El Negrito Mine

negrito-mine-1986
A view of the entire El Negrito mining complex in 1986. The chapel tower can be seen in the upper part of the complex, on the horizon in the center of the view.

The El Negrito Mine is located high above and to the southeast of the “Pueblo Fantasma” area (map).  It was notable for having a picturesque chapel that has in the course of time almost totally disintegrated.

The circumstances of the mine discovery and development are not clear except that it appears to have been associated with the colorful person of  Ventura Ruiz, nicknamed El Negrito due to his dark complexion, who discovered the El Milagro mine in 1779.

According to Ipina, Ruiz was originally a wandering musician in the area who found a rich silver outcropping when, after losing his horse, he had to sleep out over the night. In the morning he found beads of silver in the ashes of his cold campfire. Different versions of this story are told about several mines in the Catorce area.

negrito-marker-2007
The white claim marker is still a legal boundary for Normabec’s El Negrito concession on their Real de Catorce property.

Neglect by man and the ravages of time have had their effect on the Negrito chapel. By the turn of the present century only half of the dome and three supporting corners remained. Now all that is left are these photos:

negrito-1-19861986negrito-1-20042001negrito-1-20072004

negrito-2-19861986 negrito-2-20042004 negrito-2-20072007

The above views show the continuing deterioration of the ruins at the El Negrito mine. What was a complete dome with all four corners intact in the late 1980’s is now almost totally collapsed.

negrito-newroad
A view of the upper parts of the old Negrito mine in November of 2007, including the structure with the collapsed chapel. The road below the ruins is for access to an exploration drilling pad by the current mining concession.