Platinum-group metals in the Medicine Bow Mountains were first identified by W. C. Knight in 1901. In the Medicine Bow Mountains, these metals are commonly associated with copper, silver, or gold in shear zones that cut a series of mafic igneous and metamorphic rocks. At the New Rambler mine, where the initial discovery was made, about 50,000 tons of mine and mill waste contain an average of 0.3 percent copper, 7 ppm (parts per million) silver, 1 ppm platinum plus palladium, and 0.7 ppm gold. This material is believed to be from a low-grade envelope around the high-grade pod of complex ore that was mined selectively in the old workings.
Soil samples in the vicinity of the New Rambler mine exhibit a wide range of content of several elements associated with the ore. Most of the variation can be attributed to contamination, from the mine workings. Even though soil samples identify a low-level copper anomaly that persists to the limit of the area sampled, soils do not offer a promising medium for tracing mineralization owing to the blanket of transported overburden.
Stream sediments, if preconcentrated for analysis, do reveal anomalies not only in the contaminated stream below the New Rambler mine, but in adjacent drainage and on Dave Creek. Examination of a spectrum of elements in heavy-mineral concentrates from stream sediment may contribute to knowledge of the nature of the mineralization and of the basic geology of the environment.
The sampling of bedrock exposures is not particularly fruitful because outcrops are sparse and the exposed rocks are the least altered and mineralized. Bedrock sampling does, however, provide information on the large size and provincial nature of the platinum-rich area. We feel that a properly integrated program of geological, geophysical, and geochemical exploration in the Medicine Bow Mountains and probably in the Sierra Madre to the west has a reasonable probability of successfully locating a complex ore body.
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USGS Numbered Series
Platinum and associated elements at the New Rambler mine and vicinity, Albany and Carbon Counties, Wyoming