The Bay Resource Management Plan (RMP) area in southwestern Alaska, north and northeast of Bristol Bay contains significant potential for undiscovered locatable mineral resources of base and precious metals, in addition to metallic mineral deposits that are already known. A quantitative probabilistic assessment has identified 24 tracts of land that are permissive for 17 mineral deposit model types likely to be explored for within the next 15 years in this region. Commodities we discuss in this report that have potential to occur in the Bay RMP area are Ag, Au, Cr, Cu, Fe, Hg, Mo, Pb, Sn, W, Zn, and platinum-group elements. Geoscience data for the region are sufficient to make quantitative estimates of the number of undiscovered deposits only for porphyry copper, epithermal vein, copper skarn, iron skarn, hot-spring mercury, placer gold, and placer platinum-deposit models. A description of a group of shallow- to intermediate-level intrusion-related gold deposits is combined with grade and tonnage data from 13 deposits of this type to provide a quantitative estimate of undiscovered deposits of this new type.
We estimate that significant resources of Ag, Au, Cu, Fe, Hg, Mo, Pb, and Pt occur in the Bay Resource Management Plan area in these deposit types. At the 10th percentile probability level, the Bay RMP area is estimated to contain 10,067 metric tons silver, 1,485 metric tons gold, 12.66 million metric tons copper, 560 million metric tons iron, 8,100 metric tons mercury, 500,000 metric tons molybdenum, 150 metric tons lead, and 17 metric tons of platinum in undiscovered deposits of the eight quantified deposit types. At the 90th percentile probability level, the Bay RMP area is estimated to contain 89 metric tons silver, 14 metric tons gold, 911,215 metric tons copper, 330,000 metric tons iron, 1 metric ton mercury, 8,600 metric tons molybdenum and 1 metric ton platinum in undiscovered deposits of the eight deposit types.
Other commodities, which may occur in the Bay RMP area, include Cr, Sn, W, Zn, and other platinum-group elements such as Ir, Os, and Pd. We define 13 permissive tracts for 9 additional deposit model types. These are: Besshi- and Cyprus, and Kuroko-volcanogenic massive sulfides, hot spring gold, low sulfide gold veins, Mississippi-Valley Pb-Zn, tin greisen, zinc skarn and Alaskan-type zoned ultramafic platinum-group element deposits. Resources in undiscovered deposits of these nine types have not been quantified, and would be in addition to those in known deposits and the undiscovered resources listed above. Additional mineral resources also may occur in the Bay RMP area in deposit types, which were not considered here.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Undiscovered Locatable Mineral Resources in the Bay Resource Management Plan Area, Southwestern Alaska: A Probabilistic Assessment