Located near Keystone, South Dakota, this large open-cut mine was a huge producer of spodumene, a lithium source mineral. It was discovered in 1883 and got its start as a mica mine. The mica mine closed in 1886 after it failed to turn a profit.
It reopened in 1898 as a spodumene mine and soon led the world in spodumene production. In 1899, 500 tons of spodumene were mined here, and 700 tons the following year. The world’s largest spodumene crystal was mined at Etta Mine. A town called Etta Camp formed near the mine.
It remained in operation continuously until 1939. It reopened and closed several times, but was completely abandoned by 1968. Etta Camp was abandoned as the mine declined.
Etta Mine is an interesting relic of Black Hills mining history. It is located on private property, so obtain permission from the landowner before exploring the site.