Prospector’s Guide to Gold Mining Districts
If you are looking for a place to go nugget hunting on your next trip to Arizona, this portion of the AZO website is the perfect starting point. Here you will find a listing of the most productive mining districts in the state, along with a brief description and general directions to reach each area. Remember, many of the areas shown here are dotted with private property and mining claims; it is your responsibility to obtain the proper permission before prospecting on any site. Best of luck!
Suggested Reading: Placer Gold Deposits, by Maureen Johnson, Arizona’s Golden Secret, by Ronald Weilgus, Yours for the Taking, by Ronald Weilgus, Arizona Gold Treks, by Ronald Weilgus, Arizona Gold Placers and Placering, by Eldred D. Wilson, Arizona’s Little Known Gold Placers, by Ronald Weilgus, Where to Find Arizona’s Placer Gold, by Delos Toole, and Arizona Gold & Gem Maps, by R.N./M.L. Preston.
Arizona from 1860 through 1965; produced a total of about 13,321,000 ounces of gold and in 1965 ranked eighth among the gold-producing States. As in the other Western States, the first discoveries of gold were placer deposits. Shortly afterward lode deposits were discovered in most districts, and they furnished the bulk of the early gold output of the State. From 1900 through 1965, however, most of Arizona's annual gold production came as a by-product from the large-scale mining of porphyry copper ores.
Third among the gold-producing counties of Arizona, produced approximately 2, 723,000 ounces of gold from the beginning of mining in the county in about 1879 to the end of 1959. Of this amount, about $24,275,000 (1,174,408 ounces) was a byproduct of copper ores, mainly from the Bisbee district, and about 950 ounces was from placers. Other districts that have produced more than 10,000 ounces of gold are the Turquoise (Courtland, Gleeson), Dos Cabezas, and Tombstone.
BISBEE DISTRICT: (Or Warren) district is in the south- eastern Mule Mountains, in the southern part of the county, immediately north of the Mexican border. Although the Bisbee district was the largest gold producer in Arizona in 1959, most of its gold was a byproduct of copper ore. Production through 1959 was 2,193,000 ounce.
TURQUOISE DISTRICT: lies on the east side of the Dragoon Mountains, about 14 miles due east of Tombstone and about 18 miles north-northeast of Bisbee. Productions through 1955 was 70,000 ounces
TOMBSTONE DISTRICT: about 20 miles northwest of Bisbee in the Tombstone Hills, includes a group of low scattered mountains that extend northwestward from the Mule Mountains. Production through 1995 was 271,200 ounces.
DOS CABEZAS DISTRICT: is 18 miles southeast of Wilcox in the Dos Cabezas Mountains. Production through 1959 was 15,000 ounces
Located in east-central Arizona, ranks eighth among the gold-producing counties of the State with a total of about 240,500 ounces produced through 1959. Most of the gold has been a byproduct of copper ores mined from the Globe- Miami district; a lesser amount has come from copper ores of the Banner district. Placers have yielded an insignificant amount.
BANNER DISTRICT: (Christmas) lies in the extreme southern tip of Gila County at the southeast end of the Dripping Springs Mountains. Many of the deposits have been known and worked intermittently since the 1870's, but little ore was shipped before 1900 (Boss, 1925, p. 29). The district is noted for its copper mines from which lead, silver, and gold were produced as byproducts. The Christmas mine, discovered in 1880 and operated intermittently through 1954, is the major mine in the district. Total gold production from 1905 through 1959 was about 26,000 ounces.
GLOBE-MIAMI DISTRICT: in the foothills of the Final and Apache Mountains in the southwestern part of Gila County, is noted primarily for its cop per deposits which have yielded considerable amounts of gold, silver, and lead. The discovery of the Globe claim in 1874 marked the first activity in the area, and for a time there- after interest centered on small silver and gold prospects. In 1882 copper deposits on the Old Do- minion and Buffalo veins were mined. Development was considerably stimulated in 1898, when the first railroad reached Globe. In 1904 development was begun on the large low-grade disseminated copper deposits, which by 1911 were mined on a large scale. These operations continued with undiminished vigor through 1959 and resulted in an output of copper, lead, silver, gold, and zinc worth more than a billion dollars. Total gold production through 1959 was 191,801 ounces.
Greenlee County is in southeastern Arizona just west of the New Mexico State boundary. It was organized from part of Graham County in 1910. Copper is the metal of principal importance, but the county has also produced significant amounts of gold and silver. The total gold production of the county from 1882 through 1959 was about 228,000 ounces, almost all of which was a byproduct from the copper ores of the Clifton-Morenci district, one of the most productive copper camps in Arizona. A small amount of gold was derived from the silver ores in the Ash Peak district. Placer mining was attempted several times in the Clifton-Morenci district, but the results were discouraging. The total recorded placer gold output is about 1,000 ounces.
