Prince Creek Mine, Iditarod District, Yukon-Koyukuk Borough, Alaska, USA
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Geology: The Prince Creek placer deposit extends for about 3 miles in modern alluvium and several levels of ancestral terraces that are developed on its asymmetrical east bank. The stream heads on the southeast flank of Chicken Mountain and lode deposits there are probably the source of the gold The ancestral Prince Creek channel was beheaded by Chicken Creek in Tertiary time. Hence, placer gold and heavy minerals from both Prince and Chicken Creeks have been eroded from the same lode sources on Chicken Mountain (ID107 and ID109) (Bundtzen, Cox, and Veach, 1987, Bundtzen and others,1992; Miller and Bundtzen, 1994). In addition to gold, the principal heavy minerals in concentrates include cinnabar, which is locally very abundant, chromite, ilmenite, zircon, and garnet (Maloney, 1962; Bundtzen, Cox, and Veach, 1987). The garnet only appears in the lowest end of the paystreak where the stream bisects a garnetiferous granite-porphyry sill (Bundtzen and others, 1992). The gold fineness varies from 838 to 886; the bench placers have the highest fineness. The upper section of Prince Creek was mined in 1932 and 1933 (Mertie, 1936). The rocks in the vicinity are banded argillite of the Upper Cretaceous, Kuskokwim Group. The gold-bearing material was mainly monzonite-rich sand overlain by 20 to 30 feet of overburden. Harry Agoff mined on the creek from the 1920s to the early 1950s. His son Alvin Agoff mined on Prince Creek from the late 1950s to about 1990 (Bundtzen and others, 1992). Based on unpublished and published sources, Bundtzen and others (1992) estimated that at least 33,864 ounces of gold and 3,979 ounces of silver were produced from 1913 to 1990.
Workings: Exploration and mining on Prince Creek began in 1913. In 1932 and 1933, upper Prince Creek was mined near the discovery claim (Mertie, 1936). The eastern benches were first developed in the 1930s. Early drift mining of bench placers later gave way to open cut mining methods that relied on large scale hydraulic removal of the overburden (Mertie, 1936). Harry Agoff mined on the creek from the 1920s to the early 1950s. His son Alvin Agoff mined on Prince Creek from the late 1950s to about 1990 (Bundtzen and others, 1992).
Age: Unknown; the older bench placers may be Late Tertiary in age and the modern stream placers are probably Quaternary.
Production: Based on unpublished and published sources, Bundtzen and others (1992) estimated that at least 33,864 ounces of gold and 3,979 ounces of silver were produced from 1913 to 1990.
Reserves: An unidentified placer gold resource probably is present in the eastern bench deposits of Prince Creek.
Commodities (Major) - Au; (Minor) - Ag, Hg, Zr
Development Status: Yes
Deposit Model: Placer Au deposit (Cox and Singer, 1986; model 39a).
7 entries listed. 6 valid minerals.
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Bundtzen, T.K., Cox, B.C., and Veach, N.C., 1987, Heavy mineral provenance studies in the Iditarod and Innoko districts, western Alaska: Process Mineralogy VII, The Metallurgical Society, p. 221-246. Bundtzen, T.K., Miller, M.L., Laird, G.M., and Bull, K.F., 1992, Geology and mineral resources of Iditarod mining district, Iditarod B-4 and eastern B-5 quadrangles, southwestern Alaska: Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys Professional Report 97, 46 p., 2 sheets, scale 1:63,360. Cobb, E.H., 1972, Metallic mineral resources map of the Iditarod quadrangle, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Miscellaneous Field Studies Map MF-363, 1 sheet, scale 1:250,000. Cobb, E.H., 1976, Summary of references to mineral occurrences (other than mineral fuels and construction material) in the Iditarod and Ophir quadrangles, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 76-576, 101 p. Maloney, R.P., 1962, Investigation of mercury-antimony deposits near Flat, Yukon River region, Alaska: U.S. Bureau of Mines Report of Investigations RI 5991, 44 p. Mertie, J.B., Jr., 1936, Mineral deposits of the Ruby-Kuskokwim region, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 864-C, p. 115-245. Miller, M.L., and Bundtzen, T.K., 1994, Generalized geologic map of the Iditarod quadrangle, Alaska showing potassium-argon, major oxide, trace element, fossil, paleocurrent, and archeological sample localities: U.S. Geological Survey Miscellaneous Field Studies Map MF-2219-A, 48 pages; 1 sheet, scale 1:250,000. Miller, M.L., Bundtzen, T.K., and Gray, J.E., 2005, Mineral resource assessment of the Iditarod quadrangle, west-central Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Miscellaneous Field Studies Map MF-2219-B, scale 1:250,000, pamphlet.