The Greenwood Mining Camp
The prolific Greenwood mining camp of southern British Columbia has a rich history of mining and is considered to be one of the most concentrated mineralized areas in British Columbia.
Lode mineralization was first recorded near Greenwood in 1884 and major deposits of copper and gold have been mined here since the turn of the century (Brock, 1903). Most of the mineral production from the Greenwood mining camp is from copper-bearing skarn deposits and, to a lesser extent, polymetallic quartz veins and, less commonly, copper-gold porphyry deposits.
Production to date came from the 30+ principal mines producing over 32 Mt of ore consisting of 1.4 Moz oz gold, 6.5 Moz of silver and 600 Mlbs of copper.
Most of the ore produced from these mines in the early 1900’s was shipped to the nearby Granby Smelter in Grand Forks, B.C., which at the time was the 2nd largest smelter in the world.
Why Explore in the Greenwood Camp Now?
New exploration technology available today.
As all of the historic mines are less than 150 metres in depth with the majority being less than only 50 metres deep,
Belmont geologists are utilizing new and better refined exploration technologies such as 3D Induced Polarization deep penetrating geophysics, enabling them to look for possible sources of mineralization deeper beneath the historic mines and/or in the immediate vicinity.
More exploration data and advanced mining software available today
For the first time geological and mining information, comprised of thousands of files, records, reports and maps from over 100 years of exploration in the Greenwood camp have been compiled into a single comprehensive digital database.
Belmont is using the latest Geographical Information System and database management software to mine the extensive and information rich database to delineate high priority exploration areas in the Greenwood camp.
New geological modelling available today
This “predictive epithermal gold deposit modeling” is one of the key criteria used by Belmont in the selection and acquisition of properties with a high probability of discovering new high grade gold deposits deeper beneath or nearby shallow historical mines
Exploration and mining in the Greenwood Camp had primarily focused on copper skarn veins/deposits (see below) and less on gold. One reason may have been that the nearby Grand Forks smelter (the second largest in the world at the time) was readily available to process the copper in the region but wasn’t necessarily equipped to efficiently extract the gold.
In the past 20 years there have been significant gold discoveries just south of the border in Washington State. This area is known as the Republic mining district which has a rich history in gold production (4 million ounces of gold). Unlike the skarn deposits in Greenwood the gold deposits in Washington were epithermal in nature. (see below)
Predictive Epithermal Gold Deposit Modeling
Over the past years geologists in Washington State and in particular the Republic Graben have compiled an extensive database of information and modelling of epithermal deposits. This relatively new database provides valuable information on new geological modelling of epithermal gold deposits in Washington State and in delineating favorable areas for epithermal gold deposits as well as predicting areas of future exploration activity for similar deposits in Washington state.
Belmont is utilizing these epithermal prediction models of the Republic Graben in Washington State and combined with the recently assembled comprehensive Greenwood Camp historic exploration database are delineating favorable areas for epithermal gold deposits predicting areas of future exploration activity for similar deposits in the Greenwood camp
Skarn vs Epithermal Deposits
Copper-gold skarn deposits
Skarn mineralization is formed by hydrothermal fluids rising from the depths of the earth through major faults bringing with it the rich metals in a fluid state because of the extreme heat. As these fluid come close to surface they may react with carbonates, in the Greenwood area that would be limestone to which there is an abundance in the area. The reaction with the limestone and cooler temperature causes the metals to form and replace the limestone.So this is what explorers and miners were looking for: faults that ran through areas of limestone
Epithermal gold deposits
Epithermal comes from the Greek word epi meaning shallow and thermal referring to the heated fluid.
When ground water comes into contact with hot molten rock deep under volcanoes, silicate minerals within the rock are dissolved along with metals including gold, silver, arsenic, cadmium, lead, zinc, antimony and mercury.These hot metal fluids move through cracks, joints and faults in the rock. As the fluids rise towards the surface, they cool with the precipitation of mainly quartz. Within the quartz veins are found concentrations of the metals being carried in the super-heated ground water.
Epithermal gold deposits are among the richest gold deposits in the world with some bonanza grade ore shoots containing more than 1000 g/t gold.