Tom Malloy, reclamation manager for Butte-Silver Bow, shows where thieves arduously torched off part of an electric hoist motor at the Mountain Con Mine. After years of pillaging, many of the city’s historic mine yards are in shambles.

Thieves’ loot historic Mountain Con Mine and sell artifacts for scrap

Thieves are pilfering irreplaceable relics out of Butte mine yards to sell for pennies. “It’s like going to the Gettysburg battlefield and stealing a cannon for scrap metal,” said Tom Malloy, reclamation manager for Butte-Silver Bow. “These are historical artifacts that can’t be replaced at any cost,” he said.

As Malloy strolled through the Mountain Con engine room on the Butte Hill last Wednesday, he pointed out all the missing parts. Copper wiring has been pillaged and various machines ravaged for parts to sell to salvage yards. Thieves take copper wire, steel and brass machine parts — things like switches and rods. The metal likely ends up in scrapyards, sold for a few dollars a pound at most.

Crews are working to restore the exterior of the Mountain Con and hope to increase the security at the same time. C. Davies Enterprises was on hand Wednesday repainting and restoring large window screens as part of the ongoing project.