Pioneer

Past Producer in Alaska, United States with commodities Gold, Antimony

Geologic information

Identification information

Deposit ID 10002956
MRDS ID A015452
Record type Site
Current site name Pioneer

Geographic coordinates

Geographic coordinates: -147.35795, 65.06774 (WGS84)
Relative position The Pioneer mine is located on the divide between Fairbanks Creek and Wolf Creek along the old Circle-Fairbanks trail; SE1/4SW1/4 sec. 21, T. 3 N., R. 2 E., of the Fairbanks Meridian. This site consists of several claims: War Eagle, Leroy, Pioneer, Iron Mask, Black Warrior and Willie. Most production came from the Pioneer claim.
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Geographic areas

Country State
United States Alaska

Commodities

Commodity Importance
Gold Primary
Antimony Secondary

Materials information

Materials Type of material
Gold Ore
Stibnite Ore

Alteration

  • (Local) Yellowish oxidation products of stibnite common in quartz.

Nearby scientific data

(1) -147.35795, 65.06774

Comments on the geologic information

  • Geologic Description = This site consists of several claims containing gold-bearing quartz shear zones; these are the Pioneer, Willie, Iron Mask, War Eagle, Leroy and Black Warrior claims. Most production came from the Pioneer claim.? the Pioneer shaft and prospect pits exposed a shear zone of over 800 feet in strike length. By 1912, $22,000 worth of gold (1,064 ounces) of ore had been mined; the average width of the vein was 34 inches, and the average grade was 2.2 ounces of gold per ton. The highest value was obtained from a 22 ton shipment to the Chena mill which returned an average of $180 gold per ton (8.7 ounces of gold per ton) (Times Publishing Company, 1912). By 1916, two shafts had been sunk on the Pioneer claim on an 18-inch-thick antimony-bearing shear zone oriented N 85 E, 80 N. (Mertie, 1918). Five hundred feet west of the antimony-bearing zone, three gold-bearing quartz stockwork shears were exposed. Two of these zones ranged from 12- to 14-inches-thick and were oriented N 35-45 E, 60-80 NW. The third zone had an east-west strike and a dip of 45 S. These exposures averaged about $10 gold per ton or 0.5 ounces of gold per ton (Mertie, 1918). ? the Willie claim contained a 4- to 5-foot-wide iron-oxide-stained quartz stockwork zone oriented N 50 E, 80 SE (Prindle, 1910). Free gold could be panned from its 1,000 foot strike length. Shaft sinking in 1910 revealed a 10-inch-thick high grade portion of the shear zone.? the Iron Mask claim contained an eight-foot-wide mineralized shear zone oriented east-west and dipping 65 S. A 50-foot shaft had been sunk on this claim by late 1912 and the ore averaged $25 gold per ton or 1.2 ounces of gold per ton (Times Publishing Company, 1912). A three-foot-wide, high grade zone was also exposed on the Iron Mask claim. This zone has a hanging wall consisting of a bleached white decomposed rock believed to be a fine-grained intrusive (Smith, 1913; B 525). The gold-bearing portion of the lode is in fault contact with the decomposed intrusive rock. On the Iron Mask claim, an 8-inch-thick stibnite-bearing shear had been exposed which strikes N 80 W and dips 75 SW. Farther to the east but still on the Iron Mask claim, a 4-foot-thick shear zone carrying low grade gold and stibnite mineralization was exposed and traced into Fairbanks Creek. At the War Eagle claim, visible gold was found in two separate zones which average 1 to 2 feet wide (Smith, 1913; B 525). In the Leroy claim, the high grade portion of the shear averaged 1 foot wide (Smith, 1913; B 525). The farthest east claim, the Black Warrior, contained test pits that exposed high grade gold-quartz shear zones which averaged 8 to 10 inches wide.? the average fineness of the Pioneer group gold through 1912 was 814.5 (Smith, 1913; B 525).

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 Fairbanks

Comments on the production information

  • Production Notes = Production from the Pioneer mine through 1931 was estimated at $14,000 (677 ounces). This production was primarily derived from above the 50-foot level of the main shaft (Hill, 1933).

Comments on the workings information

  • Workings / Exploration = Exploration began in 1904, and the Pioneer group of claims were eventually staked; these included the War Eagle, Leroy, Pioneer, Iron Mask and Black Warrior claims (Times Publishing Company, 1912). The adjacent Willie claim was staked in 1909. In the winter of 1910, shaft sinking was begun on the Willie claim. By 1912, the Pioneer shaft had been sunk to a depth of 120 feet and two other shafts sunk to depths of 49 and 85 feet. Additional prospect pits have exposed the shear zone over 800 feet along strike. In early 1912, a 50-foot-shaft was sunk on the Iron Mask claim. By mid-1912, the western-most claim of the Pioneer group, the War Eagle claim, had been traced in several 8- to 10-foot deep pits (Smith, 1913; B 525). On the Leroy claim, two shafts were sunk on one of the leads that was exposed on the War Eagle claim. Development work on the Pioneer claim included about 200 feet of drifts to the east and west at the 110 foot level (Smith, 1913; B 525). Fifty feet of drift had been completed from the 75-foot level in the next shaft to the east and still further east, a 38-foot-deep shaft had been sunk. The farthest east claim of the Pioneer group, the Black Warrior claim, contained test pits 12- to 15-feet deep every 50 feet over 400 to 500 feet along strike. By 1916, two shafts had been sunk on the Pioneer claim on an inch-thick antimony-bearing shear zone (Mertie, 1918).? In 1951, dozer trenching at the Pioneer Group exposed the tops of the old drifts on the antimony shear zone (Saunders, 1960; ATDM MR 49-4, p.2). A shaft was sunk an additional 20 feet to determine if high grade stibnite mineralization was present (Saunders, 1960; ATDM MR 49-4, p.2). In 1969, the Pioneer group of claims were examined by dozer trenching and rotary dirlling. Active exploration of the Pioneer mine area was conducted by Placid Oil in 1984 and 1985 when 2,154.7 feet of diamond core hole was drilled in 13 holes in the Pioneer and Pennsylvania mine site areas (Porterfield and Croff, 1986). In 1988, BP Minerals conducted reverse circulation drilling in the Pioneer mine area (Freeman, 1992).

