Keystone Mine, Death Valley
Six un-patented claims owned by Lotus Mines were originally incorporated through an earlier company, Monty Cristo Mines, who acquired the claims from Carl Mengel in 1935. The unnamed mining camp was known only as the Lotus Mine. The name came from the Lower Lotus Spring which feeds the mine from down canyon.
The gold was found in quartz seams and fissure veins. The veins were a few inches to four feet in length and assayed from $2.50 - $50.00 per ton. The claims were worked by both prospect cuts as well as adits. In one high yield location, a few hundred tons of ore was stoped in a drift 30 feet from the portal. Ore produced from the property was sold for approximately $32,000.
Two aerial trams and a 2800-foot inclined rail-tram were used to move the ore from the mine to the camp where the road from Panamint Valley through Goler Canyon ends.
Exploration and some development continued sporadically.
In 1972 a Dr. Ralph E Pray, an independent mining engineer, went to Goler Wash to stake the best-looking prospect and named it the Keystone Mine. He established a permanent camp in old buildings on the bank of Goler Wash. Pray’s crew blasted sharp turns and rebuilt the two-mile entrance into the Panamints. The Keystone went one to produce several million dollars in gold in the 1980s.
Today there is still a fairly intact stone cabin up on the banks of the wash near the old Lotus site. The road up to the Keystone Mine takes several twists and turns before arriving at the portal. Some heavy earth moving and ventilation equipment can still be found at this site. Current ownership status is unknown at this time and it may be off limits.