The property is located in Esmeralda County, Nevada approximately 26 miles south of Goldfield in the Tokop mining district. Access is via 10 miles of gravel roads from the small hamlet of Gold Point.
Although there is little information on the early history of the area, the property was likely first discovered in the 1860’s when Silver Peak, located 30 miles to the northwest, was developed. Below the seven adits that make up the Empress Mine are the remnants of a mill and several stone foundations from that era. Little production is reported for the district, although the Gold Point district, immediately to the north, produced approximately $1,000,000 (1900 dollars) in gold and silver. The Wonder Mine, located 2,000 feet southwest of Empress, was worked in the 1930’s as judged by artifacts, and probably direct shipped its ore to a mill elsewhere. The only known drilling of the property consists of three RC holes above the Wonder adit, drilled in the 1980’s by Homestake Mining. The owner never received the drilling data and Barrick, who took over Homestake, say they have no file on the property.
Geology, Structure and Mineralization
The property lies within the southern portion of the Walker Lane structural corridor. Major mines within the lower portion of the Walker Lane include Tonopah, Goldfield and Silver Peak. Mineralization in the Tokop district occurs in quartz veins hosted by granitic rocks of the Sylvania pluton. At least three separate east-west trending, steeply dipping quartz veins are exposed on the property. Over the years, the property owner has had several geologists sample the veins. Most of this sampling is underground as the veins are poorly exposed on the surface. Results show several +1 oz/ton gold and silver assays and include an 11.7 oz/ton gold assay taken by Homestake.
With a couple exceptions, the adits of the Empress Mine are caved allowing only partial inspection. The Wonder Mine, however, has excellent access and was sketch-mapped and sampled by the author. In the Wonder adit the vein is a typical pinch and swell quartz vein with widths from under 6 inches to 10 feet within a steeply south dipping fault zone. Although difficult to sample because the wider portions of the vein were mined out above the level, several samples were taken along the 500 feet of exposed vein. The results are encouraging in that most assayed above the 0.3 oz/ton gold needed for underground mining. Two of 11 samples taken assayed +1 oz/ton with the high being 1.848 oz/ton over 2.0 feet. The highest silver value in the Wonder sampling is 3.18 oz/ton.
Enough sampling has been done to indicate two high-grade gold/silver vein targets at the Empress project. Accurate mapping and sampling of the Wonder and Empress working that are accessible should be completed to refine drill targets. Work should start at the more accessible Wonder Mine with core drilling of the vein as soon as surveying is completed. Drilling of the various ore shoots should quickly establish the size potential of the deposits.