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File Created: 24-Jul-1985 by BC Geological Survey (BCGS)
Last Edit:  12-May-2016 by Sarah Meredith-Jones (SMJ)

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NMI 092I2 Cu3
BCGS Map 092I026
Status Past Producer NTS Map 092I02W
Latitude 050º 12' 27'' UTM 10 (NAD 83)
Longitude 120º 55' 34'' Northing 5563760
Easting 647983
Commodities Magnetite, Copper, Iron, Silver, Gold Deposit Types K01 : Cu skarn
K03 : Fe skarn
T01 : Tailings
Tectonic Belt Intermontane Terrane Quesnel
Capsule Geology

The Promontory Hills area is underlain by a complex east- northeast trending, steeply dipping volcanic pile of Upper Triassic Nicola Group rocks, bounded to the north by the multistage Early Jurassic-Late Triassic Guichon Creek batholith and unconformably overlain by the Middle and Upper Cretaceous Spences Bridge Group. Most of the area is covered by extensive gravel overburden.

In the vicinity of Craigmont mine, the Border phase of the Guichon Creek batholith varies in composition from quartz diorite to granodiorite. These rocks intrude the Nicola Group, a thick volcanic and sedimentary series of agglomerate, breccia, andesitic flows, limestone, argillite and greywacke. Attitudes parallel the intrusive contact zone. Sediments immediately adjacent to the batholith are hornfelsed quartzofeldspathic greywackes. Spences Bridge Group agglomerates and flows dip approximately 15 degrees to the south and outcrop in the areas south and west of the mine.

The mine lies adjacent to the southern margin of the Guichon Creek batholith. Host rocks to the mineralization are calcareous sedimentary rocks of the Nicola Group comprised of limestones, limy tuffs, greywackes and argillites.

The gross structure at the mine is a large anticline with ore- bearing drag folds on the north limb. These folds plunge 60 to 70 degrees eastward and are often occupied by diorite dykes. The anticline is cut off by a northwest trending fault on the west and an east trending fault on the south. Orebodies lie within a block bounded by these regional faults and the Guichon Creek intrusive.

Alteration mineralogy indicates thermal zoning. Within the hornfelsed zone, greywackes contain biotite and actinolite and limestone is altered to marble. Immediately to the south is a massive actinolite skarn which, in places, is further altered to epidote and garnet (grossularite, andradite).

Three types of alteration are present. First is a zone of potassic alteration with a related (second) distal hornfels. Third is skarn alteration which overprints the potassic alteration and some of the hornfels. The skarn is garnet-epidote-amphibolite in composition with some chlorite, tourmaline and sericite.

Semi-continuous ore is found over a strike length of 900 metres and a vertical depth of 600 metres. The five main orebodies are confined to the limy horizon between walls of greywacke and andesite.

Mineralization consists of magnetite, hematite and chalcopyrite and occur as massive pods, lenses and disseminations extending through the calc-silicate horizon. The body is roughly tabular, trends east and dips near vertically. Minor folding and faulting is present but do not significantly distort the mineralization. Chalcopyrite is associated with, but post-dates the magnetite and commonly encloses the magnetite.

Chalcopyrite is the principal ore mineral and occurs as veins, streaks, patches and coarse disseminations. It was first deposited with magnetite during the development of the actinolite skarn and later with specularite as fracture-fillings and veins. Bornite is present in small amounts. Pyrite is confined to areas of heavy garnet alteration. Approximately 20 per cent of the ore (by weight) is comprised of magnetite and hematite and along with actinolite, epidote, grossularite, andradite, pyrite and minor diopside, occur in the skarn. Supergene minerals, native copper and chalcocite, occur in a narrow oxidized zone immediately above the orebody. The apparent ore controls are favourable host rock, folding and brecciation of host rock, and proximity to the batholith.

The original Craigmont copper mine went into production in 1962, with underground mining ceasing in February 1982 as a result of the falling price of copper. The concentrator remained in operation processing the iron ore stockpiles until November 1982, when it was also shut down.

From the commencement of its operation in 1962 until 1970, Craigmont Mines Limited did not recover the magnetite in its milling process, and on a material-balance basis there is estimated to be in the order of 5 million tonnes of magnetite in the tailings deposit. The company reports that exploration completed in 1991 proved the presence of in excess of 1 million tonnes of magnetite in the southerly one-quarter of the tailings.

Since the cessation of production in 1982, magnetite has been shipped from the stockpiles at Craigmont to western Canadian and United States coal producers, to be used as an essential component in their heavy media separation process.

Magnetite remaining in the original stockpiles as of 1992 represents approximately three years of industry requirements, based on the current level of usage. In order to replenish the stockpiles, in 1991 the company applied for the necessary government permits to construct a facility to recover the magnetite from the old tailings deposit. Production from the plant is scheduled to commence in the fall of 1992 (J. Harris (Yorkshire Resources), personal communication, 1992).

Seven Industries Inc. continues to produce about 60,000 tonnes per year of magnetite by processing the Craigmont tailings. The quality of the product has improved and the company is supplying most coal mines in western Canada (except Manalta and Line Creek). The company has filed a conceptual design to create a new tailings storage dam (on top of the old one) which would allow the operation to continue for at least another 15 years (Information Circular 1996-1, page 10).

M Seven is reported to have operated the Craigmont tailings up to and including 2001.

