Blue Lead

Past Producer in Alaska, United States with commodities Gold, Silver, Copper, Lead, Antimony

Geologic information

Identification information

Deposit ID 10001699
MRDS ID A012481
Record type Site
Current site name Blue Lead
Alternate or previous names Blue Lead Extension
Related records 10160286

Geographic coordinates

Geographic coordinates: -144.19667, 64.35583 (WGS84)
Relative position The Blue Lead and Blue Lead Extension mines are situated on the ridge of Black Mountain near the divide that separates the headwaters of Johnson Creek, a tributary of Tibbs Creek (BD040), and Summitt Creek, a tributary of Boulder Creek (BD004). The mines are located at NW1/4NW1/4 section 33, T. 6 S., R. 17 E., of the Fairbanks Meridian, 54 miles north of Delta Junction. A winter trail from the South Fork of the Goodpaster River provides access up Divide Creek to the mine. The Blue Lead and Blue Lead Extension mines are located near an ore processing mill. The mine shaft entrances and ore processing mill were still accessible in 1970 (Thomas, 1970). There are numerous surface workings at and surrounding the site. It is locality 5 of Cobb and Eberlein (1980) who summarized relevant references under the name 'Blue Lead'.
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Geographic areas

Country State
United States Alaska

Commodities

Commodity Importance
Gold Primary
Silver Secondary
Copper Secondary
Lead Secondary
Antimony Secondary

Materials information

Materials Type of material
Arsenopyrite Ore
Covellite Ore
Digenite Ore
Gold Ore
Jamesonite Ore
Pyrite Ore
Stibnite Ore
Quartz Gangue

Host and associated rocks

  • Host or associated Associated
    Rock type Plutonic Rock > Granitoid > Granite
    Stratigraphic age (youngest) Late Cretaceous
  • Host or associated Host
    Rock type Plutonic Rock > Granitoid > Granite

Nearby scientific data

(1) -144.19667, 64.35583

Comments on the geologic information

  • Geologic Description = The area is characterized by rounded hills and flat topped ridges (Thomas, 1970). The most prominent ridge is Black Mountain, which trends about 12 miles in a northerly direction and is underlain by Cretaceous granodiorite (Weber and others, 1978). Several creeks flow westward from Black Mountain in steep, parallel, v-shaped valleys to form the headwaters of Tibbs Creek. Bordering Black Mountain to the west is a combination of augen gneiss, gneissic schist, and schist. There is intense shearing and faulting in the contact between the metamorphic and intrusive rocks. This shearing is observed in the underground workings, and at the surface as pronounced saddle-like depressions across the spurs separating the westward-flowing tributaries of Tibbs Creek. This shear zone trends roughly N15E and dips 65 degrees NW. ? the lode deposits in the area are gold-bearing quartz veins in the shear zone. Most of the veining occurs in the shear zone, although some is found in the intrusive rocks. The quartz veins contain gold and a variable combination of sulfides, including arsenopyrite, covellite, digenite, jamesonite, pyrite, and stibnite. Typically, gold content decreases as sulfides increase. Veins are commonly 2 to 3 feet in width; some are as wide as 8 feet (Thomas, 1970). When gold is present, it is usually extremely fine grained. However, veins at the Grizzly Bear mine (BD018) contain relatively coarse gold, which is easily visible in hand specimen. The Blue Lead mine is centered on a 2.5 foot wide quartz vein containing jamesonite and minor pyrite (Menzie and Foster, 1979). Based on underground workings, the vein is relatively flat lying or dips to the north (Reed, 1937). Thomas (1970) assayed a grab sample from the mill concentration plates that contained 4.58 ounces/ton Au, and 6.50 ounces/ton Ag. Foster and others (1978) recorded an emmision spectroscopy analysis from the Blue Lead Mine: sample 74WR-186b contained 10,000 ppm As, 10 ppm B, 50 ppm Ba, 1 ppm Cr, 100 ppm Se, 5 ppm Sr, 15 ppm Zr, and 1 ppm Au. Glover (1920?) reported a range in gold fineness of 724.4 to 773.7 for the Blue Lead mine.? the Goodpaster region was first explored for placer gold in 1915. In the early 1930's, gold-bearing quartz veins were discovered in the upper Tibbs Creek area. By the winter of 1936, the first underground workings were being installed. The original base camp was on Summit Creek. A 450-foot tunnel was driven following a small vein, termed the Blue Lead Extension. After disappointing results, the work was stopped. In the summer of 1936, five men drove a 300-foot tunnel at the outcrop of the Blue Lead vein (Reed, 1937). During the winter of 1937, a 300-foot tunnel was driven at the Grizzly Bear mine (BD018) and a 50-ton mill was constructed. In the summer of 1938, the mill was moved to the Blue Lead mine and operated for a year and a half until the fall of 1939 (Joesting, 1938). The Blue Lead and Blue Lead Extension have approximately 775 feet of underground workings. There was limited exploration in the 1970's. The mill was still on site and the mine shaft openings were accessible in 1970, but blocked by ice (Thomas, 1970). It is reported that the Blue Lead mine produced 132 ounces of gold and 25 ounces of silver from approximately 150 tons of ore (Thomas, 1970). Gold recovery from the Blue Lead Extension was negligible (Reed, 1937).
  • Age = Postdates Cretaceous intrusion

Economic information

Economic information about the deposit and operations

Development status Past Producer
Commodity type Metallic

Comments on exploration

  • Status = Inactive

Mining district

District name Goodpaster

Comments on the production information

  • Production Notes = It is reported that the Blue Lead mine produced 132 ounces of gold and 25 ounces of silver from approximately 150 tons of ore (Thomas, 1970). Gold recovery from the Blue Lead Extension was negligible (Reed, 1937).

