Gold in Port Renfrew?

San Juan Gold

I'll begin the story on gold with a quote from J. Kourimsky's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Minerals and Rocks, printed in the Czech Republic in 1995. The copy was given to me last year by a resident of Port Renfrew, Harvey Reimer.

"From time immemorial, humans have been attracted by the enchanting beauty of the shape and colour of minerals. The primitive human, unable to understand some of the properties of the beautiful stones, often saw something supernatural in them. People even believed that some stones had the power to help them change their destiny , a belief which has survived until the present time. Human kind's relationship to mineral resources is a significant measure of the extent of cultural development at any time."

The BC geological Survey created a data base, called the 'BC MINFILE" to document all historic occurrences of economic minerals discovered to date in B.C. For our area, the Minfile for Cape Flattery states, "the well documented skarns (copper, cobalt, gold) of the south end of Vancouver Island, warrant new exploration for economic quantities of these minerals."

Enough about academic prophesies... The question is--Can I find gold around Port Renfrew? The answer is--yes!

Twenty years ago, plate tectonics theory was in its infancy. Historically, the Pacific Rim First Nations were all jade and gold cultures: New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, China, South and Central America, Alaska and B.C., but B.C.'s west coast First Nations cherished copper.

Vancouver Island, along with the Queen Charlotte Islands joined British Columbia 120 million years ago. 2 million years ago a small, exotic Pacific terrain called the Pacific Rim Terrain jammed into the south end of Vancouver island. It is the land 10 miles wide from Botanical Beach to Loss Creek and 90 miles long, all the way to Goldstream Park. It is not only a unique feature, geologically, along the Pacific rim of Fire, but creates many opportunities for precious metals to reach the surface of the earth through deep faults and fractures. Metals and sulphides are continuously fed from the sea-floor spreading 280 miles offshore along the mid-ocean ridge and are subducted under Vancouver Island at a rate of 2 inches a year. This causes more than 250 earthquakes of various sizes each year and feeds new magma into volcanoes along North America's west coast. It also produces epithermal gold-bearing quartz veins throughout our area.

Gold is usually scattered so finely in rocks that it cannot be seen by the naked eye. Only rarely does it form larger soft plates, grains or nuggets. The largest nuggets come from deposits in America and Victoria, Australia, where, near Ballaret, a nugget weighing 85 kg was found in 1869 and was given the name "Welcome Stranger.

It is possible to beat gold into such a fine leaf (0.00014mm thick) that it becomes transparent yellow-green. From 1 g (31g=1oz) of gold, a wire up to 160 metres in length can be drawn. A 12-inch cube of this noble metal weighs in excess of 1200 lbs. Only metals of the platinum group surpass the density of gold. It has been said of the rarity of gold, that it is more possible to find a 5 caret diamond than gold in the form of a nugget! Pretty amazing, when you consider the amount of gold nuggets found along the Sand Juan River, Gordon River, Sombrio River and most all the creeks in between!

We recently encountered bottles of Sombrio gold nuggets for sale at the Victoria Rock Shop. Rules for Recreational Panning for our area are available at the Gold Commissioner's office in Victoria. Contact Mineral Titles at (250) 952-0565.

Referring back to the opening quotes dealing with man's destiny linked to mineral searches, NASA has recently released information on completion of the International Space Station, as well as plans for a permanently manned Moon Base near frozen water deposits discovered there. They ended the media release with, and I quote, "Of course, 95% of the expenses for the Moon Base will be paid for by mining interests!" I don't remember anything about minerals being found in moon rocks, do you?

Have you staked your claim yet?

Gary (Hardrock) Pearson

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