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The mineralogist of the California state geological survey has expressed an opinion, supported by many scientific men, that the lode referred to is a fissure vein of extraordinary width and productiveness, and that ore will be found as deep as it is profitable to extend underground operations. The extension of railroad communications to such localities will render profitable the extraction of a low grade of ore with a fair margin of profit, adding $5,000,000 to the annual product of these mines.
MONTANA TERRITORY.-The Surveyor-General of Montana Territory makes the following report to the General Land Office, in regard to mining in the district:
Coal. Has been found on the Big Hole river, about sixty miles from Bannock City; in Jackass gulch, on the east side of the Madison river; and at Summit district, near Virginia City. These are all bituminous, and the seams do not exceed three or four feet in width, as far as known. Coal also exists on the head of the Yellowstone river. Brown coal, or lignite, is found in great quantities on the banks of the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers, valuable as common fuel, but of no great value for manufacturing purposes. It is also found on the head waters of the Teton and Marias rivers, branches of the Missouri.
Iron. A deposit of iron ore has been discovered on Jackass creck, a tributary of the Madison river, but its extent is unknown. It is supposed to be valuable.
Copper.There is a group of copper leads along the Muscleshell river, believed to be valuable. The lodes generally run east and west, and assayers have detected gold, in small quantities, in specimens examined. The width of vein is from three to four feet. Some recent discoveries of placer copper have been made on Beaver creek, near Jefferson City, which show some splendid specimens.
Silver Mines.-The first discovery of silver mines in the territory was made by Professor Eaton, of New York, on Rattlesnake creek, opposite the town of Argenta. The mineral was argentiferous galena. About the same time silver was discovered on the head of Prickly Pear creek, above Beavertown. Subsequently lodes containing both gold and silver were discovered at and near Virginia City, in the Madison range of mountains, on the Jefferson, Prickly Pear, Ten Mile, and Boulder creeks, and also in the vicinity of Helena. The most recent discovery is on Flint creek, a branch of Hell Gate river. On the head of this stream a district has been found abounding in silver lodes, the assays of which have been of astonishing richness
Placer Mines. The first placer mines worked in this territory were found on the Hell Gate river in 1862. In the fall the mines at Bannock were discovered. In May, 1863, the mines on Alder
gulch, where Virginia City now stands, were discovered, and an immense impetus given to prospecting, and about $20,000,000 have been taken from there since that time. About a year afterward mines were discovered on Prickly Pear, where Helena now stands.
Valuable mines were discovered on the eastern side of the Missouri, and immense sums have been taken from Confederate gulch and Montana bar. Diggings were struck on the Big Blackfoot in 1865, which have produced largely.
All the gulches are on the head-waters of the Missouri, Columbia, and Yellowstone rivers, and are generally contained within the parallels of 45° and 47° 30' and the meridians 110° and 114° west longitude. The number amounts to hundreds, and almost every day increases it.
Gulch mining is attended with many difficulties in this country. The season is short, and the gold generally found on the bed rock, often fifty or sixty feet from the surface. When provisions and labor become cheaper many gulches will be worked that at present are untouched. They are known to contain gold, but prices at present are too high to yield a profit on them.
Large amounts of money have been expended, this season, in ditches and preparations for gulch mining next year, and fully fifty per cent. more gold will be taken out than has been the present season. I estimate this year's work at $20,000,000. To conclude, not a tenth part of the territory has been prospected.
Gold-bearing Lodes.-The first gold-bearing lode of this territory was discovered at Bannock in 1862, and called the Dakota. The surface indications were extraordinarily good, and gave a stimulus to prospecting which resulted in the discovery of many valuable leads in that part of the country. The results from these leads proving satisfactory, several mills were erected, and are now at work upon rock taken from them.. Some of the largest and finest lodes of this section have been discovered this season, and the hope is entertained that quartz mining may prove successful in this the pioneer mining camp of Montana.
Several thousand lodes have been discovered in Madison county, many of which are in the vicinity of Virginia City.
There are a large number of mills in this county, either in successful operation or in process of erection, and the results thus far have been generally satisfactory. Much capital has been embarked in mining enterprises, and the work has been prosecuted with an energy that attests the confidence of the operators and gives assurance of success. At Summit City, eight miles above Virginia City, near the head of Alder gulch, gold quartz mining is extensively carried on. The lodes are numerous and rich; several mills are in operation and others being built. From
this point there is a succession of auriferous lodes to the foot of Alder gulch, a distance of ten or twelve miles. Fine ledges are also found on the west side of the Madison range, in Ramshorn, California, and Beran's gulches, while Mill creek and Wisconsin gulches afford good prospects. Some of the gold-bearing lodes of this region contain large quantities of argentiferous galena.
There is a valuable quartz district between Hot Springs creek and Meadow creek, on the east side of the Madison range, and still another to the north of it, on Norwegian gulch. At the Sterling mining district, in this section, there are many valuable lodes, and five mills in operation.
There are also mining districts on the waters of the Jefferson river, known as the Silver Star, Highland, and Rochester, in which lodes have been found of immense value, some of which, in their present undeveloped state, have sold for large sums. One, the Green Campbell, was bought by a New York company for $80,000.
There are several districts on the Boulder, Prickly Pear, and Flint creeks and Deer Lodge river, which have shown fine indications and are being worked to a considerable extent.
The district of gold mining now receiving a considerable portion of public attention is that around Helena, a great many of the lodes being situated on the Oro Firio and Grizzly gulches, to the southwest of the city, stretching along to the northward toward Ten Mile, connecting with that district and Blue Cloud.
