The Balm Creek Property is a lode mining property consisting of seven (7), lode mining claims, covering a total of one hundred and forty (140) acres. The property is north of the town of Keating, and as such, part of the Keating Mining District in Baker County, Oregon. The Balm Creek Mine is intrinsically tied to the Poorman Mine as they both were developed by the same company in the late 1930s. The mines were shut down in 1937 when the price of copper dropped more than 50% within a few months. Prior to this, the mine operated for 5 years consistently employing 50 men and a 100 ton floatation mill.
The mines were again combined as the Motherlode property in 1968 and developed another few thousand ounces of gold before closing down as the Gold Standard was rescinded and gold prices dropped sharply.
The property is well mapped underground and gold values are noted as increasing in depth. Some assay reports from mining engineers ran as high as 75 ounces of gold per ton. Average was reported as $24.54 per ton (gold valued at $20 per oz.)
The largest problem the Balm Creek mine encountered was the presence of water. In fact, with pumps installed in 1935, they were barely able to keep the water level below 400 subsurface.
The mine is in fact a combination of three separate working mines, the Balm Creek, The Gilkeson Mine (tunnel) and the Poorman property. All three of which were combined into a single property known as the Motherlode mine in 1968 or thereabout.
The site is a high value copper and gold mine with minimal to little silver. As noted, the gold values have increased with depth. Volatile metal markets have been hard on the property, in the late 1930s and in the early 1970s as the property was just coming back up to speed.
The site is known to have substantial values, some vein streaks noted from 1.75 oz to 75 oz./Ton in Gold. This was via first-hand accounts from USGS personnel and mining engineers.
In 2004-2005, the site was remediated by the Bureau of Land Management in association with the Environmental Protection agency. This reclamation does not preclude any future mining activity, but any future mining activity will require restoration of the site to its current condition. Developer will be required to post a bond equal to the cost of reparation of the site postproduction.
There is excellent access to the site, which would facilitate large commercial dumpers and equipment. The mines are outside of any populated areas and with the tails and dumps only buried, excavation of those and removal would be a positive for the environment and likely be favorably received with proper permitting.
Overall, with high valuations on copper and gold, this property is a simple endeavor to process the dumps first, and then work into an open pit type operation to extract the gold, silver and copper values that are well documented but have not been exploited.