Birch Creek

Mine, Inactive

Commodities and mineralogy

Main commodities Au
Other commodities Ag
Ore minerals gold

Geographic location

Quadrangle map, 1:250,000-scale CI
Quadrangle map, 1:63,360-scale B-2
Latitude 65.33
Longitude -144.568
Nearby scientific data Find additional scientific data near this location
Location and accuracy The coordinates are for the Birch Creek/Buckley Bar confluence. The Steese Highway parallels Birch Creek just east of Twelvemile Summit as it flows west from Mastodon Dome. Eventually Birch Creek flows south, east, then north, crossing the Steese Highway again between Central and Circle.

Geologic setting

Geologic description

Birch Creek is approximately 560 km long, originating just east of Mastodon Dome and emptying into the Yukon River approximately 50 km below Fort Yukon. Birch Creek flows over quartzite and quartzite schist before crossing into the Tintina fault trench where it then flows within the broad lowlands of the Yukon River over Pleistocene and Holocene surficial deposits. The flood plain of the upper and middle portions of the creek is composed of pebble-to-cobble gravel that contains a few boulders composed primarily of quartz and quartzite. A pebble count of gravel in Birch Creek between the mouth of Gold Dust and Butte Creeks reveals a composition of 72 percent quartzitic schist, 20 percent quartz, and 8 percent schist. Panned concentrates are low in magnetite and ilmenite, and rich in garnet (Yeend, 1991, p. 26).
The only early placer production recorded from Birch Creek was from river bars, of which Buckley Bar was probably the most productive (Ellsworth and Davenport, 1913, p. 213). A bench about a mile below Twelvemile Creek was unsuccessfully mined in 1911 (Cobb, 1976, p. 7). Mining operations using heavy equipment with modern high-volume sluiceboxes were active along the upper part of Birch Creek in the 1980s (Yeend, 1991).
Geologic map unit (-144.570429438623, 65.3296383239015)
Mineral deposit model Placer gold deposit (Cox and Singer, 1986; model 39a)
Mineral deposit model number 39a

Production and reserves

Workings or exploration Other than during the discovery period of the late 1800s, little mining was done on Birch Creek until the 1980s. Mining operations using heavy equipment with modern high-volume sluiceboxes were active along the upper part of Birch Creek in the 1980s (Yeend, 1991). A bench about a mile below Twelvemile Creek was unsuccessfully mined in 1911 (Cobb, 1976, p. 7, [OFR 76-633]).
Indication of production Yes
Production notes During the spring of 1894, about a half ounce of gold per man per day was being taken from Pitka's Bar (Dunham, 1898). In the 1980's in the upper part of Birch Creek near the Steese Highway, 2,000 cubic yards of gravel per day yielded 0.005 to 0.0075 ounces per cubic yard (Yeend, 1991, p.26, Lampright, 1996, p. 56). Most Birch Creek production has been from river bars with Buckley Bar probably being the most productive (Ellsworth and Davenport, 1913, p. 213). Battest Mining reported mining operations on Birch Creek in 1985 (Bundtzen and others, 1986).

Additional comments

Gold in small quantities can still be panned from just about anywhere along the upper 160 km of Birch Creek (Yeend, 1991, p. 26).

References

MRDS Number A012214; D002166

References

Reporters C.J. Freeman, J.R. Guidetti Schaefer, A.S. Clements (Avalon Development Corporation)
Last report date 9/8/1998