Gold Strike Made on Mount Reuben in Galice District
by Galice Mining District
Word of a fantastic little pocket gold strike has come out of the Mount Reuben area of the Galice Mining District.
The pocket strike, called the "First Blood" because its finders uncovered it so quickly in a historic local prospect and the fact that the ore was so mineralized that when panned it turned the water blood red, has thus far resulted in over one and a quarter pounds of coarse gold. The discoverers of the rich find were William Powell, Bill Powell, Kerby Jackson, Ryan O'Shea and Andy Baugh, all residents of Oregon.
"It is a pretty typical gold pocket for Southern Oregon," said Kerby Jackson, who is a local historian and author of numerous mining books. "We discovered it in a seam of gouge next to what is mostly a low grade vein of bull quartz. The geology suggests that the gold was originally displaced out of the quartz by hydraulic forces and concentrated in the gouge below it. The quartz vein above the pocket was heavily fractured and full of spaces. The resulting ore in the seam was so full of gold that you could not crush it in a hand mortar. This is typical of many of the old stories about pocket discoveries in South West Oregon and it's just another feather in the cap for the mines on Mount Reuben".
Mount Reuben is located near
the historic mining community of Galice in South West Oregon and consists
of the area north of the Rogue River and west of Grave Creek. Since the
1890's, the area has produced large quantities of lode gold. Since the
1940's, the famous Benton Mine has been the leading gold producer in the
area, producing over 50,000 ounces of gold despite only operating off and
on since 1947. The nearby Gold Bug, Ajax and Reno mines have also made
substantial gold productions. At one time, the Benton Mine was the largest
employer in Josephine County, Oregon. Most of the producing mines in the
area are found along a geologic contact of quartz diorite and greenstone,
as well as meta-gabbro. While the exact location of the pocket strike has
not yet been disclosed, Jackson said that the pocket was found in an old
prospect that followed a fissure or crack near a greenstone contact.
Eight and a half ounces
of coarse gold were recovered from the First Blood Pocket in less than
Jackson said that the final tally of the First Blood Pocket's yield is still to be determined.
"In addition to over a pound and a quarter of gold mostly larger than 10 mesh, there were also large quantities of fines. Pocket gold is very sugary, as we put it in miner's terms, meaning that it is sponge-like and full of little spaces inside the mass," Jackson said. "That means it has a lower specific gravity than the placer gold you find in local creeks and rivers and as a consequence is harder to work in a pan or by other means of gravity separation. There was so much gold to deal with that I just classified the concentrated ore by size and anything smaller than 20 mesh went into containers to go to a refiner. The amount of fines was pretty impressive and will certainly add to the final total. I'd estimate that it will run at least two troy pounds when all is said and done. That's a conservative number".
"We took out most of the ore with a rock hammer, but the Teknetics G2 metal detector that we used to pinpoint the hotspots was the real key to it all," he said. "We'd dig the ore, bag it and then before we milled it, we'd use the G2 on it. If we got a strong hit, Ryan would pinpoint it and we processed the target by hand. On a few occasions we saw visible gold in the wall. Will plucked out one really nice quartz gold specimen from a stringer that had a band of gold almost two inches long and almost an inch wide. It was pretty exhilirating".
Despite this, Jackson says that the pocket is really only a mere taste of the mining possibilities in South Western Oregon.
"It's just a small pocket.
We paid our bills and made a good memory," he said. "Historically, some
of these pockets have given up hundreds of ounces to individual miners
in a very short period of time. The Briggs Strike, Revenue Pocket and the
Gold Hill Pocket yielded thousands of ounces each in a few short weeks.
The hills around this area are literally full of hundreds of old pocket
mines that range in size from a big mud puddle on up to a couple hundred
feet worth of tunnel. Most of them don't have names and very few of them
were written about. We know even less about the guys who dug those holes,
let alone about how they did it. Pocket Hunters are kind of a dying breed,
but there is a resurgence of interest in this type of lode mining because
everyone knows that there are plenty more of them out there. The possibilities
are virtually endless," Jackson said.
Jackson shows off a quart jar loaded with fine gold.