The Historic San Albino Gold Mine

A Property Rife with History

Gold-quartz ore was first discovered at San Albino in 1790 by the Spaniards. A large area of “manto” – the name given in Central America to a vein lying almost wholly at surface level, either exposed to air or covered in loose soil and rock – was worked by the Spaniards as an open-pit mine in the early years of their occupation. Underground mining followed, but the accumulation of water prevented these early operators from attaining any depth and ultimately stopped work. From 1885 to 1920, four different operators controlled and worked the property producing an aggregate 32,000 tons at between US$7.00 to 12.00 per ton with an estimated value of US$332,000. With the price of gold at US$20.67 per ounce, this translates to roughly 16,062 ounces of gold.

Under the stewardship of Charles Butters, the San Albino mine recorded an average daily production of 10 tons at 31 g/t gold during a brief interval before revolutionary activity halted mining. Butters, a renowned metallurgist who pioneered the cyanide process for mineral separation and opened several gold mines worldwide, held the property from 1922 until 1927 when it was seized by Augusto Sandino, leader of the Nicaraguan revolution. Over the intervening 80+ years, the mine has never been reopened for production.

Butters, an American engineer, metallurgist and self-proclaimed capitalist on why he bought San Albino:

“I sought locations where a small amount of capital would yield the largest return”*
“Good values, plenty of ore”*
“Timber, water power, cheap labor, good climate”*

In a summary report, Butters writes that he has developed – over a distance of 600 to 700 feet – only 1 of 12 known veins at San Albino.

In the same report, Butters reports that “…Aguja de Arras was the mine that originally made the district.” It was mined for high-grade ore running over 2 ounces.

Charles Butters
Charles Butters

Charles Butters spent roughly US$750,000 on developing the San Albino Mine in the 1920s and built a modern mill at the site, which was burned down in the 1980s.

Augusto Sandino assumed control of the property from Butters on July 1, 1927 and launched the Nicaraguan revolution from the San Albino mine, utilizing dynamite and gold coins minted at the mine.

In 1934, Charles H. Janin optioned the property, reopened caved tunnels at the San Albino and verified the data and ore estimates of Charles Butters.

Canadian mining legend Thayer Lindsley, described as the greatest mine finder of all time, took a specific interest in the San Albino property, compiling a library of information which Golden Reign has acquired. Lindsley was the founder of mining powerhouses such as Falconbridge Ltd., Ventures Ltd. and Frobisher.

* Extracts from “Summary, Why I Bought San Albino” by Charles Butters. A copy of which was acquired from the archived files of Charles H. Janin held at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California.