ASH PEAK DISTRICT: is 12 miles west of Duncan. Records indicate that the deposits were exploited as early as 1907, but only silver was produced during these early operations. Extensive development work was done in 1918, but the results appear to have been discouraging. Mining was resumed from 1936 through 1954, resulting in the recovery of 11,296 ounces of gold. The district was again inactive from 1954 through 1959.
CLIFFTON-MORENCI DISTRICT: is in west-central Greenlee County near the towns of Clifton and Morenci. The first ore discovery was made in 1872, but early development was hampered by lack of transportation and the activities of hostile Indians. The completion of the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1881 lowered transportation costs sufficiently to permit large-scale mining of the copper ores. The discovery in 1893 of large low-grade copper ores at Copper Mountain at Morenci assured a certain degree of stability and permanence to the future of the district. At first several companies were involved in development and mining, but after several mergers and consolidations, the Phelps Dodge Corp. was the major operator from 1921 through 1959. Total gold production from 1873 through 1959 was about 203,000 ounces; nearly all production was recovered as a byproduct of the copper ores.
In southwestern Arizona, Maricopa County is a region of broad desert plains and scattered mountain ranges. Most of the gold was mined in the county before 1900 from the Vulture mine in the Vulture district. The Cave Creek district has yielded a small amount of gold. Maricopa County is the fifth largest gold producer of Arizona, and from 1863 through 1959 its total production was about 428,000 ounces. Most of this was from lode mines; only about 3,000 ounces was attributed to placers.
CAVE CREEK DISTRICT: 25 to 45 miles north of Phoenix, was active at least as early as the 1890's, when the Phoenix and Maricopa mines were the major properties and were yielding gold ore. A few copper deposits were also worked before 1900 (Wilson and others, 1934, p. 164-165). Total gold production of the district through 1959 was about 17,000 ounces, most of which was mined before 1900.
VULTURE DISTRICT: is on the south side of the Vulture Mountains, in northwestern Maricopa County. Gold-bearing quartz veins were discovered in 1863. In 1866 the Vulture mine began operations that continued on a fairly large scale until it was closed in 1888. The mine was active again from 1910 to 1917, during which time it yielded $1,839,375 in ore (Wilson and others, 1934, p. 157, 160). The mine was reopened again in 1931 and remained active until 1945. Total gold production for the district through 1959 was about 366,000 ounces. About 250 ounces of this was from placers; most of the remainder was from the Vulture mine.
Locate in the northwestern corner of Arizona, Mohave county ranks second among the gold-producing counties of the State, with a total of about 2,461,000 ounces through 1959. More than half of this total came from lode mines of the San Francisco district. Three other districts have produced more than 10,000 ounces: Wallapai, Weaver, and Gold Basin. All these districts are in the west-central part of the county, an area of mountain ranges and valleys that trend north-northwest.
GOLD BASIN DISTRICT: (Salt Springs) is in the eastern part of the White Hills west of Hualpai Wash, 40 miles north of Hackberry and 60 miles north of Kingman. Gold-bearing veins were discovered in the early 1870's, but their development was inhibited by the remoteness of the area and scarcity of fuel and water. Before 1900, however, the district yielded gold ore worth between $50,000 and $100,000, most of which came from the Eldorado mine. Production continued to 1920 on a small scale and a period of inactivity from 1920 to 1932 followed. A few mines were reopened from 1932 to 1942, but the district was dormant from 1943 to 1959. Total minimum gold production of the district was about 15,000 ounces, most of which was from lode mines.
SAN FRANCISCO DISTRICT: is near the south end of the Black Mountains about 29 miles by road southwest of Kingman. It includes both the Oatman and the Katherine camps; Gold Road and Union Pass are local names applied to parts of the district. Gold is the principal valuable metal in the ore deposits of this district. Soldiers from Camp Mohave on the Colorado River first discovered gold in the Oatman area in 1863 or 1864, in what is now known as the Moss vein. Other veins with prominent outcrops were discovered soon after ward. Although some rich ore was taken from a pocket close to the surface in the`Moss vein in the first 3 or 4 years, most of the development was discouraging and the Oatman camp was inactive for more than 30 years. The earliest locations in the Katherine area were probably made in the early 1880's. In 1901 good ore was found in shallow shafts on what is now known as the Tom Reed vein, and in 1902 a stampede to the district occurred when rich ore was found in the outcrops of the Gold Road vein. A high level of activity continued through 1924. The district was revived from 1930 through 1942, and produced a maximum of 48,000 ounces in 1936. From 1943 through 1951, activity was sporadic and was carried out on a small scale, and from 1952 through 1959 no production was reported. The total gold production of the district from 1897 through 1951 was about 2,045,400 ounces.
