MINISTER OF MINES
YEAR ENDING 31st DECEMBER,
BEING AN ACCOUNT OF
MINING OPERATIONS FOR GOLD, COAL, ETC.,
PROVINCE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA.
THE PROVINCE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
VICTORIA, B. C. :
Printed by Richard Wolfenden, Printer to the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty,
1899. 62 Vict.
Report of the Minister of Mines.
MINISTER OF MINES,
To His Honour Thomas R. McInnes,
Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of British Columbia.
May it please Your Honour:
The Annual Report of the Mining Industries of the Province for the year 1898
is herewith respectfully submitted.
Minister of Mines' Office,
23rd February, 1899.
J. FRED HUME,
Minister of Mines. 62 Vict. Report of the Minister of Mines. 959
WILLIAM FLEET ROBERTSON, PROVINCIAL MINERALOGIST,
To the Hon. J. Fred Hume,
Minister of Mines.
Sir,—I have the honour to submit herewith the following statistical tables showing the
mineral production of British Columbia for the year ending December 31st, 1898, and illustrating, by comparisons with past years, the progress in mining during the year.
I also submit detailed Reports upon the various Mining Divisions of the Province. In
gathering the material for the statistics I have been met by a ready compliance with the
requirements of the " Inspection of Metalliferous Mines Act, 1897," and have received, in
every instance, the detailed statement as to production therein provided for—based on smelter
or mill returns.
I believe the returns to be correct, and I think they will be found to be practically complete.
In the compilation of this, my first report as Provincial Mineralogist, I have adhered, as
closely as possible, to the general form established by my predecessor, Mr. Carlyle, making-
only such slight changes as may have been found necessary.
I have the honour to be,
Your obedient Servant,
William Fleet Robertson,
Victoria, B. C. February 7th, 1899. 62 Vict. Report of the Minister of Mines. 961
MINERAL PRODUCTION OF BRITISH COLUMBIA.
METHOD OF COMPUTING PRODUCTION.
In assembling the out-put of the lode mines in the following tables, the established custom
of this Department has been adhered to, viz.: The out-put of a mine for the year has been considered that amount of ore for which the smelter or mill returns have been received during
the year. This system does not give the exact output of the mine, but rather the amounts
credited to the mine on the company's books during the year.
For ore shipped in December the smelter returns are not likely to be received until
February, or later, of the new year, and have, consequently, to be carried over to the credit of
such new year. This plan will be found very approximate, however, for each year, and
ultimately correct, as ore not credited to one year is included in the next.
In the lode mines tables the amount of the shipments are obtained from certified returns
received from the various mines, as provided for in the " Inspection of Metalliferous Mines
Act, 1897." In calculating the values of the products the average price for the year of the
New York Metal Market has been used as a basis in all cases. For silver 95 per cent, and
for lead 90 per cent, of such market price has been taken. Treatment and other charges have
not been deducted.
Total Pkoduction for all Years up to and including 1898.
Gold, placer $ 59,960,819
Gold, lode 6,501,906
Coal and Coke 40,306,160
Building stone, bricks, etc 1,500,000
Other metals 26,500
Production for each Year from 1890 to 1898 (inclusive).
1890 1 2,608,803
1898 10,906,861 962
Report of the Minister of Mines.
Table III. gives a statement in detail of the amount and value of the different mineral
products for the years 1896, 1897, and 1898. As it has yet been impossible to collect the
statistics regarding building stone, lime, bricks, tiles, etc., these are estimated for 1897 and
1898, but not estimated for or included in the output for 1896.
Amount and Value of Mineral Products for 1896, 1897, and 1898.
Tons, 2,240 tt>s
of Metals by Districts and
Lightning Creek u
Keithley Creek n
$7,172,766 62 Vict.
Report of the Minister of Mines.
Table V. continues the yearly production of placer gold to date, as determined by the
returns sent in by the banks and express companies of gold transmitted by them to the mints,
and from returns sent in by the Gold Commissioners and Mining Recorders. To these yearly
amounts, one-third was added up to the year 1878, from then to 1895 and for 1898, one-fifth,
which proportions are considered to represent, approximately, the amount of gold sold of
which there is no record. This placer gold contains from 10 to 25 per cent, silver, but the
silver value has not been separated from the totals, as it would be insignificant.
Yield of Placer Gold per Year to Date.
1858 $ 705,000
The information as to production in the earlier years is obtained from the " Mineral
Statistics and Mines for 1896," Geological Survey of Canada.
Production of Lode Mines.
Report of the Minister of Mines.
Production in detail of the Metalliferous
Lightning Creek M
Quesnelle Forks, Keithley Ck.
Omineca (Land Record'g Djv.)
Trail Creek „
Others (Trout Lake, Revelstoke).
Building stone, bricks, etc
t 100 ounces Platinum in 1898=§1,500. 62 Vict. Report of the Minister of Mines. 965
Mines for 1896, 1897, and 1898.
Totals for Divisions.
Totals for Districts.
$7,322,766 966 Report of the Minister of Mines. 1898
Coal and Coke Production per Year to Date.
Years. Tons (2,240 lbs.) Value.
1836-52 10,000 | 40,000
1852-59 25,396 101,592
1859 (2 months) . 1,989 7,956
1860 14,246 56,988
1861 13,774 55,096
1862 18,118 72,472
1863 21,345 85,380
1864 , 28,632 115,528
1865 32,819 131,276
1866 25,115 100,460
1867 31,239 124,956
1868 44,005 176,020
1869 35,802 143,208
1870 29,843 119,372
1871-2-3 148,549 493,836
1874 81,547 244,641
1875 110,145 330,435
1876 139,192 417,576
1877 154,052 462,156
1878 170,846 512,538
1879 241,301 723,903
1880 267,595 802,785
1881 228,357 685,071
1882 282,139 846,417
1883 213,299 639,897
1884 394,070 1,182,210
1885 265,596, 796,788
1886 326,636 979,908
1887 413,360 1,240,080
1888 489,301 1,467,903
. 1889 579,830 1,739,490
1890 678,140 2,034,420
1891 1,029,097 3,087,291
1892 826,335 2,479,005
1893 978,294 2,934,882
1894 1,012,953 3,038,859
1895 939,654 2,818,962
1896 896,222 2,688,666
1897 882,854 2,648,562
1898 1,135,865 3,407,595
Total 13,217,552 tons. $40,034,180
1895-6 1,565 $ 7,825
1897 17,831 89,155
1898 (estimated) 35,000 175,000
Total 54,396 tons. $ 271,980 62 Vict. Report of the Minister of Mines. 967
PROGRESS OP MINING.
The Province of British Columbia, although as yet only in its early stages of mineral
development, has entered into the company of the great mineral producing countries of the
world, with no uncertain step. Confidence in her future is based upon the rich promises of
the many partly developed mines, which as yet predominate ; promises that to a large extent
are guaranteed by the results now being obtained from the comparatively few mines, which
have as yet been sufficiently developed to become producers; and the foregoing statistical tables
show what has been and is being actually accomplished, figures being the only measure we
have for commercial success. Attention is directed to the comparatively recent growth of lode
mining, and to the greatly increased production of recent years, such production being now
eight or nine times what it was in 1894, or over twenty times as great as in 1893.
From these figures it will be seen how young our lode mining industry is, and how rapidly
it has increased : and it will then be understood that, almost of necessity, but a small
proportion of our known mines have had time to enter the lists as producers.
Increased production during the last year is to be noted in gold—both placer and lode ;
also in copper; while the output of coal, from the Vancouver Island Collieries alone, has
broken all previous records, to which must still be added the output of the Crow's Nest
Pass Colliery, which only commenced shipping in November.
While the total Mineral Production of the Province shows an increase, even over last
year, the increase is not as marked as it would have been but for the serious dropping off in
the output of silver-lead ores.
The reason for this decrease seems to be the unusually low price of silver during the
latter part of 1897 and the beginning of 1898, together with the uncertainty as to the future
price of the metal. For the time being this paralyzed many existing ventures and prevented
new ones being started to work properties of this nature. The drop in price coming, as it did,
shortly after a rise in the duty on lead imported into the United States, then our only market,
deterred many of our mines from starting work this season. When the price of silver
increased again, in the latter half of the year, it was then too late to begin operations for this
Again, the certainty of the completion this year of the Canadian Pacific Railway's
branch through the Crow's Nest Pass, bringing with it cheaper fuel and transportation, and
so enabling our native smelters to compete for ores, has induced many large producers to
confine their attention to development and blocking out of their ore bodies, holding back
shipments until such time as the new conditions should have taken effect, and higher net
values might be obtained for the products of the mines.
Decrease from this cause is a healthy sign, and next year should show a very materially
increased output of this class of ore.
The increased production of copper during the past year has been marked, while the
present market price of the metal, should it be maintained, will have the effect of bringing
into the list of producers a number of new properties, and next year may be looked forward to
for a greatly increased production. 968 Report of the Minister of Mines. 1898
While it is unlikely that 18-cent copper has come to stay any length of time, still we
have it from an acknowledged authority on the American Copper market that 16 cents will
probably be the average price for 1899.
The very greatly increased tonnage of the year from the lode mines is to be noted, and
coming as it does from mines of low grade, means that a considerable amount of attention is
being attracted to the large low grade propositions which until recently have been untouched.
The importance, and often the absolute necessity of capital, to bring a prospect through
the development to the producing stage is well recognized by our prospecting class, but at the
same time they fail to recognize the risk capital runs in putting money into a prospect on
which little or no conclusive development has been done. In consequence, the prices asked
for properties of this description have been so high that the holders of money were not justified
in so risking it.
That there is in the country ample capital, ready and more than willing to invest in any
property showing values from definite development, is beyond question, but the money
necessary to bring a property up to the requisite point has often been found hard to obtain.
The moneyed men or their agents are usually willing, working on a bond, to guarantee to
spend in development work definite amounts within a fixed time and so develop the property
The great trouble seems to be in the demand for cash payments, to be made so soon that
it is impossible that sufficient development should be done in the time.
Thus the terms, rather than the amount of the bond, are what have prevented the
development hoped for, and the country is tied up, inactive, through what appears to be the
unreasonableness of the prospector.
There is, however, another side to the question, which I think it might be well to bring
before the capitalist.
The prospector, enduring privations and hardships and running dangers innumerable,
spends his whole time scouring the most remote parts of the mountains for prospects ; he has
no other means of livelihood and must have money enough to buy food and supplies, so that
when he comes to tie up a prospect in a bond, though perfectly willing to " stand in with the
capitalist on the gamble," still he must have enough cash to enable him to get out into the
mountains again to discover new properties. The demand for a small cash payment is thus
not as unreasonable as it at first seems.
I am glad to say, however, that there seems to be a decidedly better mutual understanding
coming about, the effect of which should be shortly felt.
ATLIN GOLD FIELDS.
Public attention has recently been so much drawn to the placer discoveries in Northern
Cassiar, in the neighbourhood of Atlin Lake, that the best available information has been
collected with reference to this little-known District, which will be found in detail in the body
of this Report.
A sketch map has been prepared by the Lands and Works Department from data thus
collected, showing that portion of the country. 62 Vict. Report of the Minister of Mines.
The information as to the actual amount of gold brought out in 1898 is somewhat
uncertain, but, by collecting data regarding amounts of which actual figures have been
obtained, it is estimated that the output was about $75,000.
The placer discoveries at Atlin, while in themselves important, have still greater
importance, in drawing public attention to the existence—well known locally—of the great
placer gold belt, extending the whole length of the Province from Wild Horse Creek, in East
Kootenay, near the United States boundary (which is credited with a total output of some
$20,000,000), in a north-westerly direction along the western slope of the Rockies, through
the famous Cariboo and adjoining gold fields, and still further on through Atlin to the Yukon
gold fields in the North-West Territories.
Between Atlin and Cariboo there is still a great extent of country which has as yet been
little prospected, and which may eventually prove as rich as its neighbours on either side.
As already foreshadowed in last year's Report, there is strong evidence to show that the
gold of Atlin is not confined to placer workings. Samples of very rich gold-bearing quartz
from prospects there have already been brought down, and upon these prospects some
development will be made this coming year. Whether this District will eventually prove rich
in lode mines, it is too early to predict, as little attention has as yet been given to anything
but placer gold. Samples of cinnabar have been received from there for assay by this
Department and found to contain 26% mercury.
While the output of placer gold has not regained the importance it
Placer Gold. held 20 years ago, still there is a material increase over last year—and, as
a matter of fact, over any of the last ten years—showing that the gold is
still unexhausted, though occurring under conditions rendering it only available by large
operations. The placer miner has largely given way to the hydraulic plant.
The increase this year seems to be pretty well all along the line, each District showing a
The production of free milling gold is surprisingly small, when one
Free Milling takes into consideration the amount of rich placer found in the country.
Gold. Attention is being gradually drawn to this class of mining, and stamp
mills are going up in several localities. The increased production of Camp
McKinney and Fairview, in Yale District, and the returns from the Fern mine, in Nelson
Division of W'est Kootenay, indicate probabilities for the future. Something less than 200
tons of such ore has been milled at Alberni, on Vancouver Island, and fair results are reported
as having been obtained.
So far, all the free milling properties have found it necessary to use some form of
concentration, for the collection of gold not existing in a free state, which concentrates have
usually been sent to the smelters for treatment.
The first working Cyanide plant in British Columbia has been erected,
Cyanide Plant, and is situated on Philipps' Arm, 120 miles up the Coast from Vancouver,
in connection with the " Doratha Morton" mine—a full description of
which appears in this Report. 970 Report of the Minister of Mines. 1898
The plant has only been in operation for a couple of months, but has already produced
satisfactory results, which, it is hoped, may continue, as the continued success of this, the
pioneer of its class in the Province, will be looked forward to with much interest, as indicating
what may be expected from the large low grade gold-bearing quartz veins occurring along the
The ores of the Rossland Camp may be more appropriately classed as
Smelting Gold gold ores than as copper ores, inasmuch as the values of the former metal
Ores. are proportionately much greater. The output of Trail Creek Division
(see tables) is almost entirely from ores of this character—sulphides of
copper and iron carrying gold and silver.
These ores are being treated by smelting at Northport, Wash., the Trail Smelter, or at
the Hall Mines Smelter, Nelson. The copper acts as a collector for the gold and silver, a
matte being produced—the greater part of which is brought forward to refined copper, cast
into anodes, and sent to some electrolitic refinery, for the separation of the gold and silver.
