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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Area reports: domestic 1978-79
Year 1978-79, Volume 2 (1978-1979)

Pittman, Tom L.
Alaska,   pp. 43-51 ff. PDF (952.3 KB)

Page 46

examined and drilled by U.S. Borax & Chemical Corp. Inspiration Development
Co. and Bear Creek did the necessary work to hold their Nabesna and Bond
Creek properties. 
In southeastern Alaska, assessment work was done on the Sumdum Chief copper
deposit. Placid Oil Co. examined and drilled the Tracy and Magi Group copper-zinc
deposit area. These deposits are east of Holkham Bay, about 45 miles south
of Juneau. 
GoId.—Gold is the most important metallic mineral produced in Alaska.
The Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, Department of Natural
Resources, State of Alaska (DG&GS), develops estimates for the number
of producers and the quantity of gold recovered through observations by its
mining geologist, mining engineer, and field personnel. It also uses information
acquired from industry, private entities, and outsideagency sources. DG&GS
estimates show about 60,000 troy ounces was recovered by about 200 operators
in 1978, and about 65,000 troy ounces recovered by over 200 operators in
1979. In 1979, the number of respondents to the Bureau of Mines annual commoditycanvass
dropped to between 5% and 15% of the estimated number of placer gold producers.
The quantity of gold produced by the respondents fell within about the same
proportion of the estimated quantity of gold produced in Alaska. 
Individual placer operators have reported recovering amounts of gold ranging
from 1 troy ounce to several thousand troy ounces during the 1979 mining
season. Gold was recovered chiefly from stream gravel and bench gravel deposits.
Methods of recovery reported and observed were by bucket-line dredges, nonfloat
washing plants, hydrau 
licking, dragline dredging, 
suction dredging, small-scale mechanical methods, and hand methods. 
Alaska Gold Co. operated its Dredge No.5 on Dry Creek and Dredge No. 6 on
the Submarine Beach, near the Nome Airport, during the 1978 mining season.
Dredge No. 5 was not operated in 1979. Extensive drilling and preparatory
work was accomplished to increase the rate of cold-water thawing ahead of
the dredges. Two small dredges operated as family enterprises and several
other placer operations were active on the Seward Peninsula. The Livengood
area, about 60 miles north of Fairbanks, was very productive, and many other
placers operated in the Fairbanks district. About 25 mines operated in the
area and 15 mines in the Circle area. Other very active areas included Ruby,
Long, Kantishna, Petersville, Tofty-Eureka, McGrath-Ophir, Iditarod, Inoko,
and Aniak. 
 Little Squaw Gold Mining Co. leased its placer claims in the Chandalar district
to Whelan's Mining and Exploration, In~ Whelan's moved in equipment, upgraded
access routes, explored parts of the property, and prepared some ground for
current and future mining. 
 The lode gold properties of Little Squaw in the Chandalar district were
active during the 1978 and 1979 mining seasons. Chandalar Development Associates,
lessees of the lode claims, rehabilitated the 100 ton-perday mill, shops,
camp, mining equipment, roads, and airstrips serving the Mikado and Little
Squaw mines. Mine workings were reopened, and several stopes were prepared
for mining. Test runs were completed on ores from each mine before work was
terminated in early September by snow storms. Resumed operations are planned
for May 
 Industry sources report a small amount of gold production from lode mines
near Fairbanks and in the Willow Creek district, west of Palmer. A cleanup
operation at the old Alaska Juneau mill has produced "lode" gold
during 1978
and 1979. 
* Exploration interest in lode gold prospects continued to increase. The
Big Hurrah mine and several other prospects were being investigated on the
Seward Peninsula. In the Fairbanks area, Placid Oil Co. examined the Vetter
gold-antimony property near Cleary Hill. St. Joe American Corp. did evaluation
work at the Ryan Lode (Bartholomae) mine west of Fairbanks. The Independence
mine, in the Willow Creek district was acquired by Starkey A. Wilson, who
was having the underground workings reopened, mapped, and sampled. 
 Occidental Minerals Corp. was doing geological and geochemical work at the
old Treadwell-group mines in preparation for planried diamond drilling in
1980. This property is just south of Douglas, on Douglas Island, and about
3 miles south of Juneau. Mapco, Inc., drilled and explored the Sweetheart
Ridge gold-copper-zinc-lead prospect and nearby claims about 30 miles southeast
of Juneau. Mapco also investigated gold prospects on Prince of Wales Island.
 Lead and Zinc.—A relatively new deposit area about 20 miles southwest
of Tok is attracting exploration projects. This area is 

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