Johnny Lee was a homesteader/prospector in the early 1900s who mined just north of White Sulphur Springs. Johnny Lee was sure that there was high grade copper beneath his property. He found a few small deposits, but Johnny Lee never found the large, rich deposit that he knew was there.
In 1985, White Sulphur Springs native and geologist, Jerry Zieg, followed up on Johnny Lee’s theory, and his company began exploratory drilling in the same area. Almost directly beneath what had been Johnny Lee’s cabin, Zieg discovered the mineral deposit, including two sheet-like zones rich in extremely high grade copper-iron-sulfide (chalcopyrite). It is the second highest grade copper deposit currently under permit in the world. In fact, it is more than 10 times higher than in most modern surface mines. In tribute, the deposit was named “The Johnny Lee.”