All gold is originally sourced from the earth
The northeastern section of Oregon is one of the most important mining regions of the state where both lode and placer deposits have been found.
Lode gold is gold that is mined through extracting gold directly from the earth and is referred to as lode mining and hard rock mining. All gold is originally sourced from the earth and found in mineral rich veins, however over time the lodes are naturally disintegrated by erosion, which create deposits in streams that contain a mixture of soil and crushed ore. Placer gold is that which is harvested from these streams by filling a pan with the soil and crushed ore in order to separate the gold. Placer mining is more commonly known as ‘panning' for gold.
The first of many profitable gold mines
In 1851, the owners of a pack train of mules en route to deliver supplies to California stopped to make camp. While searching for potable water they discovered a large quantity of placer gold. This discovery prompted further exploration of the area and wherever there was a stream there was an abundance of gold. These discoveries marked the first of many profitable gold mines in Oregon and ultimately led to the institution of the first mining district in Oregon.
The discovery of gold in Oregon was a mitigating factor for the initial development of the state. For example:
the natives were forced out of the area through conflict;
a reliable source of currency in gold was plentiful and served to create and fuel commerce, transportation and infrastructure; and
current occupants of the area that had been oppressed by debt and poverty were now given the means to better their situation in life.
After exhausting the supplies of placer gold, many of the individual miners began to search for new gold resources in other states, leading the way for mining companies to explore the Oregon sources from where placer gold had originated, lode deposits that were certainly in the earth; veins in the hills waiting to be discovered. The rules and regulations that oversee the various processes for mining may have also played a part in the decline of the mining industry in Oregon 20 years ago, but with the way legitimate companies operate their businesses today, rules and regulations are not the deterrent they once were.
Glittering with potential
Presently, as the state of the economy continues to deteriorate, people across the States are seeking different ways to create financial prosperity. The current increase of the price of gold has renewed interest in gold mining in Oregon. Much of the land still holds untapped potential and new deposits of gold waiting to be discovered. Recently local gold companies have noted an increase in demand for gold panning materials and report new interest in exploration. One distinct advantage that the gold seekers have today is the newest in mining technology; new methods to recover gold have found deposits left behind by miners in the same areas that were mined over a century ago. Old mines as well as gold placer sites near ancient basins, up-hill old riverbeds, and tertiary placer rivers that were previously thought to be exhausted, may yield results with these new mining techniques.
Glittering with potential, it is estimated that Oregon still has ore reserves of 5.1 billion tons, including 1.3 million ounces of gold.