Latitude / Longitude:
40° 19′ 15″ N, 112° 12′ 44″ W
Mountain (MST) (UTC-7)
Mercur is a historical hard rock mining ghost town in Tooele County, Utah, USA. In 1891, It became site of the first successful use of the cyanide process of gold extraction in the United States, the dominant metallurgy today. Its elevation from sea level is approximately 2,042 m. The nearby Mercur Gold Mine was re-opened by Barrick Gold in 1985, and is undergoing reclamation and restoration.
The town first came into being in 1870 as Lewiston (not to be confused with the present-day city of Lewiston in Cache County), when gold was discovered at the head of the Lewiston Canyon, six miles west of present-day Cedar Fort. A small gold rush began, peaking about 1873; the population reached as high as 2000. During the mid-1870s, silver boomed, and silver mines were opened and quartz mills to process the ore were built. A million dollars worth of silver bullion was shipped down the valley, but the ore quickly gave out, and Lewiston became a ghost town by 1880.
In 1879, a Bavarian miner named Arie Pinedo had discovered a deposit of cinnabar in the area. The ore contained gold as well as mercury, but contemporary processes were unable to extract it. Similar discoveries were made throughout the 1880s. The ward was discontinued in 1913 because the mines had closed by then and pretty much the whole population had moved away. By 1916, there was only one building left in Mercur, and, by 1930, it was gone.
The currently producing Mercur Gold Mine went into production in 1985, and is operated by Barrick Mercur Gold Mines Foundation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Barrick Gold. Annual production was about $US 20 million. Mercur is known for producing specimens of the rare thallium sulfosalt mineral lorándite, TlAsS2.