The mountains above Idaho Springs and the nearby communities of Black Hawk, Central City and Georgetown, contain hundreds of old mines — all monuments of a romantic past: the “Rush to the Rockies” and a feverish search for silver and gold.
The Edgar Mine, known as Colorado School of Mines’ Experimental Mine, is a footnote to that era. In the 1870s, it produced high-grade silver, gold, lead and copper. Today, as an underground laboratory for future engineers, it produces valuable experience for those who are being trained to find, develop and process the world’s natural resources.
The Edgar Mine was named after the Edgar mineral vein that runs along the hillside above the mine. Mines acquired the mine in 1921, when officers of the then bankrupt Big Five Mining Company agreed to lease the mine to the school. Mines has since acquired additional workings and land to form the present experimental mine holdings, which are now the property of the school.
The Edgar Mine is open for public tours for a nominal fee. Public hours vary, so tours must be booked in advance. For more information on tours, contact 303-567-2911 or send an e-mail.
The Edgar Experimental Mine provides students in mining engineering and other disciplines a unique opportunity for research and practical training in a variety of areas. In this underground laboratory, Mines students gain hands-on experience in underground mine surveying, geological mapping, rock fragmentation and blasting, mine ventilation field studies, rock mechanics instrumentation practice, underground mine unit operations and mine safety.
Through a course in the practical use of mining equipment, students can apply classroom exercises to real situations in a realistic mining environment. The course runs the full cycle of mining operations and includes hands-on experience with drilling, blasting, and mucking (loading blasted rock) using both rail-mounted and rubber-tired mining equipment. By the completion of the course, students have earned safety credentials in underground mining from a Mine Safety and Health Administration-certified mine safety training instructor.
How to Find the Edgar Mine
The mine is located in Idaho Springs, approximately 40 miles west of Denver. It can be reached by Interstate 70 or U.S. 6, taking Exit 240. Turn north and proceed to Colorado Boulevard, then turn west and go to 8th Avenue. On 8th Avenue, proceed north up the hill to reach the mine.