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Mining in Oregon Videos

This is Part 1 of a 6-part program examining the impacts of state and federal regulations and land withdrawals on the mining industry.

In this segment, a gold miner shows us the adit of a gold mine in Josephine County, Oregon, where there’s still plenty of gold in the ground but the challenge is getting it out. He also shows us one of the best places for gold panning along the Rogue River, but cautions about running afoul of the new regulations. Then a retired state geologist discusses the different types of minerals found in Southern Oregon, and why it’s so difficult for miners to extract them.

This is Part 2 of a 6-part program examining the impacts of state and federal regulations and land withdrawals on the mining industry.

In this segment, we visit the Dawg Mining SummerFest and learn about highbanking and gold panning. Then we visit the site of one of the largest and highest grade silica deposits west of the Rocky Mountains, and learn why it’s taken 24 years to get to the point where the owner of the claim has any hope of mining it.

This is Part 3 of a 6-part program examining the impacts of state and federal regulations and land withdrawals on the mining industry.

In this segment, a gold miner shows us the reclamation project he implemented at a gold mining site in Golden, Oregon, where he established a wetlands with eleven ponds, providing habitat for fish and wildlife and trails for recreation. Then the former owner of the largest mining shop in the US discusses mining and mining regulations, and their impact on the local economy.

This is Part 4 of a 6-part program examining the impacts of state and federal regulations and land withdrawals on the mining industry.

In this segment, an ex-Navy SEAL who has been instrumental in developing the suction dredge technology for placer mining in river beds talks about the environmentalists’ litigation against mining and the recently passed law that bans suction dredging in California. Then the state geologist from the Josephine County office of the Dept. of Geology and Mineral Industries discusses how the Dept. of Geology assists miners, and we learn that it is being shut down.

This is Part 5 of a 6-part program examining the impacts of state and federal regulations and land withdrawals on the mining industry.

In this segment, we visit a minig camp where a miner lives with his wife and three children. Then we meet a miner who’s family developed a process for smelting a nickel ladderite ore into a “master metal” from which any grade of stainless steel can be easily produced. He has spent 17 years fighting legal battles to be able to mine his claim.

This is Part 6 of a 6-part program examining the impacts of state and federal regulations and land withdrawals on the mining industry.

In this segment, we learn about aggregate mining, and how important it is to our economy. Then we learn more about the endless litigation tactics employed by the environmental lobbies, and how they manage to manipulate both the courts and government agencies at great cost to the mining industry and the taxpayers.

Prospecting for Gold in the United States

By Harold Kirkemo

Anyone who pans for gold hopes to be rewarded by the glitter of colors in the fine material collected in the bottom of the pan. Although the exercise and outdoor activity experienced in prospecting are rewarding, there are few thrills comparable to finding gold. Even an assay report showing an appreciable content of gold in a sample obtained from a lode deposit is exciting. The would-be prospector hoping for financial gain, however, should carefully consider all the pertinent facts before deciding on a prospecting venture.

Don't expect to look down and see something like this.

Only a few prospectors among the many thousands who searched the western part of the United States ever found a valuable deposit. Most of the gold mining districts in the West were located by pioneers, many of whom were experienced gold miners from the southern Appalachian region, but even in colonial times only a small proportion of the gold seekers were successful. Over the past several centuries the country has been thoroughly searched by prospectors. During the depression of the 1930’s, prospectors searched the better known gold-producing areas throughout the Nation, especially in the West, and the little-known areas as well. The results of their activities have never been fully documented, but incomplete records indicate that an extremely small percentage of the total number of active prospectors supported themselves by gold mining. Of the few significant discoveries reported, nearly all were made by prospectors of long experience who were familiar with the regions in which they were working.

The lack of outstanding success in spite of the great increase in prospecting during the depression in the 1930’s confirms the opinion of those most familiar with the occurrence of gold and the development of gold mining districts that the best chances of success lie in systematic studies of known productive areas rather than in efforts to discover gold in hitherto unproductive areas. The development of new, highly sensitive, and relatively inexpensive methods of detecting gold, however, has greatly increased the possibility of discovering gold deposits which are too low grade to have been recognized earlier by the prospector using only a gold pan. These may be large enough to be exploited by modern mining and metallurgical techniques. The Carlin mine near Carlin, Nev., is producing gold from a large low-grade deposit that was opened in 1965 after intensive scientific and technical work had been completed. Similar investigations have led to the more recent discovery of a Carlin-type gold deposit in Jerritt Canyon, Nev.

