Location and Access
The Aurum property is located in White Pine County, Nevada 35 miles northeast of Ely. Access is via unimproved dirt roads that lead directly to the claims. Maintained dirt and gravels are 3 miles east.
The Lower Workings area is on mild slopes averaging 6500 feet in elevation. The Upper Workings area is steeply sloping at 6300 feet elevation.
Silver-lead ores were discovered in the Aurum district in 1871. Larger development began on the Luckey Deposit (the name given to the property area) with the construction of a stamp mill in the 1880s. Copper was first mined at the upper workings in 1913. Production records are incomplete but state approximately 1,000 tons of ore was produced averaging 7% Cu, 5 oz/ton Ag, and .02 oz/ton Au. Little development took place after World World 1 before Combined Metals Inc acquired the property in 1951.
Total development in the Upper Workings consists of trenching, stoping, and two tunnels totaling 750 feet. The Lower Workings have been developed by extensive shallow workings in the limestone on the hanging wall of a major fault.
Combined Metals performed extensive sampling, trenching, and drilling in the 1950s.
The property lies along Silver Canyon which cuts east-west through walls of steep dipping sedimentaries ranging in age from Pre-Cambrian up through Cambrian quartzites, shales, and limestones.
A strong regional fault fissure, well mineralized, shows along the base of the range with Mississippian limestones resting unconformably on Proterozioc schists and slates. Along the fissure at least three competent beddings have been mined in the past.
All sediments are cut by numerous dikes and intrusives mostly of quartz-porphyry type but varying from very early to more recent geologic periods. The later ones on major faults appear to serve as channels for ascending mineralization.
An interesting feature of the structure of the area is the fact that high copper-silver ores are found high up in the canyon as replacement in a 30-50 foot calcareous bed in the Cambrian shales. This corresponds to the theory od developing the first limestone above the Cambrian quartzites. It is believed that the original outcrop of the higher grade copper ores may be faulted or a slumped section which belongs about 80 feet stratigraphically above the harder and lower grade bed actually developed for 200 feet down dip.
Lower workings: High grade silver-lead ores were sorted from several hundred feet of workings in three or more competent limestone horizons. The beds show 2 to 8 feet of oxidized replacement minerals in Mississippian limestone. Combined Metals reported collecting samples from the ore faces running as high as 90 oz/ton Ag, 3.4% Pb, and 1.1% Zn. An interesting feature is the structural relationship to the heavy mineralized frontal fissure which underlies these shallow workings.
Combined Metals identified this area as having the most resource potential.
Upper workings: These workings are located one mile west up Silver Canyon. Ore averaging 7% Cu, 5 oz/ton Ag, and .025 oz/ton Au was mined from a 30 foot calcareous shale bed which dip 10-16 degrees west. A 500 foot adit was driven 70 feet below the outcrop which exposed the continuous of the ore down dip for about 300 feet. The tunnel cut a 14-20 foot wide ore bed running 2% Cu and 1.5 oz/ton Ag. It is mineralized by an east-west fault fissure containing quartz porphyry.
Combined Metals estimated the Upper Workings to contain:
2500 tons of 4% Cu, 3 oz/ton Ag, and .015 oz/ton Au in the oxidized surface of the outcrop
25,000 tons of sulphide ore containing 2.23% Cu and 1.5 oz/ton Ag above the 500 foot adit.
They noted: “The 2500 tons of higher grade surface outcrop is estimated separately as it is in an oxidized shale bed which appears to have been faulted from its true position. The outcrop is soft; it can be mined by surface methods and is easily concentrated.
The 25,000 tons of lower grade is sulphide ore in a hard silicified carbonaceous shale with thin beds of quartzite; it is only partially developed. The ore bed has been exposed for a distance of 200 feet down a 20 degree dip to level of Tunnel No. 2 at 70 feet below the outcrop. Using mining assumptions as to the probable dimensions of the undeveloped ore, the evidence appears to warrant a block of 100 feet wide by 15 feet thick or 12,500 tons per 100 feet of length down dip, using 12 cubic feet per ton of ore in place. This ore body, as well as the probability of a higher grade one lying some 80 to 100 feet above, should be further explored.”
In 1954, after the previously discussed exploration results, Combined Metals conducted diamond drilling into the end of an adit which yielded: