Mines and Minerals in Mendocino County

When we came here in 2000I was very surprised to find that tourism and logging/sawmilling provided most of the jobs. I wondered aloud(?) several times that it was odd that in a County as big as Mendocino, 3,800 square miles, there was no discernible mining. Whilst perusing the Anderson Valley Advertiser, I came across an essay by my good friend Katy Tahja that explained what little mineral excavation there was in Mendocino. Katy writes:

“While working on the Mendocino County history I was thrilled to pick up “Mineral Commodities of California” (1957) for $1. In it were 736 slightly musty pages of geology and geography and references to Mendocino County.

Even with college classes in geology and geography in my past I wanted interesting LOCAL facts for my book. I discovered there is asbestos within the serpentine rock in the county. Graphite was mined 15 miles east of Point Arena. Chromite was mined near Leggett. On Salt Creek near Dos Rios was a coal vein mined for decades. Yorkville had a copper mine and the miners named their cluster of houses Little Penny.

Ever heard of Leech Lake, northeast of Covelo? There was a photograph in the book of jade mining there in the 1950s. If the claim is still there it is behind the locked gates of the Middle Eel-Yolla Bolly Wilderness area now.”

As you can see not a whole lot of activity so I am putting my pick and shovel in the back of the garage.