Gold and Mineral Mines of Montana

Historic Sheet Iron Jack

20 Acre Placer Claim – Sheridan District – Madison County, Montana

Sheet Iron Jack 20 Acre Unpatented Placer Gold Mining ClaimThis is a remote Montana gold mine. The Sheet Iron Jack Mining Claim Gold Claim offers impressive mining opportunities. An extensive amount of gravel bars as well as the natural streambed support productive gold recovery. The claim is suited for most types of gold mining activities from panning, sluicing and high-banking to metal detecting, dowsing and more. Mill Creek which runs through the middle of the claim provides plenty of year round water for all your mining needs. During surveying gold was easily found in the material by panning. The claim boasts excellent access and does get visitors driving through on the road. The claim was originally surveyed and sampled for rich, free gold deposits in the gravels.

 

There are several fallen giant pine trees along the creek bank; the root masses of these massive trees are ripe for metal detecting. The creek bed is over 600 feet on this claim and there is water year round. It is likely there is some native silver and possibly some relics to be found on the claim but the primary commodity will be gold. Mill Creek is known for it's gold and there are multiple lode mines along the high benches of the creek and in the area that have been feeding good gold into the creek for hundreds of years. The road to the claim is accessible from May through snowfall, normally late November. The road is maintained and is in very good condition. 4-Wheel drive is not required. This is not a claim to pass up!

 

Mill Creek offers a wealth of gravel bars and hard-packed streambed; ideal spots to high-bank, sluice, metal detect, or pan. It is likely there has been some work done after 1900 based on the remnants and items seen in the area. It is estimated by the surveyors that the claim has been worked intermittently in the early 1900's. No effort to mine for many decades is evident. The gold that you will find on this claim has been washing down from the mines, hills and gulches above and depositing and replenishing the gold on this claim. There is plenty of opportunity here!

 

There is direct road access to this claim and room for staging, parking and other operations. This is an unpatented mining claim for sale. Mineral rights only for recreational mining. The land is public land. This is not a homestead or land for sale.

 

The best gold is on bedrock. Mill Creek is one of the creeks in the district that was mined by hand in the late 1800's. There is still good gold in the creek, benches and on bedrock on this claim.

 

The Bureau of Mines has estimated that demonstrated U.S. reserves of gold are 85 million ounces. Approximately one-half of the total resources are estimated to be by-product gold, while 40% of the remaining one-half (56 million ounces) could be mined for gold alone ... Most U.S. gold resources are in the nation's western states. About 80% of the U.S. gold resources are estimated to be in Alaska, California, Idaho, Montana and Washington. (Earthsearch, Inc. 1983)

Overview of the Mines
The Sheet Iron Jack Mine is in an area with rich gold mining history. But as with all old mines and mining districts in the Western U.S., the old timers NEVER got it all! Why? There are many reasons for this and here is a short list of some of them.
1) In the mining camps 'News' of other 'Strikes' was always coming in and miners seemed to be eager to pick up and leave what they had for the new locations. It didn't seem to matter that the new location may not be as good or that by the time they heard of it there wasn't any open ground left for them to stake a claim. The grass is always greener was their belief.
2) Some new strikes were better because they had more gold or more water or easier access - remember back then there were no roads to these places.
3) Some new places were safer. Between outlaws, hostile indians and bears and other wildlife there was always something to fear.
4) When the USA entered the second world war congress closed all non-essential mines in the country. Unless a mine could switch to mining other metals for the war they were forced to close. Very few mines were allowed to stay open and operational. Those mines that closed stayed closed after the war for a few reasons - a lot of the mine owners died in the war and/or never came back, economic conditions after the war were not good enough to reopen the mines and the many owners held the claims hoping the economy would change for the better but most of these owners died before the economy made it economically viable to reopen the mines, many mines were forgotten and 'lost'.

So why hasn't anyone claimed these mines now? Mainly the population wrongly believes there is 'no gold left'! If they only knew the truth the west would be flooded with people. Seriously, there is gold almost everywhere in the west and in places where there has been no history of production and places the old timers never found! The ground the old timers mined still holds gold for many reasons. First, the methods they used were not the best. Second, they were in a hurry to get rich and they looked mostly for the easy gold and threw out the material that held a lot of small gold. Third, they didn't have the ability to process some ores to get the gold. There are books written by people who had first hand accounts of the gold rushes, especially from the Klondike Gold Rush, and they talk about the miners only being interested in the big nuggets of gold and not 'wasting' their time on the small stuff. The women came behind them and picked small gold nuggets out of the 'waste' piles!! Even then, that still left a lot of fine gold. Technology and knowledge is on your side now days. We know more and have equipment that will trap the big stuff but also the tiniest pieces even down to minus 400 mesh and smaller. Yes, -400 mesh is so small a single piece of gold that size won't look like gold. But a hundred of them together will!

