Copper Basin Open Pit Mine Area

Past Producer in Lander county in Nevada, United States with commodities Copper, Gold, Molybdenum, Silver, Lead, Zinc

Geologic information

Identification information

Deposit ID 10310327
MRDS ID W002666
Record type Deposit
Current site name Copper Basin Open Pit Mine Area
Alternate or previous names Copper King Mine, Sweet Marie Mine, Widow Mine, Contention Mine, Carissa Mine, Copper Queen Mine, part of the current ICBM/Copper Basin property

Comments on the site identification

  • This prospect encompasses the historic Copper Basin Mine area, described in earlier MRDS records # W002666 and others from which material has been incorporated into this record and additional new material has been added.

Geographic coordinates

Geographic coordinates: -117.0365, 40.61212 (WGS84)
Elevation 1710
Relative position The Copper Basin open pit mine is located on the east side of Battle Mountain, about 2 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 032N 044E 28 29 32 33 Nevada

Comments on the location information

  • The Copper Basin open pit mine is located on the north side of Long Canyon, on the east side of Battle Mountain, about 2 miles southwest of the town of Battle Mountain. The ICBM/Copper Basin property consists of 195 unpatented mineral claims in Lander and Humboldt Counties, Nevada in two land blocks. The claims have a general north-south orientation and cover portions of section 25 in Township 32N, Range 43E; sections 5, 8, 17, 18, 19, 20, 29 and 30 in Township 32N, Range 44E; section 1 in Township 31N, Range 43E; and section 6 in Township 31N, Range 44E.


Commodity Importance
Copper Primary
Gold Primary
Molybdenum Secondary
Silver Secondary
Lead Secondary
Zinc Secondary

Comments on the commodity information

  • Ore Materials: chalcocite, chalcopyrite, sphalerite, galena, gold , silver locally, molybdenite bismuthinite; malachite, azurite, turquoise in oxidized zones,
  • Gangue Materials: arsenopyrite, pyrite, pyrrhotite, marcasite, garnet, tremolite, epidote

Materials information

Materials Type of material
Chalcocite Ore
Chalcopyrite Ore
Sphalerite Ore
Galena Ore
Gold Ore
Silver Ore
Molybdenite Ore
Bismuthinite Ore
Malachite Ore
Azurite Ore
Turquoise Ore
Arsenopyrite Gangue
Pyrite Gangue
Pyrrhotite Gangue
Marcasite Gangue
Garnet Gangue
Tremolite Gangue
Epidote Gangue


  • (Local) Strong-potassic, silicic, sericitic, propylitic, pyretic alteration of host granodiorite to quartz monzonite porphyry

Mineral occurrence model information

Model code 58
USGS model code 18a
Deposit model name Porphyry Cu, skarn-related
Mark3 model number 9

Host and associated rocks

  • Host or associated Host
    Rock type Sedimentary Rock > Clastic Sedimentary Rock > Sandstone
    Rock unit name Harmony Formation
    Stratigraphic age (youngest) Late Cambrian
  • Host or associated Host
    Rock type Sedimentary Rock > Clastic Sedimentary Rock > Siltstone
    Rock unit name Battle Formation
    Stratigraphic age (youngest) Middle Pennsylvanian
  • Host or associated Host
    Rock type Sedimentary Rock > Carbonate > Limestone
    Rock unit name Antler Peak Formation
    Stratigraphic age (youngest) Early Permian
    Stratigraphic age (oldest) Late Pennsylvanian
  • Host or associated Host
    Rock type Sedimentary Rock > Clastic Sedimentary Rock > Shale
    Rock type qualifier calcareous
    Rock unit name Antler Peak Formation
    Stratigraphic age (youngest) Early Permian
    Stratigraphic age (oldest) Late Pennsylvanian
  • Host or associated Associated
    Rock type Plutonic Rock > Granitoid > Granodiorite
    Rock type qualifier porphyry
    Stratigraphic age (youngest) Cretaceous
    Stratigraphic age (oldest) Tertiary
  • Host or associated Associated
    Rock type Plutonic Rock > Granitoid > Quartz Monzonite
    Rock type qualifier porphyry
    Stratigraphic age (youngest) Cretaceous
    Stratigraphic age (oldest) Tertiary
  • Host or associated Associated
    Rock type Plutonic Rock > Porphyry
    Rock type qualifier granodiorite to quartz monzonite
    Stratigraphic age (youngest) Cretaceous
    Stratigraphic age (oldest) Tertiary

Nearby scientific data

(1) -117.0365, 40.61212

Geologic structures

Type Description Terms
Local North-south-trending fractures exert minor control on mineralization. Low angle NNE-and NNW-trending-faults have been important in localizing supergene ore bodies.
Regional Major deformation of the Paleozoic rocks occurred during the Mississippian Antler and Late Permian -Early Triassic Sonoma orogenies before the intrusive and mineralization events occurred.

