Are There Still Working Gold Mines in California? Glittering Gold History

The world would never be the same after James Marshall’s 1848 discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, and California is still blessed with its golden legacy today.

The first and second-most active mining counties in the country are located in the Golden State, which still has more than 5,000 active placer mining claims.

California led the country in gold production until 1965 when over 100 million ounces of gold were extracted from the state.

With the abundant Empire-Star Mine and the recently contentious Idaho-Maryland Mine, the Grass Valley Mining District was the wealthiest and most well-known mining district in the state.

During the more than a century that they were in operation, Idaho-Maryland produced $70 million, and Empire Mine produced $130 million.

Two-thirds of the $300 million overall production in the district would come from the $200 million of gold produced by just two mines.

Early California gold mining took place when the price of an ounce of gold was $18.93 in 1833 and reached a peak at the $35 federal limit.

The price of an ounce of gold as of February 2024 is $2,029.40. Today, gold mines in various capacities and operating styles may be found all over California.

Are There Still Working Gold Mines in California Glittering Gold History

The Lincoln Mine, run by the unlisted Australian gold business Seduli Gold, is located in the village of Sutter Creek, approximately thirty miles south of the Marshall Gold Discovery Site.

An estimated 15 million ounces of gold, valued at 10 grams per ton, are said to be found at the 1.24-mile-deep Lincoln Mine.

Three orebodies in the mine—Lincoln, Comet, and Keystone—contain about 284,000 ounces of gold of higher grade.

Over the next few decades, Seduli hopes to generate 100,000 ounces of gold per year as they dig further into the three ore complexes.

The Original Sixteen to One Mine in Sierra County is another historically successful gold mine that is still in operation in the busiest gold mining region in the country.

The Original Sixteen to One Mine yielded high-grade and mill ore valued at about sixty-three million dollars between 1930 and 1950.

The discovery of two gold pockets in the 1920s, valued at almost $3 million per ounce at the time, made the Alleghany District famous and led to the establishment of the Original Sixteen to One Mine.

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The Original Sixteen to One Mine has been mining on and off since the late 1990s, albeit on a considerably lower scale than when it was first established.

Both the Original Sixteen to One Mine and the Lincoln Mine are underground operations that drill into new rock and examine preexisting workings.

Open-pit and heap leach mines, such as those run by Equinox Gold, are among the several types of mining operations in California.

The Mesquite Gold Mine in Imperial County and the Castle Mountain Gold Mine in San Bernardino County are both run by Equinox.

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One of the biggest gold mines in the state still in operation, the Mesquite Gold Mine will peak at 141,270 ounces of gold in 2020, valued at $1,091 an ounce.

Although the mine has been in operation since 1986 and has produced more than five million ounces of gold, Equinox has been the mine’s owner since 2018.

Despite having a lower output rate than Mesquite Mine, Castle Mountain operates according to a similar paradigm.

California’s golden legacy endures despite the fact that many mines have closed, changed ownership, and new mining techniques have been developed.

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