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File Created: 24-Jul-1985 by BC Geological Survey (BCGS)
Last Edit:  15-Aug-1996 by Keith J. Mountjoy (KJM)

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NMI 082E6 Ag1
Name BEAVER (L.2342), HIGHLAND-BELL, BEAVERDELL Mining Division Greenwood
BCGS Map 082E045
Status Past Producer NTS Map 082E06E
Latitude 049º 25' 45'' UTM 11 (NAD 83)
Longitude 119º 03' 44'' Northing 5477210
Easting 350469
Commodities Silver, Lead, Zinc, Gold Deposit Types I05 : Polymetallic veins Ag-Pb-Zn+/-Au
Tectonic Belt Omineca Terrane Quesnel
Capsule Geology

The Beaver (Lot 2342) past producer is located 2.5 kilometres west-northwest of the summit of Mount Wallace and 2.0 kilometres east-southeast of Beaverdell, British Columbia (Assessment Report 16772). The claim was amalgamated with the Highland-Bell (Beaverdell) mine in 1938. The Beaver mine (082ESW030) was one of the few occurrences hosted in the Wallace Formation with sufficient volume and grade of mineralization to support extensive mining.

Initial prospecting began in the Beaverdell area in the late 1880s. The first ore was shipped in 1896. The major producing mines in the Beaverdell silver-lead-zinc vein camp, from west to east, were the Wellington (082ESW072), Sally and Rob Roy (082ESW073), Beaver (082ESW040), and Bell (082ESW030), with numerous other small workings throughout the area.

A high-grade orebody was first discovered in a 4.5 by 3.0 by 1.8 metre deep opencut on the Beaver claim in 1901. In 1903, the claim was Crown granted to J.T. Bell and D. Murray. By 1917, the property was owned by J. Sutherland who discovered a second vein in a 15-metre tunnel and a 3 by 3 metre opencut. The veins lie along the projected strike of veins on the adjacent Rob Roy claim (082ESW073). In 1925, the claim was leased and bonded to R. Clothier and associates, who began systematic mining along shear-hosted veins. The claim was leased and bonded to Beaver Silver Mines Ltd. from the Hallet estate and associates in 1926 and 1927. Work was suspended in 1932 due to a failure to find faulted extensions of mineralized veins. More mineralization was discovered in the Sutherland tunnel in 1933 and the 15-metre level was extended. By 1938, control of the claim was taken over by Highland-Bell Ltd. while operated by H.S. Nordman and associates under a two year lease. A lease was given to C. Staples on the dumps in 1939. Operation was intermittent until 1949 when the old Beaver shaft was rehabilitated and diamond drilling was done from the bottom of the No. 3 tunnel. In 1968, a new 116-metre drift was tunnelled under the old Beaver workings. Past development included a 16.3 metres west inclined shaft trending 030 degrees, an east 47.2-metre shaft trending 068 degrees, 376 metres of drifts and crosscuts, 50.2 metres of raises, opencuts and trenches up to 24 metres long and 3.6 metres deep, downslope in a south direction until faulting displaced mineralized veins. The main No. 3 tunnel trends southeast and intersected a faulted shear zone and was tunnelled to within 1.2 metres of the Bell claim (082ESW030). An upraise also cut the shear zone with high-grade ore below the Sutherland tunnel. The Beaverdell mine (082ESW030) which adjoins the Beaver mine to the north, has extended its underground workings to the Beaver claim.

Granodiorite of the Westkettle batholith underlies most of the area. It has been intruded by small quartz monzonite porphyry stocks including the Beaverdell, Tuzo Creek, Eugene Creek and Carmi stocks. Other granitic porphyry stocks that intrude the Westkettle batholith are the Beaverdell porphyry. These have been dated by potassium- argon methods as Eocene (Watson, P.H., 1981): Genesis and zoning of silver-gold veins in the Beaverdell area, south-central British Columbia; Leary, G.M., 1970): Petrology and structure of the Tuzo Creek molybdenite prospect near Penticton, British Columbia and Exploration in British Columbia 1995, pages 124-126. The Westkettle batholith has been correlated with the Nelson intrusions that has been dated by potassium-argon and uranium-lead methods as Middle Jurassic. The Westkettle batholith contains remnants of pendants and/or screens of metamorphosed Wallace Formation. The Wallace Formation is believed to be correlative with the upper sections of the Carboniferous to Permian Anarchist Group. Lithologies include metamorphosed andesitic tuffs and lavas, hornblende diorite porphyries, olivine gabbro and hornblendite, hornfels and minor limestone. The contact between the Wallace Formation and the Westkettle batholith is sinuous, trending north with gentle east dips. These are unconformably overlain by Oligocene tuffs and conglomerates and Miocene plateau basalts. Westkettle granodiorite or Beaverdell quartz monzonite are the dominant hostrocks. Mineralization rarely extends into the Wallace Formation to the east.

A series of dikes, ranging in composition from quartz latite and quartz monzonite porphyries to hornblende andesite porphyries, are found throughout the area. In the Beaverdell camp, fine-grained, brown andesite dikes, referred to as Wellington-type dikes, are believed to be pre-mineralization. One of these was dated by potassium-argon methods at 61.6 +/- 2.2 Ma (Watson, P.H., 1981). Quartz latite dikes are referred to as Idaho-type dikes and thought to be syn or post-mineralization. One of these has given a potassium-argon age of 50.6 +/- 1.5 Ma (Watson, P.H., 1981).