Ore body information

  • General form irregular, blanket, tabular

Controls for ore emplacement

  • A fracture set trending N70 degrees west is a dominant ore control

Comments on the geologic information

  • Siliceous clastic rocks of the Cambrian Harmony Formation underlie the Copper Basin area that forms part of the upper plate of the Roberts Mountains allochthon, emplaced during the Antler Orogeny, Devonian-early Mississippian (Roberts, 1964). The Roberts Mountains allochthon is comprised of several thrust slices and is represented in the Copper Basin area by at least two members. The sole fault, the Roberts Mountains thrust, is not exposed beneath the Ordovician Valmy Formation. The upper member, the DeWitt thrust, juxtaposes Cambrian Harmony Formation on top of the Ordovician Valmy Formation. The nearest outcrop of Valmy Formation lies two miles to the west. There is a possibility that a third thrust member is present between the Harmony and Valmy Formations, but deep drilling would be required to determine this relationship. Within the immediate property boundaries the Cambrian Harmony is the principal rock formation and consists of feldspathic and micaceous, locally calcareous sandstone and interbedded shale. The Harmony has been intruded locally by diabasic to granitic dikes and sills. While locally folded, regionally the Harmony Formation forms a north-striking easterly dipping homoclinal sequence. Where rocks are proximal to the various intrusives, they are metamorphosed to quartzite, hornfels and skarns. The Harmony has been intruded by at least seven episodes of igneous intrusion. The earliest, a Devonian and/or Ordovician age diabase, is found in the southwest portion of the project near the site of the Buckingham camp. The next earliest is the Cretaceous monzogranitic porphyry and is the principal host rock of a stockwork molybdenite resource. The molybdenite mineralization is thought to be genetically related to these monzogranitic stocks. The other intrusives are Tertiary monzogranite, granodiorite, and leucogranite dikes, sills, and stocks.

Economic information

Economic information about the deposit and operations

Operation type Surface-Underground
Development status Past Producer
Deposit size Small
Significant Yes
Discovery year >1875
Year of first production >1875

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 2006

Reserves and resources

  • Type In-situ
    Estimate year 1973
    Commodity Subtype Grade units Group Importance Year
    Copper 0.8 wt-pct Copper Primary 1973
    Gold 0.31 g/mt Gold Primary 1973
    Silver 734.127 g/mt Silver Secondary 1973

Comments on the workings information

  • Earlier underground workings were mostly obliterated by large later open pit developments

Comments on other economic factors

  • Copper Basin area mines production: Carissa, 1936-54: 9104 tons of ore yielding 4543 ounces of gold, 19,574 ounces of silver and 538,957 pounds of copper. Contention, 1927-54: 8078 tons of ore yielding 89 ounces of gold, 2908 ounces of silver and 119,231 pounds of copper.; and an unknown amount of production in 1966-1981 Copper King: 1936-54: 7045 tons of ore yielding 1980 ounces of gold, 22,614 ounces of silver and 371,976 pounds of copper. Copper Queen: 1917-51: 11,830 tons of ore yielding 100 ounces of gold, 3554 ounces of silver and 1,523,235 pounds of copper. Copper Basin area mines rendowment, reserves and resources: In 1996: Carissa and Contention had a combined endowment (1927-1954, 1966-1981 production plus reserve) of 40,522 ounces of gold, 381,385 ounces of silver, and 96,921,701 pounds of copper. In 1996, Sweet Marie had an endowment (1929-1954, 1966-1967 production plus reserve) of 138 ounces of gold, 6,220 ounces of silver, and 9,298,383 pounds of copper. In 1996 the Copper Queen had an endowment (1917-1951 production plus reserve) of 100 ounces of gold, 3,654 ounces of silver, and 28,722,635 pounds of copper.

