Mineral Potential

The Right Kind of SettingThe Kootenay area is classified as “Elephant Country” and has already produced over $40 billion of ore from a number of past-producer major mines and contains hundreds of smaller old mines and adits from turn of the century - historic mining operations. It is often stated that the best place to find a mine is around an old producing mine. There is great mineral deposit potential within the Kootenay Arc.


The Right Kind of RocksThe Kootenays have the necessary infrastructure in place including nearby roads, rail, water, hydro and the world’s largest non-ferrous smelter in Trail, thereby greatly reducing development and mining costs.


The Right Kind of OpportunityThe Kootenays region is reported by “Geoscience BC” to have the highest economical mineral potential in all of British Columbia.


The Right Kind of CommodityLiberty is by far the largest holder of mineral tenures in the Kootenays with almost 14,000 sq. km of territory under license and an initial 12 high potential mineralized exploration targets identified to date for deposits of gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, molybdenum and tungsten.

West Kootenay Poly-metallic Potential

Major Past Producers:

Mineralization in the West Kootenays and especially along the famed Kootenay Arc which stretches from the US border through Salmo all the way to Revelstoke has resulted in several $Billion Dollar Mines over the years including the huge Sullivan Mine near Kimberly in the southeast corner of the Arc. The Sullivan produced an estimated value of some $30 Billion in metals over the last 100 years. “This is Elephant Country!” (Nelson Chamber of Mines website: cmebc.com/2008-Brochure)

The major past-producing base-metal mines in the Kootenays are listed below. The list does not include the five multi-billion dollar coal mines in the Elk Valley region of the East Kootenays:

The Reeves MacDonald & Annex Mines

The Reeves MacDonald property is located at the junction of the Salmo and Pend D'Oreille Rivers approximately 56 kilometers south of Nelson. It is 20 km south south-west of Salmo and directly north-west of the “Nelway” crossing to the United States.

The Reeves MacDonald zinc-lead-silver-cadmium mine is a Kootenay Arc-type sedimentary exhalative deposit hosted by a dolomitized envelope of the Reeves Member limestone of the Lower Cambrian - Laib Formation.

Production from the various Reeves Macdonald ore bodies for the period 1949 to 1971 inclusive totaled over 5,848,000 metric tonnes. From this ore, over 19,800 kilograms of silver, 203,000 tonnes of zinc, 57,600 tonnes of lead, 1,215 tonnes of cadmium and over 27.5 tonnes of copper were recovered. (Minfile 082FSW026)

The Annex and River claims are an extension of the Reeves MacDonald property (082FSW026). The Annex mine is on the south side of the Pend D’Oreille River and is located within the dolomitized Reeves Member limestone of the Lower Cambrian Group (Laib Formation). The orebody appears to be a down-faulted section of the Reeves MacDonald ore zone. (082FSW026) It reportedly contained higher metal grades than the Reeves. (082FSW219)

Exploration of the Annex claims began in 1966 with a program of surface diamond drilling and exploratory drifting carried on through 1968. Production began in April 1970 with the mine producing a lead and zinc concentrate with recoverable lead, zinc, silver, copper and cadmium metals.

Production from the Annex mine from 1970 to 1975, inclusive, totaled over 763,000 tonnes of ore. From this ore over 34,000,000 grams of silver, 7,100 tonnes of lead, 42,500 tonnes of zinc, 480 tonnes of cadmium and almost 16.5 tonnes of copper were recovered. This included a small amount of salvage ore from the Reeves MacDonald mine. The mine closed in April 1975. (082FSW219)

Additional exploratory drilling was undertaken from 1986 to 1988 by Golden Eye Minerals which intersected the Annex zone. Hole 87-1 yielded 167 metres averaging 8 per cent zinc, 0.88 per cent lead, 0.09 per cent cadmium and 54.9 grams per tonne silver. This included a zone of 8 metres at 10 per cent zinc, 1.64 per cent lead, 0.12 per cent cadmium and 75.8 grams per tonne silver. Hole 88-1 yielded 9 metres averaging 7.53 per cent zinc, 0.39 per cent lead, 0.08 per cent cadmium and 106.6 grams per tonne silver. (Northern Miner, May 25, 1998).

The HB Mine

The HB property is located on Aspen Creek, a tributary of Sheep Creek, 8 kilometers southeast of Salmo BC. The HB ore bodies were considered Kootenay Arc-type carbonate hosted sedimentary exhalative (sedex) deposits. Like many properties the prospect was optioned by a few companies in the early 1910-20s as initial exploration results were disappointing. In 1948 an extensive diamond drilling program was undertaken by Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company (which later became Cominco). After a few delays from low metal prices and high development costs, large scale production was eventually begun in 1955.

The HB mine produced a total of over 6,500,000 metric tonnes of ore in 29 years from 1912 to 1978. Recovery from the milled ore was over 29,000,000 grams of silver, 49,500 metric tonnes of lead, 260,000 tonnes of zinc, 2,000 tonnes of cadmium, 105 tonnes of copper and over 6,000 grams of gold. A non 43-101 compliant resource estimate was published December 31, 1978 by Canadian Pacific Limited. It was stated the deposit contained 36,287 tonnes, grading 0.1 per cent lead and 4.1 per cent zinc for combined measured and indicated resource (Energy, Mines and Resources Canada Mineral Bulletin MR 198, page 209). Mining and milling operations continued until August 1978 at which time the mine closed. (082FSW004)

The Emerald Jersey Mine

The Emerald Jersey property lies approximately 3 km to the south of the HB mine along the Kootenay Arc on the summit between Sheep & Lost Creeks. It is located about 11 kilometres southeast of Salmo.

