Without going into a museum it might not ever occur to you that Valdez was originally a gold town. There were over a dozen mines in operation in Valdez between the 1890's and first world war. While many of the historic mines have closed down there is still active mining up the Mineral Creek area. The active mines are about business and are not offering tours at the moment and the historic mines are in remote locations. Cliff Mine, the most prosperous mine can be found down Port Valdez on the north side just east of Shoup Bay. You can request passing close to it from any open water tour guides.Other more remote mines can be accessed with the help of Vertical Solutions or Alaska Guide Co.
Cliff mine became productive in 1910 and proved a very profitable mining venture. At the Cliff mine the vein has been followed to a depth of 400 feet below its outcrop. The Cliff vein had averaged about $50 to the ton, mostly in free gold, with very little change in depth. The concentrates are said to run about 7% and carry about $100 worth of gold to the ton. The vein follows a well-defined fissure, which strikes from N. 30° to N. 45° W., probably averaging about 35°, .and cuts across the foliation of the slate. At the outcrop and in the workings above the main tunnel it dips to the southwest at an angle of 50° to 70°, but exhibits some rolls. Throughout the mine workings, which now reach a depth of about 100 feet below sea level and extend for about 600 feet along the vein, the fissure is plainly recognizable, but in places the vein material is represented by only half an inch of gouge. Where mined the lode probably averages from 14 to 30 inches, but it locally widens to about 4 feet. In some places the lead is made up of a single vein of quartz; in others of a network of quartz stringers separated by masses of country rock.