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File Created: 24-Jul-1985 by BC Geological Survey (BCGS)
Last Edit:  23-Feb-2008 by Karl A. Flower (KAF)

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NMI 082E4 Sia1
Name GYPO (L.3098S), BALLARET (L.3099S), OLIVER SILICA, PACIFIC SILICA Mining Division Osoyoos
BCGS Map 082E013
Status Past Producer NTS Map 082E04E
Latitude 049º 11' 45'' UTM 11 (NAD 83)
Longitude 119º 33' 34'' Northing 5452379
Easting 313540
Commodities Silica, Fluorite, Mica, Gold, Silver, Copper, Feldspar Deposit Types O04 : Feldspar-quartz pegmatite
O03 : Muscovite pegmatite
I06 : Cu+/-Ag quartz veins
I02 : Intrusion-related Au pyrrhotite veins
Tectonic Belt Intermontane Terrane Plutonic Rocks, Quesnel
Capsule Geology

The Gypo mine is located on the west side of Highway 97 on the northern outskirts of the town of Oliver. The Gypo Crown Grant (Lot 3098S) was originally staked in 1927 to explore the small amounts of metallic mineralization associated with the quartz veining.

The Gypo pegmatite quartz body occurs within the Jurassic Oliver Plutonic Complex or Oliver granite. This pluton is composed mainly of medium-grained quartz monzonite occurring in three distinct phases; biotite-hornblende quartz monzonite, garnet-muscovite quartz monzonite and porphyritic quartz monzonite. Large quartz veins and plugs, such as the Gypo quartz body, are restricted to a porphyritic quartz monzonite phase. The veins formed mainly by open-space filling although there is some evidence of wallrock replacement.

The quartz body strikes east and dips south at 55 to 60 degrees. At the quarry it has a known strike length of 152 metres, width of 61 metres and approximate true thickness of 85 metres. To the west, a thinner extension of the main body continues for another 90 metres. The hangingwall is a narrow shear zone while the footwall exhibits greisen alteration, consisting of muscovite and lesser quartz, up to 30 metres from the quartz.

Three stages of quartz mineralization are recognized at the deposit. Stage I consists of grey quartz confined to the country rocks, alteration zones and marginal parts of the orebody. Stage II consists of white quartz comprising up to 95 per cent of the quartz. Where stage II quartz is relatively undeformed, quartz crystals up to 2.0 metres diameter by 0.6 metre length are observed. The deposit is therefore classified as a pegmatite quartz deposit. Stage III quartz occurs as thin delicate boxworks.

A series of irregular pods of colourless or light pink to apple green fluorite, up to 2 metres or more in average diameter, are distributed along a zone that more or less parallels the walls of the quartz body. Impurities include coarse-grained muscovite that is intermixed with quartz near the footwall, small pods of sulphides, small amounts of calcite in thin veinlets, seams and locally filling small drusy cavities, and minor manganese stain. Small amounts of pyrite and chalcopyrite were noted sparsely disseminated in the pegmatite vein.

In 1958, four samples were taken across quarry faces and analysed. The results are as follows (Open File 1987-15):


SiO2 Al2O3 Fe

97.40 0.70 0.03

97.48 0.75 0.04

98.12 0.86 0.03

98.78 0.61 0.02

(values are per cent)


A large portion of the silica was used as stucco dash. Small amounts have also been used as special cements, silica flux and poultry grit.

The Gypo occurrence was originally staked as the Gypo (Lot 3098s) and Ballaret (Lot 3099s) Crown granted claims owned by Oliver interests. The claims were purchased by Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company, Ltd. in 1926. Exploration consisted of diamond drilling and driving an adit. A 230-tonne shipment of silica flux was made from the adit. The claims were Crown granted in 1927. Silica flux shipments continued until work ceased in 1943. In 1941, R. McKay optioned the property and mined mica and gold and silver-bearing ore from the Gypo occurrence. It is reported 39 tonnes of gold and silver-bearing ore was made and 95 tonnes of mica were mined from a lens along side of a large quartz vein on another part of the property. Mining for mica continued until 1944. The quarry was operated intermittently before 1953 by the Interior Contracting Co. Ltd. Between July 1953 and March 1955, Stucco Supply Company operated the quarry and crushed silica to minus 0.6 centimetre; it was used as stucco-dash and in ornamental work. In 1955, Pacific Silica Ltd. acquired an option from Cominco Ltd. and produced silica continuously between 1955 and 1968. Annual production ranged from 2059 tonnes in 1955 to 49,406 tonnes ore in 1960. Much of this production was shipped to Washington and Oregon metallurgical plants where ferro-silicon and silicon carbide were produced. Other uses included flux, stucco-dash, roofing rock and sander grit. In 1968, a rock slide occurred and the quarry was closed. Shipments of ore continued from the stockpile until 1977. Dump material was processed for granules for roof rock, stucco, filter sand, nursery, decoration, landscape and driveway materials between 1978 and 1984. Small amounts of fluorspar were mined and shipped between 1958 and 1968. Small shipments of landscaping chips were made in the early 1980s. Ownership of the property changed in 1985 and further shipments were made of dump material in 1986 and 1987.

Recorded production for the Gypo occurrence includes 630,568 tonnes ore milled from which about 629,342 tonnes of silica, 658 tonnes of mica, 339 tonnes of fluorite and 16 tonnes of feldspar were shipped. The amount of gold and silver recovered from 39 tonnes of ore shipped in 1941 is 187 grams and 2426 grams, respectively.

EM OF 1999-3
EMPR AR 1926-219; 1927-482; 1941-25; 1947-220,222; 1953-198;
1954-188; 1955-102; 1956-159; 1957-94-95; *1958-104-106; 1959-201;
1960-155; 1961-157; 1962-164; 1963-152; 1964-207; 1965-276; 1966-
276; 1967-321; 1968-300,331
EMPR BC METAL MM00350 (and industrial mineral production fiche for
granules and silica)
EMPR FIELDWORK *1983, pp. 246-259; 1988, p. 479
EMPR GEM 1969-407; 1970-511; 1971-478; 1972-616
EMPR MAP 65, 1989
EMPR Mineral Market Update July, 1991
EMPR MINING 1975-1980, Vol.1, p. 48; 1981-1985, p. 69; 1986-1987, p.
EMPR MR MAP 7 (1934)
EMPR OF *1987-15, pp. 38-40; 1989-2; 1989-5; 1992-1; 1992-9, 1992-16,
EMPR PF (Sinclair, A.J., Moore, D. and Reinsbakken, A. (1974): Geology of Gypo Quartz Vein)
GSC MAP 6-1957; 341A; 538A; 539A; 541A; 15-1961; 1736A; 2389
GSC MEM 38; 179
GSC OF 481; 637; 1505A; 1565; 1969
GSC P 37-21; 89-1E
Matsen, B.F. (1960): University of British Columbia, B.Sc. Thesis