Squaw Creek

Mine, Active

Alternative names

Big Squaw Creek

Commodities and mineralogy

Main commodities Au
Other commodities Ag; Mo; Pb; Sb; Th; U
Ore minerals arsenopyrite; galena; gold; molybdenite; monazite; pyrite; stibnite; uranothorianite; zircon

Geographic location

Quadrangle map, 1:250,000-scale CH
Quadrangle map, 1:63,360-scale C-3
Latitude 67.5424
Longitude -148.2267
Nearby scientific data Find additional scientific data near this location
Location and accuracy Some placer mining took place at the head of Big Squaw Creek (Squaw Creek on the USGS topographic maps); the coordinates are the likely location of this mining, about 0.7 mile southwest of Little Squaw Creek near the center of section 4, T. 31 N., R. 3 W. However, there may have been other small-scale mining on Big Creek that date back to before WWI.

Geologic setting

Geologic description

Placer gold was discovered in the Chandalar area on Little Squaw Creek (CH039) in 1902 (Barker, and Bundtzen, 2004; Barker, 2007; Barker and others, 2009). By 1909, four quartz veins including the Mikado vein had been discovered and many more were located prior to WWI. Most of the important properties in the district were consolidated by William Sulzer from 1909 to 1941; the Mikado Mine was one of the prominent deposits of the Chandalar area and was included. Those properties were taken over in 1946 to form the Little Squaw Mining Company in 1959, which in turn became the Little Squaw Gold Mining Company in 1968. From 1967 to 1999, Little Squaw Gold Mining Company leased some of their Chandalar lode and placer ground for mining and/or exploration to a succession of companies, notably the Chandalar Gold Mining and Milling Company (1967-1971), Noranda Mining (1974-1976), the Chandalar Development Corporation (1980-1983), and Gold Dust Mines (1989-1999). There was some earlier small lode production from the district but the first documented gold produced from the lodes was 870 ounces produced from 1967 to 1971 from the Mikado and Summit mines by the Chandalar Gold Mining and Milling Company. Subsequently, Chandalar Development produced 8,169 ounces of lode gold from the Mikado and Summit Mines but recovery was poor. In 2003, Little Squaw Gold Mining Company and its direct descendent Goldrich Mining Company began an aggressive exploration program for lode and placer deposits over a large block of land that covers almost all of the known deposits in the Chandalar area and in early 2010, that effort continued (Goldrich Mining Company, 2010).
In spite of the proximity of Big Squaw Creek to many of the gold-bearing veins in the Chandalar district, the placer mining on this creek appears to be limited to near the head of the creek, just below the Jupiter claim on the Eneveloe prospect (CH046) (Chipp, 1970). The mining was from small-scale surface workings by hand methods. Mining in 1923 was in gravel 3 to 4 feet deep. Mining was reported as late as 1928, but there is no information on any later activity. On the lower creek early efforts at mining the deeper gravels were thwarted because the gravels were thawed and drift mining through shafts was not possible because of water inflow and lack of support.
Strandberg (1994) postulated a possible ancestral auriferous channel of Big Squaw Creek near the airstrip on lower Big Creek. He estimated a possible 1,500,000 cubic yards of gravel with an average grade of 0.06 ounce per cubic yard in a bench near the airstrip. The data to justify Strandberg's estimate is unavailable (Barker and Bundtzen, 2004). In 1997, Daglow Exploration drilled three holes to a depth of 96 feet on lower Big Squaw Creek near the airstrip (Fitch, 1997). Only traces of gold were recovered, but the holes did not reach bedrock. Testing the possibility that there might be a placer in lower Big Squaw Creek similar to the one in the pre-glacial fan in Lower Little Squaw Creek (CH039), Little Squaw Gold Mining Company drilled two test holes near the Squaw Lake airstrip (Barker and others, 2009). The gold particles that were recovered and the accompanying heavy mineral assemblage were to those in the Little Squaw Creek fan. The gold was scattered through the fluvial gravel but seemed to be more abundant at depth.
Geologic map unit (-148.229433078604, 67.5420168001219)
Mineral deposit model Placer Au (Cox and Singer, 1986; model 39a).
Mineral deposit model number 39a
Age of mineralization Quaternary.

Production and reserves

Workings or exploration The only mining on Little Squaw Creek was from small-scale surface workings by hand methods. Mining in 1923 was in gravel 3 to 4 feet deep. Mining was reported as late as 1928, but there is no information on any later activity. There have been several generations of drilling on lower Big Squaw Creek near the airport, the latest in 2008, to test the possibility of gold bearing gravel in the valley of Squaw Lake similar to that in the lower part of Little Squaw Creek. Trace to some gold was found in the few holes.
Indication of production Yes; small
Reserve estimates Strandberg (1994) estimated a possible resource of 1,500,000 cubic yards of gravel with an average grade of 0.06 ounce per cubic yard in a bench near the airstrip. The data to justify Strandberg's numbers are unavailable.
Production notes Some small production that cannot be documented.

References

MRDS Number A012552

References

Barker, J.C., and Bundtzen, T.K., 2004, Gold deposits of the Chandalar Mining District, Northern Alaska: An information review and recommendations: Unpublished report for the Little Squaw Gold Mining Company, 165 p. (in the files of the Goldrich Mining Company).
Barker, J.C., Murray, R.B., Keener, J.O., and Martin, P.L., 2009, Evaluation of the Chandalar mining property: Unpublished report prepared for Goldrich Mining Company, 165 p. (on the Internet at http://www.goldrichmining.com/Files/chandalar/Chandalar_tech_rept_4_15_09.pdf, as of February 14, 2010.
Buzzell, R.G., 2007, History of the Caro-Coldfoot trail (RST 262) and the Coldfoot-Chandalar trail (RST 9): Alaska Office of History and Archaeology, Report 17, 138 p.
Fitch, Gary, 1997, Placer Gold Drilling and Evaluation, Little Squaw and Big Squaw Creeks, Chandalar Mining District: Prepared for Daglow Exploration, Inc. 18 pages, 2 plates, 6 appendices (in files of the Goldrich Mining Company).
Herbert, Charles F., 1980a Big Creek Report, 12 pages (In files of the Goldrich Mining Company).
Strandberg E.O., Jr., 1994, Letter to Del Ackels, March 15, 1994, 1 page (In files of the Goldrich Mining Company).
Reporters J.M. Britton (Anchorage, Alaska); Travis Hudson (Applied Geology, Inc.); D.J. Grybeck (Contractor, U.S. Geological Survey)
Last report date 4/2/2010