Gold Rush Expeditions, Inc. is proud to present the Historic Canyon Creek Mining Claim. This is a 20 acre lode mining claim for sale exclusively through Gold Rush Expeditions, Inc. The claim is located just outside of Melrose, Montana and has been properly staked and marked at all corners. This previously abandoned mine has been meticulously surveyed, mapped and researched by Gold Rush Expeditions and shown to have excellent potential and value. Field work is completed by our own experienced, well versed Mine Survey Team.
The Canyon Creek Claim is an easily accessible claim, located just outside of Melrose, Montana. These abandoned mines are noted historically for Phosphate production. What does this mean in terms of minerals? Phosphate minerals are minerals that contain metallics which have bonded with phosphates (usually organic). Examples of phosphate minerals are Turquoise, Apatite, and many gem crystals.
In an area well known for extensive gold, silver and tungsten deposits, this claim reports 100% phosphates and is estimated to have produced several hundred million dollars in profits prior to it being sold and subsequently mothballed sometime in the late 1960s.The mine has never really been abandoned, but held as an asset by various corporations including the US Forest Service.
The claim covers a massive grouping of mines with over 8000' of documented workings. Drifts, adits and winzes on three levels. Gold Rush surveyors located each of the three main level entrances, however, they are at current only minimally accessible. It wouldn’t take much more than a guy, a shovel, and a few days to open up any of these levels and what you find after that is up to you. The claim is up on a high mountainside, but has great 4WD access roads all the way up from the years and years of operation. This is a standard lode claim, running 1500x 600 feet, encompassing 20.66 acres of prime acreage. The claim is written running generally east/west to capture all of the minerals and outcrops. The claim also covers all of the three primary entrances. There is substantial remnants of buildings, and mining support equipment from the 1890s to the 1940s all across the claim.
The access road to the Canyon Creek mining claim is very smooth and can be navigated by car along Canyon Creek until you reach the turn off for the claim. From that point there is a water crossing of a small, but flowing stream (was passable in late summer/early fall). From here the road gets a bit more challenging and should only be attempted by ATV or experienced off road driver with a competent 4WD vehicle. The road is cut on an old mining trail that hasnt seen much love in the past years. It has more than a few sections that are very steep and rugged. One road runs directly to the lower portal of this behemoth mine. There is an old gate, sunk into concrete, that could be locked up to prevent access, just past the creek crossing on the claim side. This was once a very high traffic road that was obviously well used. Today, after decades of snow, melt, sun and not much use have resulted in a road with a lot of rock fall and tree growth. It can be navigated, but it is rough.
The mountainside that the mines are cut into on a steep with many exposed, jagged rock outcrops. These outcrops likely helped the original miners locate the mineral outcrops that they chased into the mountain. The mines are positioned just above Lower Canyon Creek which looks to flow year-round.
Timber from old structures abound. There were no less than 7 buildings on the claim, possibly more. The miners that worked this claim left a lot behind. Gold Rush Expeditions surveyors found everything from cans, to bottles to old beds and car parts. There is also a virtual museum of old mining implements, drill bits and rail road stakes are more common than rocks on the claim. The Canyon Creek Claim includes several leveled areas for previous mining activity that could be rejuvenated for future mining.
There are no less than 8 mines or portals on the Canyon Creek claim. There are three primary portals on three separate levels running up the mountain. The main, or lower level is the largest, and it has been purposefully closed. It is possible to open by hand, but it would be a lot faster to rent a track-hoe for $100 for a day and open all three in one shot. Why not go for the upper entrances that are already partially open? Why would you do that? Well, how about this, the 1960 report of this lower adit stated that there were “Two mancha-style trammers and multiple muckers sit dormant less than 50 feet inside the mine. There are twenty three, two ton ore cars with these trammers showing the extent of the workings and the ores that have been extracted.” This first, and lowest entrance appears to match the description, its on a large flat, with extensive rail, and was at once, a commercial sized, timbered adit. This is also the opinion of the locals who indicated that the mines were closed up with all of the gear and machines inside them. After all, this is mining country, and ore cars and trammers were as common as pine trees.
A bit farther up the hill, there is another large mine entrance. This entrance is also, obscured, but in better shape than the one below it. It is in a direct line with the lower adit, and likely punched in to work more ores out using the gravity method to drop the ores to the lower level. A days work for a few men and you would have the adit open and accessible. This is one of those entrances that really entices you. As you approach the entrance you can hear a howling, this is the massive amount of air that is blowing from the opening. You don’t get this air from small mines, it only comes from the large, deep mines with many entrances and many deep voids.
There are some other small pits and prospects on the way up the mountain, following along the old mining trail, but the next really large entrance is a bit higher up from the first and second. This is another adit, partially collapsed entrance, but accessible. It was a tight crawl in, but a short one, but after only 10 feet or so, we were inside and it began to open up. The remnants of a bulkhead door still sits, partially broken, just a few feet into the mine. This is going to likely be your main entrance until you can open the lower level. The mine is cut in hard rock and lends itself well to working inside. The mine only runs in about 100’ until there is another blockage. This appears to be an intentional block, very common in mines that still have a good amount of value, but are being mothballed for one reason or another. It could have been dug out relatively easy. 2 guys and few hours time, but that will be left to the new claimant. There is a substantial amount of air bellowing around the blockage. We found extensive timber work, and an old (1920s) wood door inside before the collapse. No wildlife observed directly but there are rodent droppings and some nest material.
Claim Specific Geology
Host/wall rock: Kootenai formation – conglomerate, sandstone, mudstone (purplish and green rocks are common throughout claim) and limestone. There is also what appear to be hematite, jarosite and limonite; though those are not necessarily consistent with the local geology. We observed some small veins of silver and lots of copper in the bits that we could see inside. There were iron veins with large quartz deposits present, which held small bits of gold where exposed. The extent of these veins and the amount of gold is unknown at this time. There are massive deposits of quartz visible inside and outside of the mine. How this interacts with the phosphates is unknown but we have a lot of images for you.
The host rock is mapped as gneiss, and gneissic rocks were observed in and around the tailings, but the massive amounts of quartz veining suggests the mine might have penetrated into the granodiorite that intruded nearby the claim area. The quartz is a good indicator of gold deposits. It is interesting that there are some gold bits visible as gold would not seem to usually form with phosphates. With that said, the creek is well known for placer gold production.
From historic documentation: “The deposit is on the west limb of an overturned anticline (not a syncline). There is a 5500’ level adit (main haulage, 2000’ long) levels on 5900’, 6200’ and 6500’ with a raise linking all 4 levels (only remnants remain). In 1965 all workings were accessible and dry. From development work about 15,000 standard tons was mined. Mining operations are hampered by multiple faults of the bed, heavy ground, a soft mudstone hanging wall, and a dolomite seam 6-12 inches wide in the middle of the bed. Bed consists of 2 or more high grade phosphate seams 12-22 inches wide interbedded with dolomite and phosphatic mudstones. Retort member: bed is 3’ thick at 30.8% P2O5, 6.8’ thick at 24.3% P2O5, and 22.3’ thick at 22.3% P2O5. Mining thickness was 10’. Mine developed to produce 800 standard tons per day. Ore is a sedimentary, tabular body striking N30W that is controlled by the local bedding lithology. The Government Mineral Resource Data System reported phosphorus, fluorite, uranium, silver, lead and gold in the area.