New Mill Of Kootenay Base Metals
Getting ready to roll is 60-ton Concentrator of Kootenay Base Metals Company, Ltd. situated on Wild Horse Creek about six miles beyond Fort Steele.
Top of picture, ramp where trucks from mine will dump ore into a 200-ton coarse ore bin. On hill at top, 200,000 gallon water supply tank, water electrically pumped from Wild Horse Creek. Mill will be ready for test in a short time.
KOOTENAY BASE MILL OPERATING SOON
The well constructed 60-ton mill at Kootenay Base Metals Limited was approaching the completion of equipment when visited by The Courier representatives a week ago. It should be ready for turning over in the course of the next several weeks, and when in final operation will be handling mill feed from the 15% lead, 17% zinc and 2 ozs. silver basis.
The mine and mill property, reached by way of Fort Steele and up the westerly side of Wild Horse Creek, is now served by a good mining road, over which traffic has been proceeding steadily all fall and winter. Company bulldozers keep it clear.
The mine workings, 7200 feet elevation at the main portal, were formerly known under the name of Kootenay King, and the present operators, Kootenay Base Metals Ltd., were incorporated last year under the auspices of the parent company, Transcontinental Resources, Limited, whose offices are in Toronto and Vancouver, and whose holdings and operations are extensive in B.C. and other parts of Canada.
History of the claim dates back at least to the year 1898, when it was owned by W. Voss and associates, of Fort Steele, who drove their first tunnel at elevation 6,650 feet, a second two hundred feet higher, and then a third at 6,850 feet, which was driven due west for 80 feet. On the dump was observed at that (page 6) time sandy shale, heavily impregnated with galena, according to a report of the then Minister of Mines for British Columbia. There was known to be a small vein heavily charged with galena, with some grey copper and it carried good silver values.
The mine was then known as the Kootenay King.
Work lapsed after a time, and the [property was staked by Mr. Van Arsdalen and worked about 1926-27. It was again abandoned, and was bought in during the 1947 Tax Sale by a diamond driller from Kirkland lake, Ont., Mr. Chas. W. Tully who made an arrangement with Transcontinental Resources, with separate incorporation under the name Kootenay Base Metals Limited following.
Kootenay Base has carried out new work which discloses that replacement mineralization continues down to considerably greater depth than their No. 1 level, the horizon to which their preliminary ore tonnage calculations were made.
Recent sampling and geological mapping on the No. 2 level indicates the presence of ore of milling grade not included in previous estimates. Known tonnage in sight is more than sufficient to cover the cost of the concentrator which has been erected at the foot of the steep grade leading to the mine proper, and the 1952-53 exploration program, it is learned.
At the main portal, known as No. 3, elevation of which is now set at approximately 7,200 feet, compressed air is furnished by a Caterpillar diesel driving a Le Roi compressor, with a standby plant powered by an International diesel coupled to a Holman compressor. Electric light is furnished at 115 volts by a five kilowatt Kato-Lite generator, coupled to a Rushton diesel engine. There is a comfortable and well-equipped “dry” change room with toilet facilities and showers, well heated, for the 20-man mining crew.
A cookhouse and bunkhouse have been erected, also very comfortably equipped. The kitchen is in charge of Chef Jacobson, assisted by Charlie Laidlaw, and is featured by a good sized walk-in refrigerated cooler for meats and perishable foods, and adequate dry storage for vegetables. Walter Tattrie, genial Mine Superintendent, has had considerable experience in the Kootenays, in the Nelson area and the Slocan country. He has worked for 35 years in the mining business, and has been employed by Yale Lead & Zinc Co., and the Relief-Arlington Mines.
The new 60-ton mill will receive ore from the mine trucked down the grade, and dumped into a coarse storage bin of 200-ton capacity. Further open storage space has been leveled immediately adjacent for stockpiling. A 20,000 gallon water supply tank is fed by an electrically driven pump on Wild Horse Creek, and feeds mill and camp by gravity.
Ore from the storage bin drops onto a short conveyor belt, is passed over a “grizzly” screen, the fine material dropping through, and the coarse passing to a crusher. The material winds up in a 200-ton wood stave fine ore bin or tank, from which it will feed to a five foot by six foot Gardner Denver ball mill, in circuit with an Aikins Spiral Classifier which sorts out the coarser of the now finely ground material and returns it to the ball mill for further grinding.
Automatic wet and dry reagent machines are ready for installation in connection with the flotation process which will employ eight zinc and six lead cells, with concentrates finally reaching a five-element filter feeding into a truck supply bin with a one-week capacity.
A large capacity surge tank of wood stave construction handles the water feed in the mill proper.
Electrical power for the mill drive is taken from a 156 kva 440 volt generator, direct coupled to a six-cylinder Paxman-Ricardo diesel engine. There is also a standby and auxiliary plant of 50 kilowatt capacity driven by an 80 horsepower Rushton engine, which will share the load once the mill is in operation. The electrical distribution and control panels are adequate and the entire electrical installation is up to modern requirements, the work having been completed by Modern Electric, of Cranbrook.
Concentrates will be trucked to Fort Steele for shipment over the Kootenay Central branch of the CPR.
The mill camp is nicely located and well constructed. The main office contains on the ground floor the Mine manager’s office, with Mr. L.G. White the incumbent, who is Nelson-born and has been with Transcontinental for the past two years; was formerly with Noland Mines Ltd. and also with the New Jason Mine in the Red Lake area of Ontario. He has also had some ten years experience with Bralorne Mines Ltd., in the Lillooet area of B.C.
The main business office is in charge of Mr. A. Vachon, Mine Accountant, also with considerable mine experience, who served with Mr. White at the company’s Noland Mine. There is an exceptionally well-equipped first aid room on the ground floor, and a large storage space for camp stocks and small equipment takes up the balance of the floor.
Upstairs are sleeping quarters for single staff employees, with showers provided. On this second floor is the office of Resident Mine Engineer Joseph Sullivan, a graduate of University of British Columbia who has had some seven years of geological survey work, is experienced in this area, and is considered by the company to be a valuable man in his field.
The building is completely insulated, and is automatically oil-heated from the basement.
The camp also includes an employee bunkhouse and cook house, assay office, and provision for a larger laboratory. There are some 20 men at work in the preliminaries of getting the concentrator into operation, and final regular crew will consist of nine men; and an assayer.
Work of the Company at the mine has been chiefly concerned with the rehabilitation of the old workings, and this has been carried on efficiently. The existing known ore body is in a formation, somewhat folded, dipping north 50 degrees east, at an angle of 65 degrees.
The main portal is exactly 24 miles northeast of Cranbrook, high up on the mountain side above Wild Horse Creek.
All evidence of the work and equipment as observed by the writer seemed to point definitely to conservative, careful management. New machinery has been installed where necessary, but quite a lot of good used equipment has been picked up and assembled by the company, particularly in the line of power apparatus. Millwrighting seems to have been well and carefully done. Buildings are sound and strong and working conditions have been made as comfortable as such a high-altitude operation permits.
The enterprise of the Kootenay Base company bids well to be a successful addition to the already large expansion of mining operations in the East Kootenay territory.