Little Minook Creek

Mine, Inactive

Commodities and mineralogy

Main commodities Au
Other commodities Ag; Ba; Cr; Cu; Pb; W
Ore minerals barite; chalcopyrite; chromite; galena; gold; hematite; ilmenite; magnetite; native copper; native sulfur; pyrite; scheelite; silver; tetradymite

Geographic location

Quadrangle map, 1:250,000-scale TN
Quadrangle map, 1:63,360-scale B-1
Latitude 65.45617
Longitude -150.0332
Nearby scientific data Find additional scientific data near this location
Location and accuracy The Little Minook Creek placer mine is marked by about 2 miles of tailings that extend upstream from a point 1.5 miles from the mouth of the creek. The site is at the approximate midpoint of the workings, which stretch from the western half of sections 3 and 10, through section 4, to the southeast quarter of section 5, T. 7 N., R. 12 W., of the Fairbanks Meridian. The site corresponds to location 50 of Cobb (1972), and roughly to the location of Little Minook Creek, U.S. Bureau of Land Management MAS number 0020480007.

Geologic setting

Geologic description

Little Minook Creek drains a relatively small area of about 6 square miles. It is straight, V-shaped, and is incised to a depth of 500-700 feet (Hess, 1908). The bedrock consists of Triassic Rampart Group mafic intrusive and volcanic rocks and sedimentary rocks (Reifenstuhl and others, 1997 [RI 97-15a]). California and Idaho Bars, respectively to the south and north, were mapped by Chapman and others (1982) as covered by Tertiary gravels.
Gold was discovered on Little Minook Creek in 1893 by John Minook, and was mined continuously from 1896 (Hess, 1908) to 1940 (Smith, 1942). The gold in the stream placers may be reconcentrations of gold in bench placers (Hess, 1908). Spurr (1898) reported that crushed quartz veins in shear zones contained a small amount of gold. Native copper and silver were found in concentrates (Spurr, 1898).
The stream placer deposits ranged from 100 to 150 feet wide and contained coarse, flattened gold (Mertie, 1934). At least one report described brown material sticking to the gold, making it difficult to clean (Williams, 1951). Williams hypothesized that this material was a natural cement. One placer gold sample had a fineness of 920 (Mertie, 1934).
As of 1904, Prindle and Hess (1905) reported that approximately $475,000 worth of gold (about 23,000 ounces) had been mined (Cobb, 1977), all from the lowest 3 miles. Claim 8 above Discovery (approximately three miles from the mouth of Little Minook Creek) reportedly was the richest claim, producing $1,000,000 worth of gold (about 48,400 ounces) by 1931 (Mertie, 1934). Claims 1 and 2 below Discovery contained coarse cobbles and 5 to 6 feet of gravels covered by only a few feet of muck. Native copper occurred on many of the claims, as well as some native sulfur, hematite, barite, pyrite, galena, and chromite (Mertie, 1934; Waters, 1934). A placer concentrate sample from claim 1 above Discovery contained hematite, ilmenite, pyrite, magnetite, barite, tetradymite, galena, gold, native copper, picotite, argentite, and scheelite (Mertie, 1934; Waters, 1934).
Following World War II, public reports on mining activity were sporadic. In 1951, the Little Minook Mining Company worked a pay streak 100 feet wide and reportedly had been moving downstream approximately 1,000-1,200 feet per year, with enough ground for several more years of mining (Williams, 1951). In 1957, Saunders (1957 [MR 194-17]) reported intent of the Weisner Trading Company to mine on Little Minook Creek during that year and implied that recent mining had occurred. Cunningham & Associates, Langford, and/or Minook Ltd. were active in 1967 (Heiner and others, 1968). Weisner Trading Company was operating a bulldozer on Little Minook Creek in 1975 (Carnes, 1976). In 1991 Munsell Mining, a new operator, started working on Little Minook Creek (Bundtzen and others, 1992).
Geologic map unit (-150.035719687973, 65.4557014288717)
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 Mining began in Little Minook Creek around 1896. The first placer claim in the Rampart region was located and worked in 1896 on Little Minook Creek by F.S. Langford, although gold previously had been discovered and mined by John Minook (Hess, 1908). During the early years of mining, most of the work was done by drift mining. However, by 1931, Mertie (1934) reported that open mining techniques were dominant, including employing a splash-dam and shoveling in. Little Minook Creek was a major producer until at least 1940, when records became sporadic. In 1951, Little Minook Mining Company worked a pay streak 100 feet wide and reportedly had been moving downstream approximately 1,000-1,200 feet per year, with enough ground for several more years of mining (Williams, 1951). In 1957, Saunders (1957 [MR 194-17]) reported intent of the Weisner Trading Company to mine on Little Minook Creek during that year and implied that mining had recently occurred. Cunningham & Associates, Langford, and/or Minook Ltd. were active in 1967 (Heiner and others, 1968). Weisner Trading Company was operating a bulldozer on Little Minook Creek in 1975 (Carnes, 1976). The most recent mining took place in 1991, when Munsell Mining, a new operator, started working on Little Minook Creek (Bundtzen and others, 1992).
Indication of production Yes; medium
Production notes Prindle and Hess (1905) reported that production through 1904 was worth approximately $475,000, equivalent to approximately 23,000 ounces of gold (Cobb, 1977). According to Mertie (1934), Little Minook Creek was the largest producer in the Rampart district through 1931; about $1,000,000 worth of gold, equivalent to about 48,000 ounces of gold, was recovered from one claim.

Additional comments

A manganese lode (TN069) occurs at the upstream end of the Little Minook Creek placer operations (Burand and Saunders, 1966; Cobb, 1972 [MF-371]). The deposit crops out along the creek, and contains rhodochrosite or rhodonite.

References

MRDS Number A015229; D002621

References

Heiner, L.E., Wolff, E.N., and Lu, F.C.J., 1968, Mining regions and mineral commodities, in Heiner, L.E., and Wolff, E.N. eds., Final Report - Mineral Resources of Northern Alaska: Mineral Industry Research Laboratory, University of Alaska Report No. 16, p. 3-137.
Reporters G.E. Graham (ADGGS)
Last report date 12/8/2000