WALLAPAI DISTRICT: located near the center of the Cerbat Mountains, which extend north-northwestward from Kingman for about 30 miles, the Wallapai district includes the mining camps of Chloride, Mineral Park, Cerbat, and Stockton. Unlike the San Francisco district immediately to the southwest in the Black Mountains, where gold is the principal metal, in the Wallapai district lead- zinc ores are prevalent and silver and gold are chiefly byproducts. Many of the veins in the Cerbat Mountains were discovered in the early 1860's by prospectors in search of precious metals. Chloride, founded in the early 1870's and named from the character of its rich silver ore, was the first settlement in this area. Ores rich in gold and silver yielded a large production in the 1870's, but activity waned when the price of silver began to decline in 1882. Base-metal ores below the oxidized zone apparently were not mined extensively until the completion of the branch railroad from Kingman to Chloride in 1899 (Nolan, in Hewett and others, 1936, p. 19). Thereafter lead- silver ores were mined, and subsequent improvement in milling methods led to exploitation of complex lead-zinc ores. Zinc-lead mining reached its peak from 1915 through 1917 owing to high metal prices during World War I, declined abruptly after 1917, and thereafter exploitation was confined to veins with a relatively high gold content. Gold production began to increase in 1935 and reached its peak in 1937-38. After 1942, activity declined sharply, and from 1950 through 1956 gold production was less than 100 ounces annually. None was recorded for 1957-59. From 1904 through 1956 the mines of the district produced 125,063 ounces of gold. Dings estimated the value of combined metals produced before 1904 at $5 million, but the amount of gold represented in this total is unknown.
WEAVER DISTRICT: The Weaver district is in the northern Black Mountains, 10 to 25 miles west and northwest of Chloride. The Mockingbird, Pyramid, and Pilgrim camps are on the eastern slope; the Virginia camp is on the western slope. Gold was discovered in 1904 in the Pilgrim camp; however, miners had found gold as early as 1892 in the Gold Bug camp, several miles north of the Weaver district. In- complete production records credit the district with about 1,900 ounces of gold before 1932. The period of greatest activity was 1932-42, after which the district declined to the extent that only 138 ounces of gold was reported for 1943-59. Total gold production of the district through 1959 was about 63,200 ounces.
Pima County which lies in part along the southern border of Arizona, is a region of broad desert plains and mountain ranges that trend north- northwest. Only two districts have produced more than 10,000 ounces of gold--the Ajo, where considerable amounts have been recovered as a byproduct from copper ores, and the Greaterville, where most of the gold was from placer deposits. Elsing and Heineman credited the Papago district with a production of $250,000 in placer gold before 1933, but this probably is in error, for no other known account cites more than a very small amount. The total gold production of Pima County through 1959 was roughly 1,081,000 ounces --about 1,015,000 ounces from lodes and about 66,000 ounces from placers.
AJO DISTRICT: is in western Pima County, 125 miles west of Tucson. Small-scale mining of copper deposits was done by Spaniards and Mexicans as early as 1750, and Indians used the red oxides and green carbonates from the Sierra Del Ajo to paint their bodies. Americans entered the area after the Gadsden Purchase of 1853 and located the Ajo mine. After a boundary dispute with Mexico was settled, numerous attempts at mining were made, but all ended in failure due to high freight costs and lack of water. In 1909 three companies conducted separate exploration programs, none of which was considered encouraging. The Calumet and Arizona Copper Co. entered the district in 1911 and organized the New Cornelia Copper Co., which found a large tonnage of carbonate ore containing 1 to 2 percent of copper underlain by sulfide ore containing disseminated chalcopyrite and bornite. Drilling later revealed considerable ore on other properties. Experiments to leach and recover copper from the carbonate ore were started in 1912 and were concluded successfully in 1915. By 1917 a 5,000-ton leaching plant was built, permitting large-scale exploitation of the carbonate ores. After the exhaustion of the known reserves of carbonate ores, a 5,000-ton sulfide concentrator was put into operation in 1923, and production from the sulfide ores soon became predominant. In 1931 the New Cornelia Copper Co. was merged with the Phelps Dodge Co. which continued to be the sole operator in the district through 1959. Significant recovery of gold began with the production of copper from the sulfide ore of the New Cornelia mine. Prior to 1924 the district produced only 178 ounces. From 1924 through 1934 about 130,000 ounces was recovered, and from 1935 through 1959 about 860,000 ounces was recovered. The total gold production of the district through 1959 was about 990,000 ounces.
