Getchell Gold Mine

Producer in Humboldt county in Nevada, United States with commodities Gold, Silver, Arsenic, Tungsten, Antimony, Mercury, Barium-Barite, Molybdenum, Fluorine-Fluorite, Thallium, Tellurium, Bismuth, Tin, Lead, Zinc, Copper

Geologic information

Identification information

Deposit ID 10310488
MRDS ID M055410
Record type Site
Current site name Getchell Gold Mine
Alternate or previous names North Pit, Center pit, South pit
Related records 10310336, 10310490

Comments on the site identification

  • This is the same location as old record M055410. The Getchell property consists of the Getchell, Turquoise Ridge and N Zone deposits. The Main Pit has now encompassed the earlier Central and South Pits.

Geographic coordinates

Point of reference Pit
Geographic coordinates: -117.2513, 41.2079 (WGS84)
Elevation 1710
Relative position The Getchell Mine is located in Potosi Mining District, about 45 miles (70 kilometers) northeast of Winnemucca, Nevada. Access to the property is by paved road from the main Interstate Highway, I-80.
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Geographic areas

Country State County
United States Nevada Humboldt

Public Land Survey System information

Meridian Township Range Section Fraction State
Mount Diablo 038N 042E 04, 09 Nevada
Mount Diablo 039N 42E 28, 29, 32, 33 Nevada

Comments on the location information

  • UTM is to center of Main Pit, which has encompassed earlier South and Central pits.

Commodities

Commodity Importance
Gold Primary
Silver Primary
Arsenic Secondary
Tungsten Tertiary
Antimony Tertiary
Mercury Tertiary
Barium-Barite Tertiary
Molybdenum Tertiary
Fluorine-Fluorite Tertiary
Thallium Tertiary
Tellurium Tertiary
Bismuth Tertiary
Tin Tertiary
Lead Tertiary
Zinc Tertiary
Copper Tertiary

Comments on the commodity information

  • Ore Materials: native gold, native silver, electrum
  • Gangue Materials: realgar, orpiment, pyrite, scheelite, pyrrhotite, arsenopyrite, marcasite, magnetite, stibnite, ilsemmanite, cinnabar, hubnerite, calcite, chabazite, sericite, chlorite, barite, gypsum, fluorite, getchellite, galkhaite, laffittite, arsenolite, guerinite, haidingerite, pharmacolite, weilite, coloradoite, bismuthinite, cassiterite, molybdenite, ferrimolybdite, galena, sphalerite, covellite, chalcocite, garnet, epidote

Materials information

Materials Type of material
Gold Ore
Silver Ore
Electrum Ore
Orpiment Ore
Pyrite Ore
Scheelite Ore
Pyrrhotite Ore
Arsenopyrite Ore
Marcasite Ore
Magnetite Ore
Stibnite Ore
Ilsemannite Ore
Cinnabar Ore
Hubnerite Ore
Calcite Ore
Chabazite Ore
Sericite Ore
Chlorite Ore
Barite Ore
Gypsum Ore
Fluorite Ore
Getchellite Ore
Galkhaite Ore
Laffittite Ore
Arsenolite Ore
Guerinite Ore
Haidingerite Ore
Pharmacolite Ore
Weilite Ore
Coloradoite Ore
Bismuthinite Ore
Cassiterite Ore
Molybdenite Ore
Ferrimolybdite Ore
Galena Ore
Sphalerite Ore
Covellite Ore
Chalcocite Ore
Garnet Ore
Epidote Ore
Realgar Gangue

Alteration

  • (Local) Alteration comments: there is a metamorphic aureole around the Osgood Mountains granodiorite which has produced in the surrounding shaly rocks a mineral assemblage consisting of cordierite-, biotite-, and andalusite-hornfels. Locally limy beds are recrystallized and calc-silicate minerals are developed. Hydrothermal alteration consists chiefly of decarbonatization accompanied by silicification in the limestone beds. Cordierite, andalusite, and biotite of the metamorphic aureole are altered to sericite and/or chlorite. Igneous dikes and portions of the main stock are altered such that plagioclase is altered to sericite and kaolinite and biotite is altered to sericite, chlorite, and pyrite.