Reference information

Links to other databases

Agency Database name Acronym Record ID Notes
USGS Mineral Resources Data System MRDS A015452
USGS Alaska Resource Data File ARDF LG155

Bibliographic references

  • Deposit

    Brooks, A.H., 1912, The Alaska mining industry in 1911, in Brooks, A.H., and others, Mineral resources of Alaska, 1911: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 520, p. 17-44.

  • Deposit

    Times Publishing Company, 1912, Tanana Magazine, Quartz Edition: Fairbanks, Alaska 76 p.

  • Deposit

    Prindle, L.M., and Katz, F.J., 1913, Detailed description of the Fairbanks district, in Prindle, L. M., A geologic reconnaissance of the Fairbanks quadrangle, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 525, p. 59-152.

  • Deposit

    Smith, P.S., 1913, Lode mining near Fairbanks, in Prindle, L.M., A geologic reconnaissance of the Fairbanks quadrangle, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 525, p. 153-216.

  • Deposit

    Smith, P.S., 1913, Lode mining near Fairbanks: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 542-F, p. 137-202.

  • Deposit

    Eakin, H.M., 1915, Placer mining in Seward Peninsula: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 622-I, p. 366-373.

  • Deposit

    Brooks, A.H., 1916, Antimony deposits of Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 649, 67 p.

  • Deposit

    Chapin, Theodore, 1919, Mining in the Fairbanks district: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 692-F, p. 321-327.

  • Deposit

    Hill, J.M., 1933, Lode deposits of the Fairbanks District, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 849-B, p. 29-163.

  • Deposit

    Killeen, P.L., and Mertie, J.B., 1951, Antimony ore in the Fairbanks District, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 51-46, 43 p.

  • Deposit

    Saunders, R.H., 1960, Notes to accompany prospect map of the Fairbanks-Wolf Creek divide: Alaska Territorial Department of Mines Miscellaneous Report 49-4, 3 p., 2 maps, scale 1:1200.

  • Deposit

    Chapman, R.M., and Foster, R.L., 1969, Lode mines and prospects in the Fairbanks district, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 625-D, 25 p., 1 plate.

  • Deposit

    Cobb, E.H., 1976, Summary of references to mineral occurrences (other than mineral fuels and construction materials) in the Circle quadrangle, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 76-633, 72 p.

  • Deposit

    Freeman, C.J., 1992, 1991 Golden Summit project final report, volume 2: Historical summary of lode mines and prospects in the Golden Summit project area, Alaska: Avalon Development Corp., 159 p. (Report held by Freegold Recovery Inc. USA, Vancouver, British Columbia.)

  • Deposit

    Brooks, A.H., 1911, The mining industry in 1910, in Brooks, A.K., and others, Mineral resources of Alaska, report on progress of investigations in 1910: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 480-B p. 21-43.

  • Deposit

    Chapin, Theodore, 1914, Lode mining near Fairbanks, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 592-J, p. 321-355.

  • Deposit

    Cobb, E.H., 1972, Metallic mineral resources map of the Livengood quadrangle, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Miscellaneous Field Studies Map MF-413, 2 sheets, scale 1:250,000.

  • Deposit

    Cobb, E.H., 1976, Summary of references to mineral occurrences (other than mineral fuels and construction materials) in the Livengood quadrangle, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 76-819, 241 p.

  • Deposit

    Mertie, J.B., Jr., 1918, Lode mining in the Fairbanks district, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 662-H, p. 403-424.

  • Deposit

    Prindle, L.M., 1910, Auriferous quartz veins in the Fairbanks district: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 442-F, p. 210-229.

  • Deposit

    Saunders, R.H., 1960, Notes to accompany prospect map of the Fairbanks-Wolf Creek divide: Alaska Territorial Department of Mines Miscellaneous Report 49-4, 3 p., 2 sheets, scale 1:1200.

Comments on the references

  • Primary Reference = Smith, 1913 (B 525)

General comments

Subject category Comment text
Deposit Model Name = Gold and stibnite in quartz shear zones.
Deposit Other Comments = Angus McDougall conducted the first exploration in the vicinity of the Pioneer mine beginning in 1904 (Times Publishing Company, 1912). He and his partners Julius Hoffman, Mr. McGowan and Mr. Clark, eventually staked the Pioneer group which consisted of the War Eagle, Leroy, Pioneer, Iron Mask and Black Warrior claims (Times Publishing Company, 1912). The adjacent Willie claim was staked in 1909 by Lawrence J. McCarty. By 1910 the Willie claim was owned by Frank Lawson and Lawrence McCarty and an unspecified amount of ore had been custom milled from the prospect (Brooks, 1910). In the winter of 1910, shaft sinking was begun on the Willie claim by Lawrence McCarty's sons, Lawrence Junior, age 9 and Willie, age 7. The two boys were assisted by their older sister who acted as surface superintendent (Times Publishing Company, 1912).

Reporter information

Type Date Name Affiliation Comment
Reporter 04-MAY-1999 C.J. Freeman Avalon Development Corporation
Reporter 04-MAY-1999 J.R. Guidetti Schaefer Avalon Development Corporation