AJO DISTRICT: is in southeastern Pima County, about 34 airline miles southeast of Tucson. It is chiefly a placer district, though for many years preceding the Civil War, silver and copper lodes were worked successfully in the Patagonia and Santa Rita Mountains south of the district. In 1874 silver and lead lode deposits were discovered in Hughes Gulch in the Greaterville district, and later in the year placer gold was found which started a rush, during which most of the richer placers were mined out. By 1886 the district was practically dormant. From 1900 through 1959 there was only desultory activity and very small production. The placers yielded about $7 million in gold before 1900; however, some estimated the total production was worth $650,000. From 1903 through 1959 only 4,146 ounces of gold was mined in the district. The placer deposits occupy a triangular area of about 8 square miles on the lower east slope of the Santa Rita Mountains. The richest gravels are those along present stream courses, although placers are also in older gravels on benches and tops of ridges. The source of the gold was probably the auriferous pyritic-quartz veins of nearby Granite Mountain or the veins in Tertiary that once covered the district.
Pinal county is in south-central Arizona and is characterized by broad alluvial plains and scattered mountain ranges, which are composed of Precambrian schist and granite unconformable overlain by younger Precambrian and Paleozoic sedimentary rocks and by Tertiary volcanic rocks. Dikes, irregular bodies, and stocks of granitoid rocks and rhyolite of Cretaceous and Tertiary ages have intruded the Paleozoic and older rocks. Large areas are covered by sedimentary rocks of Cenozoic age. The principal mining districts from which gold is produced are the Mammoth, Ray, and Superior. Most of the gold is a byproduct of copper ores, although a small amount has come from placers. Total gold production from 1858 through 1959 was about 893,350 ounces.
MAMMOTH DISTRICT: (or Old Hat) is in south- eastern Pinal County on the east flank of the Black Hills, about 50 miles northeast of Tucson. The history of mining in the district is focused on the development of two mines - the Mammoth which produced mainly gold and, for a short time, molybdenum and the San Manuel which is in a disseminated copper deposit. The first claims were located in the district in 1879. The Mammoth mine was operating on a large scale by 1888, and continued to be active until 1901, when the workings caved. Demand for molybdenum during World War I created new interest in Mammoth because of the wulfenite content of the ores that previously had been mined for gold alone. For a few years almost the entire molybdenum output of the United States came from this area. Between the end of World War I and 1934 the district was practically dormant (Peterson, 1938, p. 25-30). The increase in the price of gold rejuvenated the district from 1934 through 1943. Production of the Mammoth mine declined after 1944, but the important development of the great San Manuel copper deposit in 1943 assured the district a prosperous future. Total gold production of the district through 1959 was roughly 403,000 ounces, of which about 40,000 ounces was a byproduct of the San Manuel copper ores.
RAY DISTRICT: (or Mineral Creek) is in northeastern Pinal County about 17 miles south of Miami. It lies between the Dripping Springs Range to the east and the Tortilla Range to the west. Copper is the major commodity of this district; gold is a byproduct. The district was organized by silver prospectors, probably before 1873, and the first locations were made about 1880. The first copper company was organized in 1883, but attempts at exploitation dyer the next 23 years failed, owing to the generally low grade of the ore. In 1906 some high-grade copper ore was mined. In 1907 the Ray, Consolidated Copper Co. was organized and extensive surface drilling and underground exploration revealed enormous copper ore bodies which were mined on a large scale in the spring of 1911. Ray Consolidated soon became the largest producer in the district. The property continued to be an important source of copper, though ownership was changed to Ray Division of Kennecott Copper Corp. The Ray district has produced a surprisingly small amount of gold, considering the large production of copper. Total gold production through 1959 was about 35,250 ounces.
SUPERIOR DISTRICT: (Pioneer) is about 15 miles southwest of Miami and 12 miles northwest of Ray. Most of its gold has been a byproduct from copper ores of the Magma property; however, some gold ore has been mined south of the main copper mines. The first significant mineral discovery in the Superior district was of nugget silver in 1873 or 1874 at the Silver Queen mine, now known as the Magma mine, and the initial locations were made in 1875. Rich silver ore was mined in the early years and the camp was active until 1893 when a drop in the price of silver halted operations. Several unsuccessful attempts at silver mining were made in later years. Exploration in the old Silver Queen mine by the newly organized Magma Copper Co. in 1912 revealed large bornite-chalcopyrite ore bodies which effected a rejuvenation of the district that was sustained through 1959. Gold is produced from the copper ores and also from auriferous quartz veins in the old Lake Superior and Arizona workings. Prior to 1912 the output of gold from the district was small, probably less than 500 ounces. From 1914 through 1959 the recorded production was 397,700 ounces.
