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Socorro, New Mexico, USA
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The Kelly Mine & Traylor Shaft
SCHS Home > History Pages > Mines > Kelly area mines 
Iron Mask Mine
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   The Iron Mast mine is located in the area known as "South Camp," on the southern boundary of mining activity in the Kelly region.  The Iron Mask was one of the earliest claims to be worked, but evidently without much success, as the workings were reported as flooded in 1881.
   The mine was worked in 1913-1914, and again 1928-1929, but no output was reported.  A survey in 2014 by New Mexico Tech revealed only some stone foundations, minor ore dumps, and some vertical shafts.
   In September 2009, a Magdalena man, David Heiss, was found dead at the bottom of one of the shafts.  He had been missing for over a month.  His vehicle was found parked near the Iron Mask mine, prompting a search of the area.  His body was found floating in water at the bottom of an 85-foot shaft.  It was a major rescue mission involving numerous agencies, special techniques and equipment, and thousands of dollars to recover the body over several days. 
   A State Police dive team determined the water to be a biological hazard and the shaft was filled with foul gases.  Rescue specialists were brought in from the Waste Isolation Pilot Project (WIPP) near Carlsbad and from the mines at Questa.  A Search and Rescue team from the National Park Service was lowered into the shaft in a specially designed rescue cage that was able to finally recover the body.
   The rescue personnel determined Heiss had repelled into the shaft with a rope.  The fragile mine shaft collapsed on his descent, pinning the rope on the rubble from the caved in wall, and hurled him to the bottom of the shaft.
   This serves as an example of how even with proper repelling skills, an old
hard rock shaft (or tunnel) can cave in with little disturbance, or one can succumb to lack of air or foul gases.
   Mines are interesting and fun to explore, but should never be entered.  There are many open shafts in the Kelly region one should always be on the lookout for when exploring.
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   The Morning Star group is located just north of the Iron Mask mine.  Mining reports cite small shipment of ores in 1922 and 1934-1936 containing lead, copper, and small amounts of silver and gold.  Not much else is known about this small mining operation.
Hermit Mine
   The Hermit mine is located about 0.3 miles southeast and up the canyon from the Hardscrabble mine, near the summit of the ridge.  Little documentation has been found on this mine except it produced lead, zinc and copper similar to most mines in the region.  Aerial photos show two separate tailings areas, one with a noticeable tunnel portal, suggesting a fair sized operation at one time.  Remants of a couple collapsed buildings, ore bins or other structures are also evident.  The upper portal is at 8,000 feet.  No information has been found on ownership or years of operation.
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Morning Star Mine
Connelly Tunnel
   The Connelly tunnel is located about 1,800 feet south of the Grand Ledge workings.   A number of quartz veins were encountered in the tunnel
with small amounts of ore.  The small ore dump indicates a very limited operation.  During a 1942 inspection, the tunnel was found to be inaccessible due to a cave in.
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West Virginia Tunnel
   The West Virginia tunnel is about 900 feet southeast of the Connelly tunnel.   The tunnel is 160 feet in length.  The tunnel ended up being an unsuccessful exploratory prospecting as no veins were found or developed.
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Little Loella Mine
   The Little Loella mine is about 1,600 feet south of the Germany mine.   The workings include three tunnels, the upper tunnel at about 8580 ft. elevation.  The lower tunnel, at an elevation of 8485 ft., is 65 ft. in length
with a 30 ft. drift to the north into zinc ore.  The two upper tunnels at an elevation of 8580 ft. are about 150 ft. in length running northward.  The lower of the upper two tunnels struck high grade zinc ore.
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