Many believe that it is possible to make wages or better by panning gold in the streams of the West, particularly in regions where placer mining formerly flourished. However, most placer deposits have been thoroughly reworked at least twice–first by Chinese laborers, who arrived soon after the initial boom periods and recovered gold from the lower grade deposits and tailings left by the first miners, and later by itinerant miners during the 1930’s. Geologists and engineers who systematically investigate remote parts of the country find small placer diggings and old prospect pits whose number and wide distribution imply few, if any, recognizable surface indications of metal-bearing deposits were overlooked by the earlier miners and prospectors.

One who contemplates prospecting for gold should realize that a successful venture does not necessarily mean large profits even if the discovery is developed into a producing mine. Although the price of gold has increased significantly since 1967 when the fixed price of $35 an ounce was terminated, the increases in the cost of virtually every supply and service item needed in prospecting and mining ventures have kept profit margins at moderate levels, particularly for the small mine operator. In general, wide fluctuations in the price of gold are not uncommon, whereas inflationary pressures are more persistent. The producer of gold, therefore, faces uncertain economic problems and should be aware of their effects on his operation.

Today’s prospector must determine where prospecting is permitted and be aware of the regulations under which he is allowed to search for gold and other metals. Permission to enter upon privately owned land must be obtained from the land owner. Determination of land ownership and location and contact with the owner can be a time-consuming chore but one which has to be done before prospecting can begin.

Determination of the location and extent of public lands open to mineral entry for prospecting and mining purposes also is a time consuming but necessary requirement. National parks, for example, are closed to prospecting. Certain lands under the jurisdiction of the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management may be entered for prospecting, but sets of rules and regulations govern entry. The following statement from a pamphlet issued in 1978 by the U.S. Department of the Interior and entitled “Staking a mining claim on Federal Lands” responds to the question “Where May I Prospect?”

There are still areas where you may prospect, and if a discovery of a valuable, locatable mineral is made, you may stake a claim. These areas are mainly in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. Such areas are mainly unreserved, unappropriated Federal public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) of the U.S. Department of the Interior and in national forests administered by the Forest Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Public land records in the proper BLM State Office will show you which lands are closed to mineral entry under the mining laws. These offices keep up-to-date land status plats that are available to the public for inspection. BLM is publishing a series of surface and mineral ownership maps that depict the general ownership pattern of public lands. These maps may be purchased at most BLM Offices. For a specific tract of land, it is advisable to check the official land records at the proper BLM State Office.

Successful gold mining under present conditions is a large-scale operation, utilizing costly and sophisticated machinery capable of handling many tons of low-grade ore each day. The grizzled prospector with a burro is no longer a significant participant in the search for mineral deposits, and the small producer accounts for only a minor share of the total production of metals including gold.

Some degree of success in finding gold still remains for those choosing favorable areas after a careful study of mining records and the geology of the mining districts. Serious prospecting should not be attempted by anyone without sufficient capital to support a long and possibly discouraging campaign of preliminary work. The prospective gold seeker must have ample funds to travel to and from the region he selects to prospect and to support the venture. He must be prepared to undergo physical hardships, possess a car capable of traveling the roughest and steepest roads, and not be discouraged by repeated disappointments. Even if a discovery of value is not found, the venture will have been interesting and challenging.

Placer Deposits

A placer deposit is a concentration of a natural material that has accumulated in unconsolidated sediments of a stream bed, beach, or residual deposit. Gold derived by weathering or other process from lode deposits is likely to accumulate in placer deposits because of its weight and resistance to corrosion. In addition, its characteristically sun-yellow color makes it easily and quickly recognizable even in very small quantities. The gold pan or miner’s pan is a shallow sheet-iron vessel with sloping sides and flat bottom used to wash gold-bearing gravel or other material containing heavy minerals. The process of washing material in a pan, referred to as “panning,” is the simplest and most commonly used and least expensive method for a prospector to separate gold from the silt, sand, and gravel of the stream deposits. It is a tedious, back-breaking job and only with practice does one become proficient in the operation.