Also think about the current state of the country and all that is going on, this could be your last chance to own a gold mine - your own bank. We sell a lot of mining claims and everyone tells us how happy they are with them. People first want the gold for the value but once they get out to their own claim they love the freedom they have to work and enjoy the great outdoors. Don't wait, get your own gold mine before it's too late. The Sheet Iron Jack mine is located in the northeast quarter of section 18. Sheet Iron Jack claim is about 7400 feet in altitude.

While it is sometimes said old mines have been 'worked out' as the saying means there is no gold left, the truth is "it is better to say they are worked over; it is also true that the primitive methods used and the wasteful haste to get rich indulged in, left much of the gold in the ground, so that improved methods ... will give even better results than those first obtained." (MBMG Open Report p. 466)

Montana is ranked 7th by the USGS for total gold production in the US and has 31 mining districts. Gold production for the 1800's to 1968 is 17.8 million ounces and large amounts of gold have been mined from 1968 to present. Geologists have predicted that based on the past and the geology of Montana that several large gold and silver deposits will be found and developed in the future.

Details about the Mine:
Access to the Mine You can drive a full size truck to the mine
Tailing Present None. Loose gravels in the creek bed of small pebbles to larger boulders. Boulders are great places for the gold to hide. Benches on both sides of the creek are virgin ground.
Depth / Length Over 600 feet of creek bed gravels. 1320 feet side to side with gold bearing benches.
Minerals in the Mine Historically mined for gold. Minerals of quartz, pyrite, galena, gold, black sands with rare earth minerals would be expected.
Foot traffic at the mine Some
Last Worked Unknown.
Number of Mines 1 Placer
Nearest city with amenities Sheridan, approximately 12.75 miles
Access to the Claim A very good dirt road breaks off from the state highway and runs all the way onto the claim.
Parking and Staging on the Claim Claim is situated on open rolling hills that allows for parking of several vehicles if desired.
Resources Year round water, grasses, sage and trees
Structures on claim None
Elevation Aprox. 7400 feet

USGS Information

Economic information about the deposit and operations

Operation Type Placer
Development Status Past Producer
Commodity type Metallic
Commodities
  • Gold- Primary
  • Silver- Primary
Nearby Scientific Data
  • Pre-Belt gneiss, schist, and related rocks
References USGS Database - 60000324

Mining District Information

Sheridan District Information

The Sheridan district, in the heart of the Ruby Valley, includes the smaller sub-districts of Wisconsin Creek, Mill Creek, Brandon (near mouth of Mill Creek), Mill Creek (near the upper portion of Mill Creek), Quartz Hill (between Mill and Mill Creeks), and Ramshorn and Bivins gulches (Winchell 1914; Sahinen 1935).
Placer gold was discovered in Ramshorn and Bivins gulches soon after the discovery of gold at Virginia City. Below the forks of Wisconsin Creek, the stream gravels have been worked with hydraulic giants. In the Ramshorn district placering began in the 1860s and continued on the upper stream until the second decade of the Twentieth century (Winchell 1914).
Within a year of the district's placer discoveries, many gold-bearing quartz veins were located. The Company mine in Williams Gulch, was opened in 1864, the ore being treated locally in stamp mills and arrastras. The Branham mill, for which Mill Creek and the Mill district were named, was crushing ore in 1865. The Whittacker mill was located in the Quartz Hill district in 1869. The 1880's saw arrastras become the favored mode of ore reduction. Later, during the 1890's, the ore from some of the mines was treated in stamp and cyanide mills. The most important producers were the Noble, Red Pine, Fairview, Smuggler, and Betsy Baker lodes (Swallow 1891; Winchell 1914; Sahinen 1935).
The district is composed of ore deposits related to underlying or nearby granitic masses, although some are apparently related to dikes. Ore deposits occur as veins (fissure fillings) and as replacements in limestone. The primary minerals are pyrite, arsenopyrite, chalcopyrite, sphalerite, and galena in a gangue of quartz and rarely siderite. Gold and silver occur in the ore (Winchell 1914; Sahinen 1935).

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