Candle Creek

Mine, Active?

Commodities and mineralogy

Main commodities Ag; Au
Ore minerals gold; silver

Geographic location

Quadrangle map, 1:250,000-scale CA
Quadrangle map, 1:63,360-scale D-6
Latitude 65.91
Longitude -161.92
Nearby scientific data Find additional scientific data near this location
Location and accuracy The active mining area along Candle Creek extends from its confluence with the Kiwalik River at the Candle townsite upstream approximately 7 miles to the boundary of the Bendeleben quadrangle and then 9 miles to Potato Creek. The reference point is the center of the Candle airstrip, in section 24, T. 6 N., R. 16 W., of the Kateel River Meridian. Cobb, 1972 (MF 389), locations 1 and 18.

Geologic setting

Geologic description

Placer gold was discovered on Candle Creek in 1901 and the deposit has been mined almost continuously since that time.
The geology of the area is not well understood due to extensive ground cover. In general the area is underlain by late Precambrian to early Paleozoic quartz mica schists which are cut by small quartz stringers and granitic dikes. The schists are overlain unconformably by metamorphosed early to mid-Paleozoic limestones. Igneous rocks of Late Cretaceous to Tertiary age intrude the older metamorphics. The dominant igneous lithology in the Candle area is medium-grained, quartz monzonite which is exposed in placer workings at Camp 19 in the Bendeleben quadrangle. Quartz float is very common in stream beds and tailings. The age of the quartz is unknown. The source of the placer gold is thought to be from quartz veins crosscutting the schist bedrock.
A general cross section of the placer ground on Candle Creek is schist bedrock overlain by 12 to 18 feet of gold-bearing creek gravels. The gravels in turn are covered by 10 to 20 feet of ice, muck, slide rock, and tundra. The placer gold is generally flattened, coarse and coated with a dark, organic iron oxide. The gold fineness is 857. Gold is often found in and associated with ironstone concretions commonly found in the gravels. All of the ground is frozen and some areas contain large ice wedges. Placer concentrates contain arsenopyrite, abundant pyrite, galena, chalcopyrite, ilmenite, rutile, garnet, cerussite, and occasional magnetite (Cobb, 1976, OFR 76-866).
Geologic map unit (-161.922695240015, 65.9093251226656)
Mineral deposit model Placer Au-PGE (Cox and Singer, 1986; model 39a).
Mineral deposit model number 39a
Age of mineralization Quaternary.

Production and reserves

Workings or exploration Placer gold was discovered on Candle Creek in 1901 and the deposit has been mined almost continuously since that time. The creek gravels were first mined by hand methods. Hydraulicking and drift mining was used on bench deposits. A small dredge was brought to the creek in 1914. In the early 1920s, two larger dredges were brought to the creek. To define the reserves for the dredges, shafts were sunk and several lines of drill holes were drilled. The dredging continued on Candle Creek until the early 1950s; it extended from above Camp 19 in the Bendeleben quadrangle to the confluence with the Kiwalik River. Small-scale placer activities continue on the creek. BHP Utah conducted a soil sampling and mapping program in 1990 for lode gold.
Indication of production Yes; medium
Production notes Harrington (1919) estimates that by 1917 $325,000 of gold (at $20.67/ounce) had been taken from Candle Creek. It is estimated that production from Candle Creek has exceeded 600,000 ounces of gold since 1901 (Williams, 1998).

Additional comments

All gravels are frozen and require stripping and thawing.


MRDS Number A010726


Smith, S.S., 1917, The mining industry in the Territory of Alaska during the calendar year 1915: U.S. Bureau of Mines Bulletin 142, 65 p.
Williams, Anita, 1998, A summary report on the mineral resources of Candle Creek and adjacent areas in Candle, Alaska: unpublished industry report prepared for Berg and Wetlesen, Gulph Mills, Pennsylvania, 18 p.
Reporters Anita Williams (Anchorage, AK)
Last report date 1/12/2000