Analytical data

Result Average ore grade 0.18-0.23 opt Au

Mineral occurrence model information

Model code 173
USGS model code 26a.1
Deposit model name Sediment-hosted Au
Mark3 model number 17

Host and associated rocks

  • Host or associated Host
    Rock type Sedimentary Rock > Clastic Sedimentary Rock > Shale
    Rock unit name Preble Formation
    Stratigraphic age (youngest) Late Cambrian
    Stratigraphic age (oldest) Middle Cambrian
  • Host or associated Host
    Rock type Sedimentary Rock > Carbonate > Limestone
    Rock type qualifier silty
    Rock unit name Preble Formation
    Stratigraphic age (youngest) Late Cambrian
    Stratigraphic age (oldest) Middle Cambrian
  • Host or associated Associated
    Rock type Plutonic Rock > Granitoid > Granodiorite
    Rock type qualifier hornblende
    Rock unit name Osgood Mountains pluton
    Chronological age 90
    Stratigraphic age (youngest) Late Cretaceous
  • Host or associated Associated
    Rock type Plutonic Rock > Porphyry
    Rock type qualifier granodiorite
    Rock unit name Osgood Mountains pluton
    Chronological age 90
    Stratigraphic age (youngest) Late Cretaceous
  • Host or associated Associated
    Rock type Plutonic Rock > Granitoid > Granodiorite
    Rock type qualifier porphyry
    Rock unit name Osgood Mountains pluton
    Chronological age 90
    Stratigraphic age (youngest) Late Cretaceous

Nearby scientific data

Pit (1) -117.2513, 41.2079

Geologic structures

Type Description Terms
Regional thrust faults to the north and NNW-trending faults.
Local Gold mineralization is generally found at the intersection of a number of high-angle and low-angle fault sets. The low-angle faults and associated folds are the result of Devonian and Permian-age compressional events and the higher angle faults and fracture sets formed during Tertiary extension. Mineralization is both structurally and stratigraphically controlled. The Getchell fault is a zone of overlapping fractures which have an overall strike of N10W. Hotz and Willden (1964) offer evidence for up to 3500 feet of left lateral strike slip displacement and only a relatively small amount of dip slip movement along the Getchell fault. McCollum and McCollum (1991) indicate that the sense of movement on the Getchell fault is right lateral. The Getchell Fault Zone is a complex system of sub-parallel, high angle faults which is at least 500 m wide. The zone is made up of a number of fault planes, separated by brecciated gouge and characterised by intense clay alteration, and by brecciation in the hangingwall.
Local The main Getchell deposit within the fault has been drilled to a depth of 600 m down dip from the original surface, and remains open down dip. There is a 'Main Vein' which is a dominant structure with a distinct footwall, complexed by several conjugate veins to the west. Sub-parallel, mineralised structures have also been found up to 200 m into the footwall of this main structure, while alteration, fault gouge and mineralisation occur up to 500 m to the east into its hangingwall (FirstMiss Gold Inc., 1993). Movement on the Getchell Fault has been both normal and dextral strike-slip (McCollum & McCollum 1990). On the basis of the relative displacement of the Palaeozoic sediments and the Cretaceous granodiorite of the Osgood Mountain Stock it is believed that the Getchell Fault is a reactivated older structure (D Bond, Pers. comm., 1993). The most recent displacement has taken place during the Miocene to present Basin and Range movement, representing further reactivation of an older structure. The fault cuts all three main stratigraphic units found within the pit, as well as the Osgood Mountain Stock. Altered blocks of granodiorite, rimmed by the skarn assemblage, are faulted downwards along the footwall structure into the Getchell Fault Zone and subsequently mineralised with gold (FirstMiss Gold Inc., 1993).

Ore body information

  • General form Individual orebodies are roughly tabular
    Strike NNW
    Dip 40-60E
    Thickness 1000M
    Width 60.96M
    Length 2133.6M

Controls for ore emplacement

  • Economic amounts of gold are restricted to tabular sheet-like zones (termed "veins" by Joralemon) within the Getchell fault zone and within favorable calcareous lithologies.

Comments on the geologic information

  • Geology comments: Bagby and Cline (1991) offer preliminary results from research which indicate that confining pressures on the Getchell ore system varied from approximately 370-430 bars either during, or at some time subsequent to mineralization. These fluid pressures are greater than those which are normally accepted as epithermal.

