Mines, Inactive

Alternative names


Commodities and mineralogy

Main commodities Au
Other commodities Ag; Hg
Ore minerals chromite; cinnabar; ilmenite; magnetite
Gangue minerals quartz; tourmaline; zircon

Geographic location

Quadrangle map, 1:250,000-scale ID
Quadrangle map, 1:63,360-scale B-4
Latitude 62.38858
Longitude -157.98418
Nearby scientific data Find additional scientific data near this location
Location and accuracy The Idaho and the adjacent Upgrade, Wildcat, and Trail Mines are a group of claims on the north and west facing slopes of Chicken Mountain. The mines are centered about 0.7 mile west-northwest of the top of Chicken Mountain in the NE 1/4, section 33, T. 27 N., R. 47 W., of the Seward Meridian; on the north, they are transitional to the placer mines on Flat Creek (ID104). The location is accurate.

Geologic setting

Geologic description

The Idaho, Upgrade, Wildcat, and Trail Mines produced gold from alluvial, residual, and semi-residual placer deposits on the steep northwest slopes of Chicken Mountain at the head of Flat Creek (ID104). The placers were mined from the early 20th Century to World War II but they were most productive before about 1930. During mining, it was difficult to distinguish the original overburden (Mertie, 1936, p. 204-205) and most of the gold was in weathered granitic bedrock grus. Locally the granite was covered by about 6 feet of organic-rich muck lying directly on auriferous bedrock. According to assays reported by Mertie (1936), gold at the Upgrade claim was 844 fine and gold downslope on the Wildcat claims was 884 fine; Mertie attributed the difference to the bedrock sources rather than selective removal of silver during formation of the placers.
The Idaho claims were in operation when visited by Mertie (1933). The mine then was on two pay streaks, one of which was inferred to be the upper extension of Flat Creek (ID104). Overburden ranged from 8 to 20 feet thick and was mostly angular to sand-like granitic material, with little true alluvium. The value of the ground was stated top be about 30 cents per bedrock foot. The gold that was recovered had an average fineness of 856 and was extremely fine-grained; it was accompanied by cinnabar, which was not abundant.
These claims include the Idaho lode prospect at the very top of Flat Creek (Bundtzen and others, 1992). Samples collected from exposed quartz-sulfide veins contained up to 52.0 parts per million (ppm) gold, 1,600 ppm arsenic, 470 ppm antimony, and 110 ppm bismuth. Quartz-tourmaline clots are present in the walls of the veins.
Based on examination of published and unpublished records, Bundtzen and others (1992) estimated that the Upgrade, Idaho, Wildcat, and related claims produced 76,400 ounces of placer gold from 1910 to 1930.
Geologic map unit (-157.986585012565, 62.3878941680719)
Mineral deposit model Placer Au deposit (Cox and Singer, 1986; model 39a).
Mineral deposit model number 39a
Age of mineralization The placer deposits are probably Quaternary; the lodes are undated.
Alteration of deposit The monzonite bedrock is altered to gruss; quartz-tourmaline alteration in walls of Idaho lode.

Production and reserves

Workings or exploration The Upgrade claims were extensively developed by David Strandberg and associates in about 1915 at about the time Flat Creek (ID104) was being extensively mined. The mines were in production when visited by Mertie in 1933 (Mertie, 1936). Exploration on the Idaho, Upgrade, Wildcat, and Alpha claim groups has taken place mainly by churn drilling and open cut preliminary to mining which was nearly continuous from 1910 to 1940s (Cobb, 1976 [OFR 76-576]). Snow fences were constructed prior to 1920 to trap water for sluicing since there was no regular stream sources of water (Smith, 1917). In 1967, the Bureau of Mines auger drilled the area (Kimball, 1969). Ken Dahl worked the Idaho claim during the early 1980s (T.K. Bundtzen, unpublished field data, 1984-86).
Indication of production Yes
Reserve estimates None known; thought to be largely mined out (Bundtzen and others, 1992).
Production notes Based on examination of published and unpublished records, Bundtzen and others (1992) estimated that the Upgrade, Idaho, Wildcat, and related claims produced 76,400 ounces of residual placer gold from 1910 to 1930.