Platinum has been found in the black sands obtained in placer washing, both in the
Similkameen and Omineca Divisions. From the former some 100 ounces have been sold this
year. It is only recently that attention has been drawn to the existence of platinum in
these sands, quantities for years having been thrown away, prospectors not being aware of its
To facilitate the detection of platinum, this Department is prepared to test qualitatively,
free of charge, samples of such sands sent in from any part of the Province.
Here these two metals go together, their source being chiefly argentiferous galena, and
mined principally in Ainsworth and Slocan Divisions of West Kootenay. While they still
hold the place of premier importance in our year's production, the output has this year
considerably diminished, for the reasons previously given.
For the two Divisions mentioned, the grade of shipping ores seems to have been
maintained, as may be calculated from the statistics, and averaged, on over 32,000 tons of
ore, 97 ounces of silver to the ton and 47% lead.
The galenas of East Kootenay are not so high grade in silver, the North Star holding its
own this year with about 50 ounces of silver and 50% lead.
Developments of galena properties in East Kootenay, lead to the expectation of
shipments next year from the Moyie Mines and from the Sullivan, fully described elsewhere.
Discoveries of galena in quantity have also been made in Windermere Division of East
Kootenay, but remain to be proven by further development.
Few " dry ores " of silver have as yet been developed, though a few such exist in West
The Hall Mines, of Nelson, a silver-copper proposition, carrying about 15 to 20 ounces of
silver to the ton and 2 to 2|-% copper, have smelted over 45,000 tons of ore of this class this
past year. 62 Vict. Report of the Minister of Mines. 971
Classing the ores of Rossland as gold, and of Nelson as silver-copper ores rather than as
copper ores, has removed from the list of copper mines the properties which are really our
greatest copper producers, a very unfashionable thing to do in these days when anything
branded " copper stock " is so eagerly sought for.
Except as noted above, we have no large copper producers in the country as yet. A few
hundred tons of fair copper ore have been shipped from Van Anda, on Texada Island, and a
smaller quantity from mines of Vancouver Island, but more as trial than regular shipments.
There are, however, a large number of promising copper prospects in the Fort Steele, and
also in the Windermere and Donald Divisions of East Kootenay, many of which are reported
on elsewhere. Vancouver Island has also shown up a few prospects which may soon become
producers, notably the " Lenora," on Mount Sicker, and certain properties on the West Coast.
With copper anywhere near its present market value, a large number of copper producers
will probably spring up this coming year.
This past year has been the banner year in our Collieries, the yearly out-put of the Vancouver Island Collieries alone being 1,126,531 tons—about 100,000 tons more than was
produced in any one year heretofore, and to this must be added some 9,334 tons from Crow's
Nest—which has only just entered the field as a producer—bringing the grand total for the
year up to 1,135,865 tons.
A detailed description of the Collieries will be found in the Report.
Vancouver Island has produced in the neighbourhood of 35,000 tons of coke, the exact
figures not being available, and of this amount some 3,167 tons have been exported, the
remainder going chiefly to the Kootenays.
The Crow's Nest Collieries have just begun shipping, having before the close of the year
shipped some 361 tons of a very superior quality of coke.
Anthracite coal has been found on Queen Charlotte Island and on other islands off the
coast, but has not been worked as yet, although the prospects are promising.
Large deposits of gypsum, said to be good quality, are reported in the
Gypsum. immediate neighbourhood of Kamloops, but no attempt has, so far, been
made to work them.
Is also reported from several localities, but the Department has been
Asbestos unable to get any authentic information as to values.
Several finds of plumbago have been made, samples from which indi-
Plumbago. cate good quality.
Occurs in various parts of the Province. From the neighbourhood of
Mica Tete Jeune Cache large blocks have been obtained, some as large as 16 x
28 inches, but as yet the transportation facilities are lacking to make it of
commercial value. 972 Report of the Minister of Mines. 1898
DEPARTMENT OF MINES.
Work of the Year.
Early in the year, and directly after preparing the report for 1897, Mr. Carlyle resigned
his position as Provincial Mineralogist, to accept the management of one of the largest producing mines in the Province.
The vacancy thus caused was filled on June 1st by the appointment of Wm. F. Robertson,
B.A.Sc, as Provincial Mineralogist.
Mr. Robertson began his work on the above date, meeting the Minister of Mines at
Golden, and, under instructions, began a detailed examination of East Kootenay.
The snow was still heavy on the mountains in the northern portions of the district, and
it was found necessary to begin at the southern end, where many of the claims are at a lower
elevation ; work being pushed northward until the beginning of October, when snow on the
higher elevations, near Golden, put a stop to field work in that section.
An attempt was then made to visit the Big Bend country north of Revelstoke, but this
was found impracticable on account of unusually early snow, and the Provincial Mineralogist
returned to headquarters at Victoria.
The Old Legislative Buildings, mentioned more in detail later, were then arranged and
fitted as a mineral museum, and the collections removed from the store-room and displayed in
In the first part of November, a hurried trip was made to Texada Island, from whence
the steamer was taken to Philipp's Arm, an examination being made of a few of the more
important properties in these districts, while later in the month a visit was made to certain
properties on Mount Sicker, V. I. The remainder of the year was spent in preparing for publication the notes collected and looking after the routine work of the office.
Owing to the great area of the Province, the difficulties of travel, and in some parts the
shortness of the season in which field work can be carried on, it is impossible that the Provincial Mineralogist should be able to personally examine more than a small portion of the field
It is consequently the intention of the Department that he should make a detailed report
of the various Districts in rotation, following the line of greatest mining development.
The Gold Commissioners and Mining Recorders have supplied information as to the
progress of mining in their respective districts, while from those portions of the Province
which have reached the producing stage, the tabulated returns of output speak more convincingly of the increasing importance of our mining industries than could any worded description.
This Report gives a very full account of the mining industries of the Province, and every
care has been exercised to make it impartial and trustworthy.
The Old Legislative Buildings.
The Old Legislative Buildings, having been handed over to this Department for its use,
were, during the first half of the year, renovated and so altered as to render them available
for the purposes intended. 62 Vict. Report of the Minister of Mines. 973
The buildings have been utilized as follows :—
The old main Legislative Hall, a room 32 by 76 feet, surrounded by a
Ore exhibit. gallery, and lighted from the sides and from the top, has been fitted with
some thirty specially constructed mineral specimen cases, made from the
yellow cedar of the country, and provided with sloping glass tops, the interior being a dull
black colour, found to be the best back-ground for the display of specimens.
The lower portions of each case is provided with drawers, in which will be kept duplicate
specimens, from which collections will be made to send away, and access to which will be
allowed students and others studying more minutely the ores of the Province.
This main hall will be reserved exclusively for the exhibition of ores, etc., of commercial
value, from the mines of British Columbia, and will in no wise be a general collection of
minerals, provision for which has been made in the room to the left of the main entrance.
Here it is intended to have a general mineral collection, irrespective
Mineral of whence obtained or their value, commercially. A collection of specimens
collection. 0£ £ne typical rocks will also be here displayed, the classification corresponding to that of the Dominion Geological Survey. This collection should
prove of great value to students and prospectors as familiarizing them with the more uncommon minerals and which may afterwards be met with in the field.
These collections are made up of specimens collected by the Provincial Mineralogist in
the field or received through the courtesy of private individuals who have contributed samples
of ores or minerals. It might not be out of place here to appeal to the mine owners of the
Province, requesting that they send in specimens, such as are suitable for exhibit, due credit
for which will be given on the name card attached to each specimen.
As fast as they can be obtained, geological maps and sections of the
Geological Maps. Province and elsewhere will be hung on the walls.
What was known as the old " lunch room " has been moved back and
Laboratory. fitted up as a laboratory, and is provided with gas and water, suitable
work benches and shelves, with balances, bullion rolls, etc.
Off the laboratory there is provided a dark room for chemical and photograph work.
Back of the laboratory there has been built this last year a brick
Furnace room, furnace room, which is fitted with a large two-muffle coal furnace, also
suitable furnace and appliances for the melting into bars of such gold dust
as may be presented for melting and assay.
Underneath the furnace room is a sampling room, provided with hand
Sampling room. crushers, bucking board, etc.
Back of the main hall is a room thirty-two feet long, fitted up as a
Students' , , . . , , . . . . . . ,
Laboratory laboratory tor students m assaying and blowpiping, and is provided with
gas, water, etc.
The illustrations in this report are made from photographs, most of which have been
taken by the Provincial Mineralogist with a No. 4 Cartridge Kodak.
Those from Nelson are from flashlight photographs for which the Department is indebted
to Mr. Norman Carmichael, of the Hall Mines Smelter, while those of the Bonnington Falls
Electric Plant, are to be credited to the courtesy of one of the officers of that Company. 974 Report of the Minister of Mines. 1898
The illustrations of the Crow's Nest Pass Colliery are from cuts kindly loaned by the
" B. C. Mining Record " and represent the conditions existing late in the fall, long after the
visit of the Mineralogist to these properties.
The excellent press-work in their reproduction, and also of the Index Map accompanying
this report, is due to the special care of W. H. Clark, Chief Pressman for the Queen's Printer.
The Provincial Mineralogist takes this opportunity of acknowledging the invariable
courtesy with which he has been received, and the assistance given him in his field work, not
only by the various Government officers, but by every one with whom he came in contact in
the Districts visited, newspaper men, business men, generally, and especially by the prospectors.
WORK OF THE LABORATORY.
Report op Herbert Carmichael, Provincial Assayer.
The proper work of the laboratory was seriously interfered with during the first half of
the year by the moving of the laboratory into the present quarters in the old Legislative
Buildings, and in getting the same fitted up and ready for use, this work not being completed
Since then some 915 assays have been reported, and a large number of qualitative determinations made.
It has been the custom of the Department to determine, qualitatively, free of charge, any
mineral sample sent in, returning to the sender any available information as to its value. This
privilege has been largely taken advantage of, and is believed to have been of great help to
prospectors throughout the Province.
The usual number of assays and determinations have been made for the Provincial
Mineralogist, in connection with his field work of the summer, and this year included a number of coal analyses.
A series of investigations has been carried on with a view of determining the presence in
the black sands of the Province of metals of the platinum group.
Sands have been examined from widely separated locations but, as yet, platinum and the
allied metals have only been found in appreciable quantities in sands from Similkameen and
Quesnelle Rivers, in the former sometimes in very appreciable quantities.
In April an examination for " efficiency in the practice of assaying "
Examinations in was held in compliance with section 12 of the " Bureau of Mines Act," two
Assaying. candidates presenting themselves for examination. Of these two, only one
passed and was granted a certificate to that effect. Three students have
been availing themselves this year of the instructions in assaying, mineralogy and blow-piping.
During the year a number of lots of gold dust were presented for
Gold Melting. melting and assay, which dust has been melted and sampled while the
owner waited for the bar, on which was stamped its weight and fineness.
A large amount of photographic work has been done during the year.
Photographic The Provincial Mineralogist took a number of photos, illustrating his
Work. field work, all of which were developed and printed in the laboratory, a
selection being made from them to illustrate his report. 62 Vict. Report of the Minister of Mines. 975
A number of photographic enlargements, 18 x 22 inches, were made and sent to the
Trans-Mississippi Exhibition, where they received very favourable notice.
A number of similar enlargements were donated to the Westminster Exhibition, and also
to the Dominion Geological Survey.
A large number of lantern slides were also prepared and sent to the larger Eastern
Universities, to be used as illustrations in lectures on British Columbian mining.
Much of such work had previously been done by outside assistance, and doing it in the
laboratory has saved the Department considerable expense.
The Laboratory has been at least partially self-sustaining, the fees
Fees collected for the year ending June 30th, 1898, amounting to $569.50 as
Collected. against $1,483.00 for the previous year, but this decrease is accounted for
largely by the fact, already mentioned, that the moving of the laboratory practically stopped
all assaying work for nearly half the year.
Report op John Bowron, Gold Commissioner.
In submitting this, my twenty-fourth annual report on the mining industry of the
Cariboo District, I am unable to announce any great increase in the yearly gold output; at
the same time the actual condition of affairs gives the greatest encouragement that the District
is on the eve of a prosperous term that has not been equalled for many years. In former
seasons there have been indications of prosperity, but the present year has given evidence of
such positive and substantial character that it is safe to predict a greatly increased activity.
Many of the smaller properties, hitherto held and worked by individual miners, have been
purchased by strong companies and amalgamated into large enterprises, calling for the construction of extensive ditches, flumes, reservoirs and other works of a most substantial nature.
This fact has conduced to the curtailment of this year's output of gold, but when the extensive preparations already underway are fully completed, there will certainly be a large increase
in the gold yield of the District. While the number of men employed in mining has not
materially differed from that of previous years, probably not more than one in four has been
actually engaged in the work of gold production.
It is understood that the following well-known placer mines have been either purchased
or are held under option by reputed capitalists, who have already begun development work on
them on a more comprehensive scale than hitherto undertaken, or purpose so doing as soon as
spring opens :
The Alabama and adjoining claims, on Mosquito Creek.
The Meadows, on Williams Creek.
The Bench Claims along Slough Creek. 976 Report of the Minister of Mines. 1898
The Eleven of England and adjoining claims, on Lightning Creek.
The Pinkerton Claim, on Lowhee Creek.
The San Juan Claim, on Williams Creek.
The claims on Conklin's Gulch and French Creek.
The Maud Claim, on Four-Mile Creek, and several others in the vicinity of Quesnelle
The Discovery Claim, on Shepherd's Creek.
The Boursin and Fry lease, on Cornish Creek.
The Birrell and Polleys dredging leases, on Quesnelle River, and many others.
Though, for reasons already given, the actual gold output for the year shows slight
increase, I am happy to be able to report that in no case where development work has been
started within the past few years have operations ceased through failure to find gold in paying
quantities. Several large enterprises have been steadily carried on for several years and are
still being pushed, notably, the Deep Diggings on Slough Creek, and Willow River, and the
Hydraulic Elevator proposition on Williams Creek. I append a detailed report on these
works, and on others of more recent origin, equally promising.
After the exhaustive review of the late Mineralogist, Mr. Carlyle, in the annual report of
the Minister of Mines for 1897, of the physical features and geological nature of the district,
I feel that it would be presumptuous for me to attempt any divergence into these fields. I
shall therefore confine myself to a description of the work of the different camps.