Many placer districts in California have been mined on a large scale as recently as the mid-1950’s. Streams draining the rich Mother Lode region–the Feather, Mokelumne, American, Cosumnes, Calaveras, and Yuba Rivers–and the Trinity River in northern California have concentrated considerable quantities of gold in gravels. In addition, placers associated with gravels that are stream remnants from an older erosion cycle occur in the same general area.

Much of the gold produced in Alaska was mined from placers. These deposits are widespread, occurring along many of the major rivers and their tributaries. Some ocean beach sands also have been productive. The principal placer-mining region has been the Yukon River basin which crosses central Alaska. Dredging operations in the Fairbanks district have been the most productive in the State. Beach deposits in the Nome district in the south-central part of the Seward Peninsula rank second among productive placer deposits of Alaska. Other highly productive placers have been found in the drainage basin of the Copper River and of the Kuskokwim River.

Placer gold in glass vial.

In Montana, the principal placer-mining districts are in the southwestern part of the State. The most productive placer deposit in the State was at Alder Gulch near Virginia City in Madison County. Other important placer localities are on the Missouri River in the Helena mining district. The famous Last Chance Gulch is the site of the city of Helena. There are many districts farther south on the headwaters and tributaries of the Missouri River, especially in Madison County which ranks third in total gold production in the State. Gold has been produced at many places on the headwaters of the Clark Fork of the Columbia River, particularly in the vicinity of Butte. Placer production from the Butte district, however, has been over-shadowed by the total output of byproduct gold recovered from the mining of lode deposits of copper, lead, and zinc.

Idaho was once a leading placer-mining State. One of the chief dredging areas is in the Boise Basin, a few miles northeast of Boise, in the west-central part of the State. Other placer deposits are located along the Salmon River and on the Clearwater River and its tributaries, particularly at Elk City, Pierce, and Orofino. Extremely fine-grained (or “flour”) gold occurs in sand deposits along the Snake River in southern Idaho. Placers in Colorado have been mined in the Fairplay district in Park County, and in the Breckenridge district in Summit County. In both areas large dredges were used during the peak activity in the 1930’s.

The most important mining regions of Oregon are in the northeastern part of the State where both lode and placer gold have been found. Placer gold occurs in many streams that drain the Blue and Wallowa Mountains. One of the most productive placer districts in this area is in the vicinity of Sumpter, on the upper Powder River. The Burnt River and its tributaries have yielded gold. Farther to the west, placer mining (particularly dredging) has been carried on for many years in the John Day River valley.

In southwestern Oregon, tributaries of the Rogue River and neighboring streams in the Klamath Mountains have been sources of placer gold. Among the main producing districts in this region are the Greenback district in Josephine County and the Applegate district in Jackson County.

Minor amounts of placer gold have been produced in South Dakota (the Black Hills region, particularly in the Deadwood area, and on French Creek, near Custer) and in Washington (on the Columbia and Snake Rivers and their tributaries).

In addition to these localities, placer gold occurs along many of the intermittent and ephemeral streams of arid regions in Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and southern California. In many of these places a large reserve of low-grade placer gold may exist, but the lack of a permanent water supply for conventional placer mining operations requires the use of expensive dry or semidry concentrating methods to recover the gold.

In the eastern States, limited amounts of gold have been washed from some streams draining the eastern slope of the southern Appalachian region in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama. Many saprolite (disintegrated somewhat decomposed rock that lies in its original place) deposits in this general region also have been mined by placer methods. Small quantities of gold have been mined by placer methods in some New England States. Additional placer deposits may be discovered in the East, but prospecting will require substantial expenditures of time and money. The deposits probably will be low grade, difficult to recognize, and costly to explore and sample. Moreover, most of the land in the East is privately owned, and prospecting can be done only with the prior permission and agreement of the land owner.

