California Division of Mines surveyed the site in 1994 and referred to the Happy Jack mines as “the mine with no name”, however, they also sampled the site and reported: “Of the 61 samples taken in area VII, 11 contained detectable gold and 5 contained detectable silver. The average gold and silver values were 1.217 oz/ton and 0.5 oz/ton, respectively.” Average indicating that some values were much higher and some much lower.
The mine site is remote, three miles past the Corn Springs Oasis (spring) and there is little to no traffic in the region. It is hot, arid and devoid of any resources such as Water, Shade, or general shelter.
The Mine has been developed on both sides of a small wash by a series of open cuts into quartz bodies. A single adit and connected shaft (winze) on the south side of the wash is cut into competent rock and while not overly impressive from the outside (gated) shows a sizable dump measured at 141,750 cubic feet, or 12,400 tons (+/-). This not accounting for what has been taken away in the wash below. Surveyors estimate the workings are of at least 700’ but likely more.
On the north side of the wash, a series of well developed, inclined shafts extends 50’ and over 300’ on a slight angle. The drift level workings are completely undefined and unknown. A small, gated decline in the wash runs down about 15’ to a drift level of 50+’, chasing a wide (1-2’) quartz vein with some visible gold. The northern mines have two distinct dumps measured at 98,000 cubic feet and 75,000 cubic feet for a total of just over 15,100 tons. Total workings on the northern side are estimated at 1000’ total.
The total volume of the dumps on the claim is 27,540 tons. These dumps assayed at an average of 1.05 oz/T AU, 28,917 ounces of gold estimated. Samples taken from the site show native gold in quartz, with some possible platinum.
These mines are estimated to be 100-120 years old based on Gold Rush Expeditions, Inc. Surveyors’ professional opinion. It is estimated that the mines were likely last worked prior to 1942, it appears that most of the track has been stripped from the site and the majority of the implements looted. This likely happened in the WWII effort to collect scrap steel and iron for recycling.
Rough, but clear roads allow access to the mines with short wheelbase vehicles. Full size or long-wheelbase vehicles may encounter technical difficulties in accessing the mine camp.
The mines have been gated by the local BLM offices and will require a Notice of Operation to be accessed. This should be a minimal effort and require very little in the way of bonds or guarantees.
The Historic Corn Springs Oasis is located just below the mines. The springs were home to many prospectors during the early days of mining in the region and were said to have produced placer gold, likely washed down from the mines in the general vicinity.
The Happy Jack Mine sits on the north and the south side of a small wash and is often mistakenly referred to as the Bryan Mine. This is incorrect, as the Bryan Mine proper is a patented property about 1/3 of a mile south of the Happy Jack. There are no interconnected workings or defined veins or ore bodies that link the two. For ease of reading we will refer to the two mine locations as the northern Happy Jack and southern Happy Jack.
The North and the South Happy Jack are two distinct mines that appear to have operated independently. This is evidenced by the layout of the camps and the method of development.
The North Happy Jack is developed by a series of two vertical shafts, the first is estimated at just over 50’. The second is documented to be over 300’ with extensive drift development. Both of these shafts are gated. A waste dump of roughly 15,000 tons is a testament to the depth of the workings. In addition, there is likely more development that can be noted by the dumps as there is likely many tons of muck and gob that were left in the drifts instead of paying to haul it all out. This is very common in mines over 50’ in-depth.
It is asserted that this was a larger mining operation with some good returns. This assessment is validated by many factors, but primarily because of the development of the mine above ground. There are a series of flats that step down the side of the wash. These would have contained miner’s houses, workshops, assay offices, a Mine boss house, outhouses, and other necessities. There are at least six (6) well-defined flats on the north side with rock stacked around the edges noting borderlines. This is not something that is seen with a small mining operation. It indicates there were likely 6-10 men working at the site at any given time. It also indicates there was significant production to warrant the building of structures and development of the region.
The ores on the north side show similar to those on the south side of the wash. That being oxidized iron staining in crushed quartz bodies. In some of the quartz samples, there is flake gold, copper staining and what surveyors believed may be platinum. It is common on small platinum deposits for platinum to be burned off while assaying for gold and silver. USGS reports as late as 1994 report fire assays on ores of the area were conducted looking solely for gold and silver deposits. Assays by Gold Rush Expeditions, Inc.® looked only for gold in assay samples.
On the south side of the wash, the workings on the surface appear to be more substantial and developed that those of the north side. It is likely that the north side was developed far ahead of the south side. The south side appears to have been a remote operation, that being that the miners did not live onsite at the mines, but rather commuted, likely from Corn Springs, to the mines on a daily basis.
There is an old (1900-1920s) steam compressor in the wash which appears to have come from the south side of the wash. This would indicate steam power was used at the site, for water, drills, air inside the mine and power for winches and pulleys. This is an excellent indicator of the level of development of the mine. Small mines, especially those with adit access points will rarely have substantial power in the form of steam compressors. Ore cars can easily be pushed in and out on flat surfaces and air will flow up to 500’ into open workings. Given this information, one can safely assert that the workings on the southside are quite substantial and may be more developed than those on the north side.
Neither of the workings on the north or the south side were accessed or mapped due to gating on the portals. A notice of operation must be filed with the local BLM office to allow access into the workings.
USGS and US Bureau of Mines workers took inventory of the Happy Jack in 1984 and took samples for assays. Admittedly the workers took “the best looking ores”. These samples averaged 1.2 ounces of gold and ½ ounce of silver per ton.
Simple logic dictates that miners working these sites would be taking the highest grade ores, working for the highest profit margin. By this logic then, if miners were discarding ores with over 1 ounce of gold per ton, it stands to reason that the ores inside the mines were returning much more than this amount. The mines were never reported as worked out or abandoned, but instead fell victim to bad luck, multiple World Wars, depressions and a shrinking market for small miners to move gold as it is extracted.
The mine is noted for gold as a high resource potential and value in a 1994 Resource report made by the California Division of Mines with the USGS.
Updated on January 29, 2020 at 3:59 pm
Happy Jack Mineral Property
Happy Jack Mineral Property