The HB property is located on Aspen Creek, a tributary of Sheep Creek, 8 kilometres southeast of Salmo. The north end of the No. 1 orebody outcropped at an elevation of 1219 metres, west of Aspen Creek and almost a 1.6 kilometres north of Sheep Creek.
The heavily oxidized outcrop was staked in 1907 by P.F. Horton, H.M. Billings, J.A. Benson, and S.N. Ross. The property and one of the claims was called the H.B. The Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company of Canada (Limited) optioned the claims in 1911. The No. 2 level crosscut was driven during the winter but results were disappointing and the option was dropped in 1912. W.R. Salisbury & associates, of Salmo, in 1913 leased the area containing the workings and small amounts of carbonate ore were mined until the lease expired in August 1915. During this period the owners, Horton & Billings, drove the Zincton crosscut to explore the adjacent Zincton claim. On the expiry of the above lease the entire property was optioned to a Spokane syndicate operating under the name Hudson Bay Zinc Company. The low level No. 7 crosscut (3,100 level) was started in 1915 and reached a length of 579 metres on completion in 1916. Diamond drilling (473 metres) from the crosscut failed to find ore and the option was given up in 1917.
Crown-grants were issued to P.F. Horton and Agnes Billings on the Garnet (Lot 10809) and Zincton (Lot 10810) claims in 1919 and on the H.B. (Lot 12672) and 10 other claims and fractions (Lots 12668-12671 and 12673-12678) in 1921.
The Victoria Syndicate, Limited, optioned the property in 1925 and began driving the No. 4 level (3,500 level) crosscut. This was completed at a length of 335 metres and from it drifting north and south in the orebody continued into 1926. The option was subsequently given up and P.F. Horton one of the owners, carried out some work on the property in 1927. Exploration work to that date was all done in the heavily oxidized zone at the north and on No. 1 orebody where the flat-plunging ore was exposed on surface. Oxidation here extended to the full depth of the ore zone, about 91 metres below surface.
The Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company returned in 1927 to purchase the 18 Crown-granted claims and fractions, but the property remained idle until 1948. Starting about 1946, the company began geological investigations that led to an intensive diamond drilling program beginning in 1948. Large bodies of 9, low-grade disseminated sulphides plunging gently south from the oxidized orebody were indicated by this drilling. In June, 1949 an underground program began to investigate the drill results. The No. 4 level was rehabilitated and from the face the adit was extended south for nearly 457 metres. A parallel drive was subsequently made about 70 metres to the west and connected to the main drive by 3 crosscuts at 61-metre intervals. Diamond drilling from these two drives and from exploration raises in 1950 partly delimited two orebodies - the No. I and No. 2 - and work until 1953 was aimed at developing these orebodies for production. In 1951 construction of a 1,000 ton per day concentrator began and a new adit level (No. 8) was driven 823 metres north from the Sheep Creek valley millsite to the ore zone. The concentrator was completed early in 1953 but due to low lead and zinc prices, was not put into operation. All work ceased on March 31 and was not resumed until April 1955; milling began in May.
The Garnet (082FSW249) zone outcrops on the Garnet and Legal Tender claims between elevations of 1067 and 1158 metres on the Sheep Creek slope about 0.5 kilometre north of the concentrator. The Legal Tender claim (Lot 10823) was staked on this showing in about 1899. In 1912 the claim was Crown-granted to George Klavano. Development work at that time apparently consisted of a few short adits. In 1926 the claim was part of the Black Jack group of 4 claims. This group was optioned by P.F. Horton & associates in 1926 and late in the year exploration work was done in about a dozen trenches crosscutting the zone. The Legal Tender was part of the group sold to Cominco in 1927; the Black Jack claims, lying to the west of the Legal Tender, were apparently abandoned. Diamond drilling by the company in 1948-49 in more than 30 holes delimited a more or less continuous mineralized zone 15 metres wide lying 46 to 61 metres west of the Garnet fault. Mining of the Garnet zone began in 1965 as an open pit operation and was later incorporated with the underground operation. The mine and mill closed on November 1, 1966. The company name was changed in 1966 to Cominco Ltd. Plans to re-open the mine were announced late in 1972. The mill and under ground workings were rehabilitated and production resumed in February 1973. Mining and milling operations continued until August 1978 when the mine closed. Measured and indicated reserves, as of December 31, 1978, were reported at 409000 tons, at 0.1 per cent lead and 4.1 per cent zinc (Canadian Pacific Limited, Form 10-K, December 31, 1978).
