The property is located in the Queen Charlotte Islands, at the southeast corner of Burnaby Island, between Pelican and Bluejay Coves.
The shoreline in this vicinity was prospected during the period 1862-64 by Francis Poole, apparently for The Queen Charlotte Mining and Prospecting Company, Limited. Several small garnet skarn zones containing chalcopyrite and magnetite, occurring at intrusive-limestone contacts, were the targets of Poole's work, which included a 4-metre shaft and a 4-metre adit. Further work was reported on the Poole showings in 1902 by owner J. Raper who extended the shaft to 9 metres and the adit to 5 metres.
Denison Mines Limited carried out an aeromagnetic survey over the area in 1961. A magnetic anomaly was located offshore but the claims then located were allowed to lapse.
The ground, including the old Poole showings, was restaked in September 1962 as the 9 claim Jib group under a joint exploration agreement between Leitch Gold Mines Limited and Highland-Bell, Limited (or its wholly owned subsidiary Mastodon-Highland Bell Mines Limited). A ground magnetometer survey in the fall of 1962 defined three magnetic anomalies of 5,000 to 10,000 gamma relief at and just offshore. The drilling of angle holes from shore began in January 1963 and 3721 metres of drilling in 18 holes was completed. Under the joint exploration agreement a new company, Burnaby Iron Mines Limited, was incorporated in January 1964. During 1964 a combined magnetic and sounding survey was carried out over the offshore claims. In 1965 an additional 2053 metres of diamond drilling was carried out in deepening 6 holes and the drilling of 5 new holes. This work increased the indicated reserves to approximately 7,257,480 tonnes having an average grade of 49.5 per cent iron (Leitch Gold Mines Limited, 1965 Annual Report). All but a small fraction of the deposit is more than 61 metres below the bedrock bottom of Hecate Strait and hence should be amenable to standard underground mining methods.
Teck Corporation in 1971 acquired the assets of Highland-Bell, Limited and Leitch Mines Limited (changed from Leitch Gold Mines Limited in 1970); Highland and Leitch were dissolved in 1974 and 1975 respectively, leaving Burnaby Iron Mines Limited under the direct control of Teck Corporation.
Massive chloritized amygdaloidal basalts of the Upper Triassic Karmutsen Formation (Vancouver Group) are overlain by about 250 metres of grey massive limestone and black flaggy limestone of the Upper Triassic Sadler and Peril formations (Lower Jurassic to Upper Triassic Kunga Group). To the north are monzonites and quartz monzonites of the Late Jurassic Burnaby Island Plutonic Suite. The stratified rocks are intruded by basaltic greenstone sills likely related to Karmutsen volcanism, by skarned diorite porphyries, and by late basalt to andesite dikes.
The strata generally strikes northeast and dips gently northwest with minor west trending, 10 to 20 degree plunging folds. Three prominent trends of steep dipping block faults are 130 to 140 degrees, 60 to 70 degrees, and 10 to 20 degrees.
Two distinct orebodies lie offshore at about 75 and 210 metres below sea level, respectively. The Underlime orebody, the deepest, is generally conformable, replacing the uppermost part of the Karmutsen volcanics and to a lesser extent the basal Sadler limestone. The body trends about 170 degrees for over 120 metres, with widths from 12 to 45 metres in the south part. The orebody is separated from adjacent greenstone or limestone by a thin sheath of skarn.
The upper orebodies are concentrated about greenstone sills and are less regular than the Underlime orebody, but are generally higher grade and thicker (up to 60 metres). Skarn is a common transitional rock between ore and greenstone or limestone, but does not form a continuous sheath. The thicker sections appear to be related to the faults, particularly the main fault (striking 125 degrees) through the ore zone.
The ore is generally pure magnetite with gradations to skarn with trace amounts of magnetite and hematite. Sulphides are erratic with mainly pyrite and rare chalcopyrite, pyrrhotite and sphalerite. The average content of the ore is 0.02 per cent copper, 0.2 per cent sulphur, 0.05 per cent phosphorous, 0.08 per cent titanium, 7.5 per cent silica and 1.5 per cent alumina (Open File 1988-28, page 86).
Skarn minerals are variably developed and include garnet, epidote, actinolite, pyroxene, chlorite, quartz and calcite.
Estimated total reserves are 7,438,220 tonnes grading 49.45 per cent soluble iron (Bulletin 54, page 197).