The Slough Creek Enterprise,
Operated by The Incorporated Exploration Company of British Columbia, Limited,
At the date of the last report, the property of the Slough Creek Mining Company had
just been acquired by the above Company, who will develop it and other properties adjoining.
During the year the development work has been carried on under the direction of Mr. William
Thompson, M.E., F.R.G.S., of London, Managing Director and Consulting Engineer of the
Company, with Mr. John Hopp as local manager at the mines.
In order to determine, with all possible accuracy, the depth and location of the old channel
of Slough Creek, before sinking shafts and running tunnels to it, additional boring was done
with hydraulic jetting machines and the depth as determined by former borings verified.
The management has decided to sink a three-compartment working shaft through the
rim-rock upon the Island Mountain side of the property, opposite the mouth of Nelson Creek,
and when it has reached the required depth, a bed-rock tunnel will be run from the shaft to
intercept the old channel. Lumber, for timbering the shaft, is now being prepared and
delivered by the Clarke & Mclntyre Mill, upon Jack of Clubs Lake. A large quantity of cord
wood, 1,000 cords, has been contracted for, and is being delivered at the shaft site. The
necessary machinery for sinking the shaft and running the tunnel, consisting of air compressors, drilling machines, pumps, hoisting-engines, additional boilers, etc., has been provided for
and will be installed as soon as required.
During the year several new buildings have been added to the Company's plant at the
mouth of Nelson Creek, and a new shaft-house will be built upon the site of the proposed bedrock shaft. 62 Vict, Report of the Minister of Mtnes. 977
On a recent visit to Willow River Camp, I obtained the following definite information
regarding this important undertaking :
Work on this deep ground proposition was begun by Mr. Fred. C. Laird, on July 1st,
1894, and has continued without intermission, except such as was caused by the necessary
addition of more powerful machinery. The workings now consist of a drain tunnel to the
rim-rock, 620 feet in length; a three-compartment shaft, 200 feet deep, 100 feet of which is
in rock, and a bed-rock tunnel to intercept the channel, 650 feet in length. Three openings
have been made into the channel wash, but operations were suspended early in the year
in order to provide more powerful machinery to cope with the large volume of water
The new auxiliary plant is now on the ground, and is being installed. The entire plant
consists of the following :—
Two boilers, developing 115 horse-power; two engines, each 50 horse-power; one 8 x 10
double cylinder Fraser & Chalmer's hoist; one 9-inch exhaust fan, with 1,000 feet of 6-inch
galvanized iron pipe; one 18-inch Cornish pump, with a 10-foot stroke, which will be actuated
by one of the engines; 1 pair geared plunger pumps ; 1 duplex steam pump ; one 7-inch Nye
When the new machinery is installed, which it is expected will be not later than January
15th, 1899, the total normal pumping capacity will be 3,000 gallons a minute. With the
water under thorough control, it should be a matter of but a few weeks to cross-cut the channel.
I am credibly informed that operations on this property have already entailed an expenditure
Should this enterprise prove successful, it will prove a great incentive to the development
of the vast deep-ground deposits of the District heretofore untouched.
Operations of the Cariboo Gold Fields, Limited.
During the past four years, this company has most persistently and perseveringly prosecuted the work on their extensive system of ditches, flumes and reservoirs, and on the installation of the immense steel pipe line conducting water to their hydraulic elevators. During
the past season they made a start in raising gravel. Their plant is the most extensive and
powerful of its kind in the world, raising gravel as it does by hydraulic pressure, ninety feet
vertically, in one lift. While the trial proved this method of handling the grav°l to be entirely feasible and satisfactory, the troubles and set-backs incident to the starting of such an
enormous work were experienced, and the opening of the pit from the surface to bed-rock was
necessarily slow. Owing to the short season, the capabilities of the plant were not shown
under a steady working test. Enough ground was handled, however, to prove the value of
the gravel, which was entirely satisfactory.
When the water supply became too small to further work the elevators, a large force of
men were busily engaged until winter set in, improving and increasing the water supply, by
widening the old and constructing new ditches, building dams to augment their storage system, and, in the light of their working experience, placing the whole plant in perfect working-
order for the season of 1899.
A complete description of the huge plant operated by this company, and their immense
system of water supply, was given in the Report of the Minister of Mines for 1897. 978 Report of the Minister of Mines. 1898
Hydraulic Mining upon Slough Creek Benches.
English capital, represented by Mr. Sam. Medlicott has, during the summer and fall of
1898, built two ditches from Jack of Clubs Creek and New Creek, respectively, to provide
water for hydraulicing a series of bench claims upon the south side of Slough Creek, which
adjoin the property of the Incorporated Exploration Company of British Columbia, Limited
The Jack of Clubs ditch, carrying 1,500 miner's inches, is over four miles in length, and
will furnish water for working the leases acquired between Jack of Clubs and Burns Creeks.
The New Creek ditch, carrying 600 miner's inches, is one mile and a half in length, and will
furnish water for working the leases acquired between New and Nelson Creeks. The construction work has been under the personal supervision of Mr. Melbourne Bailey, M. E., who
has used the latest methods in building the dams, ditches and flumes, and has given them a
permanent character. The giants to be used will have ball-bearings, and the equipment of
both properties will be modern in every particular. The New Creek ditch has been completed,
and the plant fully installed ready for operation at the opening of the season of 1899. The
Jack of Clubs ditch has been completed, and the lumber for fluming is being distributed along
the ditch. The plant to operate the leases between Jack of Clubs and Burns Creeks is on the
ground ready for installation in the spring of 1899. Camp buildings of a substantial and
convenient character have been built at the mouths of Burns and Nelson Creeks, and will be
occupied by the manager and employees of the company.
The Menominee and Marianette Hydraulic Gold Mining Company purchased the Garibaldi claim from Shaw & Son about two years ago. The company began operations by running
a drain tunnel from Willow River, 1,200 feet in length, to tap the deep channel of Hardscrabble Creek. Work has been carried on continuously, except when the water supply gave
out in the winter seasons; and from the time the workings reached bed-rock in the channel,
gold has been taken out. Operations have recently been suspended again, on account of a
failure of the water supply, but will be resumed early in the spring. The last ground worked
was paying, and was improving as the drive advanced.
Prospecting work on the property of the " Bradford, Cariboo and Yukon Gold Fields,
Limited " was continued during the past season. A tunnel 150 feet in length was run on
Antler Creek, above Saw-Mill Flat, at right angles to the present water-course. Twenty feet
from the mouth of the tunnel a blind shaft was sunk to bed-rock, a distance of four feet.
Ninety-seven feet further in, another shaft was sunk forty-seven feet to bed-rock, the last
seventeen feet of which was in gravel, in which a prospect of gold was secured. At the face
of the tunnel the depth to bed-rock was found to be twenty-seven feet. A shaft has been
started further down stream, and will tap the bed-rock in the channel near the deepest blind
shaft in the tunnel.
Along Devil's Canyon Creek are a number of benches which have been worked out,
chiefly by Chinese. These benches carried coarse gold, and are supposed to have paid well.
Although the gold was followed from the foot of the benches down towards the deep ground,
as far as water would permit, the old channel of this creek has never been reached.
A partnership of miners, known as the Devil's Lake Mining Company, Limited, is now
endeavouring to exploit the deep ground above the canyon. A rock tunnel has been driven
more than three hundred feet; this will be extended through rock about sixty feet (estimated)
where it is expected to break into gravel. 62 Vict. Report of the Minister of Mines. 979
The Cottonwood Alluvial Gold Mining Company, holding hydraulic mining leases on the
Fraser River, near the mouth of the Cottonwood River, suffered, some time ago, a severe setback, by a slide which destroyed several hundred feet of their tunnel, which was run in connection with their seventeen-mile ditch. In September last a large force of men was set to
work repairing the damage, and operations were pushed until frost set in. Work will be resumed in the spring, and it is expected that everything will be in ship-shape to take advantage, of at least part, of next season's water.
Lightning Creek Drainage Tunnel.
The British-American Gold Mining and Trading Company, of Baltimore, are engaged on
Lightning Creek on a very extensive drainage tunnel. This company acquired the property
of the Lightning Creek Gold Gravels and Drainage Company. Operations were commenced
during the past season on a tunnel through which it is proposed to drain the old channel of
Lightning Creek. The tunnel was started near the foot of what is known as Wing Dam Hill.
Twelve hundred feet have been so far completed, most of which is an open cut. Three shifts,
of eight hours each, are kept going continuously, and it is proposed to push the work in like
manner until the tunnel is completed. It is estimated that the total length of the tunnel and
open cut to the bed-rock in the old channel will be 8,000 feet. Major Moore, of Baltimore,
Md., is in charge of the work.
The Waverly Company, op Grouse Creek.
The Waverly Company, of Grouse Creek, prosecuted their work during the water season,
and made good progress in steadily improving ground. Just before they began the yearly
wash-up a large slide occurred, permitting a clean-up of only a portion of the season's piping.
The Black Jack Company, or Williams Creek.
The Black Jack Hydraulic Company has been steadily working during every season since
1861. In 1897 their work uncovered a back channel, and this season, with only half a dozen
men employed, a clean-up of $10,000 was made.
The Alabama and Discovery Companies, op Mosquito Creek.
The Alabama and Discovery Claims, on Mosquito Creek, have, this season, maintained
their reputation as dividend payers. It is understood that these properties are under option
to a strong English Company ; and if the option is taken up work will be carried on on a
much larger scale than heretofore.
The Golden Province Mines Company, Limited.
This Company is engaged near Quesnelle, about three miles west of the Fraser River, on
a large undertaking of a somewhat novel but very interesting nature. Briefly stated, the
Company is running a rock tunnel, some 1,500 feet in length, to intercept the old channel of
the Quesnelle River which, it is believed, passes through the high bluff of basaltic rock situated
on Baker Creek at this point. Work has progressed steadily since its inception, and I understand that the work of exploration is nearly completed. I have been unable to secure a
detailed account of the work that has been done, but am assured that everything in connection
with the proposition is in a most satisfactory condition. 980 Report of the Minister of Mtnes. 1898
Quesnelle Forks Section.
The extensive works of the Cariboo, the Golden River Quesnelle, and the Montreal
and B. C. Mining Companies, situated about the Forks of Quesnelle, and the Horsefly
Hydraulic, the Miocene and the Horsefly Gold Mining Companies, on the Horsefly River, and
other works of importance in the southern part of the District are described in the detailed
report of Mr. Stephenson, Mining Recorder for that part of the District, which follows this
Considerable attention has been attracted during the past season to the prospecting work
on this Creek of the Klondike Gold Mining and Development Company. Many previous
attempts have been made to prospect this channel, but, owing to lack of facilities to handle
the water encountered, they were unsuccessful. The above Company, under the management
of Mr. F. T. Hamshaw, has been more successful, in that a shaft 80 feet in depth was sunk ;
and, while it was found that it was impossible to continue it to bed-rock without machinery to
pump the water met with at that depth, yet sufficient data was had to promise encouraging-
results. Mr. Hamshaw is at present, I understand, in the East, arranging for a plant of
sufficient power to thoroughly prospect the ground.
Summit Creek is about fourteen miles in length ; and all of it is held under leasehold or
record. A good deal of work has in past years been done upon it, in a small way; and
encouraging prospects have been secured. Should the development work of the above Company and of the others who are exploiting the Creek prove satisfactory, a camp of importance
will doubtless be found there.
Another year has passed without adding anything to our knowledge of the capabilities of
our District as a quartz mining section. Many promising lodes have been discovered, but
little more than assessment work has been done on them, and they are still in embryo.
It appears only reasonable that the wealth of the historic placers of Williams, Lightning,
Mosquito and other creeks, must have had its parent source not far from where it was found.
The evidence of this is even more convincing when the fragile nature of much of the gold, in
nugget form, is considered. Very many nuggets have been found of so friable a nature that
they could be compressed in the hand, this proving conclusively that they could not have been
carried far from their source, and moreover, in many cases, the gold is found with quartz still
adhering to it.
Prospecting for gold-bearing quartz in this section, however, is rather difficult, owing to
the deep alluvial deposit, which covers the rock almost everywhere.
If it is a fact that the gold in our creeks and rivers had its origin in the quartz ledges,
the discovery of one lode, of a permanent character and of sufficient richness to pay for
development and milling, will doubtless lead to the search for and discovery of others.
One fact which strongly militates against us as a quartz mining district, especially in the
upper portion, is our remoteness from a railroad. If one of the projected railways becomes an
assured fact, I feel sure that this branch of the mining industry will claim due attention in
Considerable attention is being attracted to this method of winning the precious metals
from the sands of our rivers; and latterly from the bars formed in the small lakes at the outlet of auriferous streams. So far the work which has been carried on has been almost 62 Vict. Report of the Minister of Mines. 981
entirely experimental. Some 275 miles on the Fraser, Quesnelle, Cottonwood and Willow
Rivers; and on the Cariboo, Jack of Clubs and Eight Mile Lakes, are now held under dredging
leases. There is probably as much more ground available for dredging purposes, and should
the work now being prosecuted in this line demonstrate that the gravels of our rivers and
lakes can be handled advantageously and cheaply, it will certainly open up an immense field.
I feel safe in saying that in this District the suction dredges have proved a failure. Some
of the companies have adopted the dipper type, but so far have not made a working test
sufficient to prove that this is the more advisable method. The Olson dredge, which was
worked on the Quesnelle River, some fifteen miles above its mouth, has given evidence of
being probably the nearest approach to the dredge suitable for our rapid rivers. This is a
machine of the elevator type, and although of less power than either the Pittsburg or Mc-
Corkle plants, has been working during the entire season in a very satisfactory way. A
second dredge on the same lines is now under construction by the Company.
So far the greatest difficulty that all of the dredging enterprises have encountered is in
inventing proper appliances to save the fine gold, which is in very large preponderance in our
swift streams. All of the machines are capable of raising large quantities of gravel, but the
form or construction best adapted to raising gravel in large quantities and for saving the fine
gold does not yet appear to have been hit upon.
The Companies which have been working for several years with very indifferent success
are worthy of all praise for their persistent efforts. I feel satisfied that proper methods will
yet be discovered for handling the gravel of our rivers, and, as they have already been proved
to be auriferous, there will then be added a very important branch to our mining industry.
The Pittsburg and Cariboo Dredging Company, who have concessions near Cottonwood
Canyon on the Fraser River, about twenty miles above Quesnelle, met with a serious misfortune this season in having their huge dredge cast high and dry on a bar in the river
Owing to the rapid fall of the water, they were unable to float the dredge without removing
the machinery. This unfortunate accident entailed the loss of the season's work, and was the
more disheartening as the Company had just completed the installation of a dipper type in
place of the suction form hitherto used.
