aka Spring Gulch (sub-district) aka Seepay Creek
The Revais Creek mining district is located in Sanders County south of the Flathead River and the towns of Perma and Dixon. It was also known as the Dixon district, after the town of that name located at the junction of the Jocko and Flathead Rivers.
The ore shipped from the district consists of malachite, chrysocolla, quartz, and rock carrying copper, silver, gold, platinum, and palladium. The deposits were not worked below the zone of oxidation, but some of the ore shows small residual patches of chalcopyrite, pyrite, and some bornite, the latter secondary. The gabbro dike also has a metallic content (Sahinen 1935).
The Revais Creek district is on the Flathead Indian Reservation, which was opened to location in 1904. The town of Dixon became a natural trading center for settlers. Although mining began in 1910, it was intermittent and not very profitable. Gold-copper ore was shipped from 1910 to 1925. Shipments made in 1932 and 1933 contained 0.10 to 0.50 ounces of platinum per ton (platinum was not paid for in earlier shipments). Some claims showing high-grade silver ore had been partially developed by the 1930s (Sahinen 1935).
Between 1906 and 1961 the total production of the district was 1,277 ounces gold, 5,752 ounces silver, 1,392,791 pounds copper, 22 pounds lead, and no zinc. The 9,099 tons of ore yielded $242,296 in value. There was no production recorded in the years 1906-09, 1914, 1921, 1923-24, 1926-30, 1934, 1943, and 1950-1961 (Crowley 1963).
The bedrock along the Clark Fork and Flathead River valleys between Ravalli and the Idaho boundary formed during the Precambrian era and is mostly sedimentary (Belt) formations. Much of the rock is of the Prichard formation. Glacial Lake Missoula was created about 15,000 years ago by an ice dam and covered much of the Clark Fork River valley as well as land to the east. The entire flow of the Clark Fork River backed up behind the dam, and the glacial lake reached an elevation of about 4350 feet When the ice dam failed, Glacial Lake Missoula emptied through the Clark Fork Valley in just a few days, releasing the greatest flood of known geologic record. This process occurred repeatedly, each time resulting in colossal floods. The passage of the torrents of water during the flooding scoured the narrow stretches of the valley, especially between Perma and Plains and several miles east of Thompson Falls. Exposed bedrock and sedimentary deposits provide evidence of the long - ago rushing floodwaters through the valley, as do ripple marks in Camas Prairie (Alt and Hyndman 1986).
Much of the area south of Dixon is underlain by hard argillaceous rocks belonging to the Ravalli group of the Belt (Proterozoic) series. The rocks are red to green argillites and argillaceous quartzites, and green-grey to light and dark grey argillite and sandy quartzite (Sahinen 1936). According to Sahinen:
The quartzite is intruded by a very dark colored basic (gabbro) dike. On Revais Creek the dike is in fault contact with the quartzite. Ore deposits occur in the fault along the contact and in the dike. The deposits consist of narrow lenses of quartz in a wide crushed and brecciated zone (Sahinen 1935).
In the Revais district occur at least two dikes of gabbro cutting argillites and quartzites of the Ravalli group of formations of the Belt series of Proterozoic age...Ore deposits are associated with the gabbro. Near the headwaters of Magpie Creek...the Ravalli group quartzites are in normal contact with the underlying, older Prichard formation, also of the Belt series....The rocks are part of an extensive system of somewhat metamorphosed sediments over 50,000 feet thick which underlie the greater part of northwestern Montana and northern Idaho....Along Revais Creek, the Ravalli formation has been intruded by a large sill-like mass of dark colored hornblende gabbro (Sahinen 1936).
The Spring Gulch district (within the Revais Creek district) is in an area of quartzites, slates, and argillites of the Ravalli group and Prichard formations of the Belt series (Protesozoic). The sedimentary rocks are intruded by sills of gabbro. The Seepay Creek drainage is underlain by argillites of the Prichard Formation with some beds of quartzite, except near the southern tip of the area (Sahinen 1935; Crowley 1963).
BOUNDARIES OF THE DISTRICT
The Spring Gulch district is a small district located on Revais Creek within the surrounding Revais Creek district. The mines in the Spring Gulch district, as so defined, are discussed in this report. The district produced some copper and lead ores with some gold and silver up to 1918. Rowe (1941) referred to the Spring Gulch district as being 10 miles east of St. Regis and producing gold, copper, lead, and silver.
Some authors, however, place the Spring Gulch district in the area of the Keystone district in Mineral County. Sahinen (1935) referred to the Spring Gulch district as about six miles south of Paradise. He considered the King and Queen mines as within the Spring Gulch district (they were located near the town of Keystone in T18N, R26W).
Crowley (1963) defined the Revais Creek district as being drained by Revais Creek and mostly located in Section 4, T17N, R22W, and Section 33, T18N, R22W, with some prospects in Sections 5, T17N, R22W (Crowley 1963).
Figure 1 shows the large Revais Creek district as defined by the AMRB (1994). A smaller Spring Gulch district is also delineated which is the Revais Creek district boundaries as defined by Crowley (1963). The Seepay Creek sub-district is also defined.
HISTORIES OF SELECTED MINES
Development at the Blue Ball mine included a short adit and a shaft by 1936, and the ore yielded some gold, silver, copper, and platinum (Sahinen 1936).
The Blue Ox produced 39 tons of ore in 1937 containing gold, silver, and copper. The underground workings crosscut the gabbro sill (Crowley 1963). Sandvig (1947) referred to the Blue Ox mine as in the Dixon mining district and described the ore as having values in gold and copper.
Sandvig (1947) described the Carter mine in the Spring Gulch district as having ore with values in lead, silver, and gold.
By 1936 three adits had been driven into the gabbro on the Coppersmith claim, which was located about two-thirds of a mile north of the Drake mine (Sahinen 1936).
