With us today is Frank C. Smeenk President & Chief Executive Officer of KWG Resources Inc. Mr. Smeenk discusses recent conversation with Noront Resources after proposed acquisition of Cliffs Chromite was announced.
The Treasures of Tayopa Sonora, Mexico - Value $100 Million
Four bells inscribed TAYOPA. ?Weight 727 lbs.
One bell inscribed REMEDIOS. Weight 285 lbs.
One bell inscribed PIEDAD. ?Weight 125 ?lbs.
These bells were cast in 1603 by the Right Rverend Father Ignacio Maria de Retana.
One silver cross with gold crucifix. ?Weight 40 lbs.
Pair of candlesticks and six bars of silver. Weight 113 lbs.
Four incensories of gold and silver. Weight 28 lbs.
One large custody with silver bracket. ?Weight 25 lbs.
Two silver chalices and twelve gold communion plates.
One shrine with four silver columns. Weight 100 lbs.
Sixty-five cargas of silver. ?Weight 14,000 lbs.
Eleven cargas of gold. Weight 2475 lbs.
Casilla ore. ?Weight 4575 lbs.
First-class Castilla ore with a known assay of 22 carats, clean and without mercury. ?Weight 1625 lbs.
In a cut stone box are stored jewels. ?The box is buried in the basement of a room built of stone and mud between the church and the side of the convent and fruit garden."
"A true and positive description of the mining camp Real of our Lady of Guadelupe of Tayopa, made in January 1646 by the Right Reverend Father Guardian Fray, Fransisco Villegas y Orosco, Royal Vicar-General of the Royal and Distinguished Jesuit Order of St. Ignacio of Tayopa, and Jesuit of the Great Faculty of Sonora and Biscalla, whom may God keep long years.
Ever since Fransisco Vasquez de Coronado wrote the Spanish Viceroy Mendoza in 1538: "the natives of Topira (the name given to Tayopa in the early annals) wear gold and emeralds and other precious stones. ?They make general use of gold and silver with which they cover their houses. ?The leaders wear finely worked gold chains around their necks" ?treasure hunters have searched for the metals of the Sun and the Moon deep within the innermost recesses of the Sierra Madres of Northern Mexico. ?For nearly three hundred and fifty years its location, and that of the treasure vault have remained unknown.
?Expeditions into the"Mother Mountains" (74k) ?have to contend with desert, jungle, and mountainous terrain: temperatures which range from 100 degrees F during the day, to 10 below zero C at night; black panthers and jaguars prowling around the camp; scorpions, tarantulas, rattlesnakes, and coral snakes; and the most dangerous of them all, narcotraficantes... drug runners. ?All in all, the ideal locale for a buried treasure. ?But what is the background storty to this remarkable quest?
?The legendary Lost Mines of Tayopa are probably familiar to all treasure hunters who've read J. Frank Dodie's Apache Gold and Yaqui Silver. ?The book is a treasure chest of folklore and traditions, from the American Southwest and Mexico, pertaining to buried treasures and lost gold mines.
Many of the mythical gold mines were relocated by American and British mining companies, in the heady years between 1890 and 1910. ?Their success was eventually curtailed by Panch Villa and the Mexican Revolution.
Tayopa however, refused to be drawn into the light of mortal man's gaze, and remains hidden to this day. ?The treasure was amassed between the years 1632 and 1646 by the Jesuit padres operating the mining Real and mission of Tayopa. ?Two sister settlements, Guaynopa and Guaynopita, were in close proximity. ?All three were razed to the ground by Pima and Opata indians during the spring of 1646 as part of a general uprising which engulfed much of northern New Spain.
The reason why so much gold and silver bullion was present at the missions was because the Jesuits were in league with Spain's arch enemies, the Dutch, to take over large areas of the Spanish Empire in the East Indies, Central and South America. ?The plot failed and the Jesuits were eventually expelled from all Spanish dominions in 1767.
Tayopa was located in a very inhospitable and isolated area of New Spain and had very little contact with the outside world for much of the year; only four people were encountered during the four months that were spent on the trail! ?Neither Jesuit mysticism nor Spanish bayonets could penetrate the veil of silence which was drawn over Tayopa's location and it has remained lost for three and a half centuries.
Such is not the case with the other two missions.
?According to Adrian Westwood, "we have relocated the missions of Guaynopa (99k)and Guaynopita, the Indian cliff ruins ?(88k) where the survivors of the initial Indian attack made their last stand, and numerous other blockhouses protecting the canyon approaches and dam walls. ?Several arrasytres, or Spanish ore crushers have also been found. ?Tayopa, the third point of the "Golden Rectange" is nearby.
During the three previous expeditions I have been able to cover a vast area of the Guaynopa canyon and its environs, tracking down landmarks, and following up Indian legends and 19th century mining reports.
When not in the field, we have continued the research through libraries, archives, and museums in Spain, Mexico, and the U.S.A. ?Many leads have been blind alleys, but every so often, a valuable clue has dropped into place. ?One such clue turned up in October of 1994, and I believe it will lead me straight to the treasure vault when the expedition sets out in April of 1995... if my interpretation is correct.
Many have searched for Tayopa, many have died for it, and all believed that they knew where it was. ?Such is the lure of treasure hunting.
Parts reprinted from "Jesuit Gold A Treasure Hunters Guide to Tayopa" ?by Adrian Westwood.