The State of Montana is the fourth largest state in the Union in terms of land area.   The Capital of Montana is Helena.  Montana became a territory in 1864 and a state in 1889.   The official state motto is “The Treasure State” in a testimony to its rich mining heritage.  Other terms used to describe Montana are “Big Sky Country” and “The Last Good Place.”

The guidebook has good descriptions of mining districts and oil/gas areas of Montana.


Principal Gold Producing Districts in the United States, Geological Survey Professional Paper 610 (PP 610) is a favorite resource.  This covers U.S. gold production to 1959.  The Montana Department of Environmental Quality has very useful good website that lists abandon mines in Montana by mining districts.


Montana gold producing was 17.8 million oz. to 1959, 7th in the U.S.  In contrast, the Cripple Creek, Colorado district produced 19.1 million oz.  Large gold producing districts in Montana include Virginia City which produced 2.6 million oz. and Butte which produced 2.7 million oz. The Butte production was primarily a byproduct of the copper production.  Montana has 54    gold mining districts that produced over 10,000 oz. according to PP 610.  Most of the production was lode mining.  However, placer mining was also important particularly around Virginia City.

Silver, Lead, Zinc, and Manganese:

The most noted Silver producing area is Phillipsburg located in Granite County.  The principal mines were the Granite and Bimetallic.    Silver was principal product of the mines of Walkerville, a northerly suburb of Butte.  “Copper Kings” Marcus Daley was associated with the Alice Mine and William A. Clark was associated with the Moulton Mine.  Silver was a product of many smaller districts scattered throughout the State.  Silver was an important byproduct of the Butte copper mines.

Lead and Zinc were mined in numerous districts throughout the State.  Some of the mines at Butte were devoted to the production of lead and zinc.  Manganese was mined at Butte and Phillipsburg.


Butte was the principal copper producing area in the state.  Butte and its mines are covered in another article.


Chromite was mined at the Stillwater Complex.  This is considered to be the largest chromite deposit in the U.S.


Coal and oil are produced in throughout the state.   Phosphate rock has been produced.