The former Morning Star mine is located 1.75 kilometres south of Burnell Lake and 4.5 kilometres west of Oliver, British Columbia.
The Morning Star occurrence is part of the Fairview mining camp, one of the oldest in British Columbia. The earliest lode vein discoveries were made in the late 1880s with the earliest claims staked prior to 1891. By 1933, the Morning Star claim group consisted of 10 claims: Morning Star (Lot 443), Morning Star Fraction, Evening Star (Lot 543), Evening Star Fraction, August (Lot 1050), Black Diamond (Lot 578), Duchess, Ocean Wave (Lot 854), Star and Princess. The Reco and Quartz Queen claims are associated with the Morning Star occurrence and were reported to have been explored by 15-metre tunnels in 1896.
This claim was one of the first to be developed in the Fairview mining camp. The earliest work is believed to have been conducted on the South vein. The Morning Star occurrence occurs at the lowest elevation in the Fairview mining camp, the main shaft collar being 244 metres lower than the adits at the Stemwinder occurrence (082ESW007).
The Morning Star occurrence lies within the Okanagan Terrane of the Intermontane tectonic belt. Polydeformed and regionally metamorphosed rocks of the Carboniferous to Permian Kobau Group dominantly underlie the area. Highly deformed, low grade metamorphic quartzite, phyllite, schist, greenstone and marble comprise the main units of a 1900-metre structure succession. Three phases of fold have been identified in the Kobau Group rocks. The initial phase of folding was coincident with pre-Jurassic regional metamorphism, whereas later phases of folding are related to intrusive activity. The main intrusions in the Fairview camp are the Jurassic Oliver granite and the Jurassic to Cretaceous Fairview granodiorite. The Oliver pluton is heterogeneous and is composed of biotite-hornblende granite, porphyritic biotite granite, garnet-muscovite granite, porphyritic quartz monzonite and syenite. Other intrusive phases cutting the Kobau Group metasediments and volcanics include aplite dikes, granitic, dioritic and mafic stocks, auriferous quartz veins related to Jurassic intrusions and Tertiary northeast-trending mafic dikes.
Auriferous quartz veins occur along a strike length of 4 kilometres within the Fairview mining camp, with three main areas being mined between 1895 and 1961. The veins are hosted in all rock types but are thickest and most continuous where they occur in the quartzites of the Kobau Group. Some significant veining also occurs within the intrusive bodies. Tertiary faults crosscut all lithologies including the quartz veins.
The Morning Star mine area is underlain by a northwest trending sequence of quartzite layers separated by biotite-rich layers overlain by a mafic unit consisting of chloritic mica schists with minor interbedded quartzose layers. A series of dacite porphyry dikes and sills occur parallel to foliation. The stratigraphy is tightly squeezed and strongly foliated at 100 to 130 degrees between the Oliver Plutonic Complex granite to the north and the Fairview intrusion granodiorite to the south-southwest. Dips are to the northeast at 50 to 65 degrees. Regional foliation (S1) trends 130 degrees and parallels the quartz veins. A later fracture cleavage (S2), trends 000 degrees to 020 degrees and dips 50 to 70 degrees west. Faulting of at least two separate ages is common throughout the area. The oldest faults parallel the regional foliation. They are commonly graphitic, usually filled with clay and/or sand gouge and often have associated caving. Direction of movement has not been determined. A large number of younger faults, possibly Tertiary in age, are also common.
Mineralization is confined to a quartz vein system which is generally conformable to penetrative fabrics developed in the Kobau Group hostrocks and display a variety of early ductile and later brittle deformation features. The vein system has been traced over 4 kilometres from the Morning Star northwest to the former Stemwinder mine (082ESW007) and the former Fairview mine (082ESW008). The veining consists of two dominant veins, often with a third or fourth present. They occur in the quartzite sequence, usually near the Fairview intrusion granodiorite contact. Individual veins reach up to 9.1 metres thick and pinch and swell both along strike and downdip. The East vein was found to be faulted above the No. 1 level.
Fluid inclusion and stable isotope studies at the Morning Star occurrence indicate mesothermal fluids were responsible for mineralization events. The fluids are characterized by a high carbon dioxide content, temperatures of 280 to 330 degrees Celsius, salinities of 4 to 6 weight per cent NaCl and oxygen del 18 values of 4 to 6 per mil (relative to standard mean ocean water). The mineralization occurred at depths of 3 to 4 kilometres.
At the former Morning Star mine two quartz veins, the West (Main) vein and East vein, are 27 to 61 metres apart and occur locally concordant to the regional foliation but cut lithologic contacts at very low angles. The veins are fractured and irregular with quartz stringers and iron oxide staining in opencuts and outcrop. The principal vein, the West vein, strikes 315 degrees and dips 45 to 55 degrees northeast and outcrops just west of the main shaft. It has a maximum width of 9.1 metres and has been traced over about 76 metres on surface and in underground workings. The East vein is northeast of and parallel to the West vein and has been traced over 427 metres on surface and in underground workings. The vein width is considerably variable; the maximum being about 4.2 metres. Locally it consists of several quartz stringers comprising a zone 0.6 metre wide.
Mineralization includes pyrite, visible gold, sphalerite and galena in a gangue of blue quartz. Gold and silver values are closely associated with the presence of galena and sphalerite and appear to increase with depth. However, spectacular gold values were reported near surface in 1930 (Minister of Mines Annual Report 1930, page A219). For the most part, the highest gold and silver values occur in the hangingwall parts of the veins associated with bunches and narrow bands of galena and sphalerite over widths of 1.2 to 1.5 metres, although significant values have been obtained throughout the vein. Elsewhere, mineralization is disseminated.
