Pan American-Comet Mines

The Pan American-Comet Mines is a lead, zinc, tungsten, and silver mine located in Lincoln county, Nevada at an elevation of 6,398 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: Pan American-Comet Mines  

State:  Nevada

County:  Lincoln

Elevation: 6,398 Feet (1,950 Meters)

Primary Mineral: Lead, Zinc, Tungsten, Silver

Lat, Long: 37.89028, -114.61250

Map: View on Google Maps

Satelite image of the Pan American-Comet Mines

Pan American-Comet Mines MRDS details

Site Name

Primary: Pan American-Comet Mines
Secondary: Comet Coalition Mines
Secondary: Forlorn Hope Mine
Secondary: Log Cabin Mine
Secondary: Comet Mine
Secondary: Stella Mine
Secondary: Pan American Mine
Secondary: Non Pareil Mine
Secondary: Schodde (Lyndon) Mine
Secondary: Tungsten Comet Mine
Secondary: Silver Comet Mine


Primary: Lead
Primary: Zinc
Primary: Tungsten
Primary: Silver
Secondary: Manganese
Secondary: Gold
Secondary: Copper
Tertiary: Barium-Barite


State: Nevada
County: Lincoln
District: western Pioche District

Land Status

Land ownership: BLM Administrative Area
Administrative Organization: Las Vegas BLM-administration district


Not available


Not available


Owner Name: Nerco and Kerr-McGee (1980s)
Info Year: 1980


Not available


Record Type: Site
Operation Category: Past Producer
Deposit Type: vein, replacement bodies along bedding
Operation Type: Underground
Year First Production: 1895
Year Last Production: 1978
Discovery Year: 1882
Years of Production:
Significant: Y
Deposit Size: S


Not available

Mineral Deposit Model

Model Name: Polymetallic replacement




Type: R
Description: E-W Blue Ribbon Lineament, Highland Thrust Plate, homoclinal series, N strike, E dip

Type: L
Description: Schodde fissure, channels


Alteration Type: L
Alteration Text: Silicification, intense oxidation.


Role: Host
Age Type: Host Rock Unit
Age Young: Middle Cambrian

Name: Limestone
Role: Host
Description: medium to thick-bedded, argillaceous marly grey-brown to yellowish tan
Age Type: Host Rock
Age Young: Middle Cambrian

Name: Shale
Role: Host
Description: shale
Age Type: Host Rock
Age Young: Middle Cambrian

Name: Quartzite
Role: Host
Age Type: Host Rock
Age Young: Early Cambrian
Age Old: Neoproterozoic

Name: Limestone
Role: Host
Age Type: Host Rock
Age Young: Early Cambrian
Age Old: Middle Cambrian

Analytical Data

Not available


Ore: Galena
Ore: Pyrolusite
Ore: Malachite
Ore: Chrysocolla
Ore: Bornite
Ore: Ferberite
Ore: Huebnerite
Ore: Chalcocite
Ore: Tetrahedrite
Ore: Chalcopyrite
Ore: Cerussite
Ore: Sphalerite
Ore: Siderite
Ore: Wolframite
Ore: Plumbojarosite
Ore: Scheelite
Ore: Argentite
Ore: Gold
Gangue: Limonite
Gangue: Specularite
Gangue: Quartz
Gangue: Limonite
Gangue: Specularite
Gangue: Quartz
Gangue: Pyrite
Gangue: Wolframite




Comment (Geology): Four quartz veins crop out discontinuously for 1400 feet. Largest is 1-15 feet thick in the quartzite, averages 6 feet where mined. Ore shoots generally in wider part of the vein, and localized by small changes in attitude of the vein where movement has brecciated the quartz. A parallel fissure several hundred feet north of the Comet Vein contains up to 1.4% W03 but was undeveloped as of 1970. Waste rock on dumps is pink, well-sorted, fine-to medium-grained laminated and/or micaceous quartzite with minor reddish silicified siltstone and shale. Some oxidized pyrite is disseminated throughout the rocks. Mineralized rock on dumps consists of massive sugary white to vitreous gray quartz vein material. Vein consists of a set of parallel veins, giving it a banded, fissured appearance. Some late-stage vuggy and/or open-centered veins and veinlets cut more massive vitreous veins. The veins, especially the iron-stained vuggy variety, contain fine to coarse clots and stringers of pyrite, chalcopyrite, galena, sphalerite, copper oxides, in addition to lesser bornite, chrysocolla and malachite. Dark greenish-brown clots and coarse tabular crystals of huebnerite-ferberite?

