Ester Creek

Mine, Inactive

Commodities and mineralogy

Main commodities Au
Other commodities Sb; W
Ore minerals gold; scheelite; stibnite

Geographic location

Quadrangle map, 1:250,000-scale FB
Quadrangle map, 1:63,360-scale D-2,3
Latitude 64.846
Longitude -148.029
Nearby scientific data Find additional scientific data near this location
Location and accuracy Extensive placer mining took place on Ester Creek in the northern portions of sections 7 and 8, T. 1 S., R. 2 W., and section 12, T. 1 S., R. 3 W., Fairbanks Meridian. The coordinates given are for the approximate center of placered ground that is shown on the Fairbanks D-2 and D-3 topographic maps. Ester Creek is just south of the town of Ester, and the creek has been mined for at least 3 miles by drift mining, surface open pits, and dredge from 1905 well into the 1990s. This mine is included in locality 44 of Cobb (1972 [MF 410]).

Geologic setting

Geologic description

Ester Creek produced placer gold almost continuously from 1905 well into the 1990s. The Ester Creek placer gold is deeply buried; the depth to bedrock was originally nearly 170 feet near its mouth, although much of the material over bedrock has since been stripped away (Prindle and Katz, 1913, p. 110). Productive gravels average 300 feet wide and 8 feet thick (Prindle and Katz, 1913). United States Smelting, Refining & Mining Co. Dredge no. 6 worked on Ester Creek from 1929 to 1942 and from 1946 to 1950 (R.M. Chapman, USGS unpublished memorandum, 1978). Early in 1951, the dredge moved from near the mouth of Eva Creek to Gold Hill (FB155) through a canal. Prior to dredging, most work on the creek was by drift mines through deep shafts in the frozen, reworked loess or the so-called muck that blanketed the gravel, or from surface workings after stripping away the muck with hydraulic monitors (Wimmler, 1922, p. 20; Wimmler, 1924, p. 67-68; Wimmler, 1925, p. 46; Wimmler, 1926 [ATDM MR 195-11, p. 58]; Wimmler, 1929, p. 191). In addition to gold, scheelite and stibnite were found in placer concentrates (Brooks, 1907; Joesting, 1942 [ATDM Pamph. 1]). Mining, prior to 1961, produced more than $4,000,000 worth of gold (Cobb, 1973 [B 1374]). Also see the Yellow Eagle mine (FB152) that recently worked on ground south of Eva Creek that may in part be in the Ester Creek drainage.
Geologic map unit (-148.031427545379, 64.8455629303127)
Mineral deposit model Placer Au (Cox and Singer, 1986; model 39a).
Mineral deposit model number 39a
Age of mineralization Quaternary placer.

Production and reserves

Workings or exploration Ester Creek produced placer gold almost continuously from 1905 well into the 1990s. The Ester Creek placer gold is deeply buried; the depth to bedrock was originally nearly 170 feet near its mouth, although much of the material over bedrock has since been stripped away (Prindle and Katz, 1913, p. 110). Productive gravels average 300 feet wide and 8 feet thick (Prindle and Katz, 1913). United States Smelting, Refining & Mining Co. Dredge no. 6 worked on Ester Creek from 1929 to 1942 and from 1946 to 1950 (R.M. Chapman, USGS unpublished memorandum, 1978). Early in 1951, the dredge moved from near the mouth of Eva Creek to Gold Hill (FB155) through a manmade canal. Prior to dredging, most work on the creek was by drift mines through deep shafts in the frozen, reworked loess or so-called muck that blanketed the gravel, or from surface workings after stripping away the muck with hydraulic monitors (Wimmler, 1922, p. 20; Wimmler, 1924, p. 67-68; Wimmler, 1925, p. 46; Wimmler, 1926 [ATDM MR 195-11, p. 58]; Wimmler, 1929, p. 191). In addition to gold, scheelite and stibnite were found in placer concentrates (Brooks, 1907; Joesting, 1942 [ATDM Pamph. 1]). Mining, prior to 1961, produced more than $4,000,000 worth of gold (Cobb, 1973, B 1374). Also see the Yellow Eagle mine (FB152) that recently worked on ground south of Eva Creek that may in part be in the Ester Creek drainage.
Indication of production Yes; small
Production notes Prior to 1961, Ester Creek produced more than $4,000,000 worth of gold (Cobb, 1973 [B 1374]). Placer operations were active through the 1990s; however, the amount of gold produced in recent years has not been reported (Szumigala and Swainbank, 1999).

References

MRDS Number A010719; A015317; D002635

References

Boswell, J. C., 1979, History of Alaskan operations of United States Smelting, Refining and Mining Company: Mineral Industry Research Laboratory, University of Alaska, 126 p.
Smith, S. S., 1917, The mining industry in the Territory of Alaska during the calendar year 1915: U.S. Bureau of Mines Bulletin 142, 66 p.
Smith, S. S., 1917, The mining industry in the Territory of Alaska during the calendar year 1916: U.S. Bureau of Mines Bulletin 153, 89 p
Reporters J.R. Guidetti Schaefer and C.J. Freeman (Avalon Development Corporation)
Last report date 7/31/2001