Economic information

Economic information about the deposit and operations

Operation type Surface
Development status Producer
Commodity type Both metallic and non-metallic
Deposit size Medium
Significant Yes
Discovery year 1933
Discoverer Edward Knight and Emmet Chase
Year of first production 1938
Year of last production 1999
Production years 1938-1945; 1948-1950; 1962-1967; 1985-1999

Mining district

District name Potosi District
District name Getchell District

Land status

Ownership category Private
Ownership category BLM Administrative Area
Area name Winnemucca BLM Administrative District

Ownership information

  • Type Owner-Operator
    Owner Placer Dome Gold
    Year 2003
  • Type Owner-Operator
    Owner Newmont Gold Mining Company
    Year 2003
  • Type Owner-Operator
    Owner First Miss Gold Corp.

Comments on the workings information

  • The mine has been developed by both underground and surface workings at various times during its production history. The Getchell deposit was developed by the North, Center, South, and Hansen Creek Pits. The Getchell underground is fully developed and is accessed from the Getchell open pit via two portals. The Getchell underground has a relatively short remaining mine life based on current proven reserves, although its life may be extended with the lower processing costs, additional exploration drilling, and engineering analysis. Mining methods for the Getchell underground is currently 100% drift-and-fill, as the last of the longhole ore was produced in 2005.

Comments on other economic factors

  • From 1938 to1996 the Getchell property produced 66.8 kilotonnes of gold and more than 1.2 kilotonnes of silver from 18361 kilotonnes of ore. In 1997, the remaining Getchell resource was estimated at 14,400 kilotonnes of ore containing 153 kilotonnes of gold and an unknown amount of silver and arsenic. This resource includes Getchell underground, stockpiles, unmineable resource in Main Pit, and North Getchell underground resource.

Comments on development

  • Prospectors Edward Knight and Emmet Chase discovered gold in 1933 and located the first claims in 1934. With the financial backing of Noble Getchell and George Wingfield, the Getchell Mine, Inc. was organized in 1936 and was brought into production in 1938. In 1938, the mining rate was about 500 tpd of oxide ore and 150 tpd of sulfide ore. Sulfide ore was roasted at 1500 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour and fifteen minutes preparatory to cyanidization. In 1941, a Cottrell electric precipitating unit was installed to save the arsenic that was liberated by roasting the sulfide ore, and in 1943-45, when government wartime restrictions forced the shutdown of many gold producers, Getchell mine was permitted to continue operations as a producer of "strategic" arsenic. In 1943, arsenious oxide was being produced at the rate of 10-25 tpd from furnace fume. Also in 1942, a 227 tonne scheelite flotation plant was built to recover tungsten from Getchell ore. A slack labor supply, and high supply costs forced the gold operations to cease at the end of World War II. The US Bureau of Mines developed a carbon recovery process on site and the mine reopened in 1948 with expanded mill capacity and more underground development, but closed again in mid-1950 when known oxide reserves were exhausted. Gold production was suspended in 1951. From 1951-56, the mill processed tungsten ores mined from throughout the district. Tungsten production ceased in 1957. in 1960, Goldfield Consolidated Mines Co. purchased the interests in Getchell Mine, Inc. from the estates of Wingfield and Getchell. Gold production resumed in June 1962 and continued to December, 1967, when the mine was closed and the mill dismantled. Cyprus Mines formed a joint venture with Goldfield in 1970, with Cyprus as operator. Cyprus dropped the property at the end of 1971. Conoco leased the property from Goldfield in 1972 and completed exploration including over 300 drill holes. Metallurgically difficult sulfide reserves were identified during this program. Conoco subleased the property from 1975 to 1978 to General Electric Co. who conducted tungsten exploration along the margins of the Osgood Stock. In 1981, Conoco purchased the property from Goldfield Corp., but by 1983 had sold the property to First Mississippi for $5 million. At that time the property consisted of 14,100 acres of fee land and almost 5000 acres of unpatented claims, and reserves at the time of purchase were in excess of 750,000 ounces of gold. Mining feasibility and metallurgical studies were initiated in 1984. Heap leaching of waste rock dumps from previous mining operations commenced at the end of fiscal 1985, producing 91 ounces of gold in that fiscal year. By mid-1985, the Getchell property had increased the area of unpatented claims to 13,900 acres. In May, 1987, the board of First Mississippi Corp. authorized open pit mine development and construction of a new mill utilizing autoclave technology to process 3000 tons of ore per day. The mill was completed and production resumed in 1989 combining a traditional cyanide leach circuit with pressure oxidation. The mill started up on oxide ore in February, 1989. Sulfide ore was run through the first pressure oxidation autoclave in April, 1989 followed by the start up of the other two autoclaves in May and June, 1989. By the end of fiscal year 1989, project capital costs stood at $90.3 million, 14% over the June 1987 feasibility study estimate. In fiscal year 1989, overall gold recovery for combined oxide and sulfide mill ores was 89.8%. Heap leaching of waste rock from previous mining operations was completed in fiscal year 1989. Heap leaching continued beyond this date using oxide reserves from the Summer Camp orebody discovered in 1985.
  • Production of oxide open pit ore commenced at the nearby Turquoise Ridge mine in 1991 and in the same year, an underground orebody adjacent to the pit area. This ore was to be mined when the pit level was deep enough to provide lateral access. In 1995, FirstMiss Gold changed its name to Getchell Gold. Underground production commenced at Turquoise Ridge Mine in May 1998. On May 27, 1999 Placer Dome completed a merger with Getchell Gold Corporation, resulting in Placer Dome owning 100% of the Getchell gold property. Gold production has been suspended since July 1999 and the property is on care and maintenance. Production from approximately 58% of the property is subject to a 2% net smelter return royalty payable to Franco Nevada Mining Corporation Ltd. Placer Dome wrote off the carrying value of the property in 2001. On October 25, 2001, Newmont Mining Corporation and Getchell Gold Corporation signed a letter of intent under which Newmont would buy ore from the Getchell mine for processing at Newmont's adjacent Twin Creeks mine.