Comment (Identification): This is a new record that includes all material in earlier MRDS records W016457 and M032030 for the Comet and Schodde (Lyndon) mines as well as material from records for the other mines that were also part of the Comet Coalition mines in 1949. The Comet and Pan American mines were the main producers. The Comet District mines are sometimes treated in the literature as part of the greater Pioche District 10 miles to the east.

Comment (Location): The Comet District mines are strung out for about 4 miles in a roughly N-S alignment along the break in slope on the western side of the Highland Range. UTM is for the Pan American Mine area, centrally located among the Comet Coalition mines.

Comment (Deposit): Ore at the Forlorn Hope Mine consists of dense quartz-manganese-siderite-sulfide ore. It contains crystals and lenses of pyrite, chalcopyrite, possibly some black sphalerite and minor galena. Rock differs from other mineralized rock found along the western Highland Range in that it contains more pyrite and chalcopyrite and fewer lead and zinc minerals. The Forlorn Hope dike and vein zone is one of the most continuous mineralized structures in the area, having a discontinuously exposed strike length of 3800 ft, cutting rocks from the Pioche Shale to the Burnt Canyon Member of the Highland Peak Fm. The vein itself is about 1 ft thick, but a large bedded, altered and mineralized zone occurs near the vein in member a of the Lyndon Limestone. The altered and brecciated zone has a strike length of over 800 ft and is up to 100 ft thick. The mineralized rock near the vein intersection contains moderate amounts of galena and iron and manganese oxides. The Pan American Mine is a more recently developed deposit than the older mines of the district. Between 1951 and 1978, it produced nearly two million metric tonnes of low-grade lead-zinc-silver ore from irregular stratabound orebodies. Unoxidized Pan American ore consists of a gangue of manganosideritewith nodules or vug-fillings of galena and sphalerite. Carbonate layers of the Combined Metals (CM) member of the Pioche Shale host the ore. Mineralizatino in the lower CM bedscommonly has a channel-like cross-section below a bedding-plane fault. These features may represent tidal-formed clastic carbonate-filled channels within the more massive and less permeable carbonate beds. James and Knight suggest that these ores were deposited by metal-rich brines formed by heating of Paleozoic sediments along a linear paleo-geothermal zone . Paleo-tidal channels in the CM layer provided the most porous and chemically receptive zone for ore deposition. Replacement of original calcite by denser manganese and iron carbonates further increased permeability for added ore deposition.

