The Erik Mine is a segment of the Rich Gulch Project that was developed by Inca Mining Company in Plumas County, California during the 1980's. The project included the Virgilia, Central, Follett, Cameron and Erik zones and extended northwest from the East Branch of the North Fork of the Feather River to the North Fork of the Feather River. Exploration drilling indicated sufficient reserves to be economically mined at then current gold prices but, as the price of gold fell over the years, Inca abandoned the project. All segments of the project have remained dormant since that time.
Renewed interest in the Rich Gulch Project has happened as a result of the increase in gold prices. In March 2010 the Central Mine was purchased by a Canadian mining company and is now under development. The Erik Mine is the Rich Gulch Project segment to the farthest northwest and is reachable by paved and dirt Forest Service roads. The nine unpatented lode claims were not exploration drilled by Inca Mining Company. Drill sites were identified but Inca abandoned the project prior to further exploration by drilling. Extensive trenching was done by Inca along exposed decomposing quartz veins for Inca to include proposed surface mining in their Plan of Operation.
To the immediate southeast of the Erik Mine is the Cameron Zone. The 1983 drilling programs identified assay results of 0.225 oz. gold/ton at 150 feet. Clearly, the gold mineralization does extend along the entire strike including the Erik Mine, generally following the Melones Fault.
Sale of the Erik Mine includes paper copy of all Inca Mining Company drill cross sections and drill hole coordinating surface maps as well as a copy of Inca Mining Company Plan of Operation and historical reports on the project area
IntroductionThe Rich Gulch Project is located in the Sierra Nevada ranges of Northern California approximately 22 miles west of Quincy. The topography is characterized by high releif and steep walled, ''V'' shaped valleys.
Climate is moderate with warm dry summers and cool wet winters. Precipitation approximates 40'' per year with 1'-3' snow accumulations at higher elevations.
Gold mineralization in bedrock is controlled by Dacite volcanic flows within a sedimentary package. The flows strike N.W. and dip to the N.E.
Regional infrastructure includes State Highway 70 and the Western Pacific rail line which crosses the southern portion of the property along with a 12 KV power line. Local access is provided by a network of secondary roads, initially constructed for early placer and hardrock mine operations but more recently improved and- extended by the County and U.S. Forest Service.
Acquisition of the project property commenced in 1980 with acquisition being followed by exploration and development activities. Five segments of the gold bearing horizons have been explored or developed. These are, from the south, the Virgilia, Central, Follett, Cameron and Erik zones.
Mining HistoryPlacer Gold was discovered in the Rich Gulch and Rush Creek drainages in the 1850's and placer mining commenced immediately. Little is known of the earliest operations however by about the 1870's a large scale hydraulic mining operation had evolved. In addition to stripping out the gravel deposits in the base of the Rich Gulch drainage, the oxidized portions of the gold lodes in the Follett property were inined by hydraulic methods.
Underground exploration commenced about this time with the ores being milled in arrastras. By 1902 a small stamp mill had been constructed in the upper part of Rich Gulch and was milling ores taken from the Lewis and Elizabeth tunnels (adit's).
In 1927, LawrenceB. Wright, a geologic engineer employed by Homestake Mining Company, visited the area and sampled surface and underground exposures. At the time of his visit the Cameron, Follett and Central zones had been explored by numerous surface trenches and adits. An option was obtained by Homestake and an extensive exploration program under the direction of Wright commenced in early 1929 with the construction of a substantial exploration camp, a sampling plant and assay laboratory.
Exploration and development by Homestake was confined to the Central Zone and consisted of diamond drilling, 1378 ft of surface trenching, 3221 ft of underground development and detailed channel sampling of all underground openings in mineralization. The mineralized rock from the underground development was trucked to the sampling plant for detailed sampling.
Development of the Virgilia deposit started in 1934 with the sinking of the Duncan shaft to the 125ft level and the commencement of lateral development.
Underground development work continued to March 1936 when a 120 ton per day flotation mill constructed on the site commenced operation. The mill was enlarged to 240 tons/day in 1938.
By the time rising costs and labour shortages associated with WWII made further operations uneconomic, the mine had been developed to the 625 ft level and some 320,000 tons of ore processed in the mill.