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Lincoln Mine (Lincoln claim; Stewart claim; Belmont claim), Lincoln Consolidated Mine (Lincoln Mine; Wildman Mine; Mahoney Mine; South Mahoney Mine; Steward Mine; Belmont Mine; Wildman-Mahoney Mine), Sutter Creek, Jackson-Plymouth District, Mother Lode Belt, Amador Co., California, USA

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A former lode Au-Ag mine located in secs. 6, 7 & 8, T6N, R11E, MDM, 0.8 km (0.5 mile) NNW of Sutter Creek (town) proper (just outside the northern town limit), ENE of the Amador County High School, along the E side of highway 49. Discovered in 1851. Owned by Sutter Gold Mining Inc., 877 N. 8th W. Riverton, Wyoming 82501 USA. Operated by Sierra Nevada Recreation Corp. P.O. Box 78, Vallecito, California 95251.

The Lincoln Mine is located one mile southeast of Amador City in the famous Mother Lode Gold Belt in the Sierra Nevada foothills of western Amador County. While the mine is technically in the smaller Sutter Creek district, the uniform nature of gold mineralization with neighboring districts has caused some authors to consolidate this district with the Jackson - Plymouth district (Clark, 1970). The Jackson-Plymouth District was the most productive district of the Mother Lode belt with an estimated total production of about $180 million (Clark, 1970). The Lincoln Mine for many years was one of the most productive in the state and is credited with being the source of much of Leland Stanford's wealth that he later used to partner in the construction of the Central Pacific Railroad, and to found Stanford University.

The mine included the Lincoln, Stewart, and Belmont claims. It developed typical Mother Lode northerly trending and easterly dipping hydrothermal quartz veins carrying free milling gold and auriferous sulfides within a narrow band of the Mariposa Formation slate which trends northward through western Amador County. Secondary ores included low-grade auriferous greenstone and amphibolite schist. The principle producing vein was the Lincoln vein which produced rich ore to a depth of 350, at which depth the vein was faulted out and could not be relocated. However, by this time, the Lincoln the mine had produced about $2.2 million (Clark, 1970).

In 1906, the Lincoln Mine acquired the adjoining Wildman - Mahoney Mine and consolidated it with their operations, renaming the combined operations the Lincoln Consolidated Mines. Little new ore was found on the Lincoln, Wildman, or Mahoney claims and the mines were shut down in 1912.

Most of the important lode gold deposits in Amador County Mother lode were discovered in the 1850s while rich Tertiary placer deposits were being worked. The Lincoln Mine was located in 1851 and originally named the Union Mine. It was the first lode mine discovered at Sutter creek.

Upon Leland Stanford's arrival in the Mother Lode, he bought into and became a partner in the Union Mine which he later renamed the Lincoln Mine. The mine became one of the principal sources of Leland Stanford's fortune, having owned the controlling majority of shares between 1859 and 1872. In its early years of operations, however, problems plagued the mine and he was ready to sell his interest for $5,000, but could not find a buyer. Fortunately, the mine foreman talked him out of it. Shortly after, a big strike was made and the Lincoln Mine became a bonanza. In the 1860s, the Lincoln Mine had two shafts, one 669 feet deep and another at 270 feet deep, and is said to have produced 3500 tons of ore annually from 1851-1867, except for two years (Logan, 1927). Ore was worked in a 20 stamp mill. Stanford became a wealthy man and went on to become a US senator, California Governor, founder of Stanford University, and partner in the central Pacific Railroad. He ultimately sold his interest for $400,000. The mine paid handsomely to a depth of 350 feet, but at that depth a fault cut the vein and it was lost (Storm, 1900). The shaft was deepened to 807 feet without finding any additional ore and the mine was shut down. The exact production to this depth is unknown, but has been estimated at $2.2 million (Logan, 1927).

After lying idle about 30 years, the Lincoln Mine was reopened in 1898 by the Lincoln Gold Mine Development Company. The old shaft was repaired, the workings cleaned out, and sinking resumed in 1899. Settling around the old shaft caused a misalignment of the shaft, so much of the surrounding debris was excavated and the upper shaft had to be timbered in square sets to keep it aligned and open. By 1900 the shaft was at 1260 feet with a drift several hundred feet long on the 500 foot level and a crosscut run east and west about 200 feet north of the shaft. Three ore bearing veins were encountered in the crosscut, one of which was drifted 168 feet. This vein was 110 feet west of the gangway. The second vein was 135 feet farther west and was from 6 to 20 feet wide. It was developed by a drift 200 feet long. The third vein lies another 70 feet farther west near the contact of amphibolite schist and Mariposa Formation black slate.

