References to Eight Dollar Mountain first appeared in the 1850s and are thought to indicate the quality (and cost) of boots that would be required to walk around the entire mountain once. Another origin suggests a gold nugget worth eight dollars was found in the nearby Illinois River.

Eight Dollar Mountain is located in Josephine County, Oregon, west of the small town of Selma (pop. 892) at an elevation of 2,600 feet asl but rising to over 4,000 feet. The mountain is bounded to the east by Highway 199 and to the west by the Illinois River. Forestry roads allow direct access to the top of the mountain where several radio and microwave stations are located.

Notably, Eight Dollar Mountain is home to several rare plant species and a protected botanical area of 650 acres is situated along the mountain’s southwest margin under the protection of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department as of 2008.

Eight Dollar Mountain is composed mainly of peridotite, a nickel-bearing mineral consisting mainly of olivine and containing iron (Fe), magnesium (Mg) and silicate (Si02). The upper tens of feet have been altered to nickel-bearing laterite where the silicate minerals have broken down over time leaving mainly clay-rich minerals containing nickel and lesser cobalt.

The Eight Dollar Property consists of 115 mining claims totaling 962 ha (2,376 ac) and covering most of the west side of Eight Dollar Mountain. Exploration in the area dates back to 1942 when the Freeport Sulphur Company dug several pits and shallow shafts. These pits were enlarged over the years and access roads installed with some bulk samples of nickel-bearing laterite removed by back-hoe. The area was reviewed in 2018 by the Department of Geology and Mineral Inventories (DOGAMI) which reported nickel, cobalt, chromium, and molybdenum. Several occurrences of nickel laterite have been mapped over a wide area within Eight Dollar Mountain including within the claims staked.

Figure 1

Eight Dollar Mountain is located west of Selma, Oregon.