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Mine History

The High Bar gold deposit is a well known placer deposit in the historically gold-rich area of Baker County, Oregon. Over the past century many men have tried to mine the High Bar, but they could never overcome the major limitation there; lack of access to water. Abundant water is the lifeblood of any mine and High Bar is no exception. Many have tried, and failed, to build reservoirs and pipe water to the High Bar mine in order to unlock her secrets. The historical documents on this page outline some of the prior unsuccessful attempts to mine the High Bar and its surrounding claims. But no more...


In 2012 a group of investors purchased mining claims (approximately 400 acres) that encompass the High Bar plateau and subsequently purchased additional claims totaling approximately 2,000 acres (including United Mining and Metals) and worked with the Bureau of Land Management to successfully win approval to begin mining the High Bar. The news got even better the same year when the owners drilled and discovered a powerhouse well that to date has produced over 23 million gallons of water at approximately 200 gallons per minute. A pipeline was built to transfer the water to gigantic ponds on the top of the High Bar. In addition, in 2016 a second, strong well was successfully drilled. Final results (g.p.m.) will be available soon.

Furthermore, additional water is available from the Burnt River from the original United Mining and Metals Point Of Diversion (P.O.D.). Photo at top of page, R



Oregon State Dept. of Geology

"Bruneau claims to have recovered course gold comparable to Johnny Wyant's Pine Creek Stuff all over the best portions of the bar, plus many fist sized hunks of quartz plastered full of gold like the 3 foot boulder McChord has that was picked up there 20-30 years ago. He claims to have gotten as high as 12.9 oz. per yard for some yards, which of course isn't altogether astonishing when one is dealing with slug gold, but what is the screwiest part of the whole deal is that Bruneau claims that his test yardage recovery average $3.60 per yard."*

-Mr. F.W. Libbey, Oregon State Department of Geology, Feb. 3, 1953​

*the average price of gold in 1953 was $34.84 per oz., making the $3.60 value equivalent to $150 per yard  (on average), recovered during testing using $1450 per oz. of gold.

Also (1946 letter, "Wyant Placers"): "These claims have been acquired by Mr. Wyant over a period of years beginning in 1900 and they have been worked regularly and successfully by him ever since...operations have been on a small scale, handwork basis. An exceptional abundance of nuggets weighing from one half to one ounce are received regularly and two fourteen ounce nuggets together with several six and eight ounce nuggets have been found. One of these fourteen ounce nuggets is on display in the First National Bank in Baker, Oregon."


*Testing [on a portion of the High Bar mine] suggested 1 million yards that should average 1 oz of gold every 24 cubic yards and the 3' above and down to bedrock averaged 1 oz of gold every 4.8 cubic yards.  (1946 Wyant Placers, page 6)

-gold averaged $24/ounce from 1900-1946

Oregon Dept. Of Geology and Mineral Industries

​"Gilluly, U.S.G.S. Bull.879, regards this deposit as a Pleistocene bench gravel capping Tertiary sediments. The gravels include lava, quartz, schist, and greenstone rock types in sizes ranging to large boulders to two feet or greater in diameter...Stratification in the bar is poor to absent and the indications are that the gold, which is quite fine in size, is distributed thru out the gravel from the grass roots down.

Whether a lava bed exposed on the side of the hill or superimposed Tertiary lake beds, constitute the true base of these gravels, and at what depth, is yet to be established. The greatest established depth is 26' with gravel still in the hole. From a surface standpoint this bench covers almost all the acreage comprising these holdings."

-State Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, "High Bar Placers of Pine Creek", April 22, 1946

Discovery Channel's "Gold Rush" filmed at the High Bar but only mined a total of 19 hours during filming of their "mining" show. Click to see document showing hours worked.


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