The Arminius Mine
The Arminius mine is approximately 1.5 miles northeast of Mineral and approximately 3/4 of a mile southwest of the Boyd-Smith Mine. The Arminius mine was first opened as a iron mine in 1843. The ore was smelted at the Rough and Ready charcoal blast furnace. Copper mining began in 1847. Pyrite and a small amount of copper was produced from 1865 until 1888 and then 1889 to 1921. The most intensive development was from 1882 until 1905.
The mine was worked from four inclined shafts, the main shaft was 1250 feet deep and had eight working levels. In November of 1909 the Arminius mine had 300 people on its pay roll.
Prior to 1915 Virginia produced about 45% of the nation's pyrite. During the years 1915, 1916, and 1917 the quantity of pyrite supplied by Virginia represented about 35% of the total production. By 1918 Virginia was producing only 30% of the total production of pyrite. This decline in Virginia's share of the total production was not due to less production in Virginia but more production in other parts of the nation. One additional factor which affected Virginia's pyrite production was the catastrophic cave-in at Arminius, which was heard in Mineral. The old workings suffered a cave-in near the end of February in 1916. The cave-in damaged the No. 3 shaft which was at that time the 1200 ft. deep operating shaft, as well as the 1014 ft. development shaft. The Arminius Mine recovery was a long process requiring months to complete.
The Arminius Mine closed in 1921 due to competition from cheaper sources of sulfur. The total production of pyrite was 2,000,000 tons.
A front and back view of the Arminius processing plant around 1906.
There is a handmade scale model of the Arminius processing plant on display at the Louisa Jefferson Madison Regional Library.