Lode Gold

Lode gold occurs within the solid rock in which it was deposited. Areas likely to contain valuable lode deposits of gold have been explored so thoroughly that the inexperienced prospector without ample capital has little chance of discovering a new lode worth developing. Most future discoveries of workable lode gold ore probably will result from continued investigations in areas known to be productive in the past. The districts in which such new discoveries of gold may be possible are too numerous to be listed in detail in this pamphlet. Some of the famous districts are: in California, the Alleghany, Sierra City, Grass Valley, and Nevada City districts, and the Mother Lode belt; in Colorado, the Cripple Creek, Telluride, Silverton, and Ouray districts; in Nevada, the Goldfield, Tonopah, and Comstock districts; in South Dakota, the Lead district in the Black Hills; and in Alaska, the Juneau and Fairbanks districts. Deposits in these districts generally are gold-quartz lodes.

Prospecting for lode deposits of gold is not the relatively simple task it once was because most outcrops or exposures of mineralized rock have been examined and sampled. Today’s prospector must examine not only these exposures, but also broken rock on mine dumps and exposures of mineralized rock in accessible mine workings. Gold, if present, may not be visible in the rock, and detection will depend on the results of laboratory analyses. Usually, samples of 3 to 5 pounds of representative mineralized rock will be sent to a commercial analytical laboratory or assay office for assay. Obviously, knowledge about the geological nature of gold deposits and particularly of the rocks and deposits in the area of interest will aid the prospector.

Gold In Jackson County

Early Jackson County

Early Jackson County

Extract from -

“Mines & Mining in the States and Territories West of the Rockies”
U.S. Commision of mining statistics, 1870

СHAРТЕR XXIX.
JACKSON COUNTY.

I am indebted for much valuable information concerning this county to Mr. Silas J. Day, of Jacksonville, whose character and long acquaintance with the neighborhood give ground for confidence in the correctness of his statements, many of which are also confirmed by my personal observation.

The population of the county is about six thousand six hundred, of whom six hundred are Chinese, principally engaged in mining. The number of white miners, according to the books of the county assessor, is five hundred. The latter receive, when hired, from $2.50 to $3 coin per day. The wages of a Chinese laborer are $1.25 to $1.50 per day, or $35 per month.

The following is a brief account of the principal mining districts in the county:

Jacksonville district, including both forks of Jackson Creek and its tributaries, was organized in 1851. The mines hitherto worked have been placers, with some coarse gold.

Applegate Creek, ten miles in a southerly direction from Jacksonville, is a considerable stream, on which a saw-mill has been erected. It is a tributary of Rogue River. The district of this name was organized in 1853. The mining operations on Applegate Creek have been quite extensive. The gold is found mainly on the “bars” of the creek, which for a distance of four miles were very rich. They are now principally worked by Chinese. Water is obtained from a large ditch brought from the creek four miles above the bars, and now owned by Kasper Kubli.

Sterlingville district, about eight miles due south from Jacksonville, was organized in 1851. This has been, and is still, a thriving mining camp. The gold in the placers is coarse. The supply of water, however, is limited, as there is no ditch in the district which taps any considerable stream.

Bunkum district, on the other hand, a southern extension of Sterlingville district, has an abundant supply of water during most of the year, brought in three ditches from the North Fork of Applegate Creek.

Foots Creek district was organized in 1853. The stream from which it takes its name is a tributary of Rogue River, situated about fifteen miles northwest from Jacksonville. The mines are coarse gold diggings.

Evans’s Creek and Pleasant Creek districts are contiguous to each other, about ten miles north of Foot’s Creek. The coarse gold diggings of these districts are worked principally by the hydraulic process, for which the necessary supply of water is furnished by the streams named in abundance during the rainy season. Both these districts were organized in 1856.

Forty-nine diggings, eight miles southeast from Jacksonville ; organized in 1858. The gold is inferior in quality, and worth only about $12 per ounce. Water is supplied by a ditch from Anderson and Wagner Creeks.

The mining laws of all these districts are copied from those of Yreka, in California. The tax on foreign miners (by which only the Chinese are understood) is $10 annually per capita. There is also an annual poll-tax of $5 on all mulatoes, Chinamen, and negroes.

