The former Emancipation mine is located 1 kilometre west of the Coquihalla River, between Fifteen Mile and Ladner creeks. Hope, British Columbia is located about 15 kilometres to the southwest.
In 1910, the construction of the Kettle Valley railway opened the area to prospecting and mineral exploration. This led to the discovery and staking of the Emancipation claim in 1913. Intermittent production occurred at the Emancipation gold mine between 1916 and 1941. By 1921, a considerable amount of underground development work had been carried out and a 5-stamp mill installed with a 4.53 tonne per day capacity. The operator at this time was Liberator Mining Co. Between 1922 and 1933 ownership changed hands several times, with Dawson Gold Mines Ltd. the main operator. Kettle Valley Gold Mine Ltd. conducted limited work in 1937. The mill operated at 22.68 tonnes per day with ore mined from the No. 2 level. In 1971, Aquarius Resources Ltd. restaked the Emancipation as the Hope claim group and renewed exploration on the property. In 1972, the underground workings were surveyed, mapped and sampled. Surface geological mapping was carried out in 1973. From 1976 to 1976, an extensive surface exploration was carried out under the supervision of Cochrane Consultants Ltd. In 1980, an all-weather road was constructed and further underground mapping and sampling was carried out. A surface and underground drilling program was carried out in 1981 by Aquarius Resources Ltd. Underground drilling consisted of 31 drillholes, totalling 1177 metres. Surface drilling consisted of 10 drillholes, totalling 901 metres. No further work was conducted until 1991-1992 under option from Anglo Swiss Mining Corp. by Homegold Resources Ltd. Considerable underground refurbishing was conducted on the Nos. 3 and 4 levels. Three underground drillholes were completed, totalling 81.38 metres.
In the area of the Emancipation mine, sedimentary rocks of the Lower and Middle Jurassic Ladner Group are separated from the Coquihalla Serpentine Belt to the west by a fractured, elongate slice of greenstone, 100 to 180 metres wide, of the Triassic Spider Peak Formation. The Ladner rocks are generally overturned, west dipping and east facing; the unconformity between them and the Spider Peak Formation is poorly exposed and has been faulted and sheared. The Ladner rocks consist of slaty argillites, siltstones, wacke and clastic limestone.
The East Hozameen fault system in the mine area dips steeply east and apparently involves two generations of fracturing. The oldest set strikes northerly and is offset 250 metres left-laterally by a younger northwest-striking fault along Tangent Creek.
The Emancipation mine was developed by five adits (adits 1-4 and A) that were concentrated along a series of gold-bearing quartz +/- carbonate veins that cut the Spider Peak Formation. These veins were the principal ore source of the mine. However, two of the lower workings (adits 3 and 4) were driven on a talc-bearing zone within the Hozameen fault which was apparently barren. In 1933, a drift on the No. 4 level intersected a 3.35-metre wide vein directly beneath the ore zone in the No. 2 winze. The central part contained abundant sulphides and a chip sample across 2.44 metres yielded 13.71 grams per tonne gold and 3.43 grams per tonne silver (Assessment Report 23492). A picked sample from the face yielded 72.68 grams per tonne gold (Assessment Report 23492).
Outcrops of massive to highly sheared talc are seen in Tangent Creek. Both drilling and underground workings indicate the talc-bearing fault zone is locally several metres wide.
There are essentially three sets of quartz +/- carbonate veins at the mine. These include the Boulder vein and the Dike vein, separated by a set of irregular, reverse dipping flat veins. Both the Dike and Boulder veins typically follow reverse fractures and vary markedly in attitude and character along strike and with depth. The flat veins apparently follow second order sigmoidal tension fractures.
The flat veins comprise numerous thin quartz +/- calcite veinlets, irregular lenses and stringer networks together with at least three more prominent quartz veins. They strike north to northwest, are from 0.5 to 20 centimetres wide and dip 20 to 45 degrees east. They are splays from the overlying, gently inclined Dike vein, but quickly pinch out with depth. The veins consist of quartz with calcite, plagioclase, gypsum and sulphides together with some free gold.
