Gold in the mercury

A Canadian mining company will begin tapping one of Nevada’s most substantial mercury fields for gold and silver in a few weeks.

Phoenix Matachewan Mines Ltd. chairman Greg Hawkins made the announcement on the online talk show Smartstox.

The site is Bottle Creek, 155 miles north of Reno in Humboldt County, just south of McDermitt and the Oregon border. A news release issued after the show said, “The Bottle Creek project will see the drill bit this spring.”

Phoenix Matachewan announced on March 16 last year that it had taken a lease on the property. The company’s announcement said, in tortured English, “The core of the Bottle Creek system lies beneath past producing, high-grade mercury mines that are interpreted to be the surface manifestation of a mineralizing system capable of depositing gold and silver as well.”

A 2003 United States Geological Survey said, “This was one of the larger mercury-producing districts in Nevada through the 1940s. … Some mercury could be seeping into the subsurface after storms, but it is not clear that this would have a significant impact on the ground water that is used for irrigation, livestock, and domestic drinking water at ranches several kilometers to the east-southeast.”

Another USGS report issued in 2004 says of the old mining site, “Total production was about 4,500 flasks [of mercury], among the highest in Nevada.”

Phoenix Matachewan, an Orleans, Ontario, corporation, says exploration has been going on in the Bottle Creek area since 1982 by companies hoping for another Carlin Trend-type find of “gold mineralization and low-sulphidation epithermal mineralization at shallow depths.”