Gold and Mineral Mines of Montana

Historic Sure Thing Lode

20.66 Acre Placer Claim – Elliston District – Powell County, Montana

Sure Thing 20.66 Acre Unpatented Lode Gold Mining ClaimThe Historic Sure Thing Lode Mine for sale, a 20.66 Acre Unpatented Lode Mining Claim. The claim is located just outside of Elliston, Montana and has been properly marked. All claims have been carefully surveyed, mapped and researched. MMC #240957


The Sure Thing mine is ready for small miner production as defined under casual use.The Sure Thing has an adit of several hundred feet long. Above the adit an open cut has exposed argilliized quartz monzonite in a zone approximately 60 feet wide which contains and aplite dike trending N. 54 degrees W. The dike has been argillized and contains abundant tourmaline. On the adit dump, vein quart containing tourmaline and pyrite was found.


The Sure Thing claim a full 20.66 acres. The claim consists of several collapsed adits and shaft along with a large ore shoot as seen in the pictures.


This is the perfect place to mine undisturbed by yourself.The Sure Thing is a short drive out of Elliston. A dirt road winds up into the hills and right to the base of one of the dumps. This is an old and rarely visited area. The road runs to the base of the hill below the mines. There is a good spot for parking near the dump, in a small clearing below the mines. The road to the mine is overgrown and has several dead trees fallen over it. The first trip to the mine would require a chainsaw to remove the deadfalls and such from the road to the main shaft area. The claim covers a full 20.66 acres, and has been written to cover the general trend of the lode.


The mine is an old cut. We were unable to find the early history on this mine, but it appears to have been one of many mines in the area that belonged to the Elliston Consolidated Group.


There several hundred feet of workings in the main shaft and adits of the Sure Thing mine.


When we visited it this past fall there was between water running out of a couple of the adits of the mine but all the adits were collapsed and we were not able to enter at that time. The water won't cause a problem for your work. It would be easy to drain the water by opening the adits of the mine. One of the lower adits could be opened to allow the water to drain naturally. There is plenty of ore on the dumps and a sample collected has been sent for assay. Once the assay is completed we'll post the results to the listing.


The tailings offer a good mining opportunity. Over the years some of the gold has washed down to the bottom of the tailings pile from the top. The previous miners used the best technology of their time but they left a huge amount of good ore behind in the tailings. In addition, sulfide ore was harder to treat back then and most times it was thrown out on the tailings piles at old mines. Some of the lode mines from the 1800's are full of gold to this day because the technology to process sulfide ore was not available back then so they threw it out and over time the ore has been sitting out in the weather oxidizing which then releases the gold. Many old mine dumps are very profitable for this reason alone. You'll find unprocessed gold ore throughout the hillside and mixed in with the quartz are some nice garnets.


Huge amount of info not listed, so if your interested in a gold lode mine feel free to give me a call or text at 406 219 1497. Ken


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

Several adits and a shaft are included in this claim. The mines are on the Sure Thing lode but currently none of the adits or shaft are open. The new owners will want to dig out the portals of the adits to get to the gold/silver viens. Opening the portals will also help to dry out the mine. A dry mine is safer than a wet one. We estimate it would take about a day for 1 or 2 guys to dig out each portal.

The MBMG documents production from 1902 to 1947 no production has been found for prior to 1902 and after 1947. Total recorded production includes the years 1902 - 1904, 1935, 1937, 1941, 1947 of 2,372 tons of ore producing 1,528 oz of gold (AU), 65,116 oz of silver (AG). Once the adits portals are opened a locked gate would be required by law to prevent people from going inside and getting injured. The drift is directly on the rich ore bodies. There is still a lot of ore visible even though a lot of ore has been previously mined. The shaft connects lower drifts on the rich gold/silver veins and to access these lower drifts would require opening the shaft and building a safety platform.

The fact that such rich samples are so easily found right from the start make this mine an easy one to begin making a profit from right away. The workings are impressive, the entire mine site is currently very large but could quickly be made larger.

Just outside of the shaft is a very large ore bin that was previously used for loading haul trucks with the valuable ore. The trucks would then haul the valuable ore to a local mill. For the most part the road is intact. The mine just needs to be worked and the recent sampling has shown this mine will be profitable quickly.

The Sure Thing Mine is located in the north of section 15 and the south of section 10. It is short drive from Elliston to the mine. Sure Thing claim is about 6700 feet in altitude.