In 2002, it was reported that Craigmont Holdings Ltd. owned the Craigmont magnetite tailings operation which is setup to process the tailings and recover about 70,000 tonnes of magnetite annually.

In 2003, Craigmont Mines Ltd processesed tailings from the old Craigmont copper mine and produced 45,000 tonnes of magnetite although the operation is setup up to recover up to 70,000 tonnes of magnetite annually. The magnetite is used in coal washing plants in British Columbia, Alberta and Washington State. The company is evaluating other magnetite sources, both on and off the property, as well as potential markets for hematite, which may also be recoverable.

In 2004, Craigmont Mines Ltd signed an option agreement with Christopher James Gold Corp to purchase 50% of the 70,000 tonne of per year magnetite operation for $3.5 million.

Craigmont Mines Ltd operates the Craigmont magnetite tailings operation located near Merritt, which employs about 30 people. Tailings from the old Craigmont copper mine are processed to recover about 70 000 tonnes of magnetite annually. The plant normally operates on a seasonal basis (March to December), however, due to strong demand, processing is expected to continue through the 2008-2009 winter. Remaining tailings are forecast to be exhausted within the one to two years following.

In 2012, Craigmont Mines Joint Venture ceased operations at the Craigmont magnetite operation due to depletion of economic reserves. Since 1991 the mine produced 1,167,000 dry tonnes of magnetite. Mining equipment is now being sold and the site reclaimed (Exploration and Mining in BC 2012).

EMPR AR *1957-28; 1958-25; *1959-31-34; *1960-26-40; *1961-A48,31-37; 1962-A48,53; 1963-A48,49; 1964-A54,92; 1965-153; 1966-A51,166; 1967-163; 1968-197
EMPR ASS RPT 22621, 23348, 22621, 28119
EMPR EXPL 1989-119-134; 1996-A14; 2000-36; 2001-35; 2002-44; 2003-51; 2004-55; 2005-58; 2006-7,74,79; 2007-52,56; 2008-61,64; 2009-43; 2010-62,65; 2011-48,51; 2012-67,69; 2013-93,95,97
EMPR FIELDWORK 1991, pp. 239,240
EMPR GEM 1969-271; 1970-373; 1971-292; 1972-146; 1973-165; 1974-127-130
EMPR INF CIRC 1996-1, p. 10; 1997-1, p. 13; 1998-1, p. 15
EMPR MAP 30; 65, 1989
EMPR MINING Vol.1 1975-1980; 1981-1985; 1986-1987
EMPR OF *1988-28, pp. 19-21; 1992-1; 1992-9; 1994-1
EMPR PF (Correspondence by J.M. Carr, G.E. Rouse and C.C. Rennie, 1961; Map of mine and concentrator; Claim and property location maps; Principal rock types recognized by Department of Mines, 1959; Magnetic anomaly plan map, 1958; Excerpt from Northern Miner Annual Review, Dec. 1961, Northern Miner Aug. 1960, Jan.25, 1962; Bristow, J.F. (1968): The Geology of Craigmont Mines; Notes and correspondence from J.M. Carr and F. Price, 1961; Article from unknown and undated newspaper, Jan.4, 1962; George Cross News Letter #237(Dec.7),1960, #53(Mar.16),1961; Interim report by E.P. Chapman, Jr., 1959; Article 'Stability of Rock Slopes' by B. Jones, 1962; Underground plans and sections, 1959, 1960, 1961; Drillhole location logs; Trench plan maps, 1959; Geology notes and sketch maps and drill sections; Report on Craigmont Mines by C.C. Rennie, 1959; Geology of the Craigmont Mine by C.C. Rennie, W.S. Pentland and C.C. Sheng, 1960; Craigmont Mines Limited Information Brochure; Exploration Guides for Craigmont Mine, Ph.D Thesis, A.D. Drummond)
EMR MP CORPFILE (Craigmont Mines Ltd.; Birkett Creek Mine Operators Ltd.; Canex Placer Ltd.; Noranda Mines Ltd.; Placer Development Ltd.)
EMR MP RESFILE (Craigmont Mine)
GSC OF 980
CIM 820 (1980); Transactions 1961, Vol.64, pp. 199-203; Meeting - *J.F. Bristow, 1962)
CMH 1982-1983
GCNL Jan.10, 1967; Jan.26, 1973; Jan.31, 1974; Nov.21, 1975; June 4,Oct.18, 1976; Jan.28,Feb.22,Mar.4,May 20,Nov.21, 1977; Jan.27,Feb.27,Mar.3,May 19,31,Aug.30,Nov.23,Dec.28, 1978; Jan.26,Aug.28, #99,#101, 1979; #101,#166,#225,#246, 1980; #26,#42,#98,#224, 1981; #20,#97,#225,#231, 1982; #44,#231, 1983; #163,#228, 1984
MIN REV Sept/Oct 1981; Jan/Feb 1982; Jul/Aug 1983
N MINER Oct.2, 1975; Jan.6, 1977; Feb.2,June 1,22,Aug.24,Oct.12, 1978; Jan.4,18,25, 1979; Jan.3, 1980; Dec.3, 1981; Jan.7,Feb.11,Apr.29, June 10,Aug.26,Nov.25,Dec.30, 1982; Feb.10,Mar.10, 1983
W MINER Jan.,Feb., 1962; Jan., 1977; Feb.,Apr.,June, 1979; Oct., 1980; Jan.1981; Jan.,Mar.,Apr., 1982