Copper Canyon Placers

Producer in Lander county in Nevada, United States with commodities Gold, Silver

Geologic information

Identification information

Deposit ID 10310308
MRDS ID M231318
Record type Site
Current site name Copper Canyon Placers
Alternate or previous names Annex Claim, Big Nugget Claim, Comet Claim, Homestake Claim, Guy Davis Claim, Estes Claim, Gold Crown Claim, Oversite (Oversight) Claim, Sunrise Fraction Claim, Camp Dahl and Christensen (Grand Hills Mining Co.), Wilson Placer, Greenan Placer, Natomas placer operations
Related records 10044004

Comments on the site identification

  • This prospect encompasses the historic Copper Canyon Placer Mines described in earlier MRDS records # M231318 and MRDS # M046568 from which all material has been incorporated into this record and additional new material has been added.

Geographic coordinates

Geographic coordinates: -117.13095, 40.53101 (WGS84)
Elevation 1830
Relative position The Copper Canyon Placers are located 12 miles southwest of the town of Battle Mountain.
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Geographic areas

Country State County
United States Nevada Lander

Public Land Survey System information

Meridian Township Range Section Fraction State
Mount Diablo 031N 043E 33 28 21 Nevada

Comments on the location information

  • The Copper Canyon Placers are located 1 1/3 miles up from the mouth of Copper Canyon. In 1939 the placer claims covered 2,600 acres.


Commodity Importance
Gold Primary
Silver Secondary

Comments on the commodity information

  • Ore Materials: free gold

Materials information

Materials Type of material
Gold Ore

Mineral occurrence model information

Model code 119
USGS model code 39a
BC deposit profile C01. C02
Deposit model name Placer Au-PGE
Mark3 model number 54

Host and associated rocks

  • Host or associated Host
    Rock type Unconsolidated Deposit > Gravel
    Rock type qualifier stream
    Stratigraphic age (youngest) Quaternary
  • Host or associated Host
    Rock type Unconsolidated Deposit > Gravel
    Rock type qualifier alluvial fan
    Stratigraphic age (youngest) Quaternary

Nearby scientific data

(1) -117.13095, 40.53101

Ore body information

  • General form blanket, channels, lenticular sheets

Controls for ore emplacement

  • Gold-bearing material is localized in the main channels with some work on benches.

Economic information

Economic information about the deposit and operations

Operation type Surface
Development status Producer
Commodity type Metallic
Deposit size Small
Significant Yes
Discovery year 1909
Discoverer Guy Davis
Year of first production 1909
Year of last production 1990
Production years 1909-1911; 1920s-1930s; 1981-1990?

Mining district

District name Battle Mountain District

Land status

Ownership category Private
Ownership category BLM Administrative Area
Area name Battle Mountain BLM Administrative District

Ownership information

  • Type Owner-Operator
    Owner Newmont Mining Corp.
    Year 2004

Comments on the workings information

  • Workings consist of open pit dragline dredging operations. Early mining included drifting and sluicing.

Comments on other economic factors

  • Unknown production in the 1909-1940 period. Production attributed to the 1947-1955 dredging activity is estimated at 100,000 ounces of gold. Remaining reserves of placer material are unknown.

Comments on development

  • Guy Davis made the first placer discovery in Copper Canyon in 1909, followed by James Dahl in 1911 on the fan below the canyon mouth. Placer operations were carried from the mouth of Copper Canyon upstream about 1.3 miles. The many claims in this valley are treated collectively. James Dahl and H. C. Christensen began drift mining the Copper Canon fan placer deposits in 1911 and continued until 1920. In 1932, D. Wilson took over property and worked gold-bearing gravels near bedrock. The most productive periods of placer activity in the Canyon were 1909-11, the 1920s, and the 1930s. In 1935, Grand Hills Mining Company installed a mechanical washing plant and other lessees worked property with dwindling returns through the 1930s, until J. O. Greenan bought it in 1939. He began a systematic churn-drilling program and proved a large volume of gold-bearing gravel down and across fan. He sold property to Natomas Company in 1941. This was the beginning of the largest placer operation in the district. World War II interrupted operations until 1946, when a drag-line dredge was used to mine gravels in the upper part of fan until 1948. In 1949, a bucket-line dredge with a 9,000 cubic yard per day capacity was put into operation, dredging to a 110-foot depth. Drill holes permitted plotting of gold distribution within the fan to optimize production. None of these claims was being worked in 1955. During 1987, Battle Mountain Gold Co. carried out a pilot-scale testing program to evaluate the feasibility of a placer operation on the known placer gold resource. Battle Mountain Gold Co. started up production in late 1988. Persistent materials handling problems hindered operations and gold production in 1989 was minimal. The production target for 1990 was 10,000 ounces of gold.

