Gold-Tellerum Ore (AuTe)

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ThomasG
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Gold-Tellerum Ore (AuTe)

Post by ThomasG »

Part 1:
When we (Clay and I) had some of the ore examined at the University of Nevada, School of Mines (I think that was their formal designation) we had a few items/gold ore left to Dick Holmes by Waltz — "jewelry".

One was what is commonly called “The Match Box” (more correctly Match Safe). We also had a small piece of raw ore, and one or two other items -- as I recall.
• Two large intact pieces — one on each side of the Box.
• The top or lid has a series of triangular insets on each side.

The tellurium (Te) was ONLY found in one of the triangle pieces set into the top. At the time we felt this was rather important. The reason is that Te is often found not only with gold, but also with copper. The Superstition Mountains abut the highly productive copper deposits of the “Eastern Superstitions”.

Subsequently, I went to the AZ Department of Mines and Mineral Resources and went through files of the copper mines in the Easter Superstitions looking for Te. My search was not definitive, e.g., some mine’s files did not have assay reports, some seemed to have been incomplete, and so forth. But, I did manage to find and go through assay reports of multiple, multiple mines – no Te.

Nyal, one of the geologist/mining engineer (I forget which), came in while I was searching. He asked what I was looking for. I told him what I was looking for and he shook his head (as I recall).

Nyal continued saying that Au-Te ores are not just unusual in Arizona, they are almost unknown. On my book, The Legend of the Lost Durchman Mine, Unraveling a Mystery on page 287 there is a map showing the distribution of Te ores in Arizona. One of the “curious” things is one of the few places that have Au and Te in the same mine is Yavapaii County.
Although it is not AuTe ore, but rather Au and Te are found in the same mine.

As for Eastern Arizona north of the Gila River having AuTe ore, or a mine with both Au and Te but not together there are none known. (There is one mine on the North side of the Gila River we Te. There is one mine on the north side of the Gila River with Te, but no Au.
The only AuTe, or Au and Te in eastern Arizona are the copper mines around Tombstone and Bisbee.

Part 2:

Clay and I were a bit taken back by the apparent total lack of Te in the copper ores of the Eastern Sups. The Te question may well lie in the history of the Match Box. The gold ore in the Match Box has the weakest provenance.

Jimmy Douglas acquired some of the Dutchman gold ore and shipped it to a jeweler in San Francisco. His reason was to have a Match Box made with Dutchman Ore as a gift for Gus Hirschfield. What we do not know is what instructions were given to the jeweler in San Francisco. Herein lies the rub. Brownie had a pretty good idea of the San Francisco jeweler. What Brownie did not know, what we do not know is what instructions were given to the jeweler in San Francisco.

Given the reason for making the Match Box — that it was to be a gift it is likely that Douglas' primary interest was in getting the best product … the best gift. The jeweler did produce a beautiful gift. The triangle pieces of ore with contrasting white ore, and black ore are striking. For me, the contrasting makes a more striking gift than on of just white quartz ore.

While "Brownie" had a good idea of the firm that did it, what he did not know, what we do not know, is if the jeweler used only the ore supplied by Jimmie Douglas, i.e. Dutchman Ore. Given the reason for making the Match Box—that it was to be a gift for Gus H. Hirschfieled—it is likely that Douglas' primary interest was in getting the best product. Note: California gold mines were significant producers of not just gold ore, but also of AuTe gold ore.

While once Clay and myself thought that the Te was quite important, I
am no longer of that mind. The provenance of the gold in the Match Box is simply to weak to allow for any such conclusion. Especially since the other pieces tested did not show any Te.

What I do find interesting are that: i) as note, to my knowledge there is only one mine that has Te just north of the Gila in eastern half of Arizona and it is or was not a gold mine; ii) of the five mines I know of that have or had AuTe ore in AZ four of those mines are around Bisbee (2), Tucson (1) and South of Gila (1). The only other one in AZ is southwestern is northeast of Quartzite. AuTe is quite rare in AZ.As noted, there is essentially no Te north of the Gila River and south of the Mogollon Rim.

For those who want to pursue Te and Waltz’s gold they might find it interesting that there are the two sites around Prescott. The two sites have/had Au and Te, but no known AuTe. One site is northeast of Prescott. The other is southeast of Prescott. This location is quite close to or in the Turkey Creek Mining District – where, to the best of our knowledge, Waltz had his first AZ gold mine, the Gross Lode. [/size][/size]
cuzzinjack
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Re: Gold-Tellerum Ore (AuTe)

Post by cuzzinjack »

Hello Thomas,

It is very good to see people posting again. It seems that out of deep respect for Joe Ribaudo there has been a “moment of silence”. I think Joe would have liked to see things get rolling again.

