Platinum is located on the Bering Sea
coast, below Red Mountain on the south spit of Goodnews Bay. It lies 11
miles from Goodnews Bay and 123 miles southwest of Bethel. It is 440
miles west of Anchorage. It lies at approximately 59░ 00' N Latitude,
161░ 49' W Longitude (Sec. 32, T013S, R075W, Seward Meridian). The
community is located in the Bethel Recording District. The area
encompasses 45 sq. miles of land and 0 sq. miles of water.
is near a traditional village site called Arviq. The community was
established shortly after traces of platinum were discovered by an
Eskimo named Walter Smith in 1926. Between 1927 and 1934, several small
placer mines operated on creeks in the area. Some 3,000 troy ounces of
platinum were mined over that period, with a value of about $48 per
ounce. A post office opened in 1935. The "big strike" occurred in
October of 1936, which brought a stampede of prospectors for "white
gold." The claims proved to be too deep for hand mining methods and were
bought out by two companies. The largest, Goodnews Mining Co.,
eventually acquired title to over 150 claims. In 1937 a large dredge was
built at the mining site, about 10 miles from the village of Platinum.
The Company also constructed bunkhouses, a recreation hall, offices,
shops and a cafeteria. Platinum developed as a "company town," with the
store, water, and electricity supplied by the mine. A school opened in
1960. By 1975, 545,000 ounces of platinum had been mined at the site.
The mine was sold to Hanson Properties, who estimate reserves of over
500,000 ounces. The mine ceased operations in 1990.