In 1906, the Lincoln Gold Mine Development Company acquired the neighboring Wildman-Mahoney Mine and merged it with their operations. The Wildman-Mahoney Mine consisted of two previously independent mines (Wildman and Mahoney mines), which merged after the Wildman Mining Company's purchase of the Mahoney Mine in 1894. The combined operations were renamed the Lincoln Consolidated Mines. The Emerson shaft was sunk 1000 feet east of the Wildman Shaft to cut the Wildman vein. The Lincoln shaft was also deepened to 2000 feet on a 63? incline, and a drift was run south over 2200 feet passing through the Mahoney claim and to a point below the Wildman 1400 foot shaft. Long crosscuts were run into the footwall on the 500, 1200, and 1950 foot levels of the Lincoln Shaft, and on the 1200 foot level one was run into the hangingwall, all without finding any new ore (Logan, 1927).
Costs escalated during the early 1900s and the Lincoln Consolidated Mines were shut down in 1912. By 1913, the properties included the Lincoln, Wildman, Mahoney, South Mahoney, Belmont, and Lincoln Mill site, and comprised 383 acres with 4200 feet on the vein (Tucker, 1914). At this time it had four shafts: the Lincoln Shaft at 2000 feet deep on a 63? incline, the Wildman Shaft at 1400 feet deep on a 72? incline, the Mahoney Shaft at 1200 feet deep on a 62? incline, and the vertical Emerson Shaft at 616 feet deep. The Lincoln Consolidated Mines were sporadically worked until 1924. Only foundations and the dump of the original Lincoln Mine remain.

In the 1980's, the Lincoln Consolidated Mine properties, as well as neighboring properties were acquired by Callahan Mining and Pancana Mining (American Barrick) with the intent of exploring and possibly reopening several old Mother Lode Gold mines between Sutter Creek and Amador City as a consolidated operation. The combined properties extend from the Lincoln Mine on the southern edge of the property to the Keystone Mine at the northern edge of the property, a distance of 1.5 miles and comprises 535 acres. Callahan started exploration in 1983 and had drilled 30 core holes by 1987, at which time the properties, by then known as the Lincoln Project were sold to Meridian Gold. Meridian continued exploration efforts bringing the total surface core holes to 89 and adding 63 core holes underground. In total 64,700 feet of exploratory core holes had been drilled. FMC Gold subsequently acquired the Lincoln Project when it bought Meridian Gold in May, 1990 (Hazlitt and Russell, 1990).

Meridian identified several probable ore shoots and drove drove an exploration decline paralleling the strike of the veins. As of a 1990, a 2850 foot decline (12' high x 15' wide), 2400 feet of crosscuts, and four raises had been driven. Underground exploration drilling, raising, and sampling resulted in confirmation and additions to the surface drilled resources. Two ore zones were identified, the Lincoln Zone on the southern end of the property and the Comet Zone on the northern end of the property. Both zones are paralleled by the decline with nearly all of the underground work focusing on the "M" vein in the Comet Zone. Reserve estimates were approximately 600,000 tons containing an estimated 200,000 ounces of gold. Meridian planned to mine all of these reserves within 600 feet of the surface (Hazlitt and Russell, 1990).

In 1991, the Lincoln Project was purchased by U. S Energy Corp (and subsidiaries) and Seine River Resources. In 1994, the Sutter Gold Mining Company was incorporated to develop, permit, and mine the identified Lincoln Zone and Comet Zone ore bodies. The project was permitted to mine and mill up to 1000 tons per day and outfitted as a modern underground mine. The project was on hold for several years awaiting approval of water quality and environmental permits, which were finally issued in early 2006. Until mining operations commence, the property is being operated as an underground mine tour with retail shop to defray property holding costs.

Mineralization is a quartz vein deposit (Mineral occurrence model information: Model code: 273; USGS model code 36a; Deposit model name: Low-sulfide Au-quartz vein; Mark3 model number: 27) hosted in Late Jurassic slate and greenstone of the Mariposa Formation. The ore bopdy is tabular/pinch and swell in form. Gold was 800 fine. Ore materials included: free-milling coarse and fine gold in quartz with associated auriferous pyrite and arsenopyrite. Gangue materials included: quartz, calcite, ankerite, sphalerite, chlorite and sericite. Hydrothermally altered slate, greenstone, and amphibolite schist wallrock contained enough disseminated auriferous pyrite to constitute low-grade ore (gray ore?). Controls for ore emplacement included ore shoots within mesothermal gold bearing quartz veins, and as disseminated auriferous sulfides in greenstone. Local alteration includes wall rocks hydrothermally altered, having been partially to completely converted to ankerite, sericite, quartz, pyrite, arsenopyrite, chlorite, and albite. Local rocks include Jurassic marine rocks, unit 1 (Western Sierra Nevada and Western Klamath Mountains).

