Copper Canyon Placers

The Copper Canyon Placers is a gold mine located in Lander county, Nevada at an elevation of 6,004 feet.

About the MRDS Data:

All mine locations were obtained from the USGS Mineral Resources Data System. The locations and other information in this database have not been verified for accuracy. It should be assumed that all mines are on private property.

Mine Info

Name: Copper Canyon Placers  

State:  Nevada

County:  Lander

Elevation: 6,004 Feet (1,830 Meters)

Commodity: Gold

Lat, Long: 40.53111, -117.13000

Map: View on Google Maps

Satelite View

MRDS mine locations are often very general, and in some cases are incorrect. Some mine remains have been covered or removed by modern industrial activity or by development of things like housing. The satellite view offers a quick glimpse as to whether the MRDS location corresponds to visible mine remains.

Satelite image of the Copper Canyon Placers

Copper Canyon Placers MRDS details

Site Name

Primary: Copper Canyon Placers
Secondary: Annex Claim
Secondary: Big Nugget Claim
Secondary: Comet Claim
Secondary: Homestake Claim
Secondary: Guy Davis Claim
Secondary: Estes Claim
Secondary: Gold Crown Claim
Secondary: Oversite (Oversight) Claim
Secondary: Sunrise Fraction Claim
Secondary: Camp Dahl and Christensen (Grand Hills Mining Co.)
Secondary: Wilson Placer
Secondary: Greenan Placer
Secondary: Natomas placer operations


Primary: Gold
Secondary: Silver


State: Nevada
County: Lander
District: Battle Mountain District

Land Status

Land ownership: Private
Note: the land ownership field only identifies whether the area the mine is in is generally on public lands like Forest Service or BLM land, or if it is in an area that is generally private property. It does not definitively identify property status, nor does it indicate claim status or whether an area is open to prospecting. Always respect private property.


Not available


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Owner Name: Newmont Mining Corp.
Info Year: 2004


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Record Type: Site
Operation Category: Producer
Deposit Type: placer
Operation Type: Surface
Year First Production: 1909
Year Last Production: 1990
Discovery Year: 1909
Years of Production:
Significant: Y
Deposit Size: S


Not available

Mineral Deposit Model

Model Name: Placer Au-PGE


Form: blanket, channels, lenticular sheets


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Name: Gravel
Role: Host
Description: alluvial fan
Age Type: Host Rock
Age Young: Quaternary

Name: Gravel
Role: Host
Description: stream
Age Type: Host Rock
Age Young: Quaternary

Analytical Data

Not available


Ore: Gold


Comment (Commodity): Ore Materials: free gold

Comment (Deposit): The main channel consisted of an 18-inch thick basal gravel layer overlain by a 3-foot-thick gold-bearing layer of sediments. The gold is coarse and angular, often containing inclusions of quartz and rock. The principal placer channel was 8-10 feet wide at "the narrows" at the 5500 foot elevation and it widened upstream to 25-30 feet at the site of the Copper Canyon Mine camp at 5562 foot elevation, and then gradually narrowed again. The pay channel was as much as 4.5 feet thick, consisting of a basal gravel layer 18 inches thick of quartz monzonite porphyry boulders and a little gold, overlain by a 3 foot-thick gold-bearing layer of sediments derived from the quartzite and hornfels of the Harmony and Battle Formations. Alluvium is 20-100 ft thick with best ore near bedrock.Gold is relatively coarse with nuggets up to 5 ounces found. One nugget weighed about 21 ounces. In the upper part of the fan, high-grade gravels form lenticular sheet-like bodies overlain by barren material farther down the fan. The richer gravels are in small thin lenses scattered throughout the section.

