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It’s been said Alaska has been discovered four times; first for furs, then fish, gold and finally, oil. Alaska’s history has therefore been one of boom to bust to boom. There is no doubt that gold played the major part in the development of Alaska and today precious and base metals are again playing a major role in the state’s economy.
In 1850 gold was discovered on the Russian River in the Kenai Peninsula and in 1861 gold was again found at Telegraph Creek near present day Wrangell.
Although the 1850 and 1861 gold discoveries were pretty much ignored it wasn’t long before disappointed would be gold miners from British Columbia’s Cassiar District discovered gold placers at Windham and Sumdum Bays, southeast of Juneau, in 1869.
In 1880, George Pilz, at the time living in Sitka, grubstaked Joe Juneau and Richard Harris. Pilz had been encouraging the areas natives, the Tlingits, to search for gold. Chief Kowee had brought in some samples and Pilz sent his new prospectors, led by Kowee, out to the find the source. In October 1880, Harris and Juneau found gold “large pieces of quartz, of black sulfite and galena all spangled over with gold” and named the creek Gold Creek. Soon a town was started, Harrisburg, then called Rockwell, finally Juneau – after Joe Juneau. The Harris Mining District was named after Richard Harris.
Billy Meehan and company left Sitka On December 1, 1880. They were bound for the new strike at Gold Creek. On the way the party camped near the southern end of Douglas Island on the west side of Gastineau Channel. On December 16th, Billy found placer gold at the mouth of a stream later named Bullion Creek. By spring Meehan’s “Ready Bullion Boys” had recovered placer gold worth $1,200 from the stream.
In May 1881, Pierre “French Pete” Erussard moved to Douglas Island and staked the Paris lode gold claim. In 1881 John Treadwell, a promoter San Francisco investors had sent to Alaska, obtained the claim for a sum ranging anywhere from $5 to $400, history is conflicted on the exact price. Eventually, four mines were opened; the Treadwell, the 700, the Mexican, and the Ready Bullion.
On September 7, 1886, prospectors Howard Franklin, Howard Madison and Mickey O’Brien found placer gold 25 miles above the mouth of the Fortymile River. After Frank Bateau accumulated $3,000 in gold dust from one season’s work he became known as “King of the Fortymile.”
Not long after the strike at Fourtymile a former prospector, Jack McQuesten, grubstaked Peter Pavlov, aka Pitka, and his brother-in-law Serge Cherosky. They found gold in the gravel of Birch Creek, another Yukon River tributary.
A Canadian prospector, Bob Henderson, took more than $700 in gold from a tributary of the Tron-duick River (Klondike River). Tagish Charlie, Skookum Jim, and George Carmack discovered gold in Bonanza Creek on August 17, 1896.
Three prospectors from Council City set out to investigate the reports of gold near Cape Nome on the Bering Sea coast. Some thirty miles short of their destination storms forced their boat into the mouth of the Snake River.
While sitting out the storm the three panned for gold on the sandbars eventually reaching Anvil Creek where they panned large amounts of coarse gold. John Brynteson, Jafet Lindeberg, and Erik Lindblom became known as the “Lucky Swedes.” The discovery of gold at Anvil Creek in 1898 brought thousands of fortune seekers – one noteable was Wyatt Earp – to the Nome area.
In 1899 gold was found in Nome’s beaches and it wasn’t long before thousands of miners were camped on the sands. John Hummel, a prospector from Idaho, recovered $1,200 worth of gold in gold in twenty days. During the summer of 1899, 2,000 men and women recovered an astronomical two million dollars in gold from Nome’s beaches.
In 1900, Clarence Warner and “Tarantula Jack” Smith were prospecting about 60 miles east of present day Chitina. The two men stopped for lunch and spotted, on a cliff high above them, a large green spot between Kennicott Glacier and McCarthy Creek. The Guggenheim brothers and J.P. Morgan eventually ended up owning the world’s richest (at that time) copper claims.
In a Tanana River valley creek near Chena Slough, Italian immigrant Felice Pedroni, aka Felix Pedro, discovered gold in 1902. By 1904 stampeders were on their way and Fairbanks was founded.
Robert Lee Hatcher was born June 24th 1867 in Montague, Texas. He arrived in Alaska in 1888. Hatcher had started prospecting in White Oaks, New Mexico, came north at twenty-one, spent time prospecting in Atlin, Canada, and southeast Alaska before heading to south-central Alaska.
In September 1906, Hatcher located hard rock gold (the Skyscraper Vein, a quartz gold claim 1,200 feet above the floor of Fishhook Valley) on a ridge below Skyscraper Mountain in the southern Talkeetna Mountains (Hatcher Pass).