Regional geologic structures include the Bear Mountains Fault zone, Melones Fault Zone. Local structures include the Melones Fault zone.

Metavolcanic and metasedimentary rocks of the Mariposa Formation host the gold-bearing veins in the Lincoln Mine. These rocks make up a northwesterly striking, nearly vertical dipping package approximately 1 mile wide consisting of black, thinly laminated carbonaceous clay slate with occasional layers of fine grained greywacke and interbedded units of greenstone.

The gold bearing quartz veins are all localized within steeply dipping foliated shear zones in the slate and greenstone units. Veins are not conformable with the foliation but cut across the foliation at a slight angle. The tabular veins have a sinuous northwestererly strike. Unlike other documented Mother Lode veins, the Lincoln veins dip to the west in shallow workings, but at depth the veins roll to an eastward dip similar to the other productive veins in the district (Hazlitt and Russell, 1990)

The main vein (Lincoln vein) in the Lincoln Mine comprises the western branch of the Mahoney vein system, which was the principal vein in the adjoining Wildman - Mahoney Mines to the south. About one mile north of the Mahoney Shaft, the Mahoney vein spit, the western branch extending into the Lincoln Mine. The Lincoln vein extended to a depth of only 350 feet, below which the vein was faulted out and could not be found again. At the surface, the Lincoln vein is not expressed as a large quartz outcrop, but as a series of small veins covering about 100 feet. On the 200-foot level, these stringers merge into one well-defined massive quartz vein 40 feet thick, with gouge sometimes on one wall and sometimes on the other (Brown, 1890). The best paying ore was from the ribbon rock on the footwall at the depth where the vein became well defined.
The Lincoln vein shows evidence of post-mineralization, steep easterly dipping, reverse fault movement in the plane of the vein. The fault zone is marked by a zone of fracture and shearing 4 to 6 feet wide. To the east of the fault plane, the schist's and slate country rock have an easterly dip. On the foot wall, however, the veins and the schist, slate and greenstone country rock dip strongly westward to about the 800 foot level where dips become almost vertical, and by the 1200 foot level, dips have nearly assumed the easterly dips displayed in the hanging wall (Storm, 1900). In places, the quartz can be faulted out completely with less than an inch of gouge remaining. Quartz filled extension fractures and horsetailing quartz veins occur in the walls of the major structures. Splays off the major veins are common, resulting in areas of multiple veins. Vein splits or intersections localize higher-grade ore shoots and also result in areas of greater width and tonnage. Higher-grade ore zones are also found where the boundaries between rock units are cut by the vein structures. The regional stress field during shear zone development, alteration, and mineralization is believed to have been compressional with accompanying reverse faulting and strike-slip faulting.

Ore bearing veins are typically white late stage quartz, ankerite, and associated sulfides. Free gold occurs in the quartz veins and vein selvages as free milling grains of gold and as fracture filling within coarse sulfide grains. Sulfides, principally pyrite and arsenopyrite, comprise about 2% of the ore with minor amounts of galena, sphalerite, and chalcopyrite. The higher-grade quartz veins usually show black banded ore ribboned quartz structures parallel to the vein walls. Some of these structures display striated or slickensided surfaces. Free gold is commonly present in ribboned structures which are composed of parallel layers of quartz, crushed slate, pyrite, arsenopyrite, chlorite, and sericite (Hazlitt and Russell, 1990). The purity of the free gold is greater than 800 fine (Hazlitt and Russell, 1990). The shallowest oxidized ores are said to have yielded as much as $15/ton.

Wall rock alteration is pervasive. Locally, the shear zones have been carbonate altered to a mixture of ankerite and sericite. Usually the higher-grade portions of the veins have intensely carbonate-altered gouge which are cut by narrow quartz veinlets and are impregnated with arsenopyrite and pyrite and comprise a low grade "gray ore." Carbonate alteration is also cut by the veins but is more proximal to the veins and may have accompanied the early stage of vein formation (Hazlitt and Russell, 1990).

The following workings were reported by the California Mining Bureau for the Lincoln Mine on August 19, 1914:

Lincoln Mine Workings:

Lincoln shaft - 2,000 feet at 63 degree incline (located 1,000 feet NW of the Mahoney shaft)
500 foot level - drift N 144 feet then crosscut E 80 feet from drift N, crosscut W 104 feet with drift N 160 feet then crosscut W 200 feet and drift N 120 feet on 500 foot level S of shaft crosscut W 440 feet.
650 foot level - crosscut W from shaft 150 feet then drift S 360 feet from which point crosscut W 120 feet, then drift N 160 feet and crosscut W 200 feet and drift N 160 feet.
800 foot level - crosscut W from shaft 120 feet and crosscut E from shaft 125 feet.
1200 foot level - drift S from shaft 200 feet with crosscut E 240 and W 40 feet at 25 feet S of shaft in south drift crosscut driven west 40 feet then drift N 360 feet and S 320 feet and W crosscut is extended 480 feet W into footwall.
1950 foot level - drift S 2,240 feet and crosscut driven N of shaft 640 feet W into footwall. (Level driven S under Wildman and Mahoney ore body).

