Tue, Feb. 25

Verde Heritage 1926: SODIUM SULPHATE PLANT

"Things are beginning to hum at the sodium sulphate works at Camp Verde and shipments now aggregate close to 1500 tons a month, which quantity is to be increased largely in the very near future."

"A visit to the plant shows a scene of real activity, between 50 and 60 men being steadily employed in and about the mine and mill and several trucks being constantly engaged in hauling the finished product to the railhead at Clemenceau. A good-sized gasoline shovel is steadily eating its way into the face of practically pure sulphate and for the first time in the history of the plant, the raw material is coming out fast enough to keep the mill running at capacity."

"STOPING ABANDONED: It may be remembered that when operations were first begun, the crude salt was mined in the same way that metal mines are usually operated --- by tunnels and stoping --- and that it was impossible to produce enough of the raw material to keep the mill going."

"Superintendent Campbell, immediately after taking the position, saw that there must be a radical change if the plant was to be a commercial success. He called the directors together and convinced them that the only way to get out the raw salt was by open cuts and power shovels. The old tunnels and stopes were well to the east of the deposit and these have been allowed to stand for the time being, the shovel being located further to the west where the overburden is lightest and where the largest face of sulphate is exposed. A little later, it is planned to take down the face by a regular series of benches and to remove the entire overburden."

"HIGH QUALITY: The face in which the shovel is now working shows some of the cleanest and purest yet opened and the amount of washing required is reduced to the minimum, while the finished product is of even higher grade than was secured formerly."

"The demand is way in excess of the capacity of the plant and at this time shipments are being made to but three consumers, these taking every pound that can be produced."

"FUTURE POSSIBILITIES: 'I am far from satisfied with selling only sodium sulphate and common salt,' said Superintendent Campbell yesterday. 'I believe that before the year is out, we shall be making other soda products and I may say without violating any confidences that experiments are now being made along these lines. There is good money in producing salt-cake (the trade name for sodium sulphate), but there is much more in some of the other products that we can make here just as well as they can be made anywhere else, in fact most of the products referred to are made with salt-cake as their basis. But all this is somewhat in the future and in the meantime we are confining ourselves to increasing the output just as fast as we can.'"

"'At the same time I feel that the property should be worked for the highest possible returns and I hope that the experiments that are now being made will result in the establishment of a considerable chemical industry here.'"

"OTHER MATERIALS: It is known that large quantities of salts other than sodium sulphate are to be found in the vicinity of Camp Verde. Further to the southwest there is a large deposit rich in sulphate of magnesia which may prove of high commercial value and to the south lies the enormous gypsum acreage held by Joe Larson and associates. It seems not improbable that the Camp Verde vicinity will become the site of a chemical industry that will be of major importance to the state and the southwest."

(Verde Copper News; Friday, April 23, 1926; page 1.)

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