Valles Mines, Missouri, U S A
Founded in 1749 by Francois Valle years before he became Don Francois Valle.
The Valle Mining Company's 4500 acre property every year absorbs 21,000 tons of carbon dioxide and puts out 14,000 tons of oxygen.
This is enough to meet the needs of 63,000 people. [USDA Forest Facts] Site Map

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"Sure it's a Big Discovery But..."

To be of any real worth: "How big is Big?" Proving the 'Lateral Extent' of this mountain top...


Ttwo months of drilling 19 sites brought disappointment but this time, for once, we had 'struck paydirt'.the opposite problem, at least so far.  Minimal distance to top-of-rock, check. No vertical limit, it drills solid as deep as you can drill, check. So how far does this rock extend horizontally? Rule of Thumb from our geologist: "A 30 foot highwall produces 100,000 tons per acre". So now we drill out from the center to measure the boundaries of the deposit.

Fortunately for us, the previous miners of the Big Bill and Little Bill had left us a network of hillside haul roads ringing our hilltop discovery area. The roads encircle acres of potential reserves. With those roads already built, we could move fast, not needing Wayne and the bulldozer to push a road into a dense forest. So we drill down the center of the service road to the dump at the foot of the Big Bill's twin shafts. But wait! Every drill hole  was hitting consolidated stone. How far could this go? I call a conference of Clayton Francois, driller/blaster, and Ardel Rueff, DNR geologist. If we go downhill and it proves to be stone, we get the option of quarrying from that drill hole back to where we started. Each hole that proves consolidated rock extends the reserve. We decide to drill on until we run out of reserve.

We never do. We drill around the mountain top and prove an 8 acre reserve. We stop because, at $6/ton, say, for retail, we just proved  $4,800,000 of rock. Not a bad day.