Wildman Mine workings:

Wildman shaft - 1400 feet at 72 degree incline.
Emerson shaft - 619 feet vertical (located 900 feet E of the Wildman shaft).
400 foot level - 720 feet S crosscut E 50 feet on north side of shaft, drift N 200 feet.
500 foot level - crosscut W 60 feet to vein on north side of shaft, with drift S 400 feet and drift N 180 feet.
600 foot level - crosscut W 80 feet to vein, drift N 180 feet.
700 foot level - crosscut W 40 feet, drift S 680 feet - 80 feet on N side of shaft on 700 foot level, crosscut W 140 feet and crosscut E 640 feet.
800 foot level - 240 feet N, 80 feet S.
900 foot level - 840 feet N, 140 feet S.
1,000 foot level - 240 feet N, 140 feet S.
1,100 foot level - 300 feet N, 160 feet S.
1,200 foot level - 340 feet N, 280 feet S
1,300 foot level - 260 feet N, 500 feet S

Mahoney Mine workings:

Mahoney shaft - 1,200 feet at 62 degree incline (located 960 feet NW of Wildman shaft).
200 foot level - 240 feet N, 420 feet S.
300 foot level - 180 feet N, 425 feet S.
600 foot level - 260 feet N, 260 feet S.
800 foot level - 0 feet N, 550 feet S.
900 foot level - 120 feet N, 820 feet S.
1,000 foot level - 0 feet N, 720 feet S
1,200 foot level - 80 feet N, 100 feet S.
Mahoney workings are connected with the Wildman workings on the 600, 800, 900, and 1,000 foot levels.

Emerson shaft - vertical to 616 feet deep.

Workings in slate were difficult to maintain and required heavy timbering or other ground support. To accommodate this, large stations were cut and additional sets were placed outside the main station sets with open lagging spaced 8 - 10 inches apart. Under pressure from ground swelling the light lagging would bend and eventually break, giving sufficient warning before significant damage to the main members of the set (Storm, 1900). The usual stoping method in slates was square set with almost immediate backfilling. Gray ore and amphibolite schist were much more competent, and haulage ways and development openings in unfractured ground were untimbered. A generalized cross section through the Lincoln Mine is shown by Storms (1900), figure 26.

Clark (1970a) reported that, independently, the Lincoln Mine produced $2.2 million (period values) and the combined Wildman- Mahoney Mine $5.0 million (period values).

Mineral List

9 entries listed. 6 valid minerals.

The above list contains all mineral locality references listed on mindat.org. This does not claim to be a complete list. If you know of more minerals from this site, please register so you can add to our database. This locality information is for reference purposes only. You should never attempt to visit any sites listed in mindat.org without first ensuring that you have the permission of the land and/or mineral rights holders for access and that you are aware of all safety precautions necessary.


Irelan, William, Jr. (1888), Amador County, Mother Lode mines: California Mining Bureau. (Report 8), 946 pp.: 73.

Storms, William H. (1900), The Mother Lode region of California: California Mining Bureau. Bulletin 18: figure 26.

Carlson, D.W., and Clark, W.H. (1954), Mines and mineral resources of Amador County, California: California Division of Mines and Geology, 50th Report of the State Mineralogist (Report 50): 50(1): 185-196.

Clark, Wm. B. (1970a) Gold districts of California: California Division Mines & Geology Bulletin 193.

Pemberton, H. Earl (1983), Minerals of California: 12 (map 2-3).

Hazlitt, S., and Russell, D. (1990), The Lincoln Mine exploration project, Amador County, California: in, Seedorff, E., ed., Geology and ore deposits of the Sierra Nevada and foothills; Mary Harrison prospect, Royal Mountain King Mine, Lincoln Mine, Spanish Mine: Geological Society of Nevada, 1990 fall field trip guidebook: 101-117.

Seedorf, E. (1990), Geology and ore deposits of the Sierra Nevada and foothills; Mary Harrison prospect, Royal Mountain King Mine, Lincoln Mine, Spanish Mine: Geological Society of Nevada, 1990 fall field trip guidebook: 101-117.

USGS (2005), Mineral Resources Data System (MRDS): U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia, loc. file ID #10310639.

California Geological Survey Mineral Resources files, Sacramento, California, files No. 329-8357 and 339-1464.

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