David Minerals Ltd. by an agreement dated May 8, 1981 purchased the mine, mill and adjacent properties from Cominco Ltd. for $750,000; a 20 acre parcel was subsequently sold to Goldbelt Mines Inc. for a millsite. Renovation of the H.B. mill was carried out to prepare a flotation circuit to custom mill gold-bearing sulphide ores, and a second circuit to treat molybdenite-gold ore from the company's Rossland properties (82 F/4, Mo 2 and 3). The gold circuit was put into operation on ore from the Gold Belt property in December 1981.
The HB orebodies are currently thought to be Kootenay Arc-type carbonate hosted sedimentary exhalative (sedex) deposits. The orebodies are located within dolomitized limestone of the Lower Cambrian Laib Formation, Reeves Member (correlative with limestone of the Badshot Formation). The east boundary of the Laib Formation is in contact with argillites of the Lower to Middle Ordovician Active Formation, on a fault contact, with the Active rocks overthrust from the east over the Reeves rocks.
Two distinct calcareous layers of the Reeves Member can be recognized in the area, an upper one about 110 metres thick separated from a lower 12-metre member by 15 to 30 metres of micaceous brown limey argillite. The HB orebodies occur within a hundred metres or so to the west of the thrust fault. It is thought that the mineralization is related to the intrusion of granitic stocks of the Middle to Late Jurassic Nelson Intrusions with the nearest outcrop about 1 kilometre away from the mine. The only intrusives present in the mine are post-ore diabase dykes up to 3 metres thick.
In the vicinity of the HB mine, the beds are folded into a broad synclinorium, and the limestone layers in the mine are on the west limb of this structure. There is evidence of much isoclinal folding within the trough of the synclinorium, with axial planes steeply inclined to the east and folds plunging 20 degrees to the south. There may be similar folding along the west limb within the mine area, but the portions of the folded beds revealed by the mine workings indicate that here the limestone has only formed thickened wrinkles. Within these wrinkles the beds are highly distorted by complex folding. In the central portion of the structures there is cleavage banding which strikes north and dips steeply. The primary folding is disturbed by major crossfolding in at least two places, one at the north end of the mine, the other just south of the main orebodies. The crossfolds plunge steeply to the north and resemble "S" type dragfolds.
The principal ore zones consist of three steeply dipping, parallel zones lying approximately side by side and extending as pencil-like shoots for about 900 metres along the gentle south plunge of the controlling structures. The largest and most easterly ore zone has a maximum height of about 140 metres and a maximum width of 30 metres. Within these zones are steeply dipping discontinuous ore stringers with a lead to zinc ratio of 1:5.
In addition to the steep stringer lodes there is a second type consisting of flat lying, slightly brecciated zones with a lead to zinc ratio of about 1:2.5. These zones plunge at 20 degrees to the south, in general agreement with the plunge of the other orebodies. There are several separate ore zones of the flat lying variety. The layers of ore range from a few metres to 12 metres in thickness, but are generally from 3 to 5 metres thick. The sulphide mineralization within these layers is fairly regular and resembles bedding.
There is evidence to indicate ore deposition was controlled by shear zones within the folded limestone; the best ore concentrations occurring at the junctions between steeply dipping shears (the pencil-like ore bodies) and flat lying shears (the flat-lying brecciated orebodies).
The mineralogy of the ore is relatively simple with pyrite, sphalerite and galena in order of abundance and minor pyrrhotite found locally. The northern portion of these bodies is exposed at surface, near the original HB claim, and are oxidized to a depth of about 100 metres at that point. Where the ore is protected by enclosing dolomite relatively little oxidation has occurred. Other secondary minerals include calamine, smithsonite, anglesite, and the rare zinc phosphate, spencerite.
Wallrock alteration is typical of lead-zinc deposits in the area. The ore zones are enveloped by a broad zone of dolomitization which is bordered along its contact with the limestone by a narrow zone in which limestone is replaced by fine-grained silica. Talc and tremolite alteration, thought to be pre-ore, is concentrated near the silica-rich zone resulting from the silicification of dolomite. An appreciable amount of talc is found locally within the ore zone.
A smaller zone, located to the southwest of the main HB mine, is known as the Garnet orebody (082FSW249). The Garnet zone was mined from the surface from a small open pit, whereas the main mine is entirely underground.
The HB mine produced a total of 6,656,101 tonnes of ore in 29 years between 1912 and 1978. Recovered from this ore were 29,425,521 grams of silver, 49,511,536 kilograms of lead, 260,431,646 kilograms of zinc, 2,019,586 kilograms of cadmium, 105,412 kilograms of copper and 6,159 grams of gold. Measured and indicated reserves published December 31, 1978 by Canadian Pacific Limited were given as approximately 36,287 tonnes grading 0.1 per cent lead and 4.1 per cent zinc (Energy, Mines and Resources Canada Mineral Bulletin MR 198, page 209).