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OREGON GOLD MINING: MALHEUR COUNTY GOLD DISTRICTS

- Easter Oregon Mining Association
- 12/03/1999

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PREFACE TO THE OREGON GOLD DISTRICTS SERIES:

Although mining of gold in Oregon was at an all time low in 1965, mining of nickel, uranium, mercury, and a host of nonmetals was flourishing as one of the important industries in the State. Total production of gold in Oregon from 1852 through 1965 was 5,796,680 ounces. This total includes estimates of production before 1900 and data from the U.S. Geological Survey (1904-24) and the U.S. Bureau of Mines (1925-66) for the years 1902-65. Production data for districts are fragmentary, especially where production of several districts was combined in the reports, thus the totals for districts are minimal and largely underrated.

MALHEUR COUNTY GOLD

Considerable gold has been produced from the Malheur district, in northern Malheur County, and from the Mormon Basin district which extends into Baker County. As might be expected, early production from such border-straddling districts was reported with little consideration for geography; however, it is fairly certain that the bulk of the Mormon Basin output was from the part of the district in Baker County. Gold production data for Malheur County are complete from 1904, but data on district production before 1932 are fragmentary. From 1904 through 1959 Malheur County produced 13,522 ounces of lode gold and 13,860 ounces of placer gold. More than one-third of this came from the Mormon Basin district.

MALHEUR DISTRICT: The Malheur district is about 10 miles west-south-west of the Mormon Basin district in northern Malheur County. Information on this district is fragmentary. The district's greatest production was in 1875, just after the completion of the Eldorado ditch which pro-vided sufficient water to mine the gulch gravels on a fairly large scale. Production for that year was $150,000 in gold. No further mining was reported until the late 1930's and early 1940's. From 1932 through 1942, the district produced 36 ounces of lode gold and 2,277 ounces of placer gold. From 1942 through 1959 no production was reported. The minimum total production for the district through 1959, including Lindgren's report of $150,000 for 1875, was about 9,600 ounces of gold.

MORMON BASIN DISTRICT: The Malheur County part of the Mormon Basin district produced 4,133 ounces of lode gold and 5,199 ounces of placer gold between 1904 and 1959, but before 1932 not all the annual production was reported. from 1952 through 1959, no gold production was reported from the district.