Of course, Alaska will always make the list when it comes to natural resources. In fact, Alaska is one of the most interesting stories of how it achieved its statehood in the union. Russian explorers had initially discovered a small number of gold deposits near the Kenai River in the year 1848, but no significant amount was produced. Because the Russian authorities had thought they found themselves with a large and empty amount of land, they had agreed to sell the entire surface area to the United States. Alaska is still the largest state in America by land mass.
Gold Mining began operations in 1870 from placers found southeast of the Juneau location, and started the 1880 gold rush that had settlers traveling night and day to place their roots down from the continental United States. Over 1.25 million kilograms of gold was mined from the late 19th century until 2007. In 2015, gold mines in Alaska accounted for over 12% of the total gold production in the country. If you are looking for the largest gold producer in the state of Alaska, Fort Knox takes that coveted trophy.
The state of Arizona has produced almost 500 tonnes of gold since recorded history in the union. The first ever reported large mining operation in Arizona began in 1774. This was a result of the Spanish priest, Manual Lopez, who had led a team of Papago Indians to wash the gold that they had found from the gravel located on the flanks of the surrounding mountains in Pima County. Gold mining continued for many years until 1849 when it was disrupted by an influx of Mexican miners that had spilled over from the California gold rush.
Many more mining operations took place under both the Spanish and Mexican flags in areas such as Oro Blanco, Arivaca, and Pima County. Pauline Weaver had first covered placer gold on the Colorado River's east side in 1862. This discovery had spread to the Colorado River, where settlers came in droves to mine the area around La Paz, Arizona. If you were to visit La Paz today, you would find it devoid of all human life, as it has long since been abandoned and considered a ghost stone. Some say it is haunted by a few miners that met their unfortunate ends.
Although many are familiar with the famous California Gold Rush, prospectors found gold as early as 1775 in recorded history. Of course, these operations were under the Spanish flag, as they had a claim to the area before the war of independence, and for decades afterward. Gold was recovered from dry placers and, throughout the years, was evident in many other counties throughout California and near the Arizona border. The majority of the gold mining happened in 1849 when many fortune-seekers relocated to San Francisco to make their riches. At this time, the population increased well into the thousands, which was unusual for a previously uninhabited piece of land.