SANTA CRUZ COUNTY
Santa Cruz County is in south-central Arizona along the Mexican boundary. Both lode and placer gold have been produced, but the placer output has been small. From 1900 through 1959, the county produced about 108,200 ounces of gold, mostly from the Oro Blanco district. From 1942 through 1959 gold production was very low.
ORO BLANCO DISTRICT: is in western Santa Cruz County near Ruby, about 32 miles by road north- west of Nogales and about 70 miles by road south- southwest of Tucson. Deposits of gold and silver have attracted the most attention. Some of the gold deposits probably were worked by the Indians and early Spanish explorers. Placers and rich outcrops attracted early American prospectors who made their first locations in 1873. The de- posits were successfully exploited through the middle 1880's. Most of the mines were inactive from 1887 to 1893; thereafter mining was intermittent, and production in general was small. Production rose rapidly in 1934 but declined again in the early 1940's. From 1942 through 1959 the district was almost dormant. The gold mined in the district from 1873 through 1957 has been estimated as worth $2,626,000, which is equivalent to about 100,200 ounces. About $20,000 worth of placer gold was produced between 1896 and 1904. Production was not recorded for 1957-59.
Located in the central part of Arizona, Yavapai County ranks first in the State in gold production through 1959. The JEROME DISTRICT (Verde) is the largest gold producer, having contributed about 1,565,000 ounces to the total lode production. Though mineral deposits were known in this area long before the Civil War, the first prospectors were Union soldiers with mining experience from California. Placers at Rich Hill were discovered in 1862 and those along Hassayampa and Lynx Creeks were discovered in 1863. Silver ore, first discovered in the Big Bug district in 1870, was found at other localities in Yavapai County in the 1870's. Claims were located in the Jerome district in 1876.
AGUA FRIA DISTRICT: is southeast of Prescott along the headwaters of the Agua Fria River about 41/2 miles northeast of Mayer. Both gold and silver are byproducts of copper ore. The Stoddard mine in this district is one of the earliest locations in Arizona but no dates of discovery or location are known. The district was active during World War I and into the early 1920's--probably its period of greatest production. From 1936 through 1957 the mines were operated intermittently. Total gold production through 1959 was about 12,710 ounces.
BIG BUG DISTRICT: on the northeast slope of the Bradshaw Mountains, is about 12 miles east- southeast of Prescott. Copper, gold, silver, lead, and zinc are obtained from a variety of ore deposits in the district. Wilson, Cunningham, and Butler referred to activity at the Big Bug mine as early as 1866, and other properties were producing gold and silver from oxidized ores before 1870. After a period of decline, some mines were reopened in the late 1890's and maintained a small sporadic annual output through 1933. The tempo of mining in- creased from 1934 through 1959 mainly because of expanded operation of the Iron King mine. Gold placers were highly productive during the 1880's and from 1933 through 1942, after which they declined in importance. Total gold production from 1867 through 1959 was about 627,000 ounces, of which about 42,700 ounces was from placers.
BLACK CANYON DISTRICT: is in southeastern Yavapai County between the eastern foothills of the Bradshaw Mountains and the Agua Fria River, at Bumblebee. The first locations were made probably as early as 1873, but the first record of mineral production was in 1904. The district was active through 1956, with the highest output from 1934 through 1941. Total gold production from 1904 through 1959 was about 46,700 ounces.
BLACK ROCK DISTRICT: about 12 to 15 miles northeast of Wickenburg, was prospected for copper and silver in the 1870's, but according to meager records the deposits were not developed until 1900 or later. Through about 1932 the district is credited with a gold production of $195,000 (9,438 ounces), most of which came from the Gold Bar (O'Brien) mine. From 1932 through 1955 the district produced 2,754 ounces of gold, of which at least 99 ounces was placer gold. The total through 1959 was about 12,190 ounces.