The Jersey mine is also a Kootenay Arc-type sedimentary exhalative deposit that occurs within the Arc in what is called the “Mine Belt”. It is an area of carbonate hosted lead-zinc deposits associated with Lower Cambrian limestones of the Reeves Member (Laib Formation). It is said to be equivalent to the Badshot Formation. (Minfile # 082FSW009)

Canadian Exploration Ltd., which was operating the Emerald tungsten mine, carried out an extensive diamond drilling program on the Jersey property during 1948. A deposit of lead-zinc ore was outlined from this program. During 1948-49 the Emerald tungsten operation was closed down and the mill was converted to a lead-zinc concentrator. The Jersey mine commenced milling of lead-zinc ores in 1949 and continued with development work on seven identified ore zones until 1970. Operations were ceased at that time due to depletion of the known mine reserves. (082FSW009).

Although the Emerald in its later years was a tungsten producer (082FSW010), its early history as a lead-zinc producer is mentioned here because the Jersey workings were later extended into Emerald ground (082FSW310). Production figures for the two were not recorded separately. The overall grade of the deposit was about 3.7 per cent zinc and 1.2 per cent lead. The mine produced about 8,135,000 tonnes of ore yielding approximately 115,000 tonnes of lead, 263,000 tonnes of zinc, 21,500 kilograms of silver, 6,200 tonnes of tungsten and over 2,000 tonnes of cadmium were recovered. (082FSW009 production report)

Sultan Minerals Inc. is currently exploring the property for further economical deposits. In 2008, Sultan reported a 43-101 compliant measured and indicated resource of 2.3 million tonnes grading 0.372 per cent WO3 and 440,000 tonnes grading 0.103 per cent MoS2 (Northern Miner Sept 1, 2008).

The Bluebell Mine

The Bluebell Mine is located on the eastern shore of Kootenay Lake by the town of Riondell directly across the lake from the Ainsworth Hot Springs. Mineral occurrence consists of three main zones approximately 500 metres apart along strike of the Lower Cambrian Badshot Formation marble.

The Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company of Canada Ltd. acquired the property in 1931 and did some exploration work on the Bluebell, Comfort and Kootenay Chief claims. Further diamond drilling was done in 1942 but the results were not encouraging. In 1947, a diamond drilling program was conducted along strike with the limestone outcrop. A total of 1,524 meters of diamond drilling outlined three main ore deposits. The mine was reopened the following year.

An inclined shaft, located between the Bluebell and Kootenay Chief ore zones, was sunk for 572 metres to a vertical depth of 247 metres. Development work was carried out on all levels from 69 to 267 meters during 1947. Other development work during 1961-62 involved 3500 metres of drifting and crosscutting, 2,400 metres of raising and over 10,000 metres of diamond drilling.

Total ore mined from the Bluebell was just over 4,800,000 metric tonnes which produced approximately 7,100,000 ounces silver, 285 ounces gold, over 249,000 metric tonnes of zinc, over 233,000 tonnes of lead, over 2,850 tonnes of copper, and over 1,140 tonnes of cadmium. (BC Minfile # 082FNE043) The mine closed in December 1971. A large volume of water entered the lower workings of the mine at that time. It was classified as a $1Billion dollar plus mine.

The Sullivan Mine

The famous Sullivan mine was the biggest base-metal producer in the entire Kootenay region. The mine was located on the southeast slope of Sullivan Hill, 3 kilometres northwest of the city of Kimberley. The concentrator was located at Chapman Creek, 3 kilometres southeast of the city. From its beginning in the early 1900s, the Sullivan mine was a continuous producer until December 21, 2001.

The Sullivan deposit was a massive sulphide lead-zinc-silver deposit in the Aldridge Formation turbidites. As of 1985 it had produced in excess of 125 million tonnes of ore from the original deposit of about 160 million tonnes. (Trique Hoy P.Geo, BC Geological Survey - Geology of the Cranbrook and Sullivan Mine Area _ 082G/12; 082F/09)

Total ore mined in the Sullivan was just over 150,000,000 metric tonnes which produced about 9,200,000,000 grams (equivalent to about 297,850,000 ounces) silver, 175,000 grams gold, 8,400,000 tonnes lead, 8,000,000 tonnes zinc, 9,700 tonnes tin, and 5,100 tonnes copper, over 3,000 tonnes cadmium, 413 tonnes antimony and almost 22 tonnes bismuth.

Total production of the Sullivan has been reported as some $30 Billion in minerals (Nelson Chamber of Mines website). The latest update in the minfile report states proven reserves as of December 31, 2000 were reported as 1.8 million tonnes averaging 6.6 per cent zinc, 3.7 per cent lead and 17.00 grams per tonne silver (082FNE052).

Kootenay Potential Conclusion

The possibility exists within the vast West Kootenay region for the discovery of another "Sullivan Mine-type" deposit. However, the likelihood of discovering numerous mineral deposits more the size of those mined at the HB, Jersey, Reeves McDonald, Annex, and Bluebell is more likely.

With almost 14,000 km2 of licensed territory, Liberty is by far the largest holder of mineral tenure in this highly prospective region that encompasses the Kootenays. Liberty’s mineral tenures include large sections of property around or near all of the five major past-producing mines described above.

Liberty currently has numerous exploration programs planned on other high potential properties within its BC portfolio. Immediate preparations are underway to drill two of the Company’s most advanced and highly prospective mineralized projects.

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