The first discovery of gold in Jackson County is said to have been made in the autumn of 1852, by James Cluggage, on Rich Gulch, a tributary of Jackson Creek. Both in the gulch and in the creek large nuggets were, in the earlier days of the mining industry of this neighborhood, frequently found. One piece of solid gold, worth $900, was taken from the latter stream, and many were obtained ranging in value from $10 to $40, and up to $100. These discoveries led to the development of a considerable mining industry, in which, however, no great amount of capital was invested. The claims in the county are, with the exception of the bars and a few quartz claims, mentioned below, generally placer and gravel diggings. The heavy wash gravel ranges from two to twelve and even twenty feet in thickness, and contains a large amount of stones, and even rocks of considerable size. This is especially the case on Jackson Creek. The bed rock is slate or granite—the former predominating. Water is supplied principally by the rains of the wet season, which swell the local streams. There are few mining ditches in the county, and none of great magnitude, the length being generally from one to four miles, and in no case exceeding the latter figure. The mines are therefore directly dependent upon the duration of the season of rains. This lasts usually from December 15 to June 1. The mining season for the year ending June 30, 1869, was, however, here, as elsewhere, a very short one, owing to the extreme dryness of the winter. The season opened about the loth of January, and was over by the middle of May. When I visited the county, early in August, nothing was doing except by some of the Chinese, who were painfully overhauling the dirt heaps and carrying the earth to water. The average annual product of Jackson County in gold dust for the last five years has been, according to good authority, $210,000. I estimate the product for the year ending June 30, 1868, in spite of the brevity of the season, at $200,000, since the patient labor of the Chinese, of whom there are a considerable number working for themselves, has made up the deficiency of the season. They have produced not less than $75,000 during the year referred to. The product for the calendar year 1868 is practically the same as I have given, since the period of active operations fell wholly within 1869.

Some very rich quartz ledges have been discovered in this county, and I do not doubt that this, like so many other placer-mining regions, will eventually become the scene of extended deep-mining operations. No quartz veins, however, so far as I could learn, have been worked in Jackson County with capital, perseverance, and judgment adequate to fully prove their values, though in several instances large profits have been realized from operations near the surface.

One of these instances is presented by the celebrated Gold Hill vein, situated ten miles northwest of Jacksonville, and discovered in January 1859. The ore is white, almost transparent quartz, and, in the pocket first exposed, was highly charged with free gold. Some rock taken from the ledge was so knit together with threads and masses of gold that when broken the pieces would not separate. The vein was worked rudely for a year, and the ore crushed principally in an arrastra. The sum of $400,000 was thus extracted, besides a large amount of extremely valuable specimens, one of which was presented by Maury and Davis, merchants of Jacksonville, to the Washington Monument, and now, I am informed, occupies a place in that structure. But the pocket became exhausted ; subsequent operations failed to find paying rock, and the work has been suspended for some years. The property is now owned by a few shareholders, who intend to resume mining at some future time.

The Fowler lode, at Steamboat City, twenty miles from Jacksonville, is also at present lying idle. This ledge was very rich near the surface, where the rock was considerably disintegrated. The contents of a rich chimney or pocket were extracted, and crushed in arrastras run with horse-power. Major J. T. Glenn, one of the owners, says $350,000 were taken out.
Arrastras were erected at a ledge on Thompson’s Creek, a tributary of Applegate, to work the ore extracted, but the rock did not pay, and it was finally abandoned. The Khively ledge, on a tributary of Jackson Creek, has had a similar history.
At present there is but one quartz vein worked in the county. It is being developed by a few men as a prospecting scheme. They carry the quartz about a mile, to the Occidental mill, where they have already had about 100 tons treated, realizing about $1,000, or $10 per ton.

There are three quartz mills in the county, all driven by steam. The Jewett mill, on the south side of Rogue River, was erected sir years ago in connection with a ledge of the same name. It had eight stamps, and 32 horse-power. The investment was not profitable, professedly because the gold was too fine to be saved, and the mill is not a steam saw-mill. A mill similar to the foregoing was put up seven years ago at the forks of Jackson Creek. It cost $8,000, and was intended for custom work, but did not pay, and is now owned by Hopkins & Co. as a sawmill.

The Occidental mill, on the right fork of Jackson Creek, was built four years ago by a company at a cost of $10,000. It has ten stamps, and 40 horse-power, was made at the Miner’s foundry, San Francisco, and has a daily crushing capacity of 20 tons. The machinery includes two rotary pans.