The Coyote Bill workings were located on the Bay Horse claim, 8,500 feet northwest of the Pine Cone adits. By 1936 two short adits had been driven, and a sample yielded gold, silver, copper, and platinum (Sahinen 1936).
The Drake mine (also known as the Dixon and possibly as the Green Mountain) was considered the most important mine in the district in 1935. The Drake mine is located in the north half of Section 4, T17N, R22W, on the east slope of Revais Creek about 6 1/2 miles southwest of the town of Dixon (within the small mining district known as Spring Gulch). The property had three claims, the Trade Dollar, Dixon, and Eagle. The mine produced ore intermittently between 1910 and 1949. In 1930 and 1933 the mine produced about 400 tons of ore. By 1936, the mine had been developed by two adits 150 and 130 feet long (WPA 1941; Sahinen 1936; Crowley 1963; Sahinen 1935).
The Drake brothers discovered the mineralization at the site in 1910, and they began to ship oxidized copper ore from shallow surface workings. Their production continued until 1931, when the Dixon Mining and Milling Company leased the mine (three claims) and the Lucky Strike claim. Shipments of ore continued until the Green Mountain Mining Company assumed the operation in 1939. That company began development and ore shipments from a level below the main adit. In 1941, a 50-ton mill was installed on the property but it was idled when the ore was cut off on a fault. Production resumed in 1944, but a fire in 1945 stopped work until 1946. The company ran a drift into the neighboring Mayflower claim. The development was unsuccessful and the company closed operations in 1949. Sorted crude ores shipped to the smelter varied from 5-35 percent copper, 1-4 ounces silver, 0.05 to 1.0 ounce gold, and 0.05 to 0.5 ounce platinum. The Kootenai Copper Mines leased the property in 1950 and began development work, but only two small shipments were made. The property was idle beginning in 1954 (Crowley 1963; Sahinen 1936).
In 1939 the Green Mountain Mining Company shipped 287 tons of rich copper ore from its mine on Revais Creek (possibly the Drake) to the smelter at Anaconda (Rowe 1941).
Sandvig (1947) reported that the ore at the Eagle mine had values in silver, gold, and copper.
The Lucky Lode prospect is located high on the ridge dividing Sanders and Missoula counties at the headwaters of Seepay Creek (NW1/4 Section 6, T17N, R23W). Two adits and several prospect pits were opened along a quartz vein containing small amounts of galena, pyrite, chalcopyrite, pyrrhotite, and pentlandite. The Prichard Formation underlies the area (Crowley 1963).
Four adits were driven into the Lucky Strike claim by 1936, up to 150 feet in length. The ore contained platinum (0.02 to 0.05 ounces per ton), with small amounts of silver and copper. In 1946 the Lucky Strike mine produced 47 tons of ore that yielded 14 ounces gold, 62 ounces silver, and 12, 051 pounds copper. The ore was probably mined from the surface (Crowley 1963; Sahinen 1936).
The Mayflower claim was located adjacent to the Drake mine on the south. By 1936 a 50-foot tunnel had been driven into quartzite. The mine yielded some shipping ore prior to 1935 (Sahinen 1935; Sahinen 1936).
The New Deal mine (also called the Teddy or the Teddy Bear mine) is located in the Seepay Creek formation in the NW1/4 of Section 19, T18N, R23W along the Vandenberg Lookout road. In 1934 a crosscut adit was started at the mine, and work had previously been done on shafts and surface pits. The mine has copper mineralization, and it produced one small lot (18 tons) of copper ore in 1938. The ore had values in gold and silver as well as copper (Crowley 1963; Sandvig 1947).
The Pine Cone claim was located 9,000 feet northwest of the Blue Ball claim. By 1936 there were two short adits (Sahinen 1936).
The Revais claim is located in the Spring Gulch district (within the Revais Creek district) about one-half mile north of the Drake mine at the south end of Section 33, T18N, R22W. In 1936 it had a 470-foot tunnel. The ore in the main adit carried platinum plus small amounts of silver, gold, and copper (Sahinen 1936).
Sandvig (1947) described the Slow Poke mine as having ore with values in gold, silver, and copper.
Sandvig (1947) described the Trade Dollar mine as having ore with values in gold, silver, and copper.
The White Cloud workings were located on a branch of Magpie Creek, 6,000 feet northwest of the Coyote Bill tunnel. The adit was about 200 feet long in 1936, and assays showed some platinum (Sahinen 1936).
Abandoned Mine Reclamation Bureau (AMRB)
1994 Mining districts of Montana. Maps 1:100,000 and Map #94-NRIS-129. Compiled and edited by Joel Chavez. Prepared by Montana State Library Natural Resource Information System (NRIS) for Montana Department of State Lands. Helena
Alt, David, and Donald W. Hyndman
Roadside Geology of Montana
. Missoula: Mountain Press Publishing Company.
Crowley, F. A.
1963 "Mines and Mineral Deposits (Except Fuels), Sanders County, Montana." Butte: Bureau of Mines and Geology, Bull. 34.
1920 p. 214.
Rowe, J. P.
Geography and Natural Resources of Montana
. Missoula: Montana State University, 1933 (revised 1941).
Sahinen, Uuno Mathias
Mining Districts of Montana
. M. S. thesis, Montana School of Mines. 1936 "The Revais Creek Mining District." Butte: Montana School of Mines.
Sandvig, Robert L.
1947 "General Geology and Mines of Northwestern Montana. B.S. thesis, Montana School of Mines.
Works Projects Administration (WPA) Mineral Resources Survey
Montana Mine Index, An Alphabetical Index Arranged by Counties, Districts and Mines of Information on Montana Mines from 1867-1940
. Montana School of Mines, Butte.