In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt increased the price of gold from $20.67 to $35.00 per ounce. The increase in price led to more gold mining in Alaska. This expansion continued until the early years of World War II when federal order E-208 shut down gold mines throughout the United States – the United States War Production Board thought gold mining was not essential to the war effort.
In 1950, at age eighty-three, Hatcher was found in his cabin on Ptarmigan Creek twenty-three miles north of Seward; he was paralyzed on his left side and unable to speak. Robert Lee Hatcher died in Seward, Alaska, 24th September 1950 and was buried, October 1st 1950, in an unmarked grave in the Seward Pioneer Cemetery.
“Earth was born 4.5 billion years ago, but its violent history began well before that, when huge ancient stars that had reached the ends of their lives exploded. These supernovas cooked up all the chemical elements we know today including iron, carbon, gold and even radioactive elements like uranium. Over time, gravity took hold, and this cloud of stardust collapsed into an enormous rotating disk: the solar nebula.
In the center of this disk, temperature and pressure rose, and a star, our sun, was born. Eventually, gases like hydrogen and helium would be swept to the far reaches of the disk, but closer to the sun were dust grains made of the heavier elements.
They’re circling around the early sun in little racetracks, and occasionally grains traveling nearby will collide. Something like this happens in your house. If you look under your bed, you find that little bits of dust are collecting together into large dust balls. And something like that must be what happened in the solar system, too. If they collide slowly, they can add up to a larger object and gradually grow.
With enough collisions, dust grew into pebbles and pebbles grew into rocks. And as the rocks grew larger, so did the collisions. If they collide head on or at higher velocities then they’ll actually break apart, like shooting a gun at a wall. But other times, the rocks stuck together. And the larger they got, the stronger their gravity became.
Because of the gravitational attraction between these bodies, you coalesce. Instead of just making a mess—and you do make a mess as well—you build bigger things, because gravity holds things together. In time, gravity shaped them into small, round planets, or planetesimals, just a few miles across.
Gradually, they grow from golf ball size to rugby ball size and then house size and then township size. And then one or two of these objects would get large faster than anything else and become the big boys on the block.
Eventually, some of these planetesimals grew as big as our moon. And then they combined to form the four small, rocky planets closest to the sun: Mercury, Venus, Mars and Earth.
As you go back to these very earliest times, the first few hundred million years, the Earth was so energetic and was recycling materials so vigorously and melting material, that rocks from that period have not survived.
But Earth had barely taken shape before the first of several major disasters struck the young planet. Earth’s gravity was pulling in huge quantities of debris from space, a continual bombardment that generated enormous amounts of heat on the surface. At the same time, radioactive elements trapped deep within the Earth were decaying, producing even more heat, roasting the planet from the inside. The combined effect was catastrophic.
By eight minutes after midnight on our 24-hour clock, the planet had become a raging furnace. And when the temperature reached thousands of degrees, dense metals such as iron and nickel in Earth’s rocky surface melted. The outer part of the Earth would have been completely molten. We call that a magma ocean. It’s a liquid rock ocean, hundreds of kilometers thick.
The Earth, at some point, was a big droplet of melt just floating in space. When you have a totally molten object like this, the heaviest elements—and that includes things like iron—would sink to the center of this droplet, and the lightest elements—things rich in carbon and water for instance, or light elements—would float to the top and float there like algae on a lake.” Origins: Earth is Born http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/3111_origins.html
With the passage of time the surface of the earth cooled, but deep below a furnace still rages. Gold comes into contact with water that has been superheated by the molten rock and our gold dissolves into the water.
The water, driven by upward pressure, is forced into every fracture or opening heading towards the surface. As the gold pregnant water nears the surface heat and pressure diminish. The gold is precipitated out of solution and veins, in the form of long narrow planes, are formed.
If the gold fills smaller parallel fissures a network of veins is formed, a stockwork zone.
Gold, after being freed from its host rock by erosion, is also transported downstream as flakes/grains and nuggets by the flow of water. Such concentrations of gold in rivers and streams are called placers.