The cost of mining materials in this county is not excessive. Lumber is worth at the mill from $18 to $22.50 per thousand feet, according to quality ; quicksilver, $1 per pound ; blasting powder, 33 cents per pound. Freight is generally shipped from San Francisco to Crescent City, California, and hauled from there in wagons to Jacksonville, at a total expense, including commissions, incurance, etc., of about 5 cents per pound. This enhances the cost of machinery and of some supplies. As a general rule, Jackson County receives no freight overland from Portland or Sacramento.

There are several good salt springs in the county. One at the headwaters of Evans Creek has been worked with profit for several years past by Messrs. Brown and Fuller. The salt is said to be white and pure, and commands a good price in the local market. Two beds of mineral coal have been discovered in the county. One on Evans Creek, about ten miles from the salt-works, produces a superior coal, which is used by the blacksmiths of the county. It is comparatively free from shale, and is locally known as anthracite. The bed is owned by Mr. R. H. Duulap, of Ashland. Large quantities of iron ore occur in many places throughout the county, on the surface of the ground. Some specimens from Big Bar, on Rogue River, were analyzed in San Francisco, and found to be quite pure. Cinnabar is reported, but not in paying quantity, from Missouri Gulch, a tributary of Jackson Creek.

NOTES:

There is a lot of information presented here, some of it quite accurate, some of it less than accurate. And unlike the previous section on Josephine, quite a lot has actually changed especially in regards to gold mining in Jackson County.

One item which is inaccurate, pertains to the first discovery of gold in Jackson County, which the above article reports was made by James Cluggage in the Fall of 1852 on Rich Gulch, which is described as a “tributary of Jackson Creek”. For starters, as I mentioned in the previous article (“A Rich Strike at Rich Gulch“), James Cluggage had a partner. His name was John R. Poole, and he and Cluggage owned a company called Jackass Freight. Secondly, they actually made their discovery in late December 1851 or early January of 1852 and Rich Gulch is actually a tributary of Daisy Creek and not Jackson Creek. (Cluggage and Poole did, however, extend their search to Jackson Creek and inside of a month, this creek was crawling with miners. As late as the 1950’s, Jackson Creek was still being heavily worked on a large scale and yielding good returns.)

Another inaccuracy is the mention of the Jewett Mill, which though the author was correct about its description, it was actually located on Mt. Baldy here in Josephine County – about five miles west of the Jackson County line. As well, though it may not have been profitable in 1870, the Jewitt Mine and its mill later became a major lode mine in this county. There are still active gold mines on Mt. Baldy today, but the activity is restricted to small operations.

Surpsingly, the author neglected to mention the Humbug Mining District, which was established March 24th, 1860 (see my previous entry). Also neglected was the Kane Creek Mining District (established November, 1860), the JackAss Creek Diggings District (March 1860, which mostly duplicated the Humbug District laws), the Lower JackAss Creek District (1863), the notorious Wines Camp District (1867), Boardman’s Diggings District (1867) and the Union Town Disrict (1870).

The Applegate River (often reffered to as a “creek” in old literature) is still a major gold bearing waterway, along with the following gold bearing tributaries (all located on the Jackson County side) and listed in order, from east to west:

Elliot Creek, Carberry Creek, Manzanita Creek, Grouse Creek, Squaw Creek, French Gulch, Kanaka Gulch, Kinney Creek, Mule Creek, Palmer Creek, Beaver Creek, Star Gulch, Flume Gulch, China Gulch and Boaz Gulch, all located south of the Little Applegate River, which enters the Applegate River in Section 10 of 39 South, 3 West. This section of the Applegate contains the majority of modern day gold mining activity. At Tunnel Ridge and Little Applegate, there are two public gold panning areas maintained by BLM. (download brochure here)

The Little Applegate River and its tributaries, historically, was a major gold bearing area encompassing both the Sterlingville and Buncom Districts. As most of this area is today private, little to no mining takes place in this area now. It should also be noted that the gold in this particular area contains quite a lot of of silver and often has a whiteish color (hence the local name Sterling). As a consequence, gold from this vicinity fetches a much lower price than the area listed above.

