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Tuluksak River Mine (ARDF - RM028), Aniak District, Bethel Borough, Alaska, USA

Latitude: 61°0'14"N
Longitude: 159°55'48"W
Location: The Tuluksak River has been almost continuously mined by dredge and mechanized equipment for more than 8 miles downstream from the mouth of California Creek to about a mile upstream from the mouth of Granite Creek. Somewhat arbitrarily, the coordinates for the mine are placed near the center of the mining on the river near Nyac, which was the location of the headquarters town of the New York-Alaska Company that mined the Tuluksak River for many years and remains the headquarters camp for current mining. The town is in the northwest corner of section 33, T. 11 N., R. 60 W. The mine is locality 17 of Hoare and Cobb (1972, 1977).
Geology: Gold was first discovered in the Nyac district on Bear Creek (RM032)-- a tributary of the Tuluksak River--near the mouth of Bonanza Creek in 1907 or 1908 and soon after gold was discovered on the Tuluksak River. Dredging began on the Tuluksak River in 1936 and for many years the mining in the district, which was mainly on the Tuluksak River, was carried out by the New York-Alaska Company and its successor the New York-Alaska Gold Dredging Company. The company built a company town, Nyac and an extensive physical plant and community facilities including a hydroelectric power station to power the dredges, the town, and other mining in the district. In 1965, the property was taken over by the Tuluksak Dredging Company and since 1990, the Nyac Mining Company has been actively mining in the area under an agreement with the Calista Native Corporation, which now owns most of the placer claims in the district. Parts from a small wood-hulled dredge that had operated on Bear Creek between 1928 and 1935 were used to build a steel-hulled dredge on the Tuluksak River in 1936. In 1937, another steel-hulled dredge was built and began mining (Mining World, 1941). Dredging continued in the 1960's by the New York-Alaska Dredging Company. There has also been extensive mechanized mining using draglines, tractors, and non-floating washing plants over the years along the Tuluksak. As of 2006, the Tuluksak River is marked by dredge tailings a thousand feet or more wide that extend almost continuously from the mouth of California Creek to about five miles below Nyac. In recent years, there apparently has been little mining along the Tuluksak River itself. However in the early 1980's, Tuluksak Dredging and Northland Dredging rebuilt the steel-hulled dredge about 5 miles downstream from Nyac; they operated it for a year or more until they shut down as a result of a water-quality dispute. There apparently is no public record of it but the conventional wisdom in 2006 among those familiar with the district was that Northland Dredging had drilled out reserves that contained--still contain?-- about 37,000 ounces of gold in the vicinity of their dredge above the mouth of Granite Creek (D.J. Grybeck, conversations with miners and knowledgeable individuals during field work, 2006). There is no public record of the production specifically from the Tuluksak River. But the district produced a minimum of 600,000 ounces of gold (Calista Corp, 2008), all from placers, and a large part of that, perhaps more than half, came from the Tuluksak River judging on the extent of the tailings. Joesting (1942) reported that some platinum was produced with the gold and that asbestos and graphite were dredged from bedrock. There is no evidence that a any significant amount of platinum was produced. Inquiries in 2006 about platinum ( D.J. Grybeck, conversations with local miners) at best indicated a vague knowledge that someone may have found some platinum in the gold placers but it has not been a component of placer concentrates in recent years. Most of the rocks in the drainage basin of the Tuluksak River are hornfelsed or metamorphosed Jurassic volcanic and sedimentary rocks cut by mid-Cretaceous granitic plutons and Jurassic gabbro (Box and others, 1993; Wenz, 2005).
Workings: Gold was first discovered in the Nyac district on Bear Creek (RM032)-- a tributary of the Tuluksak River--near the mouth of Bonanza Creek in 1907 or 1908 and soon after gold was discovered on the Tuluksak River. Dredging began on the Tuluksak River in 1936 and for many years the mining in the district, which was mainly on the Tuluksak River, was carried out by the New York-Alaska Company and its successor the New York-Alaska Gold Dredging Company. The company built a company town, Nyac and an extensive physical plant and community facilities including a hydroelectric power station to power the dredges, the town, and other mining in the district. In 1965, the property was taken over by the Tuluksak Dredging Company and since 1990, the Nyac Mining Company has been actively mining in the area under an agreement with the Calista Native Corporation, which now owns most of the placer claims in the district. Parts from a small wood-hulled dredge that had operated on Bear Creek between 1928 and 1935 were used to build a steel-hulled dredge on the Tuluksak River in 1936. In 1937, another steel-hulled dredge was built and began mining (Mining World, 1941). Dredging continued in the 1960's by the New York-Alaska Dredging Company. There has also been extensive mechanized mining using draglines, tractors, and non-floating washing plants over the years along the Tuluksak. As of 2006, the Tuluksak River is marked by dredge tailings a thousand feet or more wide that extend almost continuously from the mouth of California Creek to about five miles below Nyac. In recent years, there apparently has been little mining along the Tuluksak River itself. However in the early 1980's, Tuluksak Dredging and Northland Dredging rebuilt the steel-hulled dredge about 5 miles downstream from Nyac; they operated it for a year or more until they shut down as a result of a water-quality dispute.
Age: Quaternary.
Production: There is no public record of the production specifically from the Tuluksak River. But the district produced a minimum of 600,000 ounces of gold (Calista Corp, 2008), all from placers, and a large part of that, perhaps more than half, came from the Tuluksak River judging on the extent of the tailings. Joesting (1942) reported that some platinum was produced with the gold and that asbestos and graphite were dredged from bedrock. There is no evidence that a any significant amount of platinum was produced. Inquiries in 2006 about platinum ( D.J. Grybeck, conversations with local miners) at best indicated a vague knowledge that someone may have found some platinum in the gold placers but it has not been a component of placer concentrates in recent years.
Reserves: There apparently is no public record of it but the conventional wisdom in 2006 among those familiar with the district was that Northland Dredging had drilled out reserves that contained--still contain?-- about 37,000 ounces of gold in the vicinity of their dredge above the mouth of Granite Creek (D.J. Grybeck, conversations with miners and knowledgeable individuals during field work, 2006).