EUREKA DISTRICT: (Bagdad) is in western Yavapai County, 42 miles west of Prescott. Most of the mines are near Bagdad in the southwestern part of the district. Although the district is noted mainly for copper, its deposits were mined originally for silver, gold, and lead. The first claims were located in 1880, and mining began in 1887. Until 1917 most production was from ores rich in gold and silver, with subordinate lead and zinc, from the Hillside mine. Copper minerals were known in the district as early as 1882; however, sporadic exploration through the early 1900's failed to disclose any significant cop per ore bodies until 1929 when the Bagdad mine began operations. Gold and silver production from the Hillside several and mine smaller properties continued until 1942, when the Hillside mine was closed. Meanwhile the Bagdad mine expanded due to the demand for copper during World War II. Large-scale activity continued after the war. The Hillside mine was reopened during 1948-51; open- pit mining increased the Bagdad mine production after 1947; and other properties were developed to mine tungsten and zinc. Copper output at the Bag- dad mine continued to be significant through the 1950's, and in 1959 it was the largest copper producer in the county. Total gold output of the district from 1887 through 1951 was 59,787 ounces, of which 58,748 ounces is attributed to the Hillside mine. From 1952 through 1959 the district produced only 179 ounces of gold. The copper ores at the Bagdad mine yielded insignificant amounts of gold.
HASSAYAMPA-GROOM CREEK DISTRICT: is on the western slopes of the Bradshaw Mountains, 6 miles south of Prescott. Gold placers were discovered in 1864 along the Hassayampa River, and shortly afterward many quartz veins were found. Considerable gold and silver was extracted from the shallow oxidized parts of these veins, and after 1895 the primary sulfide ore was mined for gold, silver, copper, lead, and zinc. The placers were worked most intensively between 1885 and 1890; thereafter, operations were carried out on a small scale. From 1953 through 1959 the district produced only a few ounces of gold per year from lodes and placers. Total gold production through 1959.was about 127,000 ounces--18,700 ounces from placers and 108,300 ounces from lodes.
JEROME DISTRICT: (Verde) is on the eastern slope of the Black Hills in northeast Yavapai County just west of the Verde River. Both gold and silver have been produced as byproducts of copper mining from the two major mines in this district-- the United Verde and the United Verde Extension. Centuries ago the copper ores at Jerome were utilized by Indians for jewelry and dyes. In 1582 and 1598 Spanish explorers visited the deposits and located claims, though they did not work them. The deposits remained unnoticed and undeveloped until their rediscovery in 1875 by U.S. Army troops. In 1876 prospectors entered the area, and by 1882 the newly organized United Verde Copper Co. began consolidating the numerous claims and later became the largest producer of the district. Oxidized ores rich in gold, silver, and copper were mined in 1883-84, but by the end of 1884 the ore was exhausted and the price of copper dropped, so that work was suspended at the United Verde property until 1888. Prospecting elsewhere in the district in the early 1900's was successful, and for a time several small mines were active. The United Verde Extension Gold, Silver, and Copper Mining Co. was organized in 1899, and under its successors it became the second largest mine of the district. In the early 1900's the United Verde Extension Co. explored extensively, first to the southwest and later east of the prospering United Verde property. Most of these efforts were fruitless; nevertheless, work continued until the company was on the verge of collapse. Finally in 1914, a rich chalcocite ore body was found on the 1,200 level, and in 1916 a much larger ore body was found. The company operated on a large scale until 1938 when the deposit was mined out and the mine was closed. The United Verde mine continued its under- ground operations until 1931, after which open-pit mining was the chief activity. Depletion of reserves finally forced the mine to close in 1953. The large-scale copper mining yielded a total of about 1,565,000 ounces of byproduct gold from 1883 through 1951. Total gold production from 1883 through 1959 was about 1,571,000 ounces.
LYNX CREEK-WALKER DISTRICT: is about 7 miles southeast of Prescott. Lynx Creek is one of the most productive placer streams in the State; more- over, lode mines in the Walker camp have yielded considerable gold, silver, copper, and lead. The placers were discovered by a party of California miners in 1863, and as they worked up- stream they found the gold-bearing veins of the Walker camp. The richest placers were depleted in the early clays, but small and intermittent placer operations continued for many years. From 1927 through 1941 large- scale dredging operations were successful, but from 1942 through 1959 the placer mining was desultory and was carried out on a small scale. In the Walker camp only oxidized ore was mined in the early years and was worked in arrastres. Deep mining into the sulfide zone presumably was begun some time before 1910. Lode production probably was never very large, and it fluctuated considerably but was almost continuous from 1905 through 1952. The placer output through 1924 was about $1 million, most of which was extracted in the early years production before 1881 was estimated at $1 million (48,379 ounces), and from 1900 to 1949 it was about $1 million, mostly during 1933-42. Total gold output of the district through 1959 was about 140,000 ounces: 97,000 ounces from placers and 43,000 ounces from lodes.
MARTINEZ DISTRICT: is in southwestern Yavapai County in the southeastern Date Creek Mountains a few miles northwest of Congress. Gold was produced almost entirely from quartz veins and mostly from the Congress mine. The first discoveries were made in 1870, but the ore was not free milling and thus progress was impeded until a cyanide plant was built in 1895. High production was maintained until 1910. Except for a span of intensive operation by lessees during 1938-42, the mine was virtually idle from 1910 through 1959. The total minimum gold production of the Congress mine from 1887 through 1959 was about 396,300 ounces.