Beaverdell silver-rich veins are found in a 3.0 by 0.8 kilometre belt, referred to as the Beaverdell silver-lead-zinc vein camp. The mineralized veins are fissure-hosted, formed along east-trending faults in the west portion of the Beaverdell camp, and northeast- trending faults in the east portion of the camp. In general, quartz breccia veins and stockworks are so complex that continuous mineralized sections are a maximum of a few metres before being faulted or disrupted. Nevertheless, some mineralized zones have been found that extend up to 150 metres horizontally. Faults have been classified into five types based on their orientation, with each type having common orientation, kind of movement and age relationship: (1) high angle, north-striking normal faults, (2) low angle, north-trending strike-slip faults, (3) northeast-striking, high angle normal faults (terminal faults), (4) northeast-trending 'slice' faults and (5) crossfaults. The northeast-striking, high angle normal faults pose the greatest obstacle to systematic exploration and mining, as these faults are commonly spaced a few metres apart dividing veins into short segments in a northwest-downward direction.

Vein-type mineralization of the Beaverdell camp is characterized by a high silver content. Mineralization is composed of galena, sphalerite and pyrite with lesser amounts of arsenopyrite, tetrahedrite, pyrargyrite, chalcopyrite, polybasite, acanthite, native silver and pyrrhotite. The gangue minerals in veins are mainly quartz with lesser amounts of calcite, fluorite and sericite with rare barite. 'Ore ground' has been described as propylitic altered granodiorite, quartz diorite and quartz monzonite of the Westkettle batholith, up to 15 metres wide. These zones are characterized by sericite, clay minerals, chlorite, calcite, epidote and hematite. The fault-bounded veins commonly have a banded texture defined by outer, crudely parallel sulphide stringers. The wallrocks are brecciated and sheared over 30 to 150 centimetres width adjacent to veins. Weak sericite alteration of feldspars is pervasive in the Westkettle batholith.

The interpretation of galena lead-lead isotope age data coupled with geometrical and age relationships between dikes and veins suggests mineralization was formed around 50 Ma, coeval with Eocene stocks (Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, Vol. 19, No. 6, pages 1264-1274, 1982).

The Beaver mine (Lot 2342) adjoins the Beaverdell mine (082ESW030) on the south and the Sally mine (082ESW073) on the west. Mineralized quartz veins up to 2.1 metres in width occupy a shear zone along a fault in Westkettle granodiorite and in the northeast portion of the claim, lavas and volcanic tuffs of the Wallace Formation. The fault strikes 055 degrees with steep to vertical dips to the south. Propylitic alteration is found in the wallrock up to 8 metres from the vein. Thin section studies show amphiboles almost entirely converted to chlorite and feldspars replaced by clay and calcite. The main vein is rarely continuous due to closely spaced north striking, west dipping normal faults that chop the vein into short segments.

Mineralization consists of segregations of galena, sphalerite, pyrite, argentite, native silver, arsenopyrite and occasional other silver sulphides in a gangue of mainly quartz with minor calcite. Segregations are up to 1.8 metres long and have been traced by opencuts and trenches for 152 metres. Mineralization hosted in the Wallace Formation was considered low-grade, although high-grade ore was found in the drag of the fault and along a flat-lying fault near the face of the east shaft. Here, the ore zone was 1.02 metres wide by approximately 11.0 metres long. The zone hosted four pay streaks, two of which were 30 centimetres long and one which was 15 centimetres wide. A 1.8 metre (chip/channel?) sample taken in 1928 yielded 3086 grams per tonne silver (Minister of Mines Annual Report 1928, page C254). High-grade ore pinches to 15 centimetres near the centre of the stoped area but widens to 6.1 metres at the northeast end. The orebody followed the host fault, striking 055 degrees and dipping vertical or steeply northwest or southeast.

Most ore was mined from the upper workings, including surface opencuts and trenches. Total recorded production from the Beaver mine was 1008 tonnes intermittently between 1925 and 1939. Recovery totalled 5,286,110 grams of silver, 1088 grams of gold, 55,134 kilograms of lead and 85,275 kilograms of zinc.

EMPR AR 1901-1143; 1903-H246; 1917-F204; 1925-A206,A207; *1926-A206- A208; 1927-C232; *1928-C253,C254; 1929-C262; 1932-A126; 1933-A153; 1934-A25,A29; 1935-A25,D14; 1937-A36,D34; 1938-D40; 1939-A36,A93, A94; 1940-A79; 1943-A38; *1949-A138-A148; 1968-224
EMPR ASS RPT 16771, 16772
EMPR GEM 1974-57,58
EMPR GEOLOGY 1975, p. G30, Fig.G-17
EMPR OF 1989-5
EMP MP CORPFILE (Highland-Bell Mines Ltd.; Highland Lass Ltd.; Mastadon-Highland Bell Mines Ltd.; Leitch Mines Ltd.; Beaver Silver Mines Ltd.; Sally Mines Ltd.; Teck Corp.)
GSC MAP 538A; 539A; 37-21; 15-1961; 1736A
GSC MEM *79, 178 pp.
GSC OF 481; 637; 1505A; 1565; 1969
GSC P 37-21
CJES *Vol. 19, No. 6, pp. 1264-1274, 1984
*Watson, P.H. (1981): Genesis and Zoning of Silver-Gold Veins in the Beaverdell Area, south-central British Columbia, M.Sc. Thesis, University of British Columbia, 156 pp.