Goodsprings mining district

Region West, Southwest
Mineral systems
Deposit types
Critical minerals
Other minerals

Information leading to the delineation of this focus area

Basis for focus area The Goodsprings mining district, the largest mining district in Nevada, is near the town of Goodsprings near the southern end of the Spring Mountains Range in southwest Clark County, Nevada. The district contains more than 75 mines and multiple prospects. The multiplicity of deposits include Zn-dominant carbonate replacement deposits of probable late Paleozoic age, and Pb-dominant carbonate replacement deposits, Cu ± precious metal-PGE deposits, and Au ± Ag deposits that are spatially associated with Late Triassic porphyritic intrusions (Vikre and others, 2011).
Identified resources Historical production of copper, gold, lead, PGE, silver, and zinc; most copper, gold and PGE were produced from intrusion-related deposits, as well as very limited production of cobalt and nickel.
Production Recorded production from the district was ~109,000 tons (99,091 tonnes) Zn, 47,000 tons (42,727 tonnes) Pb, 2,500 tons (2,273 tonnes) Cu, 2.1 million ounces (65,317 kg) Ag, 90,000 ounces (2,799 kg) Au, and 1,300 ounces (40 kg) Pt and Pd (PGE). The Boss mine was the principal producer of Cu, Au, Ag, Pt, and Pd with subordinate production from the Oro Amigo mine. The Keystone mine was the major Au producer.
Status Past mining.
Estimated resources Gold and PGE resources, as well as Zn and Pb resources remain in the district (Vikre and others, 2011). Keystone mine resources (in 1992): 110,000 tons ore @ 0.11 oz/t Au (Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, 1994).
Geologic maps Hewett (1931, plate 1), scale 1:62,500; Hewett (1956), scale 1:125,000; Albritton and others (1954, plate 1), scale 1:15,840.
Geophysical data Inadequate Rank 4 aeromagnetic coverage.
Favorable rocks and structures Copper ± precious metal-PGE deposits occur in Devonian through Permian carbonate rocks. Most of these deposits are parallel to regional faults, and several lie in bedding planes. Nearly all deposits formed within hundreds of meters of exposed porphyritic intrusions. Gold ± Ag deposits are largely confined to altered feldspar porphyry and to Paleozoic carbonate wall rocks (Vikre and others, 2011).
Deposits Cu ± precious metal ± PGE dominant: Keystone mine (MRDS dep_id: 10037224), Boss mine (MRDS dep_id: 10047002).
Evidence from mineral occurrences MRDS; Hewett (1931).
Geochemical evidence Original sulfide minerals are almost completely altered to carbonate and silicate minerals. Geochemical and isotopic data given in Vikre and others (2011). PGE mineralization is most closely associated with bismuthian plumbojarosite, which may be a secondary (oxidation) mineral.
Geophysical evidence Unknown.
Evidence from other sources Unknown.
Comments On the basis of their principal metal content, the ore deposits of the Goodsprings district are separable into four groups: 1) those which contain Au with little if any Cu and Ag, 2) those which contain much more Ag than Au, 3) those whose principal metal is Cu but which also contain some Au or Pt and Pd, though little Ag, and 4) those which contain either Pb or Zn or both together with a little Cu. Cobalt occurs almost uniformly wherever Cu is present; V minerals occur in many of the Pb and Zn deposits (Hewett, 1931). Cu-Ni-Co-PGE association at Goodsprings and elsewhere in the eastern Mojave Desert (California-Nevada-Arizona) may derive from possible Cenozoic(?) hydrothermal remobilization of magmatic sulfide cumulates in subjacent peridotite, possibly part of the 1.1 Ga diabase (Vikre, 2021). In general, Mojave Desert Cu-Ni-Co-PGE deposits/occurrences, as found in the Goodsprings mining district, are intrusion-related but don't fit defined mineral system/deposit types (Hofstra and Kreiner, 2020) very well, and may themselves represent different magmatic hydrothermal events (P. Vikre, USGS, per. comm, 2022).
Cover thickness and description Alteration exposed at the surface.
Authors Laurel G. Woodruff, Peter G. Vikre.
New data needs Updated geologic mapping, lidar, geochemistry, aeromagnetic and aeroradiometric surveys.
Geologic mapping and modeling needs Updated geologic mapping.
Geophysical survey and modeling needs High-resolution, Rank 1 aeromagnetic and aeroradiometric surveys.
Digital elevation data needs Lidar inadequate.