Comment (Deposit): At the Schodde Mine ore has formed 10-15 ft thick replacement beds in limestone with generally horizontal bedding slightly inclined to the east. Host rock is marly orange-brown limestone, finely crystalline, with pockets of limonite, lenses of iron-manganese oxides, and random calcite veins and veinlets. The replacement horizon is dark red-brown, coarsely crystalline marly limestone with irregular white vuggy calcite veins, galena and pyrite. Sulfides are generally very fine grained. The rocks are quite dense, possibly due to fine-grained disseminated sulfides, or barite. There has been some silicification of wallrock. Replacement may have been partially controlled by shearing and brecciation along a bedding plane fault. Other factors influencing mineralization are the N70E Schodde fissure and lamprophyre dikes. Ore extends along bedding 25 ft on each side of feeding fissure; very little ore occurs in the fissure itself. Ore is faulted off on the east by a N20E fault. Workings about 1000 feet southeast of the Schodde Mine are on the east side of the Schodde Fault, and are probably an offset continuation of the C-dike and vein zone. Replacement of the limestone by mineralizing fluids extends 2 feet on each side of the vein. In the vicinity of the Comet mine, mineralization is confined to the lower part of the Combined Metals Limestone which is here altered to dark-brownish-gray silicified rock, locally containing mineralization that extends for 60 ft along the strike of the beds. A half mile north, short adits follow an oxidized sulfide replacement vein in thick-bedded (1-ft beds) to massive limestone beds. The host rock is a medium gray, sugary, slightly dolomitic and silicified limestone containing algal structures and fossil fragments. The altered and mineralized fracture zone is about 3-5 ft wide, strikes N70W to E-W, and contains silicified limestone with abundant iron and manganese oxides. Replacement took place along several vertical fractures or fissures at a high angle to the bedding. The altered rock within the zone has gossany honeycomb boxworks and irregular pods and veins of coarse calcite/siderite, quartz and manganosiderite with irregular clots of galena, sphalerite, specularite, oxidized pyrite, and iron and manganese oxides At Nerco's TB claims about 0.5 mile northeast of the Comet Mine workings follow bedding down dip. Replacement ore consists of a marly orange-brown altered limestone containing pods and crystals of galena, yellow sphalerite, chalcopyrite, and pyrite. Unsilicified host rock has white calcite in lenses and blebs and contains abundant manganese dendrites in addition to pods and clots of siderite and iron oxides, some of which form gossany boxworks with galena cores. Galena is the most abundant sulfide and together with sphalerite it has replaced ovoid algal fossil remnants in some samples. The original texture of the most rock was partially preserved in the mineralization process. Some massive white veining is possibly smithsonite. Yellow plumbojarosite coatings and malachite have formed after galena and chalcopyrite. Numerous prospects lie along NW- and NE-striking veins on the ridge above the adits. In some workings there are quartz veins occurs near the base of the Pioche Shale. Vein material contains minor chalcopyrite and hematite with abundant manganese oxide stain.

Comment (Workings): The Comet District mines were developed by numerous extensive underground workings. The Pan American Mine was opened by 3 shafts; most of the work was done from the main shaft between the 168 level and the surface. In 1983, the main shaft (vertical) had a head frame and hoist house, tracks, large dumps, and millsite downslope from shaft. There was also an extensive area of bulldozer work and drillroads along the western flank of the Highland Range E and NE of Comet Mine.

Comment (Development): Mineralization was identified in the Comet District in 1882 but production before 1895 was not recorded. The district mines produced silver-lead ore with small amounts of gold and copper from 1895 to 1898 and from 1913 to 1920. Most of this early production was from the Schodde Mine during World War I. It was also reported that small amounts of rich silver-gold ore were shipped by wagon to a Salt Lake City smelter from 1900 to 1910. The Comet Mine was relocated in 1906, with additional claims staked in 1913, although there was no recorded production from the mine until 1924. In 1922, Stella Mines Co. was increasing its shipments of rich silver ore, (averaged 50 ounces of silver per ton, with a little lead) from what was later the Pan American Mine. More ore was shipped in 1924 and 1925 after which the property was taken over by Pan American Mining Co. in 1927. The Comet Coalition Mining Company formed in 1934 to consolidate several of the district properties. The Comet Mine produced silver, lead, zinc, gold, and tungsten from oxidized ore from 1925 to 1950. The Combined Metals Reduction Company (the main Pioche District producer) had a continuing lease on the Comet Coalition property in 1949 at which time the USBM drilled 3 diamond drill holes totaling 2967 feet near the Schodde mine in order to define the limits of known lead-zinc ore reserves adjacent to the Comet Coalition mining property. Comet Coalition Mines included the Forlorn Hope, Log Cabin, Comet, and Pan American and Schodde mine properties in 1949. Comet Coalition Mining Co. still held the properties in 1952, the last year of recorded production for the older mines. The Pan American Mine is a more recently developed deposit than the older mines of the district. It produced a test lot of 17,000 tons of manganese ore with minor silver, lead and zinc between 1947 and 1955. Between 1951 and 1978, however, the Pan American Mine produced more than two million metric tonnes of low-grade lead-zinc-silver ore from irregular stratabound orebodies under the ownership of several different companies. At the time of examination by NBMG staff in 1983, there was no active mining, but recent roadwork, trenching, and dump sampling near the mine sites indicated renewed and continuing exploration interest in the district properties. Nerco was doing initial exploration and assessment work on their claims in the Forlorn Hope Mine area and had several geologic consultants on their property doing underground mapping and sampling near the Comet and Pan American mines. Nerco's TB claim block extended in a mile-wide swath for 5 miles along the west flank of range covering most of the old Comet Coalition properties. Kerr-McGee held a claim block adjoining Nerco's on the north.