The Union Lode, No. 2, is situated near Grizzly gulch, in the Owyhee Park district. It is being worked in several places, and promises all that could be wished. Recent crushings of ore have yielded seventy-two dollars to the ton.
On Ten Mile creek, a stream that flows from a source near the summit of the Rocky mountains, in a northeasterly direction, there is a fine lot of lodes, some of which have assayed a large percentage of gold, while there is an intermingling of silver. Careful assays prove these lodes to contain from $25 to $300 per ton of ore, and by the "working test" made in St. Louis, $240 per ton has been obtained from rock taken from within seven feet of the surface. The veins are generally firm and solid within a few feet of the surface; the ledges from five to thirty feet high.
Blue Cloud, a new district, about ten miles from Helena, on Ten Mile, is opening out well. Machinery is being erected, and developments rapidly made.
In addition to the many mills, there are scattered over the different portions of the country, wherever there are any promising lodes, a large number of arastras. They are a rude mill, constructed for the purpose of working quartz, and generally driven by water-power. Most of them do well, and yield handsome
wages to their owners. Some are erected for the purpose of developing mines, rather than going to the expense of bringing machinery on to the premises too early, deeming it best to prove the value of one good lode rather than own many with no knowledge of their intrinsic wealth. The owners of lodes are generally anxious to procure government patents for their claims, and already there have been several applications filed. Next season, I have no doubt but a large proportion of the owners of quartz will take advantage of the mineral law to get titles to their mines. The leads in Montana are generally better defined than in any other mining country in the world, and the singular freaks sometimes taken by them in other regions are less frequent here. The simplicity of the ores is a theme of general remark, and although sulphurets are often found, they are taken as an indication of richness, and their appearance looked upon as a promise of ulti
IDAHO TERRITORY.-The Surveyor-General says:
Gold is found on the head-waters of all the rivers. Rich placer mines have been profitably worked for years on the Clearwater and Salmon rivers. Extensive placer and quartz mines are found on the Boise river and its branches, embracing several districts. Many rich quartz lodes of gold and silver have been discovered and partially worked; their future development depending upon the reduced cost of transportation and other expenses, which thus far have retarded the growth and prosperity of the country.
The quartz and placer mines of Owyhee county, situated in the southwest part of the territory, have proved to be eminently rich so far as developed. Some of the ledges are being worked with valuable machinery, repaying the capital invested, though at an enormous outlay. The quantity and quality of the ore already abstracted are favorable indications of their future wealth.
Several thousands of gold and silver quartz claims have been taken up and recorded, more or less prospected, but the heavy expenses under which the miners of this territory have labored, has, in general, prevented their successful development. The near approach of the Pacific railroad to the southern borders of the territory will materially reduce the cost of working the mines, when the resources of the country will be more favorably brought into notice.
In 1810 there was produced in this country 54,000 tons of iron; in the commercial collapse of 1820 the aggregate declined to 20,000 tons; in 1830 it had arisen to 165,000 tons, and in 1840 to 315,000 tons; in 1842, under the operation of the declining duties of the "compromise tariff," it had fallen to 230,000 tons;
under the combined influence of enhanced protective duties and high prices in England, caused by the sudden expansion of railway construction, it had arisen, according to the estimate of Hon. R. J. Walker, Secretary of the Treasury, to 765,000 tons; it rose to 800,000 tons in 1848, and fell to 650,000 tons in 1849, continuing to fall until 1852, when the entire product did not exceed 500,000 tons; in 1855 it had arisen to 1,000,000 tons, an aggregate which it nearly or quite maintained up to 1860. During our late difficulties the production of pig iron arose to 1,300,000 tons. Of manufactured iron in 1864 we produced 283,560 tons of railroad bars, with a capacity of increase to 700,000 tons per
The azoic belt of Lake Superior is the great iron region of the globe. Though yet undeveloped, it furnishes in the single county of Marquette, in the upper peninsula of Michigan, one-eighth of the iron produced in the United States. The iron trade of this region has advanced from an export of 1445 tons in 1855, to 235,123 tons in 1864. The facilities for making charcoal there favor an extended production of fine malleable iron, while the inexhaustible supply of coal will supply fuel for the cheaper kinds of iron production. Iron mountain, in Missouri, rising 228 feet above a base of 500 acres, presents a cone of 230,000,000 tons. It is thought that every foot beneath its base level will yield an average of 3,000,000 tons; at a depth of 180 feet the artesian auger is still penetrating solid iron ore. Pilot Knob, the base of which, 581 feet beneath the summit, is an area of 360 square miles, is known to be solid ore to a depth of 440 feet below the surface. The upper section of 141 feet perpendicular thickness contains 14,000,000 tons of ore. Shepherd's mountain, one mile west of Pilot Knob, is a mass of very pure magnetic and specular ore, rising to the height of 660 feet.
The known deposits of coal in the United States transcend in extent and richness those of all the residue of the world combined. In 1845 our coal area was stated at 133,000 square miles. It is now known to be over 200,000 square miles, or eight times the known available coal area of all the rest of the globe.
Of the American coal-fields the Pennsylvania anthracite, though one of the smallest in area, is now the most copious in production, and the most available to the commercial and industrial interests of the nation.
Of our aggregate coal product of 22,000,000 tons in 1864, near 10,000,000 tons were mined in the anthracite region of Pennsylvania. They represent a commercial value of $60,000,000.