The McCorkle dredge, operating on the Quesnelle River, which was first worked on the
suction system and later changed to the dipper type, has passed into new hands, and is, I
understand, to be again refitted, this time with a bucket elevator appliance.
Several new dredging companies have recently been formed, giving further assurance
that the at least partial failure of the attempts so far made are no deterrent to further efforts.
The number of men engaged in mining will not materially differ from that of previous
years. I estimate the number at 350 whites and 400 Chinese and Japanese.
Summary of mining transactions of the District, ending November 30th, 1898 :
No. of individual Free Miners' Certificates issued 1373
n Company Miners' Certificates issued 9
ii Creek leases issued 28 j
„ Hydraulic n 58 \> 138
ii Dredging n 52
ii Placer claims recorded 117
Mineral „ 147 f
Water Records for mining purposes 22
Certificates of work issued on mineral claims 23
Applications for leases not yet issued 43 982 Report of the Minister of Mines. 1898
QUESNELLE DIVISION.—KEITHLEY CREEK DISTRICT.
By W. Stephenson, Mining Recorder.
A good supply of water for the greater part of the season enabled hydraulic mining to be
carried on to good advantage in this section of the District.
Development work has not been carried on to the extent anticipated, only a few companies doing work to any great amount. On the main Quesnelle River, the Maud (Four-Mile
Creek), and the two companies owning the dredging leases for the first twenty miles from
Quesnelle Forks down, have done a considerable amount of prospecting, and they claim with
On the South Fork of Quesnelle River, the Golden River Quesnelle Company have completed their dam at the outlet of Quesnelle Lake, and were able to work for a short time
during the latter part of the season in the bed of the river, obtaining, I believe, very good
prospects for their further operations.
The Victoria Consolidated Hydraulic Mining Company carried on prospecting with a
good force of men for nearly the whole season on Rose's Gulch, South Fork River, but I have
not learned with what results. The Consolidated Cariboo, also on the South Fork, worked as
usual with a large force of men for the whole season; in fact, it may be said, for the whole
year, as there are at present over thirty men who will continue working for the Company
during the winter.
On the North Fork of Quesnelle River very little work was done during the season,
three men working on the Moore Company claim, Spanish Creek, and some prospecting work
done on the Mather's lease, being about all, except some desultory work by Chinese.
Keithley, Snowshoe, Martin and Harvey Creeks have made no new developments for the
season, the small companies working with about the usual results.
On the Horsefly River there has been considerable work done for the season. The
Miocene Company got their shaft down to a depth of over 400 feet, and although not positive
that they are in the deepest ground yet, they have obtained prospects that the manager—
Senator R. H. Campbell—says will pay very well to work, and he (the manager) is preparing to
sink a new and much larger shaft than the one from which he has obtained his prospects, and
there is very little doubt but that within another year this old channel will be thoroughly
tested as to its value.
The Horsefly Gold Mining Company has been running two hydraulic elevators for a good
part of the season, and, according to report, with very good success. The Horsefly Hydraulic
Mine only worked part of the season. I have not yet learned why they suspended operations.
The other companies prospecting on the Horsefly and vicinity have no developments to report
for the season.
Re quartz mining, there is nothing to report, although in August and September, 1897,
there were quite a number of locations made near Clearwater Lake and recorded in this
office. I do not know of any work having been done upon the locations. 62 Vict. Report of the Minister of Mines. 983
OMINECA LAND RECORDING DISTRICT
Lies chiefly in the Electoral District of Cariboo and described in the " Gazette " in 1874
as follows :
" The Land Recording District of Omineca shall be bounded on the south by the 54th
parallel of north latitude; on the east by the 124th meridian of west longitude ; on the north
by the 56th parallel, and on the west by the 127th meridian of west longitude."
To this district a Gold Commissioner and Mining Recorder, Mr. Fred. W. Valleau, has
been appointed for the purpose of transacting all such mining business in this district as
appertains to these offices. His report on the district follows :
Report of F. W. Valleau, Gold Commissioner.
Sir,—I have the honour to submit the following report upon the progress of mining in
the Omineca Land Recording District for the season of 1898.
I left Victoria on the 15th March last, as per instructions, and Vancouver a couple of
days later, after getting my outfit ready. The spring being so far advanced I was too late to
be able to take advantage of the Naas River route, so had to go in by way of Ashcroft,
Quesnelle and over the old Telegraph trail to Stuart Lake. This route, while being the best
to travel in summer, is by far the most expensive in winter, and especially so at the time I
had to go through. I found great difficulty in persuading any men to come in with me, as
they were afraid the rivers would be running with ice and the snow too soft for snowshoeing.
However, I managed to secure four men at Quesnelle who took me as far as Fort St. James
on Stuart Lake, and from there to Manson I got two siwash to accompany me and haul
the loads. I arrived at Manson Creek on the 20th April, having been just about a month on
the trip in. There are a few old log cabins at Manson, built by the miners in the 70's. One
of these I secured and fixed up as an office. There were quite a few men already there when
I arrived, the greater number having come in by the Naas River route. Mr. Cotton, engineer
in charge of the 43rd Mining and Milling Company's hydraulic works at Manson, was in with
his men, and the saw-mill was at work. This season there was a large number of men in the
district. The portions which received the most attention were the Nation, the Stranger or
Meslinca Rivers, the Omineca River, Oslinca, Driftwood, Findlay, and that part of the district
lying to the north of the Omineca River and west of the Findlay. A large number of
hydraulic leases have been applied for in these sections. The following is a short account of
what has been done upon the different creeks :
Has been worked for a number of years and is now held by a small company of miners,
who have expended quite a sum of money and labour upon a bed-rock flume. This property
is at the present time about to be sold to an English syndicate, who propose working it upon
a large scale.
Is being worked by a company of Chinamen. Leases have also been applied for by a
company of Nanaimo gentlemen, who have been prospecting their ground all the past season.
The 43rd Mining and Milling Company have just about completed their work of development, and now have a line of ditch and flume about completed to their ground upon Kildare, 984 Report of the Minister of Mines. 1898
Slate and Manson creeks. They have had a very complete saw-mill working for the past two
years. All the steel piping, monitors and elevators are now on the ground, ready to be placed
in position. Their flume is 6 feet in width, 3-| feet deep ; the ditch is 11 feet on top, 4 feet
on bottom, and 3 feet deep.
The Omineca Consolidated Co.
Have not done any work in the division this past season, having secured a lay-over from
the Government, although some development work has been done on this Company's claims.
A sale of this ground to an American Company is pending at the present time, which I trust
will go through, as this large extent of ground, if worked, would advance the interests of the
district very much. The greatest drawback to the district is the great expense of getting in
supplies, freights being 15 cents per pound from Ashcroft, a distance of about 620 miles.
While there have been no creeks discovered this past season which would warrant men
going in there to work them by pick, shovel and sluice boxes, there have been found large
areas of gravel which carry gold in quantities that will pay very well when worked by
hydraulics, and the following list of applications for leases will show that the men who have
been in that district this past season have faith in the future of the Omineca district :
Manson Creek 25 applications.
Germansen n 32 n
Lost „ 10
Quartz n 2 n
Meslinca River , 15 n
Oslinca n 14 n
Omineca n 18 n
Vital Creek 3
I hope to see a great deal of development under way next season.
I beg leave to append below a statement of receipts for the past season.
Free Miner's Certificates $ 540 00
Revenue Tax 186 00
Mining Receipts 2,200 00
Total $2,926 00 62 Vict. Report of the Minister of Mines. 985
ATLIN LAKE MINING DIVISION.
The discovery of promising areas of gold-bearing gravels in the extreme northern portion
of the Cassiar District—as yet confined to the western slopes of the Atlin-Teslin divide—has
again drawn the attention of the world to the constancy and uniform character and richness
of the placer belt of the Province.
Public information concerning the new " strike " reached Lynn Canal ports on August
5th, Victoria, August 13th, a few weeks before the close of the mining season, since which
time upwards of 3,000 people, it is estimated, have visited the new fields. Considerable prospect work has been done in the district, together with a fair amount of actual mining; both
attended with satisfactory results, the total wash-up being estimated at about $75,000.
The greater number of those concerned in the summer rush, having secured claims,
abandoned the field at the close of the season, being totally unprepared to withstand the
rigours of the northern winter, and food supplies being comparatively scarce. Not to exceed
400 miners are now wintering in the vicinity of Atlin Lake. The indications are, however,
that the ensuing spring will witness a repetition of the earlier excitement and, in anticipation
of immediate development, steps have been taken to thoroughly organize the new Division.
Of the great northern reaches of British Columbia, comprising the districts of Cassiar and
Cariboo, very little is known, save of isolated portions. Great areas have never been explored
for the precious metals. The region under review has heretofore been included under this
general category, and has ever been a terra incognita, even to the topographer, appearing on
all maps as a featureless portion of the Province. Within the past six months, however, the
entire field has been over-run by prospectors encouraged by the gold discoveries of Fritz Miller
and his companions in the drainage basins of Atlin and Teslin Lakes, and much has been
learned of the topographical and geological features peculiar to the region.
Confining attention to the former of these basins, now officially organized as the Atlin
Lake Mining Division of Cassiar District, the information at hand, although more or less
general in character, permits me to detail its main features. For the information herein conveyed I am indebted to Mr. Frank Weir, of Atlin City, who has placed at my disposal notes
and observations made during an extended survey of the new fields in the interest of eastern
Atlin Lake, the central feature of the district, has an estimated length
Atlin Lake. of from 70 to 80 miles, and a direction nearly north and south for the
greater part of its length, expanding east and west along the flanks of its
southern boundary, the granites of the Coast Range. Its width is said to average six miles.
North of the lake proper, well within the North-West Territories, a smaller body of water 16
miles long empties into the main body through a river of equal length flowing through a low,
meadow-like country, but little elevated above the present water level, indicating the identity
of the two lakes at no very distant period of time. Signs, indeed, are everywhere apparent of
a comparatively recent subsidence of the lake and of its isolation from the Bennett-Tagish sys- tern, of which it formerly must have formed the integral part. Its enclosing mountains flank
or approach its shores for the most part in long, easy slopes often terminating in marsh, and
where valleys descend its shores are prominently terraced at uniform levels, and are timbered
if at all, with spruce of comparatively recent growth.
The " Golden Gate," a deep indentation in the eastern shore of the Taku Arm of Tagish
Lake, 12 miles or more in length, occupies a wide valley running at right angles to the main
direction of the two lakes—Tagish and Atlin—a comparatively low moraine, two to four miles
in width, alone separating their present waters. Through this moraine the Atlintoo River
has cut its way, and discharges the drainage of Lake Atlin into the Taku Arm, the only
known connecting link between these two important bodies. It is worthy of note in thus
tracing a former union of the two systems, that the Indians of the district still apply the term
Taku Lake to the Atlin Lake of the miners, and only know as Lake Atlin the smaller lake to
the "lorth, previously described.
About midway of its length and, approximately, twenty miles south of
Pine Creek. the Provincial boundary, Lake Atlin receives the waters of Pine Creek, a
more or less rapid stream flowing in from the north-east, and unwatering
through its main source Surprise Lake and tributary streams, the greater part of the western
slope of the Atlin-Teslin divide. Its estimated length is 16 miles; that of Surprise Lake from
18 to 20, the two bodies running from within a mile or two of the 60th parallel almost due
south for the first ten miles, then south-westerly into Atlin Lake. It was on this stream,
midway of its course, that gold was first discovered in the district.
Not exceeding fifty feet in average width, save when in flood, Pine Creek occupies a valley
from two to three miles wide, flanked by mountain ranges 2,000 feet high, and converging as
the lake is approached, terminating somewhat boldly from three to four miles from its present
shore. This valley is filled with an immense deposit of gravel—comparatively coarse in kind,
well-worn and carrying a fair amount of boulders—through which the creek has deeply cut its
way, bearing first to the right, then to the left with many long sweeps and sharper curves on
its way into Atlin Lake. For the main part the resultant benches form long stretches of
perfectly level ground, fairly timbered, topped in the immediate vicinity of Discovery claim
for a short distance by an extensive deposit of clay, the remnant of a stratum that at one time
stretched across and along the valley.
At various points in the valley, more especially at what is termed the
Geology. Canyon, the underlying rock formations are in evidence, and seem to have
been identified as typical Cariboo schists, varying from black to bluish
shale to a more or less foliated grey or greenish chloritic or talcose schist. The detrital
matter is said to be characteristically a " blue gravel." Quartz veins carrying gold have been
discovered on this creek and in various other sections of the district; but values have yet to
be authentically reported on.
The chief tributary of Pine Creek occupies the valley immediately to
Tributary the south, its waters discharging into the larger stream about three and a
Streams. half miles above its mouth. It is called Spruce Creek by the miners, and
is a considerable stream twenty miles or more in length, with an average
width of thirty feet. The valley is wide, and its gravels, similar in character to those already
described, are also gold-bearing, as are those of its main feeders, Rose, Placer and Little Spruce
Creeks. Discovery claim is situated about three miles from its mouth, and so far as this
creek has been prospected its richest ground lies below the discovery. Excellent prospects,
however, have been also found some miles nearer its source, low, marshy flats extending FALLS ON BUGABOO CREEK—GOLDEN DIVISION, EAST KOOTENAY.
HEAD OF BUGABOO CREEK—GOLDEN DIVISION, EAST KOOTENAY. 62 Vict. Report of the Minister of Mines. 987
between for several miles, not permitting the prospector to reach bed-rock on the intervening
stretches. Winter prospects have been determined on to establish the value of these flats.
In addition to receiving the waters of Spruce Creek, Pine Creek drains a considerable
tract of country to the north through a second tributary which joins it a mile or two below
Surprise Lake. This has been mapped as Birch Creek, and has its rise close to, if not beyond,
the 60th parallel. Important quartz veins are reported to cross this stream at various points
along its course.
Willow Creek, the third most important feeder of Pine Creek, enters it from the northeast, a short distance above Discovery, and runs in the same general direction as the main
stream for the greater part of its course.
The topography of Pine and Spruce Creeks above described is that of
McKee Creek, all streams entering Atlin Lake from the north-east, of which McKee
Creek, O'Donnell River and Pike River are the most important. These
O'Donnell River, are all gold-bearing, and are from 25 to 30 miles in length, with interlocking feeders draining the divide in every direction towards their sources.
