The first placer work in the Three Forks district was relatively late in the development of mining in Montana. In 1901, Senator Tabor of Colorado organized an attempt to dredge the Jefferson River near Three Forks. The dredge failed because it was unable to recover the "flood" gold in the gravel.

In 1901 the Ruby Gold Dredging Company secured properties near the town of Three Forks to rework the ground previously worked in 1893. The anticipated dredge was to be rated at 12,000 cubic yards per day; to recover the elusive flood gold, magnetic ripples were to be installed. However, H. Dunbar stated that this dredge was never built (Lyden 1948).

In 1933, it was reported that two ounces of gold were recovered on Jefferson River near the town of Three Forks. Lyden (1948) stated that the recovery was fine "flood" gold and that the lake beds in the vicinity were workable by dredges.

Research in historic mining literature and in recent cultural resource inventory revealed no other historic placer or lode mines within the confines of the district. The Copper City mine is shown on AMRB (1994) mining district maps, but no information is available concerning the mine.


Sahinen (1935) does not place the district and neither Lyden (1948) nor Wolle (1963) discuss the district. Figure 1 shows the district as defined by the AMRB (1994).


No historic mines are discussed in the mining literature.


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

Lyden, Charles J.


The Gold Placers of Montana

. Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology Memoir No. 26. Montana School of Mines, Butte.

Montana Bureau of Mines

n.d. Vertical Files.

1935 "Mining Districts of Montana", Thesis, Montana School of Mines, Butte.

Wolle, Muriel S.


Montana Pay Dirt. A Guide to the Mining Camps of the Treasure State

. Sage Books, Denver.