Valles Mines, Missouri, U S A
Founded in 1749 by Francois Valle in the French Upper Louisiana before Lewis and Clark. 275 years later the Valle Mining Company's 4000+ acre property every year absorbs 21,000 tons of carbon dioxide and generates
14,000 tons of oxygen, enough to meet the needs of 63,000 people. [USDA Forest Facts]
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Recent Exploration

Site #1 - " one dead or alive could have expected what we found that day..." The Big Lode revisited

First we drill, then

... we blast. Not black powder this time though.

"Fire in the Hole!" First blast. Will there ever be a quarry?

After 250 acres of exploration, drilling through dozens of outcroppings and shelves, underground punch-throughs after 14 feet of good stone into dirt beneath, to no avail, finally, consolidated rock, just plain solid rock,

45 feet below, as deep as we can drill.

We clear "no more than 1/4 acre" per DNR spec and drill out at the edges. Still solid. Can this hill top be unfaulted

mountain top? This rock's overburden stays 6 inches or less from the surface even on its downhill slopes.

Time to blast. Clayton Francois decides on the pattern and depth to drill.

Wayne parks the dozer and with the crew loads the drill holes with explosives

The holes are filled, charges set. Easy does it. Safety first!

Every precaution is painstakingly observed.

We take cover. The warning call, "Fire in the Hole", and Frazier Quarry begins.

Such unexpected success makes the next step obvious, namely, to answer, "What is the lateral extent of this rock?" Previous mining of the Big Lode has left a network of roads and the Big Bill and Little Bill mineshafts. Next, to "prove" the extent of the hilltop discovery, we drill the service road that slopes to the foot of the Big Bill's twin shafts. All good. Could this be it? Sure, this exploration was hoped to continue our mining legacy of 270 years. But one dead or alive could have expected what we found that day.