New World Mining District

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Homestake Mine

The New World Mining District is an area of mineralization that sits within Gallatin National Forest to the northeast of Cooke City and Yellowstone National Park, in Park County, Montana, United States. The district hosts extensive deposits of gold, silver and copper in zones of carbonate replacement. These deposits are the result of Eocene hydrothermal alteration of Cambrian carbonates related to the Absaroka volcanic field. Alteration and mineralization occurs primarily within carbonate clasts hosted in a volcanic breccia pipe and in carbonates that lies adjacent to that breccia.[1]

History[edit]

Initial exploration of the region occurred in the 1860s with extensive workings developed at the Homestake and Little Daisy Mines between 1904 and 1925. The Homestake mine stopped only a few hundred feet from a high-grade ore body. This ore body was later discovered by Crown Butte Mines in 1989 and also in 1990 as a result of an intensive drilling campaign.[2][3][4]

Environmental controversy[edit]

Crown Butte – Noranda planned to develop this site as a working gold-copper-silver mine. However, the site sits only 4.5 miles from the North East Entrance to Yellowstone National Park. The Beartooth Alliance and the Greater Yellowstone Coalition raised considerable concern and a national debate ensued. Ultimately a settlement was reached between the Clinton administration and Crown Butte-Noranda. Crown Butte – Noranda agreed to pay 22.5 million dollars to remediate historical mining options in the region in exchange for 65 million dollars of compensation for mineral claims and rights. The land contained within existing New World Mining district claims became property of the federal government.[5]

The core of the district was covered by patented (i.e. privately owned) claims, which weren't part of the settlement, and presumably are still in private ownership.

Visiting the district[edit]

The New World Mines can be visited by accessing the site through the US Forest Service Daisy or Lulu pass roads that depart from US Highway 212 about one mile east of Cooke City. The site is mostly remediated to limit the effects of acid mine drainage and all mine adits are closed off. A number of historic mining structures remain. The roads are usually accessible from the mid-July through September, but may be snow covered at any times due to the high elevation. High ground clearance vehicles are recommended.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Elliot, J.E., Kirk, A.R., and Johnson, T.W., 1992 Field Guide - Gold-Copper-Silver Deposits of the New World District., Tobacco Root Geological Society. Field, C. and J. E. Elliott (1992). Guidebook for the Red Lodge-Beartooth Mountains-Stillwater area, Tobacco Root Geological Society, Inc.
  2. ^ Johnson, T.W., and Thompson, T.B., 2006., Breccia and Carbonate Hosted AU-Cu-Ag Replacement Mineralization Associated with the Homestate Porphyry Intrusive Complex, New World District, Montana., Economic Geology v. 101 pp 955–980
  3. ^ Elliot, J.E., Kirk, A.R., and Johnson, T.W., 1992 Field Guide - Gold-Copper-Silver Deposits of the New World District., Tobacco Root Geological Society. Field, C. and J. E. Elliott (1992). Guidebook for the Red Lodge-Beartooth Mountains-Stillwater area, Tobacco Root Geological Society, Inc.
  4. ^ http://www.colorado-west.com/cooke/newworldmines.html, Accessed 7-9-2012
  5. ^ Van Gosen, B. S. The Life Cycle of gold Deposits Near the Northeast Corner of Yellowstone Nation Park—Geology, Mining History and Fate., U.S. Geological Survey Processional Paper 1717

External links[edit]