PECK DISTRICT: is in the drainage area of Peck Canyon and Bear Creek, about 20 miles south- southeast of Prescott. Rich silver ore was discovered in the Peck mine in 1875, and in the following 10 years $1 to $11/2 million worth of silver was mined. Other silver deposits were found in the late 1870's. By 1885 the rich ore of the Peck mine was depleted, and work in the succeeding years was mainly by lessees. In the early 1900's copper-silver properties were developed which yielded considerable byproduct gold. From 1932 through 1959 the district was for the most part inactive. Total gold production from 1890 through 1959 was about 15,550 ounces.
PINE GROVE-TIGER DISTRICT: (Crown King) is in the heart of the Bradshaw Mountains 40 miles by road southeast of Prescott; the Tiger camp lies immediately south of the Pine Grove camp. The ores, which were very rich in silver and gold near the surface, also contained significant amounts of copper, lead, and zinc. A few mines in this district were worked as early as 1874, but there is little indication of any significant development until after 1890. The Crown King mine, the most important gold property of the district, was most active between 1893 and 1900 . More recent productive flurries occurred during 1903-23 and 1934-51. The total gold production through 1959 was about 130,275 ounces.
TIPTOP DISTRICT: is in the southern foothills of the Bradshaw Mountains in southeastern Yavapai County, about 45 miles north-northwest of Phoenix. The history and production of the district is mainly that of the Tiptop mine. This mine, located in 1875, yielded about $2 million probably all in silver and gold, before 1883, when it was closed. The mine was reopened from 1886 to 1888, but apparently it has been closed since that time. A small amount of tungsten ore was mined, probably during World War I. Since then the district has been dormant, except for minor activity during the 1930's and early 1950's. Total gold production through 1959 was about 10,000 ounces.
WEAVER-RICH HILL DISTRICT: is in southwestern Yavapai County along the southwestern front of the Weaver Mountains, 5 to 8 miles east of Congress. Both lodes and placers have been important sources of gold in this district. An accidental discovery of gold nuggets on top of Rich Hill in the early 1860's kindled interest in the area and before long gold placers along Weaver and Antelope Creeks and the lode deposit at the Octave mine were found. By 1883 the placers had yielded $1 million in gold, but thereafter the deposits were worked sporadically and were idle from 1952 through 1959. Little development of the Octave mine was at- tempted until the perfection of the cyanide process in the 1890's. Between 1900 and 1905 gold and silver ore worth $1,900,000 was mined. Activity declined after 1905, and the mine was closed in 1930. Under new ownership of the American Smelting and Re- fining Co., the mine was reopened in 1934 and was worked until December 1942. Lode production of the district declined sharply in 1943 and was negligible through 1959. Placers in the district are credited through 1959 with about 104,000 ounces of gold and lodes with about 204,000 ounces, a total of 308,000 ounces. All but about 1,500 ounces of the lode gold came from the Octave mine.
Yuma County, in the southwest corner of Arizona, ranks fourth among the gold-producing counties of the State. The terrain includes many mountains of the fault-block type that trend north-northwest and are separated by broad desert plains. The bedrock of the mountains consists of schist, gneiss, and granite of Precambrian age, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks of Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Tertiary age, granite of Tertiary age, and volcanic rocks of Cretaceous to Quaternary age. Nine mining districts, mainly in the central and western parts of the county, have had a total output of more than 10,000 ounces of gold each. The mines of Yuma County produced a total of about 771,000 ounces of gold through 1959.
CASTLE DOME, DISTRICT: is in south-central Yuma County in the southern Castle Dome Mountains, about 20 to 25 miles north of Wellton. Organized in 1863, the Castle Dome district has produced about equal amounts of placer and lode gold. The first discoveries were of silver-bearing lead ore; gold placers were found in 1884, and gold- quartz veins, although known for some time, received little attention until 1912. Activity in the district has been sporadic, and from 1942 through 1959 the mines were dormant. Total gold production through 1959 was between 9,500 and 10,500 ounces.
CIENEGA DISTRICT: is in northwestern Yuma County, 5 to 8 miles northeast of Parker. Some mining was done as early as 1870. Gold-copper lodes developed during 1909-20 had small sporadic yields. Intermittent activity continued through 1957. The district produced ore worth $415,000 (about 20,000 ounces), from 1870 to 1933, most of which must have been mined before 1908 because recorded production from 1908 to 1933 was only 4,271 ounces. Total gold production through 1959 was at least 10,000 ounces.
