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Walking around Lluvia de Oro is a step back in time. The artifacts of history are everywhere in spite of all that has been removed. The current residents live among the relics but the mine ruins are not a part of daily life. The area around the mill simply represents a source of flat ground on which to build in an area where flat ground is non-existent. Looking around, it is hard to conceive how so much large and heavy material was originally transported here on the backs of men, animals, and by wagons. We do not know when some of the more modern items arrived. Today while the residents go about their lives, the relics lie frozen in time and are slowly disintegrating. The pursuit of gold once ruled life here. Now the land supports a subsistence life only. Be sure to visit our Lluvia de Oro page as well.

The residents have placed their homes among the ruins of the milling operation. The pathways between the homes encompass contemporary materials integrated with the remains of the mill. The foundations left behind are conveniently flat and a good place to build a home.

Lluvia was worked off and on after its heyday until the 1950s. Sometime during the 1960s, much of the site was stripped of anything perceived to be of value that might be sold for scrap. Pieces of machinery, such as this ball mill, lie about with the lesser pieces broken off, as though someone wanted to carry manageable loads out to sell. The larger pieces lie scattered about and are gradually being overgrown by the vegetation.
Separate from the site of the mill, all that remains of the housing area are foundations and a few walls. The more dilapidated of those are almost obscured now.
Lluvia de Oro lies at the head of a box canyon high above the valley of the Rio Fuerte below. From a short distance away, the presence of the mine and mill is now obscured by the trees and bushes that have reclaimed the area.
The entrance to the mine is a short walk from the site of the mill. This rigging near the ceiling appears to have originally supported a walkway to the mine's interior. Much of it is gone now and what remains is pretty shaky. The mine entrance is high - well over 50 feet tall. With the gold ore depleted, today the mine serves as a source of water for the people who live here.
Although located deep within the Sierra Madre, equipment for Lluvia was procured from then distant suppliers. Considering the cost of transportation, the price of this hopper must have been a bargain!
Although the ore is gone, samples of the rock in which it was found still abound. This sample of a quartz-like material displayed numerous samples of iron pyrites (fool's gold). Gold occurs in conjunction with sulphide ores such as this. It is likely a cyanide process was used to recover the gold.
A number of bricks bearing the Carnegie company name are to be found throughout Lluvia.
This sole palm tree survives high in the canyon far away from its normal environment. Planted by an American who briefly worked the mine in the early 1900s, it is a reminder of his stay here. What the tree represented to him is anyone's guess.
Buenaventura is sixty-seven years old (2004) and full of local history. He was born here and although he was not involved with the mine in its heyday, he learned of its history from his parents and his grandparents. With the lack of written records, people such as this are the living record of this and other regions.
There are some new and younger families today living in Lluvia. Warm and hospitable, they share the land with a history they do not fully know. If you are industrious, life can be inexpensive. The local corn, which they shared with us in tamales,  was delicious.
On a river trip down the Rio Fuerte in the summer of 2003, we encountered the dam originally built to supply electrical power for the mine at Lluvia de Oro. Located some distance below the mine site, the dam completely spanned the riverbed. It is intact today except for a break on the far side of this picture. A word of warning - the dam is undercut in places and an unwary paddler who approaches too closely to the dam can be sucked under. And there are some local bandidos who live nearby as well...
Near the dam, this winch lies rusting on shore above the low water line. We believe it was originally used to haul the heavier items being floated upstream against the current to the dam-site. The generators and electrical lines are long gone having been hauled off for salvage value. This winch, part of a turbine behind it, a generator's frame, and the dam, are all that remain today.
This housing was once the electrical generator powered by a water-driven turbine. Stripped of its internal copper windings, only the rusting steel frame remains today.

 

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 Updated 11/03/2009