O'Donnell River is also known locally as Moose or Cariboo Creek, and is, perhaps, the largest
of all the known tributaries of Atlin Lake, averaging sixty feet in width, and discharging a
volume of water equal to any two combined of its fellows. Both McKee Greek and O'Donnell
River give promise of equalling the discovery creek in the richness of their gravels. The
former enters Atlin Lake ten miles below the mouth of Pine Creek, the latter an equal
distance further to the south, six miles above the mouth of Pike River.
An area of 1,500 square miles is comprised within that portion of the
The Divide. drainage basin of Lake Atlin extending from the Provincial boundary
south to Pike River, and from the eastern shore line of the lake to the
height of land separating its waters from those discharging into Lake Teslin. The divide
occupying the eastern boundary of the district has a distinctly north-westerly trend and is
pierced by an extension of the granitic axis, whose alternating and more or less irregularly
shaped masses, preserving a general alignment, appear as a subordinate mountain series
extending from the International Boundary north-westward to the Alaskan line in the vicinity
of the Yukon gold fields.
The entire district occupied by and immediately adjoining the divide
Surprise Lake, is a lake country, every stream or tributary seeming to have its origin in
crater-like depressions or swampy hollows in the higher mountain valleys.
Of these the most interesting is occupied by Lake Surprise, the main source of Pine Creek, a
body of water 18 to 20 miles long and three miles in average width, which receives the waters
of several tributary streams, similar in general character to those previously described as
emptying into Lake Atlin. Its counterpart on the eastern slope of the divide is Gladys or
Sucker Lake, a body of somewhat greater dimensions discharging into Lake Teslin through
the North River of the miners—a succession of connecting lakes, 32 miles in estimated length,
and running in a northerly direction. A strip of low-lying " moose pasture," ten miles or so
in breadth, forms the water-shed separating the heads of the two lakes. Thence southerly the
divide is very irregular, both in direction and altitude, but is in every way pronounced, being
characterised by granite outbursts on every hand.
The two main affluents of Surprise Lake, entering it from the north,
Boulder Creek, are Boulder (or Musket) and Ruby Creeks, both skirting the flanks of
granite hills, and rich in promise as regards their value as gold-producing 988 Report of the Minister of Mines. 1898
Ruby Creek. streams. Boulder Creek seems especially rich for a mile of its length, from
20 above to 30 below discovery, and authentic reports regarding this area
are very encouraging. Ruby Creek has been less developed, but is known to contain
satisfactory prospects. The gravels of Boulder Creek are coarser in size than those elsewhere
observed, the presence of large boulders in the valley bottom being especially noticeable, whence
On the south side of Lake Surprise, Otter and Wright Creeks discharge
Otter Creek. into the lake, where skirted by a flat and more or less marshy shore for some
miles. Their points of entrance, a mile or more apart, correspond with the
Wright Creek, narrowing of the lake to discharge itself into Pine Creek ; and their general
direction is very similar, a little south of west, then north-westerly into
the lake. Both creeks skirt granite hills for part of their courses, and are rich in coarse gold
wherever bed-rock has been reached, the characteristic shaly bed-rock of all streams in the
district, easily broken and with pronounced cleavage. Hemlock, Union, Quartz, and Horse
Creeks are additional tributaries of the lake, draining the divide to the south and south-east,
and vieing with Wright and Otter Creeks in promise.
The principal tributaries of Otter Creek have been named Topaz, Quartz, Left and Centre
creeks, and have prospected favourably. Bonanza and Eagle Creeks enter Wright Creek
from the east during the last four or five miles of its length, and likewise carry gold in
Crossing a low divide at the head of Wright and Otter Creeks, the
Dixie Creek. miners, late in the season, discovered the head waters of a stream they
would have known as Dixie Creek, with its main feeders, Bear, Feather,
Cariboo, Goose, Slate and McKinley, all within a radius of a few miles. Dixie Creek was not
followed to its mouth and bore away to the southward. Its identity with O'Donnell River
has been suggested, and there are some who aver that it returns on its course and discharges
into Surprise Lake. It is more than likely, however, that, rising as it does on the other side
of the divide, it discharges either into one of the tributaries of Gladys Lake or forms an
important northern feeder of the Taku River.
The gold in the Atlin Lake gravels is more or less uniform in its
Gold. nature, being essentially a fine " coarse gold," well-worn and flattened, and
varying in size from small colours to that of flax and melon seeds. Larger
pieces, worth from $2 to $35, are, however, frequently found, some more or less worn,
attached to pieces of milk-white quartz. Little or no " flour " gold is found in the district.
Depth to bed-rock varies, being from four to ten feet in the creek bottoms and from two
to thirty feet and over where prospect holes have been sunk on the higher benches. In the
shallower diggings there is pay dirt almost from the grass roots down. "Spotting" is not
characteristic of the district, the more or less uniform distribution of the gold over large areas
being a marked feature of the new field.
With appliances of the crudest kind, $20 per diem to the man has been the average
return on the principal creeks, but as high as an ounce an hour has been taken from bed-rock
in many authentic instances. No attempt has been anywhere made to reach the creek bed,
but facilities for damming and ditching are everywhere pronounced. The constant annual
wash from the rich benches adjoining and occasional " slides " of large masses of gravel have,
however, undoubtedly enriched the shallow bottom gravels to an appreciable extent, and many
claim owners, favorably located, are only awaiting the re-opening of the season to divert the
streams. Bars are infrequent in any of the waters of the district. 62 Vict. Report of the Minister of Mines. 989
The altitude of Lake Surprise coincides approximately with the timber
Timber. line of the region. Below this line the stream bottoms and the shores of
Lake Atlin are more or less plentifully wooded with spruce, chiefly of small
size, but with isolated groves of good merchantable timber occurring in favourable localities.
The whole lower region has a park-like appearance, there being an entire absence of undergrowth. Wild hay and luxuriant grasses covering the marshes afford an abundance of feed
for stock, and the agricultural possibilities of the district are by no means uninviting. Wild
fruits grow in abundance, and the region teems with grouse, ptarmigan and wild fowl. Game
is also plentiful.
Excellent trails traverse the district in every direction, and waggon
Trails. roads are being opened up between the near-by creeks and Atlin City, the
chief distributing point of the region, situated on the shore of Lake Atlin
near the mouth of Pine Creek.
But little difficulty was experienced by prospectors in reaching the
Summer travel, vicinity of the new district during the past season, lying as it does within
easy access of recently established routes of Yukon travel. Steamers plying
between the head of Lake Bennett—the common terminus of the Chilkoot and White Pass
trails—and the lower river, made alternate trips during the summer from Bennett to the
mouth of the Atlintoo River, a distance of about 120 miles, landing passengers and freight
within a mile or two of the western shore of Lake Atlin. The construction of the Bennett
branch of the White Pass and Yukon Railway, now rapidly approaching completion, together
with contemplated improvements in the navigation of the Atlintoo River, will give direct rail
and steamer connection between tide water and Atlin City, thus bringing the new mining
centre within a week's travel of lower West Coast ports. Lake navigation lasts throughout
the entire mining season, opening during the latter part of May and closing early in
With the close of navigation for 1898 steps were taken by the officials
Fantail Cut-Off. of the White Pass Railway to open up a winter overland trail from Log
Cabin to Atlin City, preference being given to an existing trail locally known
as the " Fantail Cut-Off." This route follows the valley of Otter Lake, and is practically level
for the greater part of its length, rising slightly during the first 20 miles of its course.
Stopping places have been provided at convenient intervals where board and lodging can be
obtained at moderate prices. For the information of those travelling this trail, the following
has been published by the authorities at Atlin as a matter of expediency : " Coming this way
from Log Cabin the first stopping place is a hotel tent, 12 miles. This one can reach either
for dinner or to stay over night. Next is the Tepee—20 miles—where Mr. Brooks is putting
up a log hotel. Four miles farther is Otter Lake ; at its foot—31 miles from Log Cabin—is
another stopping place where meals are served and travellers taken in. From there it is three
miles to the Ferry house on Taku Arm. From the Ferry house it is four miles or more to the
Golden Gate, and 12 miles farther to Taku City. This is the longest stretch of all, as there
is no stopping place en route. It is best to arrange for an early start and to allow a whole
day from the foot of Otter Lake, or the Ferry house to Taku City. From Taku to Atlin
City is a distance of 9 miles, and travellers are warned against attempting to cross either
Taku Arm or Atlin Lake after nightfall or during stormy weather, unless they are in possession
of compasses enabling them to take correct bearings." 990 Report of the Minister of Mines. 1898
At this writing (February 10) it has been found necessary to abandon
Too-Chi the Fantail route for double-sledding, owing to the uncertain strength of
Trail. the ice on Otter Lake. While safe for pedestrians and light loads, single
sleds or dog teams, all heavy loads of freight requiring double-teams are
now being forwarded over the Too-Chi trail, which lies a few miles further to the north and
offers a more favourable grade. The elevation of Log Cabin above sea level is 2,750 feet, that
of Too-Chi Lake 2,320, the intervening distance of 9 miles being a gradual fall. The lake is
22 miles long, and steady northern winds sweep the solid ice free of snow during the greater
part of the winter season. From the foot of Too-Chi Lake to Taku Arm the distance is 4
miles and the difference in elevation 190 feet. From this station the trail runs for 34 miles
over the frozen surface of Taku Arm as far as Taku City, thence over the two-mile portage,
and across Lake Atlin to the common destination. The difference in elevation between the
two lake systems being but 70 feet, this forms the only rise in a distance of 51 miles. The
total distance from Log Cabin to Atlin City by the Too-Chi trail is given at 85J miles, as
against 65 or 70 by the earlier route.
In addition to the above-mentioned routes by way of Dyea and
Juneau Trail. Skagway, a third trail is now being opened up from the town of Juneau,
entering the district from the south by way of the Taku, Silver Salmon
and Pike rivers. From the head of tide-water on the Taku Inlet—33 miles by steamer from
Juneau—the trail follows the bed of the Taku River to its junction with the Kateena or
Silver Salmon, a distance of 50 miles. From the mouth of the Kateena to its source, thence
across a narrow divide to Pike Lake and down Pike River to its mouth, is a further estimated
distance of 40 miles. The latter stream, as already stated, empties into Atlin Lake some 25
miles south of Atlin City, giving a total mileage by this route of approximately 115 miles
BENNETT LAKE DIVISION.
The following is gathered from the report of Mr. W. J. Rant, Gold Commissioner at Lake
Bennett, the headquarters during 1898 of both Atlin and Bennett Lake Divisions, then one:—
Since the news of the discovery of the Atlin Lake gold fields reached Lake Bennett on
July 31st, 1898, these mines have expanded at an extraordinary rate, owing to their ease
of access from the Coast and their proximity to the Dawson trail.
The country is flat and open, has a fair supply of timber, and a delightful climate during
the summer months.
The route to Atlin City from Skagway is over the White Pass and Yukon Railway to
its terminus, thence by road to Log Cabin, where the Custom house is located, from which
point, following the water-ways, on the ice in winter and by boat, via Bennett, in summer,
Taku City is reached, distant from the Coast approximately 120 miles.
A short portage, over a good trail, leads to the west shore of Atlin Lake, across which,
on the east shore, Atlin City is located.
Atlin City was surveyed during the summer of 1898, and laid out in lots, and has five
stores and certain hotel facilities.
Gold has been discovered on the Dalton trail, and discoveries have been reported about
twelve miles east of the Meade Glacier, in this Province, but to what extent is not known.
The mining receipts for the season, up to October 31st, 1898, are reported as follows:—
From Free Miners' Certificates issued . $8,020 00
" General Mining receipts 3,289 50
Total $11,309 50 62 Vict. Report of the Minister of Mines. 991
NORTHERN PORTION OF CASSIAR DISTRICT.
The following is gathered from the report of Mr. James Porter, Gold Commissioner for
that portion of the District, dated at Telegraph Creek, Nov. 15th, 1898, but not received
here in the ordinary course of the mail until January 14th, 1899.
The scattered settlements of the District, and the inadequate means of communication,
render impossible any complete report of progress.
A good many placer and quartz locations have been recorded in outlying localities, but
no confirmation of their value has been obtainable.
The District last year saw a large influx of prospectors, but, being unprepared, no proper
amount of supplies was available, and could not be received until too late in the season to be
of any use to prospectors in 1898, but will be consequently ready for the expected rush of
During 1898 the rush to the Klondike and Atlin drew off many of the mining community,
and at the same time raised the prices of provisions and of packing to such an extent as to be
prohibitory to the prospector. These conditions are not expected to prevail next season.
Some little excitement was caused late in the summer by a gold discovery on Glacier
Creek, which flows into the Stickine from the south at a point six miles from Glenora. The
find was made too late in the season to show what may be expected from it later.
So far nothing more than bare assessment work has been done on any of the quartz
claims in the District, but in many instances very promising results have been so far obtained,
and it is expected that development work will be commenced in earnest in the coming spring.
At the time of writing, the only returns as to placer gold that have been received were
from Amos Everson, acting Mining Recorder at McDame's Creek, who places the known
output of that Division at $10,250—an increase over last year.
The revenue from Mr. Porter's district from January 1st to October 31st—but not
including receipts at McDame's Creek for October—amounted to as follows :—
From Free Miners' Certificates issued $3,991 00
" Mining receipts general , 1,588 00
Total $5,579 00
EAST KOOTENAY DISTRICT.
FORT STEELE DIVISION.
This Division comprises the drainage area of the Kootenay River and
Location. its tributaries south of Findlay Creek, and occupies the extreme south
eastern portion of the Province. On the east it is bounded along the
watershed of the Rockies by the North-West Territory of Alberta; on the south by the
United States boundary line ; to the west by West Kootenay, and northward by the height
of land forming the watershed of the streams flowing into the Kootenay River, south of
Findlay Creek. Approximately 80 miles in width and the same in length, it has a total area
of between 6,000 and 7,000 square miles. 992 Report of the Minister of Mines. 1898
The valley of the Kootenay is enclosed on either side by high peaked
Physical mountain ranges—to the east the Rockies and the Selkirks to the west.
Features. Down from these flow the tributary streams in still narrower valleys,
winding along the bases of the high peaks ; each valley completely walled
in from its neighbour and necessitating the following of one to its junction with the main
valley, thence up the next, if the traveller seeks to pass from one to the other. This is true
not only of the main streams but of all the smaller creeks, it being usually impracticable to
drive even a pack-horse over the dividing summit.
