erection of the plant facilities, mining and waste dump construction. When the waste dumps have reached their final configurations, they are re-worked to a 3:1 slope. A minimum of six inches of growth media is placed on the re-contoured slopes and native shrubs and grasses are planted. Various test plots have been evaluated to determine the optimum seed mixture. In addition, the best techniques to use for successful revegetation are also being investigated.  


Trackhoe working on the restoration of an exploration area near the Rawhide mine.

    Kennecott’s goal is to close the mine safely and in an environmentally sound manner while complying with all State and Federal regulations. Even though it is not a requirement of the mine permit, portions of the pits will continue to be backfilled where it is economically feasible. A safety berm will be constructed around the entire pit perimeter to prevent inadvertent entry into the pits. Precipitation runoff will continue to be diverted around the pits.

Old underground workings around the Rawhide mine that have already been fenced off and posted to prevent inadvertent entry.


    In the surrounding areas of the mine, numerous old underground workings from the early days of mining at Rawhide can be found.  As part the mine’s reclamation efforts, openings to old underground shafts within the areas leased from others on public land have been fenced to protect the general population from the potential dangers that can exist in old mine shafts and adits.
Once leaching of the heaps has been completed, estimated to be in late 2004, current plans call for the heaps to be rinsed with solution that will be passed through a carbon adsorption plant to recover precious metals. All effluent, that is not evaporated or consumed through saturation, will be managed in accordance with applicable State and Federal regulations.  

Ground water has not been encountered in the pit nor in exploration drill holes at depths of up to 2000 feet below the original topography. Rainfall in the region is low with an average of around 5 to 7 inches per year while evaporation from a standing body of water for this area is approximately 55 inches per year.

All structures at the Rawhide mine site will eventually be dismantled and the building foundations either buried or removed and placed in an approved landfill site. If needed, soils will be remediated in compliance with all applicable regulations. Mining and processing equipment will be dismantled and sold to interested parties.


Cattle grazing on the winter range adjacent to the Rawhide mine waste rock dumps, which are undergoing reclamation.


    Remaining exploration disturbances and drill sites along with roads will be reclaimed. Once reclamation is completed, all of the disturbed land except the remaining open pits that were not backfilled, will revert back to pre-mining uses, which were grazing, mineral specimen collection, and recreational pursuits.  In the photograph at left, note that the lower lift, directly below the piles of waste rock, on the waste dump has been reclaimed.

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Long-term monitoring of the mine site is anticipated to last through at least 2016. Long-term low-flow solutions that drain from the heaps will be handled via land application, evaporation/saturation, and/or other approved methods. 

Kennecott and Rio Tinto produce minerals and metals needed by society. The Rawhide Mine is one example of mining these products profitably, safely, and in an environmentally sound manner while restoring mined areas and being a good neighbor.

Thank you for visiting this website.

For more information, contact  Mr. Scott Norby at the Denton-Rawhide Mine at (775) 945-1015 or e-mail at [email protected], or  Mr. Fred Fox at Kennecott Minerals Company in Salt Lake City at (801) 238-2492 or e-mail [email protected].  



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