DOME DISTRICT: (Gila City) is at the north end of the Gila Mountains, about 15 miles east of Yuma. Discovered in 1858, this placer district attracted a horde of prospectors who worked the rich gravels of Monitor Gulch and other gulches and benches near the newly founded settlement of Gila City, just west of the present town of Dome. By 1865 the high-grade placers were worked out, but spasmodic activity continued to 1950. Total gold production through 1959 was about 24,765 ounces, the bulk of which was mined before 1865.
ELLSWORTH DISTRICT: (Harquahala) is in the Little Harquahala Mountains, 5 to 10 miles south of Salome. Small placer deposits in Harquahala Gulch were worked in 1886 and 1887, and the lodes of the Bonanza and Golden Eagle mines, from which most of the gold of the district has been mined, were found in 1888. The period of greatest activity was from 1891 to 1897, after which the ore bodies were considered to be worked out. Small production by lessees continued at intervals through 1957. Total gold production of the district through 1959 was about 134,000 ounces; nearly all production was from lodes.
FORTUNA DISTRICT: is on the west flank of the central part or" the Gila Mountains, 21 miles south- east of Yuma. Discovered sometime between 1892 and 1895, the Fortuna mine has been the only profitable gold- mining venture in the district. The first period of operation was between 1896 and 1904, during which 123,050 ounces of gold was produced. The mine was closed in 1901 after several fruitless attempts to locate the continuation of the vein beyond a fault. There was minor production in 1913, 1926, 1939, and 1940; but apparently no substantial segment of the vein was found. Total gold production of the district through 1959 was 125,332 ounces.
KOFA DISTRICT: is in the central part of the county, on the southwestern flank of the Kofa Mountains. Nearly the entire gold output of this district came from the King of Arizona and the North Star lode mines, discovered in 1896 and 1906 respectively. The King of Arizona mine was operated until 1910 and the North Star until 1911. A brief flurry of production occurred in the late 1930's, but during most of 1942-59 the district was idle. The total gold production of the district was about 237,000 ounces.
LAGUNA DISTRICT: is immediately north of the Gila River and east of the Colorado River, at the south end of the Laguna Mountains. The important mineral deposits are gold-quartz veins and placers in the Las Flores area in the southeastern part of the Laguna Mountains, placers in the McPhaul area along the southern foot of the mountains, and placers in the Laguna Dam area on the west side of the mountains. Mexican and Indian placer miners were busy in the Las Flores area in the 1860's, and some activity was reported in gold- bearing veins before 1870. Efforts were made in 1884 or 1885 to dredge gravels in the Laguna Dam area, but the dredge was destroyed in a flood. In the early 1900's small amounts of gold were recovered from potholes in gulches along the Colorado River. More recent operations were desultory, and the district was inactive from 1941 through 1959. Total gold production through 1959 was roughly 10,500 ounces, mostly from placers.
LA PAZ DISTRICT: (Weaver) in west-central Yuma County, is 9 miles west of Quartzite and 6 miles east of the Colorado River, along the west side of the Dome Mountains. Gold has come chiefly from placers, but a small amount has been mined from quartz veins. Indians gave a few nuggets to a trapper in 1862 and guided him and his party to the rich gold-bearing gravels. News of this spread quickly, and several hundred miners rushed to the new area. By 1864, however, the higher grade placers were exhausted. The district was dormant until 1910, when plans were made to mine the gravels by hydraulic methods. These operations were thwarted when the land was included in an Indian reservation. Several later plans for large-scale mining were never carried out. Lode deposits, probably discovered at about the same time as the placers, were worked intermittently and yielded about $100,000 worth of gold through about 1933. The placer gold production was estimated at about $2 million (96,800 ounces) in the first 5 years. Total production from placers through 1959 was about 100,000 ounces, and total output from lodes was about 4,000 ounces.
PLOMOSA DISTRICT: is near the town of Quartzite on La Posa Plain, between the Plomosa Mountains on the east and the Dome Rock Mountains on the west. This is mainly a placer district; however, gold, copper, and lead have been produced from lode mines. In 1862, prospectors on their way west to the rich La Pat gravels found placers on the east side of the Dome Rock Mountains, at Oro Fine, La Cholla, and Middle Camp. These were worked intermittently until the 1950's, and several unsuccessful attempts were made to mine the gravels on a large scale. Gold, copper, and lead veins were exploited after 1900 but their yield was small. Total gold production of the district through 1959 was about 24,570 ounces: about 19,400 from placers and 5,000 from lodes.
* Information provided by the Gold Prospector’s Association of America. Visit them online at: www.goldprospectors.org.