Engineer Mine, B.C. History

 

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The history of the Engineer Mine property dates back to 1899 when an engineer from the Yukon & White Pass Railway discovered visible gold in quartz veins on the shore of Tagish Lake, below Engineer Mountain. He returned with associates and staked the Engineer group of claims. After some development work, the claims were allowed to lapse in 1906 but were re-staked and sold in 1907 to Captain James Alexander and partners.

In 1912, Captain Alexander took control and systematically explored the property. He developed the upper levels of the underground workings, built a stamp mill at what is now known as the 1 Level entrance, and processed over 2,000 ounces of gold over several seasons. Captain Alexander, along with many others, including two men involved in a deal made to sell the Engineer Mine to the Mining Corporation of Canada, died aboard the Steamship Princess Sophia when it sank in 1918. After Captain Alexander’s death, several claimants appeared with interests in the property, and many years of litigation followed.

The property was taken over in 1923 by a New York group and production for Engineer Gold Mines Ltd. began in 1924. Advances at this time were the most significant that the property had seen yet. They included the development of a town site, installation of a power plant on the Wann River with transmission lines to the mine, construction of a concentrator and mill on the lakeshore near the 5 Level portal, and development of the underground tunnels down to 8 Level. Over 140 people were employed at the site.

Visible gold detection was the primary method used to identify and follow ore shoots in veins. Reserves were exhausted by 1927, but development continued with drifting and limited mining on 6, 7, and 8 Level until 1933. Reginald Brook, an associate of Captain Alexander, stayed on as caretaker of the property and selectively hand-mined. In 1944 a group of miners leased the property and high-graded the veins on the underground workings until 1952.

Documented ore production between 1910 and 1952 at Engineer Mine is recorded as approximately 14,263 tonnes at 39.4 g/t Au and 19.5 g/t Ag (18,000 oz Au and 8,950 oz Ag). Underground workings consist of about 5,500 metres of drifts, shafts, raises and stopes on eight levels.

Several exploration companies worked on the property from the 1960s to 1980s, to varying degrees, including Tagish Gold Mines; Nu-Energy Resources Ltd., which sampled the hydrothermal breccia zone along Shear Zone "A" on 5 Level; and Nu-Lady Gold Mines Ltd. In 1987, Total Erickson Resources Ltd. conducted the most comprehensive modern exploration of the property yet completed, including an aeromagnetic survey, detailed geology, and drilling.

Gentry Resources Ltd. optioned the property from Total Erickson in 1989, and acquired title to the property in 1990 with Winslow Gold Corp. Ampex Mining acquired an interest in the property from Winslow in 1993, and through further transactions the property interest was passed to Old Engineer Mining Corp. (now Engineer Mining Corp.) in 1997. Mining and development activities occurred throughout this time and are detailed in Davidson (1998).

In 2007, BCGold Corp. optioned the Engineer Mine property from Engineer Mining Corp.