Seekers Of Gold
“You see we prospectors are a dying breed. The world doesn’t function around us anymore like it used back in the gold rush. The people who care for you cant understand. What in the world would make you want to risk your life to look for gold? They don’t understand the dream, but in the old days everybody understood. You didn’t have to worry about your wife leaving ya or your friends scorning you because you wanted to find the gold. Everyone was doing it. Everyone dreamed of the day when they would be the one to strike it rich. represent freedom for all, but what does it mean to people today? I’ll tell you, a big house and a nice car. People don’t see that it’s so much more than just finding the golden score. It’s not seen as a building block for freedom. It’s been twisted and messed up to the point of being stuck on a scratch and win ticket. That is what is left of the prospector’s dream in today’s world. All the people around you don’t understand, they can’t see the freedom and the hope it brings you when you chase the dream. They just think you’re dreaming, but we know the truth don’t we? .
The truth is you’re living and they are the ones that are dreaming. Their search for the big car and the nice house. Ha! Illusions I tell you brought onto their brain less minds by a media machine. How I wish I could chase after it still, but the fight’s over for me lad. I’ve got a bad ticker you see, but you can, can’t you son?” he explained eyeing me almost enviously, there is nothing better than standing high up on a mountain top and gazing down upon the world. It makes you feel like your own man. Free from all prison that the world tries to make of your life. You see the world doesn’t want you to be your own man. If they did, they wouldn’t be trying to make you swallow the lie all the time and you know how they do it. Through that little box over there, he said pointing to the television across the room.
Look at those people over there, he explained pointing to the people staring at the TV. They’re swallowing every word of it and it makes me sick. Our pioneer brothers are rolling in their graves I tell ya. They wouldn’t have wanted it this way, this isn’t freedom. People today don’t know what freedom is. That little box over there tells them that they’re free, but they’re not. You see when somebody tells you something enough times you’ll start to believe it. Tell me you won’t give up, tell me you will follow the dream to the ends of the earth. If not for yourself then do it for your pioneer brothers who help create this world and you become one of them. Remember freedom is worth dying for and I’m not talking about dying in a war fighting for some illusionary freedom that your government tells you have. I’m talking the real stuff that comes from the open spaces and when you spent enough time in the mountains you’ll no what I’m talking about. It will grab your soul and won’t leave you until the day you die. It’s what pushes all great men and once you see it you’ll chase it for the rest of your days.”
Seekers of gold is dedicated to all the prospectors out there who have searched for the dream and all of those who are still out there searching for it. Daryl Friesen author, Seekers Of Gold
Most will recognize at least some of the early names and places mentioned above. Prospectors are today still scouring the bush in remote, and not so remote places, chasing the dream, looking for the next discovery. Alaska, Canada’s Yukon Territory and Province of British Columbia are still vast and underexplored places.
Prospecting is of course the integral first step in the process of discovery, walking the bush and hammering rocks means boots on the ground. It’s people walking through the bush that have found the worlds mines. Staking claims and making a deal with a junior resource company, a vendor’s agreement, is often the second step – the prospectors claims are turned over to be worked for shares and or cash and a one or two percent net smelter royalty (NSR) from a mine if the showing goes all the way. Most prospectors don’t have the wherewithal, the money raising capabilities or the expertise to develop a showing so this is where a junior would come in. Being publically traded they have access to capital and expertise the prospector most often does not.
Only a few prospectors among the many thousands who search ever find a valuable deposit. But prospecting success, finding showings, is still possible after a careful study of mining records from areas with favorable geology and drill programs that are targeting these showings should be on every investors radar screen. Have you got a drill program, targeting several potential discoveries, on your radar screen?
If not, maybe you should.
Richard (Rick) Mills
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Richard is host of Aheadoftheherd.com and invests in the junior resource sector. His articles have been published on over 300 websites, including: Wall Street Journal, SafeHaven, Market Oracle, USAToday, National Post, Stockhouse, Lewrockwell, Uranium Miner, Casey Research, 24hgold, Vancouver Sun, SilverBearCafe, Infomine, Huffington Post, Mineweb, 321Gold, Kitco, Gold-Eagle, The Gold/Energy Reports, Calgary Herald, Resource Investor, Mining.com, Forbes, FNArena, Uraniumseek, and Financial Sense.
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This document is not and should not be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase or subscribe for any investment. Richard Mills has based this document on information obtained from sources he believes to be reliable but which has not been independently verified; Richard Mills makes no guarantee, representation or warranty and accepts no responsibility or liability as to its accuracy or completeness. Expressions of opinion are those of Richard Mills only and are subject to change without notice. Richard Mills assumes no warranty, liability or guarantee for the current relevance, correctness or completeness of any information provided within this Report and will not be held liable for the consequence of reliance upon any opinion or statement contained herein or any omission. Furthermore, I, Richard Mills, assume no liability for any direct or indirect loss or damage or, in particular, for lost profit, which you may incur as a result of the use and existence of the information provided within this Report.