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Tag Archives: Gold Mining

Here is some good information on the Gold Rush of Alaska then and now.

Independence Mine rubble

The rubble of decaying buildings fills the foreground in this photo that also shows the tracks leading into the shaft of Independence Mine in Southcentral Alaska.

The Gold Rush and Alaska

The role of gold in Alaska’s past and present is hard to overlook. There are evidences of it everywhere, in everything from events like Fairbanks Golden Days and Valdez Gold Rush Days, to hotels with names like Golden Nugget, Motherlode, Golden North, and Gold Miner’s, to the gold exhibit in the University of Alaska Museum in Fairbanks and to gold nugget jewelry and painted goldpans in gift shops throughout the state.

Gold was first discovered in Southeast Alaska in the 1870s. The first discovery was made near Sitka in 1872 and the second was made in 1876 in Windham Bay. These finds followed the discovery of gold nearby in British Columbia in 1861.

CreekAlaska’s first big gold strike came in Juneau in 1880 when two prospectors guided by an Indian found “large pieces of quartz, of black sulfite and galena all spangled over with gold” in a creek that, of course, is now called Gold Creek. On their initial trip they collected a thousand pounds of ore. The city itself is named for one of the miners: Joseph Juneau. Richard Harris, the other miner, gave his name to the Harris Mining District. Their find led to the discovery of a lode of gold quartz that has supported mining to the present day.

Gold strikes in the Klondike and near Nome brought prospectors to Alaska in the 1890s. Many of them took steamships to Skagway in Southeast Alaska, where they began their trek by land to the Klondike. One of the most famous photos from the gold rush era shows a long line of miners struggling up Chilkoot Pass on the Chilkoot Trail near Skagway. Further west along the coast, Valdez was another port of entry for Klondike miners and it also has a gold rush trail, now being restored, in Keystone Canyon and Thompson Pass.

Far to the north, the discovery of gold at Anvil Creek in 1898 brought thousands of fortune seekers — including Wyatt Earp — to the Nome area. Then gold was discovered on Nome’s beaches, and gold seekers continue to make finds there today. Some of them can be seen straining gravel in their sluice boxes along the shore, perhaps hoping to find enough gold to pay for their annual summer trips to Nome. A major commercial gold dredging operation was conducted offshore in the 1990s.

Gold mine  entrance shaftThe gold rush gave many communities in Alaska their start. Fairbanks, on the Chena River, became an important supply post as well as a center of mining activity after gold was discovered in a creek north of town in 1902. And today major gold mining operations continue in the Fairbanks area. Visitors can tour some of these and also try their hand at panning for gold.

Further south, Talkeetna, also located on a river, was another place where gold rush-era miners stopped to stock up. Wasilla was established a few years later, in 1917, when the Alaska Railroad built a depot there as a shipping point for gold miners. Hope, on the Kenai Peninsula, was a bustling community of 3,000 during the Cook Inlet Gold Rush of 1895-98. Today its population is only 200, but the hunt for gold continues there.

Independence Mine was a working underground gold mine in the Talkeetna Mountains near Wasilla and Palmer until war intervened and gold prices fell in the early 1940s. Today it is a state historical park. It was closed during the summer of 2000 for renovations that included improved wheelchair access and paved paths among the buildings, several of which are in much better shape than the ruins in the photo at the top of this page.

The most recent gold strike appears to be the biggest. A huge gold and copper deposit has been found near Lake Iliamna, about 235 miles southwest of Anchorage. It is estimated to contain 31.3 million ounces of gold and 18.8 billion pounds of copper, as well as other minerals including molybdenum, making it the largest deposit of gold and second largest deposit of copper in North America. The Pebble mine would be developed as both an open pit and underground mine, but it is not yet certain that will happen in the near future.

Issues that must be addressed include construction of a 100-mile access road from Cook Inlet to the site, disposal of tailings so they do not threaten the headwaters of major salmon-spawning rivers, and provision of 275 megawatts of power to the site. Barring any delays, mining would begin in 2010.

Recreational gold panning is allowed at three state parks: Chugach State Park, Independence Mine – State Historical Site and Kenai State Park. Information about rules for gold panning in these areas can be found online.

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Treasure Mountain

Date Found:
In the 1700’s

Location:
What is now Summitville, CO. Several miles east of Wolf Creek Pass

How was the treasure obtained?
A French expedition of 300 men were prospecting their way west and found a vast amount of gold on Treasure Mountain

How much is it worth?
$33 million+

Key Players:
300 Frenchmen
One sole Survivor – LeBlanc

Treasure Map(s)?
Supposedly two maps remain – one belonging to the French government, and one to the descendants of the LeBlanc family

And the story goes…
Treasure Mountain | Cash and TreasuresFrench explorers had a successful gold expedition until they arrived at Summitville to set up camp and bury their loot. Their neighbors were Native Indians, and at first, the relationship was friendly. However, one group provoked the other and a battle ensued. The gold was reburied and the French made a map to the new location. However, through the battle with the Natives, the weather, a second battle with the Natives, and starvation, there was one sole survivor – a Frenchman named LeBlanc. He had two maps – one he gave to the French government, and one he kept for himself. There are many versions of what happened next. Some say there have been several unsuccessful expeditions to find the gold. Some say that the French government found it and kept it a secret. The truth of what happened has yet to be discovered.

Learn how to Claim Government Land!

Check this out it is a must read for anyone interested in how to file a mining claim on government property this is excellent reading.

Mining Claims For Sale

I just thought everyone might be interested in this site, who knows you might just find a claim that interest you. Good Luck!
http://www.advancedgeologic.com/AGE/Gold_Exploration/Gold_Claims/Placer_Claim_List.html