Montana's Largest Silver Mine

Idahna, Park, Blue Jay, and 33 other veins

The Elkhorn Mine - History

The Elkhorn Mine - History

The Elkhorn Mine had it’s beginning in 1873 with the discovery of a rich silver-bearing ore-shoot in October of 1873 by Mike Steel and F.W. Pahnish...

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The Workings

The Workings

Principle workings consist of the 1000 foot level adit (Idahna Level), the 300 foot level adit, the Park shaft... 1000 level and 300 level are connected by the Park shaft

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The Reserves

The Reserves

The Elkhorn Mine has the potential to operate at a profit if approached properly... The mine can make it on it’s own merit for the first time

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The Elkhorn Mine, located approximately 40 miles west of Dillon, Montana, is one of the most fascinating mines in Montana; mainly because of the tremendous effort, time and money spent on the exploration and development of the property’s mineral resources; yet, only a cursory amount of production has been realized from the mine’s known reserves. A combination of poor management, inadequate metal prices, and a large expenditure on a much too large mill and expensive railroad forced the mine’s eventual failure in 1930. Nevertheless, prior to 1922, 120,000 tons of ore were proven, and later during the period from 1922 to 1929 an additional 232,000 tons were blocked out. Of this total, 36,792 tons were mined and approximately 33,000 tons were milled. Old records show the 33,000 tons to average .03 oz./ton Au, 6.5 oz./ton Ag, 1.5% Pb, 2.1% Zn, and 0.75% Cu. Since the mine’s closure in 1930 several attempts have been made to either rejuvenate the mine or determine it’s ultimate potential.

The first discovery of silver ore in the Elkhorn district was made by Preston Sheldon in 1872. He shipped a carload of the ore, assaying 300 ounces of silver to the ton, from a claim called the Old Elkhorn, located about a mile southwest of later Coolidge/Elkhorn townsite and mine. In 1874, Mike T. Steele located the Storm claim — adjacent to the west side of the Old Elkhorn claim — and shipped two carloads of ore, assaying 260 ounces of silver to the ton. Next to be discovered was the Mono lode which was located by Clark Smith in September of 1875. By 1885 D. B. Mason and Steele acquired the claim and sank a 35-foot shaft. In 1888, the Storm Mining Company sank a 90-foot shaft on the Mono vein, and eventually the shaft would reach a depth of 250 feet (Winchell 1914; Sassman 1933; Geach 1972).

The Elkhorn Mine not only contains proven ore reserves, … but the potential for greatly expanding reserves is excellent. All known reserves are confined to two veins; namely, the Idahna and Park veins; yet surface trenching, diamond drilling, etc. on other known veins indicate additional reserves, containing better values than the proven reserves. Jenkins 1980