Josephine County Oregon Gold Production
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The Galice district is between lat 42°28' and 42°44' N. and long 123°28' and 123°54' W., in the northwest corner of Josephine County, and includes the Mount Reuben district in this report.
Placer mining began in this district along Galice Creek in 1854. By the 1880's the richer deposits were mined out and Chinese took over many of the operations (Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, 1942, p. 16). The Old Channel and the Benton mines were among the important gold producers in southwestern Oregon. The Old Channel mine, about 1 mile west of Galice, was first worked in 1860 and was one of the largest, if not the largest, hydraulic mine in Oregon (Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, 1942, p. 48-59). The workings were in a gravel terrace about 600 feet above the Rogue River. The Benton, a lode mine in the Mount Reuben area, was located in 1893 and was worked until 1905. It was reopened in 1936 and closed again from 1942 through 1959. During 1940 and 1941 the Benton was the largest underground mine in southern Oregon (Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, 1942, p. 17). Other important mines in the Galice district were the Almeda, Gold Bug, Oriole, Black Bear, and Robertson. The periods of greatest production from the quartz mines were from 1900 to 1910 and from 1939 to 1942. The district was practically inactive from 1951 through 1959.
The Galice district produced about $5 million in gold to 1913 (Diller, 1914b, p. 47). From 1914 through 1959, gold production included 16,600 ounces from lode mines, 7,258 ounces from placers, and 1,941 ounces undifferentiated as to source. Total production, including estimates of early production, was about 268,000 ounces.
The following description of the geology of the Galice district has been summarized from Wells and Walker (1953). Steeply dipping sedimentary, volcanic, and metamorphic rocks of Late Jurassic age cross the district in a northeastward-trending belt. From oldest to youngest these consist of sandstone, shale, and siltstone of the Dothan Formation, altered lava flows, tuffs, breccias, and agglomerates of the Rogue Formation, and mudstone, sandstone, tuff, and agglomerate of the Galice Formation. These rocks were intruded by sheets and dikes of peridotite, gabbroic amphibolite, quartz diorite, and dacite porphyry, all ranging in age from Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous. The rocks were compressed into isoclinal folds that trend northeastward and were later torn by faults, the most prominent of which are high-angle reverse faults that strike con-cordantly with the strike of the rocks. There are a few northwest-trending normal faults in the area.
Gold is the chief commodity of the Galice district, but considerable copper, silver, and a little lead, in addition to gold, have been produced at the Almeda mine (Shenon, 1933c, p. 24).
The veins of the Galice district fill fractures in many of the Jurassic igneous rocks—the gabbroic amphibolite, diorite, and dacite bodies. Veins' also occur in the Rogue Formation and its metamorphosed equivalent; however, there are no mineralized fractures in the Dothan or Galice Formations. The veins dip steeply and most of them strike north or north-northeast. In most deposits the gold is free and is associated with pyrite, pyrrhotite, and some chalcopyrite in a quartz gangue.
At the Almeda mine a second period of mineralization is recognized. It is characterized by abundant chalcopyrite and a little sphalerite and galena in a gangue of barite (Wells and Walker, 1953).