Kenai River

Mine, Inactive

Commodities and mineralogy

Main commodities Au
Ore minerals gold

Geographic location

Quadrangle map, 1:250,000-scale SR
Quadrangle map, 1:63,360-scale B-8
Latitude 60.4853
Longitude -149.8806
Nearby scientific data Find additional scientific data near this location
Location and accuracy The Kenai River in the Seward quadrangle is located in T. 5 N., R. 3, 4 W., of the Seward Meridian. The placer section of the river is between Cooper Creek and Schooner Bend. The map site location is in the Kenai River at its juncture with Cooper Creek, in the NW1/4 section 31, T. 5 N., R. 3 W. of the Seward Meridian where most of the production has occurred from. This is location 26 of Cobb and Tysdal (1980) and location P-87 of Jansons and others (1984). This location is accurate to within 300 feet.

Geologic setting

Geologic description

Sediments of the upper Kenai River contain minor amounts of gold in a section of the river that runs from Cooper Creek to Schooner Bend. The metasedimentary bedrock in the area is mapped as Valdez Group of Late Cretaceous age (Cobb and Tysdal, 1980). Tysdal (1978 [MF-880-B]) reported that production has come, mainly, from just below Cooper Creek where the river has incised about 190 feet into a glaciolacustrine delta. At this site, most of the gold is fine flakes found in point bars and in bedrock fractures. Coarser gold, flat but not flaky, has been introduced into the river gravels from Cooper Creek. Tysdal (1978 [MF-880-B]) estimated production at less than 769 fine ounces. The U.S. Bureau of Mines estimated production at less than 200 ounces (Jansons and others, 1984).
Geologic map unit (-149.882756547658, 60.4847247858681)
Mineral deposit model Placer Au (alluvial) (Cox and Singer, 1986; model 39a).
Mineral deposit model number 39a
Age of mineralization Quaternary; the gold is in glaciolacustrine sediments.

Production and reserves

Workings or exploration
The Russian explorer Doroshin prospected the area in 1848 and 1850; placer gold was discovered in tributaries to the Kenai River in 1848 (Johnson, 1912). In 1910, Cunningham discovered placer gold in the Kenai River about a mile below Cooper Creek. A small bucket line dredge operated during 1911 and 1912. Production grade from this operation was 0.004 ounce of gold per cubic yard. The dredge operation was not economic. Prospecting using dozers and drilling occurred between 1935 and 1956. Only recreation panning has occurred recently.
The U.S. Bureau of Mines collected three point bar gravel samples just above Schooner Bend that assayed from 0.0135 to 0.0449 ounce of gold per cubic yard (Jansons and others, 1984). Jansons and others (1984) estimated total production at less than 200 ounces of gold.
Indication of production Yes; small
Production notes Tysdal (1978 [MF-880-B]) estimated production at less than 769 fine ounces. The U.S. Bureau of Mines estimated total production at less than 200 ounces of gold (Jansons and others, 1984).

Additional comments

The first gold discovered on the Kenai Peninsula was by the Russian explorer Doroshin on tributaries of the Kenai River in 1848.


MRDS Number A010617


Reporters Jeff A. Huber and Carol S. Huber (Anchorage)
Last report date 1/28/2002