The valley of the Kootenay north of Fort Steele has a width between hills of from 4
to 12 miles, part bottom and part bench land. The soil, as a rule, is excellent, although the
bottoms often require draining and the benches irrigating. South of Fort Steele the bench
land becomes much wider and the country more rolling, forming, in places, prairies of
The valleys of the smaller tributary streams have practically no bottom lands, the
mountains sloping up from the very edges of the streams.
When traced to their sources all of these streams are found to head in basins, at an
elevation of from 5,000 to 8,000 feet, nestling in the mountain peaks and usually surrounded
by glaciers, from which snow slides are of constant occurrence. Here the snow lies until
June, at times later, but its passing away is succeeded by the appearance of luxuriant herbage
and the most brilliant of flowers. This follows so closely that it would seem as if the snowy
mantle needed to be but lifted to disclose their presence beneath.
The benches of the Kootenay may be best described as park lands, great stretches of
grass covered prairie, dotted here and there with straight and tall trees, chiefly Douglas fir
and " Bull" pine ; the total absence of underbrush being a notable feature.
Fort Steele, the Divisional centre, is a thriving town on the banks of
Towns. the Kootenay, near the mouth of St. Mary's River. Here are situated the
offices of the Government Agent and of the Mining Recorder for the
Division. To the miners of the district it is an important outfitting point, its many stores,
good hotels, etc., making it a desirable basis of supply.
Cranbrook, a new and vigorous town which has sprung into existence since the advent of the
railway, is a Divisional point on the Crow's Nest Pass branch of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Hotels, stores, bank agencies and all that go to make up a thriving town are already in
The other centres of the Division have not as yet attained any important growth, but
under the stimulating influence of railroad communication and the increasing development of
the surrounding mining properties several townsites will undoubtedly become more or less
important towns within the next few years.
The southern portion of the Division has this summer been crossed by
Transportation, the Crow's Nest branch of the Canadian Pacific Railway, giving a direct
railway connection with the East through Fort McLeod in Alberta, and
with the West through West Kootenay, whence other lines of communication run north and
west through Revelstoke and south from Nelson and Rossland. The line followed by the
railway is shown on the map accompanying this report.
A line of steamers on the Kootenay River runs regularly in summer from Fort Steele
to Jennings, Mont. The period of navigation will be considerably extended when improvements in the river channel, now in progress at the instance of the Dominion Government, are
completed. 62 Vict. Report of the Minister of Mines. 993
Communication by stage is maintained twice weekly between Fort Steele and Windermere, thence north to Golden on the main line of the Canadian Pacific Railway; by steamer
on the Columbia in summer, and by stage in winter.
The Provincial Government has built and maintains good waggon
Waggon Roads roads along all the main valleys in the district, and from these has pro-
and Trails. vided and keeps in order excellent trails. These latter follow up all the
larger creeks and many of the smaller ones where the amount of mining
development has justified the necessary expenditure. I found all roads and trails in excellent
condition, and it would be difficult to find any part of the Division not accessible by their use.
The mineral development of the District can scarcely be said to have
Mineral reached the mining stage, with the exception of the Coal Creek Collieries
Development. and the North Star and St. Eugene mines, yet it is gradually passing from
the prospecting to the development stage. For some years past prospecting
has been successfully carried on, and a large number of promising prospects have been
recorded, more particularly in the St. Mary's River and Wild Horse districts. Some serious
development work has been done on the more important of these claims, but the. holders of
the majority of them have been content—perhaps from necessity—to limit improvement to
the amount of work prescribed by law for annual assessment work.
The advent of the railway has been looked forward to with great anticipation on the part
of those interested. By some it has been the excuse for deferring development work until
cheaper transportation became an accomplished fact. Now that the railway is into the
District the prices asked for prospects have been advanced, often to figures which are
prohibitory to capital actually seeking investment and willing to risk it on a prospect only
slightly developed. Latterly, however, better counsel has prevailed, many prospects have been
bonded on fair terms, and the past summer has seen a large amount of work done by the
bondholders, the results of which will soon become apparent.
The following is a somewhat detailed account of the various claims visited by me between
June 10th and August 15th. While the list is more or less complete, and embraces most of
the claims in the Division upon which important work has been done, or which have been
currently reported as promising, there remain unreported on some claims, perhaps as important,
of which I did not hear till after my visit to their part of the Division. Comparatively few
claims in the Division are Crown granted, and my only means of obtaining information as to
the claims in a given section was by personal interview with prospectors and others.
I gladly take this opportunity to acknowledge my indebtedness to the prospectors,
business men and journalists of the Division for their uniform courtesy in supplying me with
all the information possible. In many instances, prospectors have left their work for a day or
more to show me short cut trails, or point out where development work had been done, giving
their time freely, and always offering the hospitality of their cabins with that cordiality bred
of their independent life.
My travelling was entirely done on horseback, with a small pack train; the distance
covered in the Division being between 800 and 900 miles. 994 Report of the Minister of Mines. 1898
COALS OF THE CROW'S NEST PASS.
The most important mining development in East Kootenay, if not, indeed, in the whole
Province, during the past year, has been the opening up of the magnificent coal deposits of
the Crow's Nest Pass; a development rendered possible by the completion of a railway giving
an outlet, not only to British Columbia markets, but to those as well of the North-West
Territories, and eventually to the North-Western States.
The importance of this development will be felt throughout the Province, but more
particularly in the Kootenays, for on or near the Coast the Vancouver Island mines have
fully supplied the demand for fuel, and can continue to do so at reasonable prices, its carriage
not being subject to very heavy freight rates. The coal and coke supplies for the Kootenays,
until now derived from this source also, have, however, necessarily been subject to excessive
carriage charges, consequent upon a long up-grade haul and one or more inconvenient
transfers. Hereafter coal from the Crow's Nest Pass can be delivered into the heart of the
mining districts of East and West Kootenay without breaking bulk, delivered in cars loaded
at the mine and hauled down an easy grade to all points of consumption. The ideal situation
and mode of occurrence of the Crow's Nest coal further admits of its being mined and
delivered on the cars at a minimum of cost.
These considerations seem to guarantee to the mines and smelters of these districts a
steady supply of first-class fuel at a price very materially lower than has before been possible.
Combined cheaper transportation and cheaper fuel will have the effect of so reducing the cost
of treatment of ores that it will, to a large extent, necessitate a reconsideration of many of
the mining propositions which have had to be temporarily abandoned on account of the
present cost of treatment. In like manner, direct rail communication with the Eastern metal
markets will enable products to be marketed at a considerably increased figure.
While much may be expected from these increased facilities, they will not do everything
seemingly expected of them ; they will not make a mine where none existed; they will only
lower the line dividing loss from profit, and enable many of our low grade propositions to step
over this line and become profitable producers.
To afford some insight into the difference that will be made in this connection, I quote
figures which have been given me as to cost of fuel and transportation in the past, and rates
that may be expected in the future. I am indebted to Mr. F. Peters, the C. P. R. district
freight agent at Nelson, for the following figures, which I understand to be retail prices:—
Freight rate, coal and coke from Coast to Nelson $5 25 per ton.
ii n n Crow's Nest to Nelson 2 25 n
Price of screened coal at Nelson from Coast 10 00 n
ii ii ii ii Crow's Nest 5 75 m
ii coke ii ii Coast 11 00 n
ii n ii ii Crow's Nest 7 00 n
One of the conditions on which the grants were made to the Crow's Nest Pass Coal Co.
was that " run of mine coal " should be sold at the mine for a price not to exceed $2.00 per
ton, a guarantee for cheap fuel for all time.
The coal deposits of the Crow's Nest Pass have been known to the
Coal Deposits, public for some years, having been the subject of a report in 1891 by Dr.
Selwyn, C. M. G., of the Dominion Geological Survey, which report was in
part reproduced in the Report of this Department for 1896. Latterly, and since the railway
was an assured fact, the coal area has received careful study from those interested, and careful cc
w 62 Vict.
Report of the Minister of Mines.
measurements made of the seams. I am indebted to Mr. Frank Smith, resident engineer and
mine manager of the Crow's Nest Pass Coal Co., for information as to explorations made for
The coal seams so far known have, for practical purposes, been divided, in ascending
series, into :—
1st. The Elk River Basin, bituminous 12 seams
2nd. Michel Creek, i, 7 >,
3rd. ii cannel coal 15 n
Actual work has been confined to the Elk River Basin seams, and these are the only
ones I personally inspected.
This series outcrops along the mountains on the east side of Elk
Elk River Series. River, from Morrisey Creek to above Coal Creek, at a height of from 1,600
to 2,500 feet above the valley of Elk River. The beds dip to the east into
the mountain at a flat angle. The other edge of the basin is said to outcrop some ten miles to
the eastward and near the summit of the mountains. The measurements, etc., of this series of
beds, as given to me by Mr. Smith, are as follows :—
Elk River Series op Coal Seams.
Work done on seam.
Elevation above Elk
No. 2 tunnel, south side of valley, also exposed in
gulch and face-stripped.
900 ft. sandstones,
No. 1 tunnel, north side of valley.
1,600 feet. J
—Total thickness of coal in
900 ft. vei
tioal coal measure.
The outcrop of this series of beds has been traced and found to cut both banks of Coal
Creek, soms four or five miles up from Elk River. 996 Report of the Minister of Mines. 1898
THE CROW'S NEST PASS COAL COMPANY.
Head office, Montreal.
President Col. Jas. Baker, Victoria.
Vice-President Senator Cox, Toronto.
Managing Director Wm. Hanson, Montreal.
Secretary J. A. Gemmill, Ottawa.
Treasurer E. Hanson, Montreal.
General Manager W. Blakemore, Fernie.
Mine Manager (certificated) Frank Smith, Fernie.
This company has control of and is working the Elk River seams where they outcrop on
Coal Creek. A branch line of the railway has been run up from Fernie, at the C. P. R. crossing of Coal Creek, some five miles to the mines. I visited the property on June 20th, and at
that time the construction was only starting, and the mines only beginning to be opened up.
Work has been continued all summer, and the mines are now reported to be capable of turning
out 500 tons of coal daily.
No. 1 tunnel is on the north side of the valley, and has been run into
No. 1 Tunnel, the hill from the outcrop on the strike of seam No. 5. On June 20th the
tunnel was in 150 feet, of which the first 130 feet was through surface
wash, the last 20 only being in solid coal. Work was progressing at the rate of 12 feet per
diem, and the tunnel is now reported to be in almost 1,000 feet. The coal at the distance
reached at the date of my visit was clean and of good quality, though somewhat broken, being
so near the surface. The seam was 6 feet thick, and practically free from shata, although
there appeared to be a band of from 2 to 6 inches containing " iron-stone," which came in in
the mining. This iron, however, was considered to be local as it did not show where the seam
had been exposed in other places. The roof of the seam was firm and good, necessitating
comparatively little timbering and giving no trouble. The tunnel was permanently timbered
for a main driveway.
No. 2 tunnel was driven on the south side of Coal Creek on the strike
No. 2 Tunnel, of No. 7 seam, with a slight rise as it went in, and had then bsen driven
about 1,000 feet, but is now reported in 500 feet farther. Parallel with
the main driveway, and 20 feet below it, is the drainage tunnel. Ventilation was supplied by
a furnace connecting with a short shaft. The seam is 7 feet thick, free from shale of any
importance, and all solid coal. Both roof and pavement are good and solid.
From this seam a winze had been sunk to the No. 6 seam, a 30-foot bed laying below, for
the purpose of testing the quality of that seam at a depth. The winze had just 'eached the
coal, on June 20th, which proved to be good, and a level driveway will be run to the west,
through which the 30-foot coal will be mined.
The coal, even from the inner face of the present tunnel, was more or less fractured, as though
crushed by some movement in the earth, which crushing may disappear as the levels get
deeper into the hills. The effect of this fracturing is that a large percentage of screenings
will be made, and that the lump coal shipped will be very friable. On this account it will not
make as good an appearance on the market, or for use in open grates, as it will scircely stand
the handling, breaking into smaller lumps, although not into dust. The large po-centage of
screenings produced, however, will not be injurious. They can all be used for coke-making,
while the fact that the coal is not in large lumps will not take from its value for steam or
metallurgical purposes. The seams so far tested are of " coking coal," produdng a strong,
hard, bright coke. 62 Vict.
Report of the Minister of Mines.
Analyses of both the coal and coke have been given in the Reports of
Analyses. this Department for 1896 and 1897, and I shall only add a couple more
given me by one of the officers of the Company, as representing the
product of No. 2 tunnel :
|" Total fuel," 96.49.
Ratio of fixed carbon to vol. comb,
matter, 3.77 to 1.
A further analysis from the same authority :-
Volatile matter 24.42
Fixed carbon 72 .50
Ash 2 .50
"Total fuel" = 96.92.
Ratio of fixed carbon
to vol. comb, matter
2.96 to 1.
I have obtained a strictly commercial sample, taken by an expert sampler, of one of the
first of the regular " run of mine " coal shipments, on which sample the Provincial Assayer
makes me the following return :—
Volatile matter 18.70
Fixed carbon 72 .08
"Total fuel " = 90.78.
Ratio of fixed carbon
to vol. comb, matter
3.85 to 1.
The above analysis, on a commercial sample, representing as it does coal taken from
comparatively near the surface and from a shipment made before the colliery was in regular
working order, must certainly be considered as very good. It cannot but be so considered by
practical men, who know what the difference is between a commercial sample and those usually
taken for analyses.
In reply to an inquiry addressed to the Superintendent of one of our largest smelters as
to the working quality of the Crow's Nest coke, I have a reply in which he states : "With
the Crow's Nest coke I find I can accomplish as much with 135 lbs. as I could with 150 lbs.
of the other cokes I have used."
From the analyses given it will be seen that the percentage of ash is remarkably low,
and the " total fuel" correspondingly high. In the Elk River Series the ratio of fixed carbon
to volatile combustible matter is very high, indicating a coal which, in composition, as
compared with the usual bituminous coals, approaches nearer to the semi-bituminous and
semi-anthracite, although it must still be classed as a " bituminous coal." Compared with the
ordinary bituminous coals, for example, the coal from the Coal Creek Collieries does not have
as great a quantity of " volatile combustible matter," viz. : constituents which can be distilled 998
Report of the Minister of Mines.
over as gas, but the carbon is there in an increased proportion as " fixed carbon," which might
be otherwise described as coke, and which cannot be drawn off as gas under the ordinary
conditions of use. A coal of this description will not be so " smoky " as ordinary bituminous
coal, but will burn with a brighter and more local flame. It will also produce a greater
percentage of coke and a smaller percentage of gas, and consequently will be more valuable
for the former and less valuable for the latter purpose, while for domestic use there will be
less " soot" sent over and the fire will burn hotter in the fire-box, making less flame.