On the surface, close to adit 2, the Boulder vein strikes northerly and follows the faulted contact between the Spider Creek Formation and the Ladner Group. Farther north, the vein system splays, swings to a northeasterly strike and is locally hosted entirely within Ladner rocks. It is the widest vein on the property, varying between 0.5 and 4.6 metres in width, and dipping from 50 to 65 degrees west. It contains mainly milky to clear massive quartz, and minor amounts of calcite. The vein carries sporadic traces of disseminated pyrite, arsenopyrite and chalcopyrite, but little or no gold. Locally, the margins of the Boulder vein grade outward into brecciated zones up to 3 metres wide. These comprise fragments of Ladner rock with disseminated sulphides set in a vein matrix which contains minor to trace amounts of albite, calcite, dolomite, siderite, gypsum, pyrrhotite and marcasite.
Underground drilling on the Boulder vein system in the 1980s intersected sulphides along the margins of the vein, predominantly on the hangingwall. In decreasing order of abundance, sulphides consisted of disseminated pyrrhotite, pyrite, chalcopyrite and arsenopyrite. The Boulder vein system changes character downdip and along strike from a more massive quartz vein to a quartz stringer with pervasive silicification. The sulphide content also increases downdip and occur as a silica-sulphide replacement zone. Tuffaceous sediments in the hangingwall also contain more sulphides downdip. During drilling, visible gold was noted in at least three areas of replacement and appeared to be associated with arsenopyrite. The best intersections from underground drillholes were from drillholes U-15 and U-19. The 1.4-metre interval between 23.9 and 25.3 metres from drillhole U-15 yielded 20.57 grams per tonne gold (Assessment Report 23492). The 1.6-metre interval between 14.6 and 16.2 metres from drillhole U-19 yielded 17.14 grams per tonne gold (Assessment Report 23492).
Surface drilling north of the Emancipation mine was conducted to delineate geological contacts, structures, quartz veins and mineralization. The drillholes intersected similar structures and rock types intersected in underground drilling, favourable for sulphide replacement zones but no significant altered or mineralized zones were found.
Locally, the greenstones in the hangingwall of the Boulder vein are intensely silicified over widths of 1 to 4 metres, and contain disseminated carbonate, pyrite, pyrrhotite, arsenopyrite and chalcopyrite, but no gold. Drilling during the 1980s by Aquarius Resources indicates that this hangingwall alteration persists at depth, but the Boulder vein quickly pinches out downdip. A sample taken of altered wallrock yielded 820 parts per billion of tellurium, suggesting the presence of tellurides in the system (Bulletin 79, page 45).
The Dike vein was probably the most important source of ore as it was stoped for 85 metres along strike and over 40 metres downdip. It strikes north and varies from 1 to 60 centimetres in width, the dip varying with depth. In the upper mine workings, the Dike vein dips 45 degrees west, but with increasing depth the dip flattens out until it becomes a gently undulating, subhorizontal structure. Also with increasing depth, the vein splits into several subparallel veins and veinlets of quartz and/or calcite. The system follows a strongly sheared chloritic fault zone. The vein contains small specks of gold along with pyrrhotite, arsenopyrite, pyrite, chalcopyrite and marcasite. The vein also contains nodules of pink albite, and enargite has been observed locally. Early reports state that free gold occurred in spectacular amounts.
For further details on the Coquihalla gold belt and the Emancipation mine, readers are referred to Bulletin 79, from which most of the above information was taken. A good description of the workings completed up to 1937 may be found in a report by Schofield and Orr (Property File).
The Emancipation gold mine was active between 1916 and 1941 producing 18,818 grams of silver, 90,104 grams of gold, 61 kilograms of lead and 85 kilograms of zinc from a total of 1158 tonnes mined.