Reference information

Links to other databases

Agency Database name Acronym Record ID Notes
USGS Mineral Resources Data System MRDS M055410 MRDS dep_id 10040585 merged into this record.

Bibliographic references

  • Deposit

    McCollum, L. B. and McCollum, M., 1991, Paleozoic rocks of the Osgood Mountains, Nevada, in Raines, G. L., et al, eds., Geology and Ore Deposits of the Great Basin, The Geological Society of Nevada, Reno, p. 735-738.

  • Deposit

    Bagby, W. C. and Cline, J. S., 1991, Constraints on the pressure of formation of the Getchell gold deposit, Humboldt County, Nevada, as interpreted from secondary-fluid-inclusion data, in Raines, G. L., et al, eds., Geology and Ore Deposits of the Great Basin, The Geological Society of Nevada, Reno, p. 793-804.

  • Deposit

    Madden-McGuire, D. J., 1991, Stratigraphy of the limestone-bearing part of the lower Cambrian to lower Ordovician Preble Formation near its type locality, Humboldt County, North Central Nevada, in Raines, G. L., et al, eds., Geology and Ore Deposits of the Great Basin, The Geological Society of Nevada, Reno, p. 875-893.

  • Deposit

    Berger, B. R. and Tingley, J. V., 1985, History of discovery, mining, exploration of the Getchell mine, Humboldt County, Nevada, in Hollister, V. F., ed., Discoveries of epithermal precious metal deposits, case histories of mineral discoveries vol. 1, Society of Mining Engineers, New York, P. 49-51.

  • Deposit

    Berger, B. R., 1985 Geological and geochemical relationships at the Getchell Mine and vicinity, Humboldt County, Nevada, in Hollister, V. F., ed., Discoveries of epithermal precious metal deposits, case histories of mineral discoveries vol. 1, Society of Mining Engineers, New York, p. 51-59.

  • Deposit

    Dunning, Gail E., 1988, calcium arsenate minerals new to the Getchell Mine, Nevada, The Mineralogical Record, Vol. 19, No. 4, p. 253-257.

  • Deposit

    Erickson, R. L., Marranzino, A. P., Oda-Uteana, and Janes, W. W., 1964, Geochemical exploration near the Getchell Mine, Humboldt County, Nevada, USGS Bulletin 1198-A, 26 pp.

