Telluride Colorado, mining the streets for calaverite, and the Solyndra bankruptcy

Columbia, Colorado was renamed Telluride in 1887 after the tellurium containing gold and silver minerals called tellurides that were mined in Colorado with the commencement of their gold rush in 1859.  The town of Columbia Colorado began it's gold rush in 1875, only to have its name changed by postal officials to Telluride in 1887 due to confusion with a California town of the same name. Others claim the town was named for the great difficulty in traveling to and from this new bustling mining town given the shear faces of the high mountains that surround it and thus the popular phrase from that era, "to hell you ride".  As the mail of the day in the years after the Pony Express traveled by both horseback and railroad and there was no railroad through Columbia, a mistaken identity between Columbia, CA and Columbia, CO would mean a mail delay of several weeks and a lot of unhappy miners. The name may have been changed with good intentions but the post office did get it wrong in one sense.  Unlike Cripple Creek Colorado and Calaveras County, California (where gold telluride was discovered in 1861 and later named calaverite after this county) which were fortunate to host rich deposits of this rare mineral, there was no gold telluride in Telluride.  In another interesting twist, the Australian town of Kalgoorlie began its gold rush in 1893 but apparently hadn't been keeping up with mining news from the West.  They mined a large stockpile of calaverite but mistakenly though it was pyrite (or fools gold) so the material was discarded and used to pave and repair the town's streets.  It took the blokes a while, but when they realized their mistake a second gold rush hit Kalgoorlie in 1896 and yes, this time they mined the streets.

While it is true that during the gold rushes of the1800s there was little use for the tellurium component of calaverite, it is still a very rare metal (similar to the abundance of platinum in the Earth's crust) and one that has many industrial uses today including one that could drive the future price of this metal.  Cadmium and tellurium are now being used to create some of the highest efficiency solar panels, potentially making this green energy solution more economically feasible (a big problem with the industry if you remember Solyndra's bankruptcy filing in 2011 shortly after accepting over 500 million in government stimulus). The U.S. Dept. of Energy has predicted a shortage of tellurium by 2025.  Our tellurium ingots will be available in September of this year.  Beat the rush.  Own what's rare.



Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published