Comment (Economic Factors): Total recorded production from the Comet district mines from 1913 to 1952 was 2.03 million pounds of lead and 2.4 million pounds of zinc, with 75,000 pounds of copper, 233,447 ounces of silver, and 1500 ounces of gold. Between 1951 and 1978, the Pan American Mine produced 2,081,786 metric tonnes of ore averaging 64 grams of silver per ton, 1.06 % lead, 2.42 % zinc, and 9.4 % manganese, and a small amount of gold. In 1970, Tschanz and Pampeyan reported that the Pan American mine contained reserves of more than a million tons of ore grading 2 ounces of silver per ton, 1 % lead, 2.5 % zinc, and 9 % manganese. 1978 reserves for the Pan American Mine orebodies were reported as: 2,140,335 metric tonnes of ore. In 1983: reported proven reserves of 2,196 Kilotonnes of ore grading 1.17% Pb, 2.45% Zn, 2.07 opt Ag.


Reference (Deposit): Weed, W.H., Editor, 1922, The Mines Handbook, Vol XV, p. 1330, 1362.

Reference (Deposit): NBMG District File 166, press clippings, 1924, 1925,1927.

Reference (Deposit): NBMG District File 175, press clippings, 1914, 1916, 1920.

Reference (Deposit): Long, K.R., DeYoung, J.H., Jr., and Ludington, S.D., 1998, Significant deposits of gold, silver, copper, lead, and zinc in the United States: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 90-206A, 33 p.; 98-206B. one 3.5 inch diskette.

Reference (Deposit): Trengove, R.R., 1949, Comet Coalition lead-zinc deposit, Lincoln County, Nevada: U.S. Bureau of Mines Rept. Investigations 4541.

Reference (Deposit): James, L.P., and Knight, L.H., 1979, Stratabound lead-zinc-silver ores fo the Pioche District, Nevada - Unusual ?Mississippi Valley? Deposits; in RMAG-UGA 1979 Basin and Range Symposium proceedings.

Reference (Deposit): Fitch, D.C., 1969, Geology and Ore Deposits of the Comet District, Lincoln County, Nevada: University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, master's thesis.

Reference (Deposit): Tschanz C. M. and Pampeyan E. H. , 1970, Geology and Mineral Deposits of Lincoln Co; NBMG Bull 73

Reference (Deposit): Westgate L. G. and Knopf A., 1932, Geology and Ore Deposits of the Pioche District, Nev. USGS Prof Paper 171

Reference (Deposit): Lemmon D. M, unpublished data

Reference (Deposit): Lemmon D. M. and Tweto O. L., 1962, Tungsten in the U.S., USGS Map, MR-25

Reference (Deposit): NBMG District File 166, item 3, unpublished preliminary field examintion report.

Reference (Deposit): Bentz, J. and Smith, P., 1983, NBMG Field examination report, Aug 26, 1983.

Reference (Deposit): Trengove, R. R., 1949, USBM R.I. 4541, p. 1-6.

Reference (Deposit): Lincoln, F.C., 1923, Mining Districts and Mineral Resources of Nevada; Newsletter Pub. Co, Reno, NV.