  • Deposit

    Hardy, R. A., 1940 Geology of the Getchell Mine, AIME Technical Publication No. 1240, 3 Pp.

  • Deposit

    Wise, F. and Wark, C. W., 1940, Metallurgy and milling practice at Getchell Mine, AIME Technical Publication 1260, 9 Pp.

  • Deposit

    First Mississippi Corp., Annual Reports for fiscal years 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991.

  • Deposit

    NBMG, 1994, MI-1993

  • Deposit

    Nevada Division of Minerals, 1994

  • 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

    Getchell - Internet report by Porter Geoconsultancy.

  • Deposit

    Placer Dome Gold Company website, 2003.

General comments

Subject category Comment text
Deposit The known gold deposits within the Getchell Trend are Carlin- type, sediment-hosted, replacement deposits containing micron gold. Gold mineralization at Getchell is associated with a curvilinear fault system that strikes NNW and dips 40? to 75? east, on the eastern flank of the Cretaceous Osgood granodiorite stock. The mineralized fault zone and the Cretaceous granodiorite both cut Palaeozoic sediments of the Cambrian Preble and upper Cambrian to lower Ordovician Comus Formations which both belong to the Transition Assemblage, and the Ordovician Valmy Formation of the Western Assemblage. Thermal metamorphism along the intrusive contact formed tungsten bearing garnet-diopside skarns, passing outwards into wollastonite calc-silicates and marble. In the southern parts of the Getchell Mine area the skarn is about 30 m wide adjacent to the granodiorite contact, passing out into marble. Pelitic shales of the Preble and Comus Formations are thermally metamorphosed to cordierite-andalusite bearing hornfels nearest the contact, grading outwards into a biotite-cordierite-andalusite interval, to an outer biotite zone. The Osgood Stock and associated hornfels and skarns are found in both the footwall and hangingwall of the mineralized fault zones. Gold mineralization is found in a number of different rock types generally at the intersection of a number of high-angle and low-angle fault sets. The low-angle faults and associated folds are the result of Devonian and Permian-age compressional events and the higher angle faults and fracture sets formed during Tertiary extension. Mineralization is both structurally and stratigraphically controlled. Gold is associated with arsenic, mercury, and to a lesser extent antimony, and commonly with pervasive decalcification, silicification and carbonaceous alteration. Gold is micron-scale generally intergrown with arsenical pyrite, which in turn, is encrusted in barren, diagenetic pyrite. Late stage realgar and orpiment are commonly associated with high-grade ores. The main deposit is confined to a zone nearly 7000 ft. long at the northern end of the Getchell fault zone. Deep exploration shows that the mineralization persists at least 1 km down-dip on the Getchell fault system and also occurs along the parallel Village fault. Maximum width of ore is 200 ft., with an average width of 40 ft. Within ore zones, gold occurs as native grains that range in size from <1 micron to nearly 1 mm, with smaller grains more abundant than larger grains. Most of the gold is intimately associated with the fine grained quartz-carbon matrix of the altered rock termed "gumbo" by Joralemon (1951). Of the sulfides, pyrite and marcasite are principal hosts to gold. As of 1951, the gold:silver ratio in bullion ranged from 2:1 to 134:1 and averaged 10:1 for the entire bullion production to that date. Joralemon (1951) observed microscopic metallic grains in the Getchell ore that he concluded were native silver, although the particles were so small that conclusive chemical tests were not possible. No other silver minerals have been recognized except for very rare grains of electrum. Geochemical work at the Getchell mine and vicinity has demonstrated that As-W-Hg anomalies occur in rocks and soils over the arsenic-gold deposits and that these anomalies are not broad haloes but are restricted to the mineralized area. The highest metal contents are found in oxidized iron-rich material along fractures and bedding planes in barren bedrock, lesser values in caliche coatings on exposed bedrock, and lowest but still anomalous values in soil.

Reporter information

Type Date Name Affiliation Comment
Reporter 01-NOV-1975 Gassaway, J. S. Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology
Updater 01-NOV-1988 La Pointe, D. D. Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology
Updater 01-DEC-1992 Phinisey, J. D. (Marcus, S.) U.S. Geological Survey
Updater 01-SEP-1994 Li, Zhiping (Moyer, Lorre A.) U.S. Geological Survey
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.