Comments on development

  • The ICBM/Copper Basin project is located in the northern part of the Battle Mountain Mining District near the northwest limit of the Battle Mountain-Eureka Trend. The Battle Mountain district has been the source of base and precious metal production since the late 1800s. In the 1960s Duval Corporation developed and began mining several porphyry-skarn copper-gold deposits located at Copper Canyon in the southern part of the district and the Copper Basin located in the northern part of the district. Continued exploration in the 1970s and 1980s led to the discovery of gold-silver, skarn-replacement deposits that are spatially related to the copper-gold deposits. Battle Mountain Gold Company was spun off from Duval Corporation to develop these deposits (Tomboy, Minnie, Fortitude in the Copper Canyon area; Surprise, Labrador, and Bailey Day in the Copper Basin area). Battle Mountain Gold (now Newmont Mining Corporation) has had continued exploration success and has developed and mined other deposits (Midas, Reona, Phoenix) primarily in the southern Copper Canyon porphyry system within the Battle Mountain district. A total gold resource (including past production and current reserves) of approximately 9 million ounces has been discovered in the Battle Mountain mining district. The reserve/resource at the Phoenix deposit stands (2002) at approximately 6 million ounces at a grade of 0.034 opt Au. The area encompassed by Duval's Copper Basin open pit deposit was earlier the site of several mines, including the Copper King, Sweet Marie, Contention, Carissa, Copper Queen area and Blue Gem Turquoise, (and nearby Surprise, Labrador, and Bailey Day Mines covered in a separate MRDS record). It was acquired by Copper Canyon Mining Co. in 1916 and worked intermittently by various lessees until takeover by Duval in the early 1960s. Later it was operated by Battle Mountain Gold Co. for a number of years. Copper-gold-silver ore from the Copper Basin pit was mainly produced from a secondarily-enriched orebody, which was placed on dumps with the copper-laden waters treated at a nearby leach plant. From 1977 until the 1990s, copper production was curtailed due to a depressed copper market, and for a time gold was the only commodity being produced. Much of the property was recently acquired by Newmont Gold as it ramped up development of its Phoenix Project. In 2004, the ICBM 65 claims were owned by LAC Minerals (USA) Inc which was bought by Barrick Gold. The Copper Basin claim group had 3 owners: Battle Mountain Gold Company owned 42 of the claims, Union Pacific Mining Corporation owned 46, and the remaining 42 claims were owned by Rocky Mountain Energy Corporation (RMEC).

Reference information

Bibliographic references

  • Age

    Theodore, T.G., Silberman, M.L., and Blake, D.W., 1973, Geochemistry and potassium-argon ages of plutonic rocks in the Battle Mountain mining district, Lander County, Nevada: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 798?A, 24 p.

  • Deposit

    Blake, D W; Theodore, T.G.; Batchelder, J.N; and Kretschmer, E.L.; 1979; Structural Relations of Igneous Rocks and Mineralization in the Battle Mountain Mining District, Lander Co., Nev.; in Papers on Mineral Deposits of Western North America; NBMG Report 33.

  • Geology

    Theodore T G, Blake D W, Kretschmer E L 1983 - Geology of the Copper Canyon porphyry copper deposits: in Titley S R 1983 Advances in Geology of the Porphyry Copper Deposits, Southwestern North America University of Arizona Press, Tucson pp 543-550

  • Deposit

    Sayers, R.W., Tippett, M.C., and Fields, E.D, 1968, The Ore Deposits at Copper Canyon and Copper Basin, Lander County, Nevada: Paper Delivered At The Annual AIME Meeting, N.Y.

  • Geology

    Wotruba P R, Benson R G, Schmidt K W, 1988 - Geology of the Fortitude gold-silver skarn deposit, Copper Canyon, Lander County, Nevada: in Schafer R W, Cooper J J, Vikre P G (Eds), 1988 Bulk Mineable Precious Metal Deposits of the Western United States Geol Soc of Nevada, Reno, pp 159-171

  • 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 CR 459-B.

  • Geology

    Blake, D.W., Kretschmer, E.L., and Theodore, T.G., 1978, Geology and mineralization of the Copper Canyon deposits, Lander County, Nevada, in Shave, D.R., ed., Guidebook to mineral deposits of the Central Great Basin: Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology Rep

  • 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.