The subject of Tellurium is an excellent one, and I’ve overlooked it in my research. Sylvanite is the most common gold Telluride and it runs about 40% gold. My dad said he saw people selling samples of rock alongside the road near Telluride, CO in the late 40’s to tourists that were pieces of Telluride ore that was roasted to make the gold come to the surface to make it look like pure gold! Sylvanite is silver-colored, so the match box must have highly diluted Sylvanite or other Telluride in it?

I have made a lot of noise about “Cerro Negra” being the center of Peralta underground operations. My stance has not changed; in fact, it has gotten only stronger. The Telluride subject is another “nail in the coffin” as explained below.

I’ve had many whole rock analyses performed on samples from Cerro Negra and the nearby volcanic neck that is a rhyolite porphyry. Below is a snip of crustal abundances of elements in parts per million. Please note the Te. In granite and basalt it is only .001 ppm.

Image

Not one sample of the Rhyolite porphyry contained tellurium above the detectable limit, but about half of the samples from Cerro Negra ran between .1 and .2 ppm Te. This is 100 to 200 times the normal abundance of Te found in normal rock. The rock samples were taken from a variety of rock including basalt that was heavily chlorite-altered and is basically “green basalt”, and hematite breccia. Most importantly, the rock in the photo below ran .2 ppm Te. This is from a zone of basalt inundated by quartz that can be 100 feet wide and is found on the sides and at the base of Cerro Negra. It did not run gold, but as mentioned before, gold is soluble in salt water and it is concentrated below. The secret is beneath the basalt. There is no rock anywhere in the area like this:

Image

The story you wrote about “Wagoner’s Ledge” fits here very well, since he reportedly found his gold in a vein in the basalt.
This bar below was found in Mexico City in 1981 and has been proven to be from the 1520 looting by Cortez. It would be interesting what the Tellurium content is in this bar! As stated before, I believe there is a much bigger story here than just a tiny lost mine.

Image

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Potbelly Jim
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Re: Gold-Tellerum Ore (AuTe)

Post by Potbelly Jim »

Hi Cuzzin Jack, good to see you posting again. :D

If I may interject here, although from a position of considerable ignorance regarding mineralogy:

I believe the point Thomas was making is that the presence of Te in the match-safe is pretty much irrelevant. At least that's how I read it.

First, I believe what was detected in one small triangular piece of ore (it was not detected in the big slabs of “gold in quartz”, on the sides of the match-safe) was AgTe. So some form of Silver-Tellurium.

Second, the provenance of the actual ore used to make the match-safe is weak. There's no way of knowing what the jeweler used to make those little dark triangles. Was it from LDM ore, or somewhere else? Perhaps something he had lying around the shop? There's no way of knowing.

Third, no Te of any form was detected in the other LDM jewelry ore: The ring, and the piece of uncut ore.

In other words, Te is an outlier as compared to the other pieces of LDM ore tested, it's in silver, and who knows where those little pieces of dark triangles came from.
Jim R.
cuzzinjack
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Re: Gold-Tellerum Ore (AuTe)

Post by cuzzinjack »

Hello Jim,

Likewise, I’m glad to see you posting again! I was not trying to make a connection to the matchbox; as you’ve said, who knows what its origins are. What I meant to articulate is that I’ve searched every corner that I can find and have went down every path I could take, within going broke, to prove a mining district and have overlooked Tellurium as a pathfinder element. Because of Thomas’ research and subsequent post, it gave me an idea to check my data, and Tellurium slapped me alongside the head.

This is a snippet from a USGS document from 1972 and tells of the importance of Te in Clear Creek County, Co (Idaho Springs) as an example:

“Because of the wider distribution of its anomalies, Tellurium seems to be the best pathfinder element to use in conjunction with gold for widespread reconnaissance work.”

After doing some more research, there is a connection between Te and IOCG deposits as well.

For me, this is a watershed event. What has been so difficult is that the gold on the surface has been dissolved by salt and deposited and concentrated below, and I could not find a pathfinder element for gold that has not been dissolved also. Typical ones like Barium, Arsenic, Mercury, and rare earths just didn’t work, on the weathered surface anyway. Every mining district has its own signature, and here it appears to be Tellurium and Lithium.

cuzzinjack
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