The Montana Mine is a lode mining property located in the Mazama District of Okanogan County, Washington. The mine is noted for its production of gold and silver ores. The mine produced very high silver content, noted as 60 ounces to the ton and gold averaging 1 ounce per ton.
The property is very remote. A well-maintained road runs directly to a trail that leads off to the mine. The trail taken by surveyors was from the east, this route is the best marked and the trail is easy to follow for the most part. It would take extensive time and effort to construct a trail that would be passable by vehicle, but it is possible. The trail is just over 1 mile in length and has an elevation gain/loss of just under 1,000’. For this reason, the property is nearly fully intact as it was left. The mill still has most of its equipment and gears. The ore cars in the workings and the multiple tables and other relics at the site have been left undisturbed. The mine has also remained unworked for at least 50-60 years.
The property has been explored by at least 3 adits historically. Surveyors noted two of these adits and the possible location of the 3rd near the old mill. Of the adits, there is only one adit that is accessible. It is a very small entrance of less than 18 inches in height and 30 inches in width in 2020.
This adit accesses a short adit of less than 75’. The water level in August was roughly 20 inches throughout. There is an old ore cart in the adit that has rusted solid to the tracks. A tag on the car reads Washington Iron Works, Spokane, Washington. The date is unknown but estimated at 1920-1930.
There is very little material noted in the ribs or spine of the adit, however there are two prospect points in the drift that show a white quartz body with heavy silver content and auriferous (native gold bearing) pyrite. This trend runs perpendicular to the workings indicating it was not the original intent of the drift. At the face of the drift, there is no defined mineralization, leading to the likelihood that the drift was cut to intercept a lode or vein from the lower workings.
Dump material outside the mines averaged a value of 0.253 oz AU and 0.195 oz. AG. Samples from the vein in the accessible adit returned a value of 2.778 oz. AU and 31.606 oz AG (per ton). This is a clear indication that the material inside is of a good grade, while the dump material outside the portals bears less than 1/4 oz of Gold. There is no estimation of blocked or inferred reserves.
A large bunkhouse is confirmation of the assertion that up to 12 men were working at this site at one time. A tram system was in place from the short adit to the mill as can be noted by large tram wheels buried in the dirt near the adit.
The mill is in excellent condition historically but will likely never operate as a mill again due to age. The stamps are in place and are a good marker of the history at the site. A small stack of “shipping ore” was noted at the terminus of the tram, this material appeared to be high grade and was taken for assay work. Assays returned .998 oz. AU and 37.552 oz. AG. This is a small pile but also ties together with material from inside the adit indicating that may have been the source for shipping ores. There is a small tailing dump below the mill. This material was sampled and came back at less than .01 ounce of AU and .01 of AG. This is a very good indicator that the milling process was efficient and worked well during the time it was active.
Future potential for this property lies in one of two directions. The first would be for the small miner to develop the high-grade gold deposits underground. This would involve some upfront bond work to cut a trail to the mine and re-open the portals. The material could be shipped off site for processing.
The other option would be for a larger scale operation to cut a road in from the south-west and bring a drill rig up to the site and drill the hillside to define the general location of the veins and deposits. With that information, an open cut could be made, and the vein and material worked from that point. This would be much more expensive that the first option but would also likely yield a much higher profit overall.
Gold, Silver, Copper
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