Downstream of the Little Applegate, the following tributaries are also gold bearing:

Rock Gulch, Spencer Gulch, Bishop Creek, China Gulch, Matney Gulch, Long Gulch, Chapman Creek, Keeler Creek, Humbug Creek, Thompson Creek, Ferris Gulch and part of Slagle Creek.

This is not meant to include the gold bearing Applegate tributaries located in Josephine County.

Kerby Jackson, Josephine County, Oregon

Grave Creek – Oregon Gold Locations

Grave Creek (Mostly resides in Josephine County)and it’s tributaries have produced placer gold up to the present time. The largest dredging operation in Josephine County was conducted between 1935 and 1938 on the south side of Grave Creek east of Leland. Bedrock became too deep for the dredge to clean and operations terminated, rather than re-outfit the rig with new customized parts that could do the job.  An undisclosed, but significant amount of gold was recovered. Butte Creek, Coyote Creek, Dog Creek, Poorman Creek, Shanks Creek, Tom East Creek, and Wolf Creek were important gold producing tributaries.

The picture famous Grave Creek covered bridge

The picture famous Grave Creek covered bridge

Tom East Creek, which drains the area of the Greenback Lode Mine, produced over 25,000 ounces of placer gold after 1897. A dragline excavator was used for awhile on Coyote Creek east of the village of Wolf Creek. Considerable placer gold remains to be mined in the region. Northeast of Grants Pass about 18 miles and 5 miles East of I-5 at Grave Creek bridge, in the Northeast part of the county from Winona to King Mountain, the Greenback Tri-County District can be found (A group of lode gold mines along adjacent boundaries of Douglas County and Jackson County).Along Grave Creek and tributary Coyote Creek and Wolf Creek; extensive placers are found, especially for gold dredging on the south side of Grave Creek. Upstream from Leland you will find the largest operations County history.

grave-creek-map

Grave Creek is roughly about 30 miles long and is a tributary of the Rogue River. Grave Creek starts near Cedar Springs Mountain just north of the Douglas County/Jackson County border and flows approximately southwest through Jackson County and Josephine County to its confluence with the Rogue River.

Galice Creek – Oregon Gold Locations

Galice Creek (located in Josephine County) and its tributaries were important placer gold producers, especially in regard to the “Old Channel Mine” gravels which form a terrace to the west of the creek and 600 feet above it. Placer gold was discovered on Galice Creek in 1854, and significant amounts of gold were produced. The Old Channel hydraulic pit on the high terrace was started in 1860 and ultimately became almost 2,000 feet wide and 100 feet deep, the largest such pit in the State of Oregon. It is reported that over 50,000 ounces of gold were produced from the pit. The gravels averaged about .007 ounce of gold per cubic yard and a lot of good ground remains to be mined.

Old Channel Mine

Old Channel Mine

If you see this sign you will know your in the right place.

If you see this sign you will know your in the right place.

There are a number of old lode gold mines in the Galice district, and those mineralized zones supplied most of the placer gold deposits found in the area. The Galice district, including Mount Reuben, had a total production of around 268,000 gold ounces. The local placer operations include the Ankeny Mine, Courtney Mine, Carnegie Mine, California-Oregon Mine, and Last Chance Mines.

galice-creek-map

The hillside just West of the Galice Range (approximately 1/4 to 1/2 miles wide, extending 4 miles to the Southwest), patches of gravel benches about 500 feet above present day streams as dissected by tributaries of Galice Creek there is placer gold. The “High Bench Gravels” along both sides of the Rogue River are gold bearing, but not much worked at this time. Downstream you will find the Dean and Dean placer Mine, and the Rocky Gulch placer Mine. In Hellgate Canyon, the Hellgate placers, were very productive. Along Galice Creek there are many rich placers. The Chinese also worked in the area.

Near these sites: If you go 21 miles Southwest of Glendale in Douglas County, in section 22, 23, and 27 of Township 33S and Range 8W, you will find the Benton Mine, near Mount Reuben. It was found in 1893 and is the largest underground mine in Oregon. It was closed in 1942. The Almeda Mine, Gold Bug Mine, Oriole Mine, Black Bear Mine, and Robertson (Bunker Hill) Mines, were important producers of lode gold in the area.

Miners Cabin

Miners cabin on Galice creek

Galice Creek

Galice Creek

  
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