Pine Creek Tungsten Mine

pine creek tungsten mine

Located high in the Sierras, this mine, formerly owned by Union Carbide, opened in 1916 and served as the largest tungsten producer in the United States. Tungsten’s durability, hardness, and resistance to corrosion allowed it to be used in high speed tools, light bulb filaments, armor plating for tanks, and armor-piercing bullets. The “Mine in the Sky” extended thousands of feet into the mountains. The mine is a victim of globalization: with tungsten mines in China producing the ore at less than half of what it cost to extract it here, the mine was no longer profitable and production ceased in April 2000. The mine is being considered as a potential site for earth science research in deep underground laboratories. The company town of Rowena, half way up the road to the mine, is an interesting relic.


Pine Creek Mine

The company town for the Pine Creek Mine is not Rowena. The correct name is Rovana, formed by combining ROund Valley and VANAdium. US Vanadium corporation developed the mine and the town. Actually, it's pretty grandiose even calling it a "town." It consisted only of houses, a "Rec Hall" gymnasium and two baseball fields. There were no stores, churches, schools, or businesses of any kind. Rovana has eight streets, all of them named for states (more or less). Starting from the bottom and heading up the hill, the streets are Virginia, Arizona, Nevada, Alabama, Dakota, Idaho, Utah, and Montana, thus spelling out VANADIUM.