Reference information

Bibliographic references

  • Deposit

    Theodore, T.G., and Blake, D.W., 1975, Geology and Geochemistry of the Copper Canyon Porphyry Copper Deposit and Surrounding Area, Lander County, Nevada: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 798-B, p. B10.

  • Deposit

    Huttl, J.B., 1950, How Natomas Keeps a Large Dredge Operating in the Desert: Engineering and Mining Journal, v. 135, no. 4, p. 173.

  • Deposit

    Stager, H.K, 1977, Geology and Mineral Deposits of Lander County, Nevada, Part II, Mineral Deposits: Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology Bulletin 88p. 67.

  • Deposit

    Vanderburg, W.O., 1939, Reconnaissance of Mining Districts in Lander County, Nevada: U.S. Bureau Of Mines Information Circular 7043, p. 33-34.

  • Deposit

    Roberts, R.J., and Arnold, D.C., 1965, Ore Deposits of the Antler Peak Quadrangle, Humboldt and Lander Counties, Nevada: U.S.G.S. Prof. Paper 459-B.

  • Deposit

    Johnson, M.G., 1973, Placer Gold Deposits of Nevada, USGS Bull. 1356.

  • Deposit

    Battle Mountain Gold Co., 1988, Annual Report for 1987.

  • Deposit

    Battle Mountain Gold Co., 1990, Annual Report for 1989.

  • Deposit

    Long, K.R., DeYoung, J.H., Jr., and Ludington, S.D., 1998, Database of significant deposits of gold, silver, copper, lead, and zinc in the United States; Part A, Database description and analysis; part B, Digital database: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 98-206, 33 p., one 3.5 inch diskette.

  • Deposit

    Doebrich, Jeff, 1995, Geology and Mineral Deposits of the Antler Peak n7.5-minute quadrangle, Lander County, Nevada, NBMG Bull 109, 44 p.

  • Deposit

    Geological Society of Nevada, 1999, Geology and Gold Mineralization of the Buffalo Valley Area, Northwestern Battle Mountain Trend; GSN Special Publication No. 31, 1999 Fall field trip Guidebook.

  • Deposit

    Wendt, Clancy, 2004, Technical Report on the? ICBM/COPPER BASIN Property, Lander and Humboldt Counties, Nevada, Staccato Gold website, :

General comments

Subject category Comment text
Deposit The main channel consisted of an 18-inch thick basal gravel layer overlain by a 3-foot-thick gold-bearing layer of sediments. The gold is coarse and angular, often containing inclusions of quartz and rock. The principal placer channel was 8-10 feet wide at "the narrows" at the 5500 foot elevation and it widened upstream to 25-30 feet at the site of the Copper Canyon Mine camp at 5562 foot elevation, and then gradually narrowed again. The pay channel was as much as 4.5 feet thick, consisting of a basal gravel layer 18 inches thick of quartz monzonite porphyry boulders and a little gold, overlain by a 3 foot-thick gold-bearing layer of sediments derived from the quartzite and hornfels of the Harmony and Battle Formations. Alluvium is 20-100 ft thick with best ore near bedrock.Gold is relatively coarse with nuggets up to 5 ounces found. One nugget weighed about 21 ounces. In the upper part of the fan, high-grade gravels form lenticular sheet-like bodies overlain by barren material farther down the fan. The richer gravels are in small thin lenses scattered throughout the section.

Reporter information

Type Date Name Affiliation Comment
Reporter 01-FEB-2005 LaPointe, D.D. Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology
Editor 01-SEP-2007 Schruben, Paul G. U.S. Geological Survey Converted from S&A FileMaker format to Oracle. Edit checks on rocks, units, and ages with Geolex search, and other fields.