Kingman-Dolan Springs- Gold Basin
Gold Basin Mining District


The Gold Basin District is on the eastern portion of the White Hills, in Mohave County, Arizona. These hills are made up of granitic, schistose and volcanic rocks and contain argentiferous and auriferous quartz veins. Erosion of such veins, without a doubt, gave rise to the Gold Basin Placers. The Colorado River is to the north, the Cerbat Mountains are to the southwest and the Iron Mountain Range is to the southeast. By road, the area is some 60 miles from Kingman, Arizona. Since the areas discovery in the 1870’s it has reportedly produced roughly $100,000 worth of gold, mostly reported by lode mining, as placer deposits had not been discovered until the era of the Great Depression. These placers have produced both fine and coarse gold. Nuggets weighing four to five ounces have been found, although rare, but there have been a good number of nuggets in the one ounce range recovered.

In more recent years, Gold Basin has found renewed notoriety in meteorite discoveries. It is believed that an asteroid, estimated to be about 10 feet in diameter, plummeted to this area nearly 15,000 years ago and had exploded shortly before it made contact with the earth. It has not yet been determined how big the meteorite field could be as experts do not believe the edge of  it has been found yet. Thus far, 3000 confirmed meteorites have been recovered and it would not be surprising if up to 10,000 more pieces were found. It has been said that Gold Basin contains one of the largest meteorite collections ever to be discovered so far. Metal detecting will no doubt aid in the recovery of these space rocks believed to be about 4 billion years old.

In the early mining years, lode mining was difficult and discouraging because of the remoteness of the area and a lack of water and fuel hindered operations dramatically. Miners persevered and made great accomplishments despite these handicaps. Some relief was had when the OK Mine pumped in water to Hualapai Valley for its operations from springs, 7 miles to the northeast near Grand Wash Cliffs. This water supplied a 10 stamp mill and cyanide plant. Other mines often sent their ore to be processed there.

Gold Basin is floored largely by a detrital fan that slopes eastward from the White Hills to Hualapai Wash. This fan is about 6 miles long from east to west and 5 miles in width. The gold is derived from small quartz veins which are found in Precambrian metamorphic rocks. These veins are associated with both lode and placer mining in this area. The placer gold is widespread partly as flour and partly as angular fragments and is contributed to outcrops of the Precambrian rocks which are a favorable indicator for the presence of gold. Some of the gold is attached to black schist particles as black sands are abundant.  Caliche (a sedimentary hardened deposit of calcium carbonate that cements together other materials, including gravel, sand, clay, and silt) forms a false bedrock and “collects” gold bearing gravels from arroyos and gulches in the area. These gold bearing gravels average one foot to five feet thick and contain medium grained angular schist and gneiss fragments together with finely divided quartz. A small portion of boulders, generally less than two feet in diameter are present.  

Kingman lode mines

The Gold Basin Placers were first discovered in May 1932, by W.E Dunlop. Within months approximately 100 men were in the field testing with drywashers. Most left during the winter rainy season, taking their gold elsewhere but about forty men were there in June of the following year. During that summer a large-scale dry-treatment plant was installed by S.C Searles. This plant was equipped with a grizzley, trommel, screens and twelve drywashers and had a capacity to run 20 cubic yards of gravel per hour. Although total production from these placers would be difficult to estimate, the U.S Minerals Yearbooks credit a production valued at $14,500 from 1934-49 from the Gold Basin Placers.

Yearbooks credit a production valued at $14,500 from 1934-49 from the Gold Basin Placers.

Eldorado Mine was discovered in the late 1870’s and was the first lode producers in the district. It is about 2 miles west of Hualapai Wash at an altitude of about 4000 feet. In 1907 it was owned by the Arizona-Minnesota Gold Mining Company. It produced 26,000 tons of ore, most of which was treated at the O.K Mill, 4 miles away. At this mine schistose, medium grained, reddish granite is in fault contact with dark biotite granite. Developments on the vein include some 2,000 feet of adit tunnels and 40,000 cu. feet of stopes on three levels. In these workings the ore shoot averaged 20 inches in width and consisted of iron-stained, gold-bearing quartz with malachite, cerrussite and vanadinite. It actively produced from 1880 to 1906, with ultimate closure in 1940.

O.K Mine is about ½ mile south of the Eldorado and was discovered in the early 1880’s. In 1886 a Kansas City company bought the property and built the O.K Mill in Hualapai Valley. This mill operated intermittently until 1906, when it was destroyed by a fire. It was unknown as to how the fire got started. The mine reportedly produced $25,000 in gold bullion during its operating life. The gold at this mine was associated with cerussite and the country rock is dark biotite granite. The vein filling is mostly iron stained quartz. The ore favors the hanging wall but where overturned it the ore is on the footwall. Workings include about 1600 feet of adit drifts, winzes and stopes on four levels.

Cyclopic Mine is near the head of Cyclopic Wash about 40 miles from Chloride. It was located in the 1880’s and was intermittently worked until 1934 by several companies. In 1904, Cyclopic Gold Mining Company acquired the mine and produced a considerable amount of bullion. Prior to 1921, production was made will a small cyanide mill. In 1923 the property was held for several years by Gold Basin Exploration Company.  The deposit occurs within a gently dipping brecciated zone in granite. This zone extends to depths of 15 to 80 feet below surface and occurs discontinuously. In places, it is overlain by 5 to 10 feet of sand and gravel. The ore consists of brecciated fragments of coarse textured grayish vein quartz and country rock, more or less firmly cemented by iron oxide and silica. In places it is cut by irregular quartz stringers. Gold is fine grained. Developments include several open cuts and a 55 foot shaft, older shafts from 40 to 50 feet deep, a 300 foot incline that passed through the ore zone and several hundred feet of drifts and stopes, mostly within 30 feet of the surface.

Gold Basin Mining History

Gold Bond Mine was discovered in 1910 and produced gold in massive milky quartz veins. It operated from 1910 to 1920. It reopened during the Great Depression. Workings include a small incline. Production is unknown.

Other mines in the Gold Basin area include the Golden Rule, which produced both gold and silver with trace amounts of copper minerals present. The Golden Link Mine, which operated during the depression era, and the Excelsior, Mascot, Never-get-left, Senator and Gold Belt all of which yielded small amounts of gold ore.

With advancements and growth, Gold Basin is no longer as remote and desolate an area as for the earlier prospector. Coupled with modern day equipment, such as the metal detector, it has become a haven of wealth for recreational prospectors who not only can find gold but valuable meteorites as well. What would be more fun to find, gold or a rock from outer space that is 4 billion years old? For any prospector the answer should be “both” because either way, you have bragging rights!!

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