Brief History of the Toboggan Project
The Toboggan Project area encompasses the entire East Fork of Eagle Creek drainage basin as well as the southern half of the West Fork of Eagle Creek drainage basin. While the complete mining/exploration history of the area is currently unknown, what is known will be briefly summarized below. This summary will be broken up into various time frames.
The project area contains many old prospects including trenches, shafts, adits, as well as various types of drill holes. The Eagle Creek drainages have seen active mineral exploration and mining since A.J. Prichard discovered gold in 1881. In fact, one historical document stated that prior to his “official” gold discovery, he spent most of one summer in the upper reaches of the East Fork Eagle Creek. While the timing of much of this early prospecting/mining is unclear, it is known that the East Fork Eagle Creek saw extensive placer mining, as well as lode mining, from the mid-1880’s onward. Below is a list of the various NJMC properties in the Toboggan Project and the known pre-1980’s workings on each.
- Progress – active up to the late 1930’s, 6 adits, one shaft, plus various trenches and smaller prospects in the main area. Several adits and one shaft in the West Fork Eagle Creek drainage. The operating company appears to have gone bankrupt due to the Great Depression.
- Lost Eagle – active probably in the early 1900’s, 2 adits, plus various trenches and smaller prospects. Nearby, to the northeast, are several other adits and prospects exploring similar type quartz veins containing silver, gold, and tellurium.
- Little Baldy – active probably in 1880’s through early 1900’s, 6+ adits, several shafts, various trenches and smaller prospects. Main prospects covered by patented claims.
- Mineral Ridge – active probably in the early 1900’s, 7 adits, plus various trenches and smaller prospects. Niagara Mining trenched and explored area in late 1970’s, possible early 1980’s.
- Golden Reward – No known prospecting. One core drill hole in 1970’s by parties unknown.
- CA – no known prospecting
- Snowslide/Independence – Independence active in early to mid-1900’s, on several veins. 4 known adits, plus several trenches. Northern Snowslide area has no known prospects.
- Silent Creek – active probably in early 1900’s, 2 adits.
- Gold Butte – active in early 1900’s as the Eldorado prospect. 6 adits, several trenches and minor prospects.
Several large and small mining companies ran exploration programs in the Toboggan Project area. In 1981, ASARCO drilled a deep vertical hole west of the Jack Waite Mine (Tributary Creek) as part of their Butte Gulch program. The drill hole appears to have been based on geophysics (CSAMT) with the target stratiform base metals.
In 1986, Idaho GoldFields conducted a small scale core drill program at Gold Butte. This apparently was follow-up to Intermountain Mineral Engineers’ long hole drill program (1982-1983) and small scale mining operation also at Gold Butte. This work may have been partially based on a Bear Creek Mining visit to the property in the early 1980’s.
Also in the mid-1980’s, Cominco American Resources had a large claim block (Dolly Group) in the East Fork Eagle area, covering parts of the CA, Mineral Ridge, and Golden Reward prospect areas. Cominco’s exploration program appears to have varied between stratiform base metals and gold, depending on the year. Their program included soil sampling and a single core hole (based on CSAMT results), on the east side of the CA prospect. Cominco also discovered a lead anomaly in the area of the current Golden Reward main soil anomaly, but apparently did not follow-up on it. They also found some tourmalinite in the Toboggan Creek drainage. Some of the Dolly Group was later leased to Newmont as part of their Golden Chest evaluation in the late 1980’s. Other companies in the area included Exxon and several small local entities.
In 1991, Nord Pacific had identified several areas of possible gold mineralization and conducted soil sampling on their Laura Group (covering Mineral Ridge and part of Golden Reward) and in the area now called Progress. Nord’s soil anomaly at Mineral Ridge (5400’x500/1200’) outlined an area of quartzite parallel to the Niagara Fault. In 1992, Nord conducted a modest R/C drill program in Cabin Creek (now part of Mineral Ridge) with best results of 20’ of 0.148 oz/ton Au (containing 5’ of 0.567 oz/ton (18.9 gpt) Au.
Also in 1992, a joint venture (Galena Giant) between Kennecott and Arbor Resources, using trace mercury and CSAMT geophysics, led to one deep drill hole just NW of the Jack Waite Mine. No follow-up work is known to have occurred on this stratiform base metal project.
In the early 2000’s, NJMC located the Lost Eagle Prospect on the West Fork of Eagle Creek. In 2002, NJMC contracted with Gradient Geophysics (Missoula, MT) to run a small IP survey on the property. In 2003, NJMC drilled two core holes on the project. Accompanying petrographic studies identified tellurides at this property.
In 2006, NJMC conducted a stream sediment sampling program in the entire East Fork Eagle Creek basin and located some claims based on field work. In 2007, NJMC followed-up with soil sampling to further delineate several prospects, mostly Mineral Ridge, Golden Reward, Snowslide, Progress, and Gold Butte. NJMC drilled one core hole at Snowslide. This work led to the JV between Newmont and NJMC, known as the Toboggan Project, which occurred between 2008 and 2010. Newmont was the manager of the JV during this time frame, with NJMC providing support and drilling services.
In 2008, Newmont collected 565 rock samples, 1552 soil samples, and 70 BLEG samples. Additionally, aerial geophysics was flown over the entire project area. Accompanying petrographic studies identified tellurides at Mineral Ridge and Golden Reward. In 2009, Newmont collected an additional 182 rock samples, 222 soil samples, and drilled six core holes, two each at Mineral Ridge, Golden Reward, and Gold Butte. In 2010, Newmont returned and drilled 8 more core holes, mostly at Gold Butte, and 7 R/C holes, scattered at CA, Snowslide, and Golden Reward. After spending more than $1.5 million on the project, Newmont terminated the JV and returned all properties to NJMC.