BLM-Alaska began a 4-year mineral resource assessment of the Aniak Mining District in 2003. Mineral assessment objectives were to identify the nature, extent and development potential of mineral resources; perform mining feasibility studies using hypothetical mine models on mineral deposits that have economic potential; and fund geophysical investigations of areas having the potential to contain concealed mineral deposits. The work included locating, sampling, mapping, evaluating historic mines, prospects, occurrences, and investigating in greater detail newly discovered mineralization. This assessment was part of the BLM's ongoing mining district evaluation program which began in the early 1980's, as authorized under Section 1010 of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA).
The Aniak Mining District study area encompasses approximately 29.6 million acres in southwestern Alaska and comprises parts of the adjacent Anvik, Iditarod, Innoko, Marshall and McGrath mining districts. The area contains nearly 450 mineral sites including those located in the historic mining areas of Iditarod-Flat, Nyac, Donlin Creek, Candle Creek, Ganes Creek, Moore Creek, Nixon Fork, Marvel Creek, Taylor Creek and the Red Devil District.
Placer gold has been the main commodity produced from the area since 1909. Placer production totals nearly 2.6 million ounces of gold, along with minor amounts of mercury, tungsten and platinum. Lode production totals nearly 197,000 ounces gold and over 35,000 76-pound flasks of mercury and by-product antimony between 1902 and 1967. Other commodities prospected in the region include barite, copper, lead, molybdenum, silver, tin, tungsten, uranium and zinc.
The district was divided into four areas and examined successively: the Northeast in 2003, the Central Aniak Area in 2004 and the Southwest and Southeast Areas in 2005. Open-File Reports (OFRs) documenting the district evaluations’ first two field seasons are available electronically through the following links, BLM OFR 94 (2003 season): and BLM OFR 100, Plate 1 (2004 season). Geochemical field data for the entire district evaluation, totaling approximately 1,500 rock, soil and sediment samples, can be downloaded at Aniak Mining District Study Geochemical Sample Results.
Information collected as a part of the Aniak assessment is being used for mineral occurence data in the Bering Straits Western Interior Resource Management Plan.