Comments on the workings information

  • Workings / Exploration = The Goodpaster region was first explored for placer gold in 1915. In the early 1930's, gold-bearing quartz veins were discovered in the upper Tibbs Creek area. By the winter of 1936, the first underground workings were being installed. The original base camp was on Summit Creek. A 450 foot tunnel was driven following a small vein, termed the Blue Lead Extension. After disappointing results, the work was stopped. In the summer of 1936, five men drove a 300-foot tunnel at the outcrop of the Blue Lead vein (Reed, 1937). During the winter of 1937, a 300-foot tunnel was driven at the Grizzly Bear mine (BD018) and a 50-ton mill was constructed. In the summer of 1938, the mill was moved to the Blue Lead mine and operated for a year and a half until the fall of 1939 (Joesting, 1938). The Blue Lead and Blue Lead Extension have approximately 775 feet of underground workings. There was limited exploration in the 1970's. The mill was still on site and the mine shaft openings were accessible in 1970, but blocked by ice (Thomas, 1970).

Reference information

Links to other databases

Agency Database name Acronym Record ID Notes
USGS Mineral Resources Data System MRDS A012481
USGS Alaska Resource Data File ARDF BD003

Bibliographic references

  • Deposit

    Reed, I.M., 1937, Brief report on Goodpaster quartz lode mining at the head of Johnson and Boulder Creeks: Alaska Territorial Department of Mines , 1 p.

  • Deposit

    Joesting, H.R., 1938, Mining and prospecting in the Goodpaster region: Alaska Territorial Department of Mines , 2 p.

  • Deposit

    Smith, P.S., 1938, Mineral industry of Alaska in 1936: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 897-A, p. 1-107.

  • Deposit

    Smith, P.S., 1939, Mineral industry of Alaska in 1938: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 917-A, p. 1-113.

  • Deposit

    Saunders, R.H., 1967, Mineral occurences in the Yukon-Tanana region, Alaska: Alaska Division of Mines and Minerals Special Report 2, 58 p.

  • Deposit

    Thomas, B.I., 1970, Reconnaissance of the gold-bearing quartz veins in the Tibbs Creek area, Goodpaster River, Big Delta quadrangle, central Alaska: U.S. Bureau of Mines Open-File Report 14-70, 12 p.

  • Deposit

    Cobb, E.H., 1972, Metallic mineral resources map of the Big Delta quadrangle, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Miscellaneous Field Studies Map MF-388, 1 sheet, scale 1:250,000.

  • Deposit

    Eberlein, G.D., Chapman, R.M., Foster, H.L., and Gassaway, J.S., 1977, Map and table describing known metalliferous and selected nonmetalliferous mineral deposits in central Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 77-168-D, 132 p., 1 map, scale 1:1,000,000.

  • Deposit

    Foster, H.L., O'Leary, R.M., McDanal, S.K., and Clark, A.L., 1978, Analyses of rock samples from the Big Delta quadrangle, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 78-469, 125 p.

  • Deposit

    Weber, F.R., Foster, H.L., Keith, T.E.C., Dusel-Bacon, C., 1978, Preliminary geologic map of the Big Delta quadrangle, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 78-529A, 1 sheet, scale 1:250,000.

  • Deposit

    Foster, H.L., Albert, N.R.D., Griscom, Andrew, Hessin, T.D., Menzie, W.D., Turner, D.L, and Wilson, F.H., 1979, The Alaskan Mineral Resource Assessment Program: Background information to accompany folio of geologic and mineral resource maps of the Big Delta quadrangle, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 783, 19 p.

  • Deposit

    Menzie, W.D., and Foster, H.L., 1979, Metalliferous and selected nonmetalliferous mineral resource potential in the Big Delta quadrangle, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 78-529D, 61 p., 1 sheet, scale 1:250,000.

  • Deposit

    Cobb, E.H., and Eberlein, G.D., 1980, Summaries of data on and lists of references to metallic and selected nonmetallic mineral deposits in the Big Delta and Tanacross quadrangles, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 80-1086, 77 p.

  • Deposit

    Glover, A.E., 1950, Placer gold fineness: Alaska Territorial Department of Mines Miscellaneous Report 195-1, 38 p.

Comments on the references

  • Primary Reference = Thomas, 1970

General comments

Subject category Comment text
Deposit Model Name = Shear-hosted, magmatic-hydrothermal vein

Reporter information

Type Date Name Affiliation Comment
Reporter 26-APR-1999 Cameron S. Rombach Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys