Possible Resurrection For Shafter Ghost Town Mine

SHAFTER, TX (Ben Caxton) — What was once silver mine, company town, army town, and lately a ghost town in Presidio may have yet another reincarnation on the way. The company that owns the rights to the old silver mine at Shafter, Texas is making some exploratory drills with an eye toward reopening the mine. Vancouver-based Aurcana Corporation said in a press release a few weeks ago that depending on the results of the drilling tests they may restart the silver mining and production at the Shafter Project, three-and-a-half years after it was shuttered and the company laid off 152 employees, at “the earliest possible date.” The company says much of the infrastructure, processing facility and refinery is already in place, as is the needed permits and potential labor pool. Brad Newton, Executive Director of the Presidio Municipal Development District, told the Presidio International and Marfa Big Bend Sentinel that he believes new ore extraction techniques may make the mine profitable again, which is a good thing since it means jobs for the area. When the mine reopened for business in 2011, Aurcana was the largest employer in the county with over 150 employees and was the biggest taxpayer in Presidio County. Shafter came to life in 1880 when silver was discovered and officers from the nearby Fort Davis convinced their commander to allow them to buy up land to start a mine. It got a post office in 1885, had 110 people living there in 1900 and grew to near 4,000 with two army bases nearby in 1943, but by the end of the WWII saw its population decline again to just 20 people. It’s last claim to fame outside silver mining was its use as a location for opening scenes in the 1968 science fiction thriller “The Andromeda Strain”.

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