In 1930, rough general sampling across 38 to 152 centimetres from underground workings were reported to yield from 2.74 grams per tonne gold and 43.88 grams per tonne silver to 24.00 grams per tonne gold and 153.60 grams per tonne silver (Minister of Mines Annual Report 1930, page A219). In 1933, several samples were taken from the 200 level of the West shaft area on the East vein. The average yield of these samples was 9.86 grams per tonne gold and 40.11 grams per tonne silver over the width of the drift and along 54.9 metres length (Minister of Mines Annual Report 1933, page A165).
By 1934, 6 ore shoots had been discovered. The first orebody commences 15 metres north of the main shaft on the 101 level and extended 44 metres along a 1.4-metre wide drift. The average grade, based on ore shipped, was 21.60 grams per tonne gold (Minister of Mines Annual Report 1934, page D13). The second shoot was located 19.8 metres south of the main shaft, was 22.86 metres long and averaged 1.16 metres wide. The ore averaged 22.28 grams per tonne gold (Minister of Mines Annual Report 1934, page D13). The third shoot occurred 97.5 metres north of the main shaft, was 3.65 metres long and averaged 1.5 metres wide. The average gold grade of this ore shoot was 8.57 grams per tonne gold (Minister of Mines Annual Report 1934, page D13). The fourth shoot was 164.6 metres north of the main shaft. The shoot was 13.40 metres long and averaged 3.96 metres wide, producing gold values averaging 12.68 grams per tonne gold (Minister of Mines Annual Report 1934, page D13). The sixth ore shoot was discovered in 1934 and its length is unknown. The average width was 1.8 metres and face samples yielded 39.77 grams per tonne gold (Minister of Mines Annual Report 1934, page D13). A composite of 6 channel samples across 10.05 metres of quartz vein on No. 1 level assayed 11.07 grams per tonne gold and 30.50 grams per tonne silver (Property File - plan map of underground sampling). The date this sample was taken is uncertain, but estimated to be the late 1930s.
In 1991, a diamond-drill hole was completed as part of a 21 drillhole program by Fairview Gold Corp. The hole was drilled to test the continuity of gold mineralization along the Fairview vein system. Both the footwall and main veins were intersected but the hole was stopped short of the hangingwall vein. The footwall vein is interpreted to host high grade gold mineralization at the Morning Star occurrence. The main and hangingwall veins are barren. However, the highest drillhole intersection was over the 4.71 metre interval between 107.49 and 112.2 metres yielding 0.17 gram per tonne gold and 1.71 grams per tonne silver (Assessment Report 21501). The vein was interpreted to correlate with the main vein in underground workings.
A sample taken near the collar of the Black Diamond shaft in 1923 yielded 11.66 grams per tonne gold and 102.86 grams per tonne silver (Minister of Mines Annual Report 1923, page A185).
Preliminary lead isotope studies indicate the mineralization is associated with quartz veins is younger than or as young as the Oliver pluton (circa 155 Ma) (Fieldwork 1988, pages 19-25).
Early production records for the former Morning Star mine are conflicting. However in 1892, 349 tonnes of ore from the Morning Star was tested in the Strathyre mill. The owners of the Morning Star occurrence were Mangott, McEachern and Leferve. The mill was leased in the following year and another 907 tonnes of ore produced 7.25 tonnes of concentrate that was sent to the Tacoma smelter. In 1895, 1814 tonnes was mined and produced 18 tonnes of concentrate. The provincial records report 2450 tonnes of ore milled between 1892 and 1895 (Minister of Mines Annual Report 1897, page 600). In 1898, another 272 tonnes is reported milled at the Joe Dandy mill. By 1923 a 12-metre shaft had been excavated on the Black Diamond claim. In 1932, R. Clothier acquired a three-quarter interest in the Morning Star property. Morning Star (Fairview) Gold Mines, Ltd. acquired the Morning Star claim group and the neighbouring Ontario and Rattler Fraction claims. Several hundred tonnes of gold-rich ore was mined from vein outcrops near the workings. Development work in 1933 included the northwest extension of the drift on the West vein and a crosscut near the face of this northwest drift. The crosscut intersected a 9-metre wide vein. Ore mined from stopes in 1933 was 1439 tonnes which was shipped to smelter. A total of 2406 tonnes of ore was reported milled and shipped in 1934. By 1934, 6 main ore shoots had been discovered. Total underground development work on the East vein consisted of 335 metres of raises and 168 metres of crosscutting. About 5131 tonnes of ore are reported mined in 1935. Another 11,757 tonnes of ore are reported mined and milled in 1936. In 1936, The Morning Star and Fairview mines were amalgamated under Fairview Amalgamated Gold Mines Ltd. Mining and milling continued from 1937 until 1939, when milling was suspended. In 1940 and 1941 mining continued with ore shipments made from the Morning Star and Black Diamond. Production from 1937 to 1939 was from the Fairview. Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company of Canada acquired the property in 1947 and resumed mining of the veins as a source of silica flux for the Trail smelter. Mining ceased in 1961, as the silica flux stockpile at the Trail smelter was sufficient. Silica production is included with the Fairview. Minor gold and silver were recovered from the silica flux. Limited further exploration work was conducted in 1960 by Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company of Canada. Oliver Gold Corp. optioned the former Morning Star mine from Cominco Ltd. in 1986.
Recorded production between 1893 and 1941 from the former Morning Star mine includes 24,975 tonnes mined from which 965,530 grams of silver, 252,687 grams of gold, 926 kilograms of copper, 13,218 kilograms of lead and 1894 kilograms of zinc were recovered. Minor production occurred in 1940 and 1941. The amount of gold recovered between 1893 and 1898 is 103,800 grams; this may include silver recovery.