Champion Mines has been inactive since 1968, when shipments ended of the high grade brown ore for the Birmingham furnaces. Fine ore not marketable for iron production during the 80 year life of the mine is now being concentrated and pulverized for the umber pigment market.
The mine was named Champion in 1889 by owner Henry DeBardeleben, for the highest grade ore in the mineral district, assayed consistently at 50-55% iron and manganese content.
A start up business is underway to prove the viability as pigments for the limonite-goethite reserves by mine owner Van Gunter. He has co-authored a history book, Champion Mines - Our Fathers Mines, available at Amazon.com.