Comment (Development): Guy Davis made the first placer discovery in Copper Canyon in 1909, followed by James Dahl in 1911 on the fan below the canyon mouth. Placer operations were carried from the mouth of Copper Canyon upstream about 1.3 miles. The many claims in this valley are treated collectively. James Dahl and H. C. Christensen began drift mining the Copper Canon fan placer deposits in 1911 and continued until 1920. In 1932, D. Wilson took over property and worked gold-bearing gravels near bedrock. The most productive periods of placer activity in the Canyon were 1909-11, the 1920s, and the 1930s. In 1935, Grand Hills Mining Company installed a mechanical washing plant and other lessees worked property with dwindling returns through the 1930s, until J. O. Greenan bought it in 1939. He began a systematic churn-drilling program and proved a large volume of gold-bearing gravel down and across fan. He sold property to Natomas Company in 1941. This was the beginning of the largest placer operation in the district. World War II interrupted operations until 1946, when a drag-line dredge was used to mine gravels in the upper part of fan until 1948. In 1949, a bucket-line dredge with a 9,000 cubic yard per day capacity was put into operation, dredging to a 110-foot depth. Drill holes permitted plotting of gold distribution within the fan to optimize production. None of these claims was being worked in 1955. During 1987, Battle Mountain Gold Co. carried out a pilot-scale testing program to evaluate the feasibility of a placer operation on the known placer gold resource. Battle Mountain Gold Co. started up production in late 1988. Persistent materials handling problems hindered operations and gold production in 1989 was minimal. The production target for 1990 was 10,000 ounces of gold.

Comment (Economic Factors): Unknown production in the 1909-1940 period. Production attributed to the 1947-1955 dredging activity is estimated at 100,000 ounces of gold. Remaining reserves of placer material are unknown.

Comment (Identification): This prospect encompasses the historic Copper Canyon Placer Mines described in earlier MRDS records # M231318 and MRDS # M046568 from which all material has been incorporated into this record and additional new material has been added.

Comment (Location): The Copper Canyon Placers are located 1 1/3 miles up from the mouth of Copper Canyon. In 1939 the placer claims covered 2,600 acres.

Comment (Workings): Workings consist of open pit dragline dredging operations. Early mining included drifting and sluicing.


Reference (Deposit): Stager, H.K, 1977, Geology and Mineral Deposits of Lander County, Nevada, Part II, Mineral Deposits: Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology Bulletin 88p. 67.

Reference (Deposit): Huttl, J.B., 1950, How Natomas Keeps a Large Dredge Operating in the Desert: Engineering and Mining Journal, v. 135, no. 4, p. 173.

Reference (Deposit): Theodore, T.G., and Blake, D.W., 1975, Geology and Geochemistry of the Copper Canyon Porphyry Copper Deposit and Surrounding Area, Lander County, Nevada: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 798-B, p. B10.

Reference (Deposit): Roberts, R.J., and Arnold, D.C., 1965, Ore Deposits of the Antler Peak Quadrangle, Humboldt and Lander Counties, Nevada: U.S.G.S. Prof. Paper 459-B.

Reference (Deposit): Long, K.R., DeYoung, J.H., Jr., and Ludington, S.D., 1998, Database of significant deposits of gold, silver, copper, lead, and zinc in the United States; Part A, Database description and analysis; part B, Digital database: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 98-206, 33 p., one 3.5 inch diskette.

Reference (Deposit): Vanderburg, W.O., 1939, Reconnaissance of Mining Districts in Lander County, Nevada: U.S. Bureau Of Mines Information Circular 7043, p. 33-34.

Reference (Deposit): Battle Mountain Gold Co., 1990, Annual Report for 1989.

Reference (Deposit): Johnson, M.G., 1973, Placer Gold Deposits of Nevada, USGS Bull. 1356.

Reference (Deposit): Battle Mountain Gold Co., 1988, Annual Report for 1987.

Reference (Deposit): Wendt, Clancy, 2004, Technical Report on the? ICBM/COPPER BASIN Property, Lander and Humboldt Counties, Nevada, Staccato Gold website, :

Reference (Deposit): Doebrich, Jeff, 1995, Geology and Mineral Deposits of the Antler Peak n7.5-minute quadrangle, Lander County, Nevada, NBMG Bull 109, 44 p.

Reference (Deposit): Geological Society of Nevada, 1999, Geology and Gold Mineralization of the Buffalo Valley Area, Northwestern Battle Mountain Trend; GSN Special Publication No. 31, 1999 Fall field trip Guidebook.

Nevada Gold

Gold Districts of Nevada

Nevada has a total of 368 distinct gold districts. Of the of those, just 36 are major producers with production and/or reserves of over 1,000,000 ounces, 49 have production and/or reserves of over 100,000 ounces, with the rest having less than 100,000 ounces. Read more at Gold Districts of Nevada.