  • Geology

    Doebrich, J.L., and Theodore, T.G., 1996, Geologic history of the Battle Mountain mining district, Nevada, and regional controls on the distribution of mineral systems, in Coyner, A.R., and Fahey, P.L., eds., Geology and ore deposits of the American Cordillera.

  • 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.

  • Geology

    Ivosevich, S.W., and Theodore, T.G., 1996, Weakly developed porphyry system at Upper Paiute Canyon, Battle Mountain mining district, Nevada, in Coyner, A.R., and Fahey, P.L., eds., Geology and ore deposits of the American Cordillera: Reno, Geological Society of America

  • Deposit

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

  • Geology

    Theodore, T.G., Blake, D.W., Loucks, T.A., and Johnson G.A., 1992, Geology of the Buckingham stockwork molybdenum deposit and surrounding area, Lander County, Nevada: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 798?D, 24 p.

General comments

Subject category Comment text
Deposit Two main types of mineralization occur on the property. Ore grade mineralization is localized along contacts of the Cambrian sediments with altered granodiorite and also occurs in a series of high-angle north-northeast trending silicified structures. The ore minerals in both types are pyrite, galena, sphalerite and lesser amounts of chalcopyrite, marcasite and stibnite. Silicification also occurs within the fault zones and immediately adjacent to skarn units. The historically mined copper orebody consisted of replacement and fracture fillings in hypogene ore, but the dominant type of ore is secondarily-enriched. Ore is hosted by contact metamorphosed rocks (sandstone, siltstone, limestone, calcareous shale) of the Harmony Formation, Battle Formation and Antler Peak Formation, although most ore is confined to the Harmony Formation. The deposits in the Copper Basin area all occur within the Harmony Formation. The gold-copper and gold mineralization have developed due to metamorphic and metasomatic processes resulting from the emplacement of the late-Cretaceous monzonite porphyry. Later mid-Oligocene igneous activity may have produced a gold-only phase of mineralization (Schmidt et al., 1988) (Table 8.1). North-south elongate bodies that tend to be conformable with bedding occur as calcic-skarns and silica-pyrite bodies. The skarns occur as garnet and garnet-pyroxene-amphibole assemblages with varying degrees of retrograde alteration (Schmidt, 1988). Porphyry copper deposits in the copper zone surrounding a central molybdenum zone underwent supergene enrichment to create the Contention, Carissa, Copper Queen, Widow, and Sweet Marie copper deposits. The Copper Basin area has produced considerable amounts of copper, gold, and silver from supergene-enriched porphyry copper, skarn, replacement, and distal disseminated deposits, all of which are hosted in calcareous rocks of the Late Cambrian Harmony Formation and/or Middle Pennsylvanian Battle Formation. The proximity of the Late Cretaceous Buckingham stockwork molybdenum system, the early Oligocene Paiute Canyon Mo-Cu porphyry system, and other Tertiary dikes and stocks in the area makes it difficult to establish with certainty a direct relationship between deposits and mineral systems from which they were derived. Gold skarn ore at the Surprise Mine and distal disseminated silver-gold ore associated with silica-pyrite alteration at the Empire Mine may be related genetically to the Late Cretaceous Buckingham stockwork molybdenum system. There is some suggestion, however, that there was a subsequent low-temperature epithermal overprint in some of the ores in the Empire Mine. Gold-silver skarn at the Labrador Mine apparently is associated with late Eocene or early Oligocene porphyritic leucogranite of the Paiute Canyon porphyry Mo-Cu system. The Paiute Canyon system consists of four 38- to 39-Ma intrusive bodies aligned along a N 40? W trend and emplaced into the Harmony
General ******SEE Related Deposits- Copper Canyon Porphyry Copper Deposit- Deposit ID 10310307 Battle Mountain Copper Basin (Plant)-Deposit ID 10295563 Battle Mountain (Plant)-Deposit ID 10125555 Battle Mountain Complex (Plant)-Deposit ID 10295443 Phoenix Project-Deposit ID 10310421 Copper Basin Skarn Deposits-Deposit ID 10310303 Fortitude Mine- Deposit ID 10310329

Reporter information

Type Date Name Affiliation Comment
Reporter 01-DEC-2006 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.