The following table of laboratory analyses, taken from an article read before the American
Institute of Mining Engineers in 1885 by Mr. W. Routledge, manager of the Reserve
Colliery, Cape Breton, and used by him as a table of comparison of the various well known
bituminous coal districts of the world, will be found interesting, and it will be seen that
" Crow's Nest Coal " stands very favourably in the light of comparison. The last column
" Total Fuel" or " Total Combustible Matter," I have added to Mr. Routledge's table, and, as
will be seen, it is simply the addition of the vol. comb, matter and fixed carbon. It will be
noted that Mr. Routledge includes hygroscopic water under the head of " Volatile Matter":
North Wales .
U. S. A
Crow's Nest Coal, taken on same basis as above.
No. 2 Tunnel—Coal Creek
The cannel coals, mentioned as occurring on Michel Creek, as their
Cannel Coals, characterization would imply, contain a much larger proportion of volatile
combustible matter, and a smaller proportion of fixed carbon. These will
have their use principally for gas manufacture and for the somewhat ornamental open grate
fires, as they light easily and burn with much flame. The " volatile matter " is said to be about
57 per cent, in these coals.
These beds have not, as yet, been rendered available, as they are not within reach of
railway connection and, consequently, have been opened up only by prospecting workings.
From the Government Inspector of Mines, who visited the collieries in
Later Develop- November, I learn that since my visit in June the company have connected
ment. the No. 1 and No. 2 tunnels, on the opposite sides of the valley, by a 1,000-
foot bridge, near the centre of which very complete shaking screens have 62 Vict. Report of the Minister of Mines. 999
been placed, while underneath is ample track accommodation for a large output. Large and
handsomely finished offices were built at the mines which, unfortunately, were destroyed by
fire later, but they will be replaced promptly. The company's buildings .at Fernie were
destroyed by fire on the same night.
The mine is equipped with end dumping cars, each having a capacity of 2,240 pounds of
coal, and it is the intention of the company to institute a system of electric haulage and
electric lighting. Some 15 drop-bottom, 30-ton railway cars were on the sidings for use in
transporting coal to the coke ovens at Fernie. Two Murphy fans have been ordered and will
be erected as soon as received. Gas has shown itself in the workings, but not in any quantity
as yet, and ample provision has been made for ventilation.
At Fernie 30 Beehive coke ovens have been built and are now in
Fernie. operation, with bricks on hand for as many more. It is the intention of
the company to erect, in the immediate future, some 200 ovens in all.
It is expected that all the employees will live at or near Fernie, as there is no room for
houses at the mines, the valley being deep and narrow, and bounded by steep hills, so steep
that in winter the sun seldom strikes down into the valley. Trains on the branch line will
carry the workmen to and from work.
It is hard to conceive that any coal deposits could be located more advantageously for
cheap and economical working than are the Coal Creek seams.
The working driveways, entering from either side of a narrow valley, at an elevation of
some 400 to 500 feet above the level of Elk River, run in practically level, and can be so
continued for miles. Above the drainage level of these tunnels the coal extends to the rise,
at an angle of almost 20°, for a vertical height of 1,200 feet or more. Each of the driveways
will probably be used as an outlet for two or more seams. Timber is plentiful in the immediate neighbourhood for all mine purposes, and Coal Creek is capable of supplying any water
power which might be needed for the colliery's use. The estimated cost of production, as
appears in the company's prospectus, of $1.25 per ton, for "run of mine" coal on cars at the
mine can certainly be realized.
The amount of coal available in the Coal Creek mines is so great that it will be more than
sufficient for a long time to come. I have made no personal estimate of the quantity, but
quote from Mr. Smith's report, in which he estimates that the Elk River basin alone has an
available tonnage of 16,443,900,000 tons in the twelve seams.
Title, location. Owner, George Watson, Fort Steele. This claim
Burton Mineral is situated on the western slope of the Rockies, near the B. C. outlet of
Claim. the Crow's Nest Pass, and about two miles from the town of Elko, at the
Elk River crossing of the railway. The trail from Elko passes along the
comparatively level valley of the Kootenay to the mine cabin, situated at the base of the
mountain, which here rises at an angle of about 30°. The present workings are from 800 to
1,000 feet above the level of the valley.
The rock formation consists of light grey shales, dipping into the hill to the N.E. at an
angle of about 43°, the outcrop being nearly horizontal, and the strike S. 60° E. These shales
form the principal part of this face of the mountain. Overlaying them, conformably, is an 1000 Report of the Minister of Mines. 1898
"iron band" of some 18 inches, chiefly iron oxides, and above this and forming the top of the
mountain are the dolomitic limestones of the Rockies.
The vein appears to be a true fissure quartz vein, of from 5 to 6 feet in width, dipping
78° to N.W. with strike about N. 30° E., and having free walls with marked gouge. The
ledge is very porous, and near the mouth of the tunnel is heavily charged with lime. The lead
is traceable up the hill, from the tunnel, some 200 feet vertically to the contact with the
limestone, when it seems to " dip under." The ore consists of copper carbonates and oxides
with rich copper sulphides in places, and occurs in stringers and pockets through the quartz.
At an elevation of 4,025 feet (about 800 feet above the valley) a tun-
Development, nel of some 100 feet has been driven in on the vein, from which has been
taken some very good ore, chiefly copper carbonates and oxides. Sample
from ore pile on dump gave 28.8% copper and traces of silver and gold. At the face of the
tunnel there was a very fair sized pocket of ore making into the hanging wall, which had
not been sounded as to depth. An average across the face of tunnel gave me an assay of 3%
copper, traces of silver and gold. Further up the hill and, on the outcrop of the vein, are
two open cuts, respectively 75 and 85 feet above the tunnel and some 5 to 8 feet deep. In
these cuts a good exposure of ore has been made, chiefly copper carbonates. In the upper
cut there is also a pay streak some 6 to 8 inches wide of rich copper sulphides, apparently
extending across the ledge and dipping in the vein with the strata. A sample of this richer
portion, taken right across, gave me an assay 33.12% copper, no gold or silver.
The property is a straight copper proposition, with little or no silver or gold values. At
the time of my visit, June 18, the property was not being worked, but was under bonds to
parties in Spokane who, I have since heard, have been developing it seriously this summer,
but with what result I have been unable to learn.
Sheep Mountain is situated at the fork between Elk and Kootenay rivers, about a mile
south of the town of Elko. It is a low, rounded mountain, almost entirely covered with wash
and earth, sparsely wooded with large trees and covered with luxuriant herbage, which
provides splendid feed for cattle and horses, but renders prospecting slow and expensive owing
to the few exposures. Quite a number of locations have here been made, however, but few of
which have had much more than one or two years' assessment work done on them as yet.
The whole hill seems to be more or less mineralized, with small stringers of quartz
carrying copper and silver; quite enough to induce prospecting, but not enough, so far as
developed, to guarantee working. The facilities for cheap work are here great,—proximity to
the railway, ease of access, easy grades, good timber, and a water-power at Elko, on the Elk
River, more than sufficient for any demand for power for either mining or industrial purposes.
The Elk River, which in the spring is a wild and uncontrollable torrent, keeps up a good flow
of water through the whole summer, being fed from the snow-capped Rockies, which part with
their snow very gradually. At Elko the river plunges through a gorge with perpendicular
walls of hard quartzsite, dropping, by a succession of small falls, a height of about 200 feet
in a distance of about half a mile, and offering unexcelled opportunity for the cheap installation
of a large power plant.
The country rocks, where exposed, seem to be quartzites, calcareous sandstones, and mica
shales, with occasional outcropping of gneiss, the whole cut here and there by igneous dykes. 62 Vict. Report of the Minister of Mines. 1001
Title, location. Owned in Fort Steele. Elevation, 3,200 feet. There
Ramshorn are several small cuts on the surface, not attaining any depth, however.
Mineral Claim. In one of these there is shown up a fairly well-defined quartz vein some 20
inches wide; strike S. 35° W., and dip nearly vertical. The quartz proper
shows very slight mineralization, principally blue carbonate copper and some copper pyrites.
There is a gouge to S.E. side of vein of some 2 inches of soft talcose matter, which is, in
places, heavily charged with carbonates and oxides of copper and traces of rich sulphides of
copper. Development is slight and superficial, and the amount of mineral shown up by it is
Title, location. Owner, Thos. Flowers or C. Stephenson, Elko P.O.
Jennie Elevation, 3,300 feet. This claim is situated one-half mile from the mouth
Mineral Claim, of the South Fork of Elk River. Development consists of a tunnel 8 feet
into the hillside, with, 25 feet further up the hill, a pit of some 10 feet in
depth ; both in what appears to be the bedding plane in the country rock, into which a small
quantity of quartz has infiltrated. It carries small quantities of copper pyrites in little
Owner, Frank Sheriff. Lies next to the above claim, further down
Sweet May hill and to the south. Development here is also very superficial, consisting
Mineral Claim, of little more than surface cuts. In one is exposed a fair-sized quartz
vein, with small quantities of grey copper, cutting a bed of quartzite some
30 feet, but seeming to end where it meets a mass of gneiss. In another cut there is exposed
a 30-inch lead of grey and white quartz, lying, apparently, between quartzite and gneiss, with
about a 2-inch cropping of copper pyrites, said to assay : copper, 26% ; silver, trace; gold, $2.
Owners, Bishop Bros., Wardner P. O. Elevation, 3,000 feet.
Bishop Group. Situated about half-a-mile up Sand Creek from the C. P. R. crossing and
the town of Cranston. The claims in this group are the Jessie, Margaret,
Little Roy, Lottie and Rob Roy. Development has all been confined to the two first
mentioned claims. The country rock consists of hard stratified shales and slates, with a dip
S. 20° W. < 33°.
At the time of my visit, June 23rd, the development consisted of :
1. A lower tunnel started near the creek bottom, cutting into the steep hillside, N. 80°
E. for 50 feet, where a turn was made to the right (S. 65° E.) and continued for 20 feet, with
work still continuing. This tunnel was being run with the intention of cutting two or three
quartz veins, which had been exposed in the upper tunnel, some 200 feet vertically higher up
the hill and further to the south. The owners calculated from the dip and strike of these
veins that the lower tunnel would cut them, but so far the attempt had been unsuccessful and
the work only showed slight mineralization, chiefly iron pyrites.
2. An upper tunnel driven in near discovery point, N. 85° E., for 55 feet, then S. 55° E.
for 25 feet. Near the mouth of this tunnel a quartz vein of some 15 to 18 inches was cut at
an angle having a strike about S. 45° E. Again, at about 50 feet in a similar vein was cut,
and in the face of the tunnel, to the left hand side, another seemingly similar vein was
exposed, all three being nearly parallel as to strike and dip.
These quartz leads cut the formation and are fairly strong, but seem to be frozen to the
country rock. They might be expected to continue to the level of the lower tunnel, but from 1002 Report of the Minister of Mines. 1898
what rough calculations I was able to make at the time, I was of the opinion that the lower
tunnel had been driven too far up stream to catch them, even if they did continue. There is
little chance of following the leads on the surface, as it is covered with heavy rockslide and
earth. The driving of the lower tunnel was attempted on very insufficient data obtained in
the upper tunnel. As exposed in the upper tunnel these quartz leads contained copper
carbonates and sulphides, with some iron sulphides, and occasionally galena; but not in any
Title, location. Owners on record, A. R. Macdonell, F. A. Godsall
Empire Mineral et al. Locally known as Major Steele's claim. Full claim, 1,500 by 1,500
Claim. feet, not yet surveyed. Situated near the summit of the mountain, about
6 miles N. W. from Cranston Station, and about 1,600 to 1,700 feet above
the level of the railway.
This claim is reached from Cranston by a good pack trail, fairly level for the first four
miles and rising rapidly for the last two miles, approaching the claim from the north on the
easy slope of the mountain. To reach the actual workings, however, one has to go around the
very steep south face of the mountain for some 100 yards on a trail existing more in name
than in reality, with nothing but a very insecure foothold on the upturned edges of outcropping
shales to save one from a rather sudden drop of some hundreds of feet.
The country rock seems to be chiefly shales of a dark gray colour, locally much altered
and distorted, and in the immediate vicinity of the vein much crushed. The general strike of
the rocks would seem to be about S. 45° E., and the dip about 45° into the hill to N.W. The
claim extends down the very steep hillside from No. 1 stake, situated near the summit of the
mountain at an elevation of about 4,800 feet, to No. 2 stake, at an elevation some 500 feet
The most important development work has been done at an elevation of about 4,650 feet,
and consists of an open 8-foot cut, leading to a tunnel which has been driven in 10 feet; both on
the lead. This has cut through a so-called "iron capping," which occurs on the surface at this
point, having a depth of some 2 to 3 feet, and a width of about 30 to 40 feet, laying conformable to slope of hill. Underlaying this capping and cutting the formation a quartz vein has
been exposed in the tunnel, about 24 inches in width, dipping nearly vertical and running
into the hill. The quartz carries copper pyrites, occurring in small stringers and pockets, but
so far as exposed, not in very great quantity. A very rough sample across the face of the
tunnel gave me, copper, 4.60 %, and silver, 2.25 oz. The iron capping, from samples taken
by me, contains no values.
About 150 feet vertically below, or at an elevation of 4,500 feet, there is an "open cut,"
and a certain amount of work done exposing iron capping—here about 25 to 30 feet wide, and
about 3 feet thick—showing underneath it the quartz vein similar, though somewhat narrower
than in the tunnel above. Still further down the hill some 150 feet vertically, and near the
No. 2 stake, the capping has again been exposed but not cut through.
Although at least five yearly assessments have been recorded on this property, the work
has been so done as to show very little, and the property must be classed as unproven.
