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Past / Future Production

The Bonnanza Mine was considered the largest gold mine in Oregon from 1988 to 1993. It derives it’s name from a clever manipulation of the spelling of Bonanza to fit Tom Bonn’s last name and had several partners in ownership.

Although, Bonnanza Mine, Inc. was not the first mining company to mine gold on this property it was particularly profitable due to sheer volume of production despite the difficulty dealing with large glacial boulders found everywhere in this deposit. It was also notably successful in land reclamation and received many state and federal awards for safety and environmental concerns and is recognized worldwide for setting industry and environment standards.

A complete dissertation about reclamation procedures and success can be viewed at:


In short, the Bonnanza Mine worked 45 acres of deposit during its five years in operation (10 acres had been previously worked prior to 1940), and left the property a better natural place than Mother Nature had done over eons of careful erosion - the Mine gives new meaning to surrogate motherhood.

Its reclamation practices will be managed by the operator Paul Vaden. Due to improved technology, reclamation can be even better than before – a win, win scenario for the mining community.

The mine closed operations in the mid 1990’s but a careful review of its history and other information makes the following operational statistics reliable:

  1. At peak production the number of employees on payroll was 35.
  2. Had great difficulty working around boulders throughout the deposit.
  3. Moved over half a mile of creek in harmony with government agencies.
  4. Operations seemed somewhat inefficient with mismatched equipment.
  5. Recovered only nugget gold without the fines.
  6. Leased the mineral rights to the property.
  7. All indications are that the mine was very profitable.
In contrast, Mr Vaden the operator, projects the following improved results on 80 acres of this land:
  1. Employ no more than 5 people for production purposes.
  2. Will use a large derocker that can handle up to 3-foot boulders.
  3. Will also make use of conveyors for moving yardage.
  4. Will recover nuggets and fine gold.
  5. Will own the mineral rights and property (minimum 5 million yards).
  6. Will be at least 2 times more profitable per hour than the old Bonnanza Mine.
  7. Boulders will not pose the same difficulty.


Weighing one gold nugget.

Gold Nuggets at the Bonnanza Mine of Oregon