The Silver Chief prospect is on the northeast side of Index Creek, a minor tributary of Gainer Creek, which flows to the southwest into Lardeau Creek. The Silver Chief property was originally composed of a linear, northwest trending, belt of crown granted mineral claims that ran parallel to those hosting the White Quail [082KNW037], Hidden Treasure [082KNW106] and Index [082KNW038] prospects. The Silver Chief No.2 (L.6476) grant was at approximately 2050 metres elevation, in the same cirque as the Index (L.3956). The other claims in the Silver Chief group extended downhill towards the northwest. Since their reversion, the ground has been covered by several different claim groups, including the May.
Although the Silver Chief occurrence was first mentioned in 1897, and a 24.4 metre adit was driven on it the following year, very little work appears to have been done prior to the 1950s, when Sampson Mining Corporation acquired the property. The company did some test pitting; however, it was involved in an ownership dispute and the claims lapsed. They were restaked as the May 1-6 tenures in 1958 and rapidly passed through many different hands. By 1962, there were three adits, a small cut and a dozen or more small pits and trenches on the property. At that time, the upper adit, which is at 2133 metres elevation, was partially caved. The next lowest is at 2051 metres elevation, and the third, lowest, is at 2028 metres elevation.
The Silver Chief property was owned by Tacoma Resources Limited in the late 1970s. The company attempted to follow the mineralized zones by means of a VLF-EM geophysical survey but were unable to do so.
The Trout Lake area is underlain by a thick succession of sedimentary and volcanic rocks of the Badshot Formation and Lardeau Group near the northern end of the Kootenay arc, an arcuate, north to northwest trending belt of Paleozoic and Mesozoic strata that is now classified as a distinct, pericratonic, terrane. The arc rocks are bordered by Precambrian quartzite in the east and they young to the west, where they are bounded by Jurassic-age intrusive complexes. They were deformed during the Antler orogeny in Devonian-Mississippian time and were refolded and faulted during the Columbian orogeny, in the Middle Jurassic. A large panel, the "Selkirk allochthon", was later offset to the northeast by dip-slip motion along the Columbia River Fault.
The Badshot Formation is composed of a thick Cambrian limestone that is a distinctive marker horizon in the Trout Lake area. It is underlain by Hamill Group quartzite and it is overlain by a younger assemblage of limestone, calcareous, graphitic and siliceous argillite and siltstone, sandstone, quartzite and conglomerate, and also mafic volcanic flows, tuffs and breccias, all of which belong to the Lardeau Group. The rocks are isoclinally folded and intensely deformed, but only weakly metamorphosed. They occur as intercalated beds of marble, quartzite and grey, green and black phyllite and schist. Fyles and Eastwood (EMPR BULL 45) subdivided the group into six formations (Index, Triune, Ajax, Sharon Creek, Jowett and Broadview) of which the lowermost (Index) and uppermost (Broadview) are the most widespread. The Triune (siliceous argillite), Ajax (quartzite) and Sharon Creek (siliceous argillite) are restricted to the Trout Lake area. The Jowett is a mafic volcanic unit.
The Silver Chief is in a similar stratigraphic and structural setting to the White Quail [082KNW037], Hidden Treasure [082KNW106] and Index [082KNW038] prospects; however, the rocks are lower down in the structural section. The tenures are underlain by grey carbonate and green phyllite and metatuff of the Index Formation. They are tightly folded and highly deformed, and both bedding and schistocity strike to the northwest and dip steeply to the southwest.
The workings show numerous sites where Lade (or "Molly Mac") limestone is mineralized with galena. In some localities, the galena is massive and occurs in narrow veins that pinch and swell in fresh limestone. However, it is more often found disseminated in bleached, siderite altered, structurally deformed limestone. There is a small cut, east of the upper adit, that shows an exposure of highly contorted limestone that is seemingly interbedded with green phyllite. At this locality, the mineralization appears to be controlled by small drag folds, plunging 15 degrees to the east, at the northeast contact of the limestone. The limestone is partially replaced by siderite, quartz and galena, which are particularly well developed in the cores of the folds and pinch out in the adjacent limbs. The greatest concentration of galena appears to be in a 0.25 metre wide band passing through the trough of a small syncline. A sample across 1.0 metre of "the largest section of galena mineralization" at the showing assayed no gold, 96 grams per tonne silver, 16.16 per cent lead and 0.02 per cent zinc. Two samples were collected across the same zone in 1960. One assayed 0.51 grams per tonne gold, 94.3 grams per tonne silver, 16.7 per cent lead and trace of zinc over 1.22 metres. The other averaged 0.51 grams per tonne gold, 54.86 grams per tonne silver, 12.25 per cent lead and a trace of zinc. The second adit is in limestone near its contact with green phyllite on the southwest limb of the northeastern Silver Chief anticline. A lens of siderite on the northwest wall of the adit contains clusters of galena but the zone appears to be cut by a northeasterly trending cross-fault.