Owners, Langley Bros., Fort Steele. Elevation, 4,300 feet. This
Blue Grouse location is an extension of the Empire, extending from No. 2 stake down
Mineral Claim, the hill and to the westward, and is a full claim, 1,500 by 1,500 feet. The
conditions which prevail in the Empire probably continue through this
claim. The " iron capping " before mentioned, the general trend of which seems to be about
N. 85° W., mag., has been exposed in three or four open cuts, and is practically the same in <
"" 62 Vict. ■ Report of the Minister of Mines. 1003
character as higher up the hill, although not showing up quite as wide, being probably here
not over 15 feet. The quartz vein is again exposed, and is almost the same as above, carrying
copper and iron pyrites in stringers.
The development work done has been so spread out that little beyond proving the
existence of the vein has been accomplished, and no positive knowledge of value, even in
prospective, could be obtained.
Have been located in extension of the Blue Grouse, but from the best
Other Claims information obtainable have little or no development to show. As the
travelling was extremely difficult and somewhat dangerous, I did not visit
Title, location. Owner, Alex. McBean et al, Wardner P.O.
Mountain Mineral Elevation, 2,950 feet. These claims are situated on a small hill rising-
Claim and West out of the plain and separated from the main range of mountains, and are
Extension of about 3 or 4 miles to the westward of Sand Creek and about 5 miles S.
same. 60° W. from the Empire mineral claim. A fair waggon road from the
property connects with the main government road which runs from Fort
Steele to Elko.
The country rock is composed of slates and shales, laying comparatively regular and
little disturbed, dipping S. 15° W. at angle 15°. Somewhat above the present workings there
is what appears to be an igneous dyke, some 14 feet wide, across the measures and running
N. 20° E. So far as I could see, however, this had no connection with the mineralization as
exposed in the workings, nor had it caused any mineralization in its neighbourhood. There
does not appear to be any regularly defined vein on these claims, but there are lines of fissure
filled with alternating bands of quartz and slate, the bands being a few inches wide, amounting
in the aggregate to some 5 or 6 feet. The lower tunnel follows one of the banded leads for
some 50 feet in direction N. 65° E. In it was obtained some very fair ore, copper pyrites,
with some carbonates; and the amount found seems to have been fully as great near the
surface as farther in. The ore is in stringers, which, taken together, across the exposure in
the tunnel, would aggregate somewhere about 4 or 5 inches of solid ore. There are on this
same lead two pits showing up almost the same condition of affairs. In three additional open
cuts two other leads of a similar nature are exposed, not so heavily mineralized ; but all
leads more or less parallel.
There was quite a fair " surface showing," but, so far, it does not seem to have improved
with such depth as has been reached in the tunnel, some 20 feet vertically.
Title, Location. Owners on record, Langley Bros, et al, Fort Steele.
Waterfall Reported to be now held by Robert Dempsey and John Grassick. Situated
Mineral Claim, on the main mountain range, some five miles west of Sand Creek, at an
elevation of 3,900 feet, or about 1,000 feet above level of plain. Trail
leading to it, from the waggon road at Mountain mineral claim, is fairly good until it reaches
the foot of the hill, after which it is practically impassable for horses, being a zig-zag over a
shifting rock slide.
The country rock is composed of greyish shales and slates, dipping N. 30° E. at angle
from 28° to 38°. There is an open cut of some 5 to 10 feet leading to a tunnel of almost the
same length, following a quartz vein of from 12 to 15 inches wide, which runs N. 25° W.,
cutting the formation. The dip of the strata on right of tunnel is 38°, on left 28°, the change
in dip causing a fissure, which dips nearly vertical as it cuts each layer of shale, shifting
a few inches to the right on each bedding plane. This produces the effect of a stepped fissure 1004 Report of the Minister of Mines. 1898
with a general dip of about 80°. It stops and is cut off at the roof of the tunnel by a " slate
capping," which does not appear to have been broken.
The fissure is filled with white quartz containing pockets of copper pyrites and galena,
with some iron pyrites, giving samples of 6 and even 12 inches in diameter of clean ore, but
not as yet iu quantity. The vein is exposed in the floor and face of tunnel, but I could not
trace it on the hillside below.
Bull River flows in a southerly direction from the Rockies, and empties into the Kootenay
River, near Wardner. Quite an amount of work has been done in this section within the last
few years, and numbers of claims recorded, chiefly in the vicinity of the bridge on the old
pack trail, where the latter crosses the river at the canyon, a few miles above its mouth.
The " Old Pack Bridge " was a centre of activity on Bull River in the
Placers. " early sixties," when the discovery of gold placers, a mile above and below
the bridge, made the river famous, and returned small fortunes to many
prospectors. The records as to the amount of gold taken out are rather meagre and incomplete,
but old timers' estimates place the figures quite high. There is, indeed, no doubt but that a
large amount of gold was washed from the river bed ; that it was very coarse and of good
quality, and that pay-dirt was confined to a very limited stretch of the river on either side of
the bridge, that is to say, just above and just below the canyon.
Bull River is at all times a good-sized stream, swift and broad, until it enters the canyon,
where it is confined to a width of not exceeding thirty feet by perpendicular walls of quartzites
and slates. Through this gorge, in a distance of a mile, the river drops two or three hundred
feet in a succession of falls and rapids. Above the bridge the rocky banks are only a few feet
above the level of the water. Here the river rushes along, lashed into foam, as two sharp
right angled turns obstruct its passage. Straightening itself on its course it makes a wild dash
at the bridge as though to sweep it a.vay, but when within a distance of twenty feet it drops
suddenly out of sight over a sheer fall of some 80 feet, sending up a cloud of spray in which is
hung a most brilliant rainbow, seeming to act as an arch for the narrow bridge spanning the
canyon. Below, the river plunges on for some three-quarters of a mile between walls of ever-
increasing height till, finally, the gorge is 200 feet in depth, yet scarcely one-half that distance
in its upper width. Suddenly the canyon widens into a valley with sloping sides wooded to
the water's edge, through which the river now peacefully winds, scarcely recognizable as the
mad torrent met with but a few yards further up. The canyon of Bull River, with the
unbroken forest to the very edge of its perpendicular cliffs, forms one of the most beautiful
bits of scenery in East Kootenay, and it is appropriate that nature should have set it in its
Where the gold came from that lay immediately above and below, is a still unsolved
mystery. "Pay " extended but a short distance above the canyon and stopped abruptly. The
hills on either side have been prospected most thoroughly, yet no gold quartz has as yet been
found. Two large igneous dykes, to be later referred to, cut across the river and valley, but
there appears to be nothing in them to account for the gold found in the river, particularly in
such a coarse state, for but little fine gold was in evidence.
The life of the Bull River placers was a merry one and proportionately short, lasting but
a few years. Various attempts have been made in later years to find further placer ground on
the river, but without any decided success. Almost every year a small quantity of gold is 62 Vict. Report of the Minister of Mines. 1005
taken out by miners who still have faith that the river has not been washed out, and it would
seem reasonable to hope that their efforts may be rewarded by new finds.
The country rock is composed hereabouts of alternating beds of hard
Geology. dark slates and quartzites. Near the head of the canyon the slates are
much distorted and folded, although not much broken; while in the canyon
and above it the formation is more or less regular. There appear to be few, if any, quartz
veins cutting the slates, and certainly none have been found carrying free gold. About a
mile above the canyon, cutting across the river, are two large igneous dykes, parallel and some
few hundred feet apart, running N. 65° E. Where exposed in a tunnel they have a dip of
65° to N. 25° W., the country rock dipping 17° to N. 25° E. These dykes have been traced
from the summit of the mountain to the east of Bull River, across the river and continuing,
seemingly without interruption, to Burnt Bridge Creek. On the most southerly of these
dykes there have been quite a number of claims recorded, and on them more or less work has
Consisting of the following claims, Twilight, Cuckoo and Molly Bawn,
Bull River Group, owned by Geo. Watson, Fort Steele; Geo. Huggarth, Elko ; and Jay
Usher, Fort Steele. Situated on the east side of Bull River, about one
mile above the old pack bridge, and reached by the old placer pack trail.
The country rock is composed of shales and quartzites dipping N. 25° E. at an angle of
17 degrees. The measures are cut by the two large igneous dykes, probably porphery, some
400 or 500 feet apart, parallel and in a general east and west direction, dipping nearly
Twilight mineral claim has been located on the line of the south dyke where it crosses
the river, and the claim lies about half on each side of the stream, extending up the slopes.
Development is confined to the eastern slope. In addition to certain surface exposures, there
have been two tunnels started—the first or lower tunnel near the river level (elevation, 2,600
feet) driven some 30 feet, and the second a little farther up the hill driven about 20 feet.
Both tunnels were on the dyke, nearly in its centre, and ran with it. In each there were
observable signs of slight mineralization, chiefly galena, but, so far as I could see, not showing
up in any quantity.
The Cuckoo mineral claim is an extension of the former claim to the north-east, and
higher up the hill on the same dyke. Here a 50-foot tunnel has been run in on the dyke N.
65° E., started on a surface showing of apparently some 12 to 15 inches of mixed sulphides—
galena with copper and iron pyrites, which I am told assayed 6% copper, 64 oz. silver, and
$12.00 in gold. Such mineralization as may have been near the surface, however, does not
appear to have lasted, for the face of the tunnel is now in solid dyke matter with little, if any,
showing of mineral.
The Molly Bawn mineral claim lies still further to the north-east and up the hill from the
last named claim, and is located on the same dyke. Here a cross-cut tunnel of some ten feet
in length has been driven into the dyke from a surface exposure, but so far has shown up
nothing of value.
At no point on these claims lias any attempt been made to determine whether the line of
contact between dyke and country rock is mineralized. 1006 Report of the Minister of Mines. 1898
To the westward of the river there has been a succession of locations made on the line of
the dyke, which is distinctly marked, and forms the crest of a line of foothills running nearly
parallel to the main range. These claims extend over the height of land into the water-shed
of Burnt Bridge Creek and, as far as I was able to trace them over the wooded hillside, they
are on the same dyke as noted on the eastern side of the river. None of the claims were being
worked at the time of my visit, June 27th, and it is quite possible I may have missed some of
Lying directly to the south-west of the Twilight mineral claim are a couple of claims, the
names of which I could not obtain, the notices on the stakes being indistinct.
To the south-west of these again we have in succession the Mabel and Ghickamon Stone,
and over the ridge on Burnt Bridge Creek are the Daisy Fraction, Silver Chief, Silver Reef,
Silver Buckeye and a number more which, as yet, are nothing more than locations with little
or no work done on them that I could find.
Owners, Johnson and Roberson, of Fort Steele; situated on west side
Mabel Mineral of Bull River. The dyke at this point seems to be nearly vertical, and to
Claim. have swung around somewhat to the right, A quartz ledge crosses it, but
does not seem to have cut the country rock. There is a small open cut on
the dyke in which there is a small quantity of copper pyrites showing, but not in quantity as
yet. The dyke matter is said to carry gold in places, but not to any high values, and development is such as to really show up nothing as regards the property.
A south-west extension of the Mabel, and belonging to the same
Chickamon Stone owners. At an elevation of some 3,600 feet there is an open cut of some
Mineral Claim. 10 feet cross-cutting the dyke. At the end of this cut, in the sidehill, a
shaft has been sunk about 10 feet deep, which was filled with water at the
time of my visit. In a second open cut, some few feet above the shaft, there is a 10-inch
quartz vein which, from the surface, would appear to be dipping right into the shaft, but such
examination as I was able to make of the shaft failed to show that the vein continued. This
small vein contained copper ore, as carbonates and sulphides, of good quality as far as they
went, but the vein did not appear to continue. Some 400 feet south-west from the shaft and
100 feet higher up a small amount of work has also been done stripping the surface. This has
exposed a larger and more permanent quartz lead, running with and in the dyke, and also
another lead of some 12 inches cutting across the dyke. In both of these the quartz shows
patches of galena, but nothing permanent. Still further to the south-west, and near the
discovery post, there is another small shaft, about 6 feet deep, sunk on the dyke, and showing
small quantities of galena in iron oxides.
BURNT BRIDGE CREEK.
The claims located on this creek, so far as I could find, seem to be all on the extension of
the dyke which crosses over from the Bull River Valley, and are practically a continuation of
the claims of that District.
Held by Thos. Bevans, of Little Bull River. Elevation, 3,700 feet.
Daisy Fraction. There are on this property some half-dozen small pits and cuts from 4 to 6
feet deep, exposing what appears to be a fairly well-defined quartz vein,
some 8 to 12 inches wide, carrying small quantities of galena. The development is
unsatisfactory, and proves nothing. 62 Vict. Report of the Minister of Mines. 1007
Still to the south-west, on the line of the dyke, there is a group of
Silver Chief three claims, Silver Reef, Silver Chief and Silver Buckeye, held by Dave
Group. Griffith, of Wild Horse Creek, Fort Steele. They are at an elevation of
about 3,600 feet, and the assessment work has been done on these claims as
No work has been done on the first named claim, which lies in between the Daisy and
the next mentioned. Towards the north-east end of the Silver Chief the dyke has been
exposed by a shallow open cut, in which a pit. some 6 feet deep, has been sunk. The cut
shows a deposit of iron, some 2 feet thick, which has the appearance of being an " iron
capping," and which lies over an exposed quartz vein very similar to that in the other claims,
except that it carries a greater proportion of iron. On the Silver Buckeye, an extension of
the Silver Chief, a cross-cut tunnel has been driven 100 feet into the dyke. About ten feet
from its mouth there is a layer of iron oxide, perhaps 2 feet thick, apparently laying on the
face of the dyke. From this point the tunnel penetrates solid dyke matter, not mineralized,
until just at the face a quartz vein was cut 10 inches wide, which carries some iron sulphides.
About 150 feet to the south-west of the tunnel there is a shaft 15 feet deep, which was filled
with water, and which I could not consequently examine. The dump, however, showed
indications that an iron oxide capping had been cut, but I could not find anything in sight of
Made up of the following claims : Richmond Hill, Last Chance, Last
Dibble Group. Chance Extension and Beaver, General and Foster Fractions. Owners,
Geo. E. Foster, of Ottawa, and C. M. Keep, of Fort Steele. Superintendent, B. Hodge, Fort Steele.
These claims are situated in the Dibble Basin, at the head of Lost Creek, a small creek
flowing S.W. from the Rockies down into the valley of the Kootenay River, where it
disappears underground at a point 5 or 6 miles below Fort Steele, near " Norbray's Ranch."
The property is reached from Fort Steele by a good Government waggon road to Johnson's
Cabin, some six miles; thence, a good but very steep trail, some four miles in length, runs up
the narrow can