Gold And Mineral Mines of Montana Sure Thing

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 The road is maintained in good condition to the base of the claim. Road on the claim to the Shaft and Ore Bin is not passable when we visited. It would require removal of trees to get a vehicle to the Ore Bin and shaft. There is plenty of area to park a camper or RV prior to getting to the mine. We advise utilizing a side-by-side or 4 wheeler on your first trip to the mine to see how the road is. It is also advised to bring a chainsaw to cut trees out of the road.
Tailing Present Surveyors estimate well over 10,000 tons.
Depth / Length Several hundred feet.
Minerals in the Mine Historically mined for gold and silver. Minerals of tourmaline, quartz, pyrite, galena, gold, silver, black sands with rare earth minerals would be expected. There isn't much history specifically for the Sure Thing mine except some lines in a description from the Powell County section in the MBMG Special Report. Gold and Silver will be the minerals to mine from the Sure Thing and there is a lot of very rich ore at the mine based on the dump grab samples.
Foot traffic at the mine None
Last Worked Unknown.
Number of Mines Several Adits and a single Shaft
Nearest city with amenities Elliston, approximately 13.7 miles
Access to the Claim A dirt road breaks off from the Interstate and leads all the way to the mine. Overall the road is in relatively good condition when dry. We also recommend bringing a chainsaw to cut fallen trees out of the way. You will be able to bring a camper or RV to this claim and there are plenty of camping areas prior to getting to the claim that an RV or camper can be parked.
Parking and Staging on the Claim Claim is situated so it allows for parking and staging of vehicles if desired.
Resources Year round water in the creek at the main road, grasses, sage and trees. More than enough trees on the claim for use in the mine.
Structures on claim 1 ore bin
Elevation Aprox. 6700 feet
Total Workings Over several hundred feet of workings which are cut along a gold rich ore body. At the present time the shaft is caved in and all adits are collapsed. No water is flowing out of the upper adits. But a lower one that is well hidden in the trees does have water flowing out are a fairly good rate.

USGS Information
The Sure Thing appears to have been a part of the Elliston Consolidated Group and the Anna R. Hattie M. and possibly the Newman Camp in the USGS Database.

Economic information about the deposit and operations

Operation TypeLode
Development StatusPast Producer
Commodity typeMetallic
Controls on ore placementContact Between Quartz Monzonite And Aplite Dike
  • Gold- Primary
  • Silver - Primary
  • Copper - Secondary
  • Lead - Secondary
Length of workings335.28M
Comments on workings information160 FT. OF SHAFTS, WITH CROSSCUTS AND DRIFTS
Host RockAplite Dike;Butte Quartz Monzonite (Boulder Batholith)
Ore control descriptionsAplite Dike
ReferencesUSGS Database - 10015920, 10124337, 10172859

Mining District Information

Elliston District

The Elliston mining district is about 20 miles west of Helena and south of the Little Blackfoot River. It includes the town of Elliston which is the first town on the Northern Pacific Railroad west of the Continental Divide. The mining district includes the town of Elliston but is generally south of the river in mountainous, heavily-forested terrain. Early reports on the district described about 15 productive mines, most of which were from five to 11 miles south of the town.
The geology in the vicinity of Elliston consists of an apparently conformable succession of limestone, quartzite and sandstone. The lowest formation is the Madison limestone which is overlain by the Quadrant quartzite, near the top of which occurs a bed of high-grade phosphate rock. To the south of Elliston rhyolites are present and persist on the flanks of the mountains to 6,200 ft. (Schrader 1929; Pardee and Schrader 1933)
The Elliston district began as a placer operation along the Little Blackfoot River during the 1860s ... Most of the production from the lode mining occurred between 1890 and 1908, at which point the total production was estimated at $2,750,000. However, during the first half of the 1890s, the town and the area's primary economic base was woodcutting. Cutting cord wood for the Anaconda Copper Mining Company's smelter at Anaconda employed more than one hundred wood cutters and it was during this period that the town of Elliston reached its peak in population and activity. However, in 1894 and again in 1895, fires destroyed the town(Lyden 1948; Robertson 1956; Wolle 1963).
Knopf (1913) reported that by 1911 there was little mining in progress in the Elliston district and throughout the region. Pardee and Schrader (1933) indicate that some sporadic mining occurred in the Elliston district during the 1910s and 1920s with a total production of about $200,000, with $70,000 of this coming from gold and the remainder from 90,000 ounces of silver, 700,000 pounds of lead and 90,000 pounds of copper (Pardee and Schrader 1933).
Robertson (1956) reported periodic mining activity in the district since then, although no important mines have been developed. He estimates the total production for the district at somewhat more than $3,100,000. During the period from 1909 to 1954 the district marketed about 7,600 ounces of gold, 149,000 ounces of silver, 98,000 pounds of copper, 1,560,000 pounds of lead and 197,000 pounds of zinc (Anderson 1990; Robertson 1948).

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