Commodities (Major) - Au; (Minor) - Pt
Development Status: Yes; medium
Deposit Model: Placer Au (Cox and Singer, 1986; model 39a).

References

Box, S. E, Moll-Stalcup, E. J., Frost, T. P., and Murphy, J. M., 1993, Preliminary geologic map of the Bethel and southern Russian Mission quadrangles, southwestern Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Miscellaneous Field Studies Map MF-2226-A, 20 p., scale 1:250,000. Calista Corporation, 2008: http://www.calistacorp.com/landresources/projects/nyacdistrict.asp [Link dead. Jul 2011] (as of March 4, 2008). Hoare, J M., and Cobb, E.H., 1972, Metallic mineral resources map of the Russian Mission quadrangle, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Miscellaneous Field Studies Map MF-444, 1 sheet, scale 1:250,000. Hoare, J.M., and Cobb, E.H., 1977, Mineral occurrences (other than mineral fuels and construction materials) in the Bethel, Goodnews, and Russian Mission quadrangles, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 77-156, 98 p. Joesting, H.R., 1942, Strategic mineral occurrences in interior Alaska: Alaska Territorial Department of Mines Pamphlet 1, 46 p. Maddren, A.G., 1915, Gold placers of the lower Kuskokwim, with a note on copper in the Russian Mountains: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 622-H, p. 292-360. Mining World, 1941, Nyac, Sub-arctic gold dredging makes unusual demands upon men and equipment: Mining World, v. 3, no. 6, p. 3-8. Wenz, J.J. 2005, An investigation of the geology and gold mineralization in the Nyac district, Southwest Alaska: Bureau of Land Management Open-File Report 103, 156 p.

Mineral List

Gold


1 entry listed. 1 valid mineral.

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