Gold Occurrences in Idaho

According to the latest news about gold mining in Idaho, Premium Exploration Inc. (CVE:PEM) have focused their efforts on emerging gold district in Idaho in an area known as the Idaho Gold Project this is a district sized property that is seen over 13,000 m of recent drilling. This area is found in the Orogrande shear zone is a significant regional structure and also the conduit for multiple zones of gold mineralization. In many respects it is similar to the gold deposits found in the Carlin trend of Nevada. At present the Idaho Gold Project is 100% owned by Premium. At the present time Premium is working on an updated resource estimate along with a comprehensive 25,000 m drilling program.

A Yankee Fork Stamp Mill used to process gold and silver ore at the Custer Mine in Idaho.
Photo by Tinosa

The so-called Idaho Gold Project is located in Central Idaho as an epithermal deposit in the Cretaceous Idaho batholith and Precambrian basement rock where it is the conduit for alteration and extensive mineralization. It is also gone through several intrusions of rhyolite, dacite and trachyte during the Eocene. 

There was a considerable amount of placer and lode gold in the area from the 1860s until the 1930s. During that time it produced over 8,000,000 ounces of gold, and had over 20 historic mines. It wasn't until the 1970s however before modern mining and exploration techniques occurred within the area.

In 1940 report was good to go on their Idaho, C.A. Bottlfsen that was titled, “Mining Activity on the North Fork of the Clearwater River Area.” This report generated a considerable amount of interest in the area of the Clearwater River as well as Clearwater and adjoining counties in Idaho. This area is drained by the gold bearing Clearwater River and its tributaries.

The Argo Gold Mine and Mill in Idaho Springs.

The gold prospecting in Idaho usually lasts from roughly April 1 to November 1, clever if there's an open winter the prospecting season can be extended. The availability of water to carry on prospecting activities often dwindles after mid-June unless the prospector carries water to the prospecting site.

It isn't for nothing that Idaho was called the Gem State because it is the producer of many gemstones as well as gold and silver. Up to this point most of the gold that has been produced in Idaho comes from the upper part of the panhandle where it is found that placer deposits containing many gold nuggets.  The town of Murray is one of the best places to prospect, and because nuggets are so common you should come with a metal detector.

There was a time of Murray on a hotel owner wanted to go prospecting, but decided it was too cold outside. His solution was to cut a hole in one of the bedroom floors where he then go down 30 feet to bedrock to get at The gold. Another mine in the area of Murray was named the Jackass Mine that was literally found by a miner’s donkey. This is the kind of mining lore you can expect to hear in Idaho.

Two of the areas where you’re most likely to find gold are at the forks of the Pend Oreille River However, the hottest spot in the state is Boise County that has produced over 3 million troy ounces of gold from the 300 square miles of gravel that is found in the county. It would be a good idea to check out all watercourses and gravel arroyos to the northeast of Boise and close to Idaho City.

It is interesting to find the area around Boise is in a geothermal area that supplies the city with a large quantity of geothermal heat. The same area is also a place where gold is being actively deposited in areas where the geothermal liquids dropped below 200°C. It is common to find nodules of silica when you are digging within the area that in many places appears to be waterlogged. There are also known to be diamond bearing kimberlites in the same area, so you have your choice between gold and diamonds.

Boise County is not the only place where you can find gold in Idaho. The following counties are also listed for placer gold mining: Ada, Adams, Bingham, Blaine, Bonneville, Camas, Clearwater, Custer, Elmore, Idaho, Kootenai, Letah, Lemhi, Nez Perce, Owyhee, Power, Shoshone and Valley. It would be a good idea to check the watercourses and gravel arroyos found in these counties.
Aside from the gold that is found along the Clearwater River and its tributaries this river also produces star garnets that produce a star effect when cut en cabochon. The only other place where garnets like this are found is some locality in India. Jasper is found here also with at least one of the mines open to the public is the jasper mine at Willow Creek.

Idaho produces large quantities of precious opal of both faceting and cabochon grade. that displays a considerable play of color. One largest opal mines in the United States is located in northeastern Idaho called the Spencer Opal mine it is largest in the state.

Information about these mineral deposits in Idaho is available from different state and federal agencies. Sometimes you can find local history books to discover what kind of minerals were mined in a particular town.

The type of mining that went on in Idaho makes the use of a metal detector practically a necessity. Different manufacturers actually produce metal detecting instruments that are capable of detecting gold. Many of the gold nuggets that have been found are actually the result of metal detectors. A particularly good area to investigate is old mine tailings from dredge operations like the one in Boise County

We recently became a dealer for the Garrett line of metal detectors and other gold mining equipment including gold pans and gold panning kits.  Please watch for future announcements about the Garrett line of products.