An Ontario-based exploration company thinks there’s gold in the hills around Rossland — and they plan to start looking for it this fall.
An official from Currie Rose Resources met with council on Tuesday to let them know its plans, and head off any concerns about their operations.
“We seek to have a very open and co-operative approach,” company president Michael Griffiths told council. “And if we have issues, we will come to you directly. And if you have questions, we expect the same, before rumours start running around.”
Currie Rose, an exploration and mine development company, has optioned about 2,000 hectares of land of the old Rossland Mining Camp- the former Le Roi, War Eagle and Centre Star Gold mines. The claims essentially surround Rossland, from the west edge of Warfield, to the top of Red Mountain and backside of Monte Cristo and Kootenay-Columbia, to a few kilometres from the U.S. border.
In the first half of the 20th century, the various mines in the area produced 2.7 million ounces of gold, 3.5 million ounces of silver, and 71 tonnes of copper, amongst other minerals.
While it ranks as the third largest lode gold camp in B.C., it hasn’t been actively mined in decades.
Currie Ross bought the options for the properties from Dan Wehrle, a local geologist. He says there’s still plenty of value in the mountains.
“There’s definitely something here,” Wehrle told council as he introduced the Currie Rose president. “They closed down in 1928 because of their water pumping costs ate up all their profit at $20 per ounce.
“That’s why they closed, not due to lack of ore.”
Wehrle spent years exploring the area and slowly accumulating claims as they lapsed. With a series of claims connected, it’s become feasible again for a larger company to re-explore the mining potential.
And that’s what Currie-Rose intends to do. This fall it will begin a series of test drills to develop a clearer picture of what’s available. It’s also scouring volumes of mine records from the old companies held at the Rossland Museum, which Griffiths called a treasure trove of information. Should the initial test drilling prove interesting, the company will continue to develop the mines’ potential, and work to get the various water and land permits it needs for its operations.
Griffiths told the Rossland News his company is excited by the prospects it sees in the Rossland area.
“This is a hidden jewel in B.C.,” he said. ” While there has been work here in the last few years, it hasn’t been tied together, and we see a huge opportunity to have a go at something which is potentially world-class.”
Griffiths acknowledged that Wehrle’s work had been instrumental in attracting his company to the area.
“So much of the area is fragmented,” he says. “Danny has done a fabulous job to pull it together and therein lies the opportunity.”
And Wehrle says as someone who’s lived and worked in Rossland for 30 years, and loves the area, he was careful about what kind of company he brought in to work the claims.
“I have worked diligently to keep things in good care,” he told council. “Part of it is making sure the wrong companies and wrong people don’t come in and take my valuable claims…
“What has happened lately, I have recently optioned my claims. That means I have found a good company. Definitely.”
And Griffiths, who said he planned to buy a residence in Rossland, reassured council his company was on the up-and-up.
“With respect to community: this is important to us. We want to be part of the community,” he said. “We don’t want to be seen as ‘those miners’. We want to be seen as ‘OK, they told us this, that’s exactly what they said.’
“Currie Rose will be a good corporate citizen. You can rest assured that while I’m at the till, there will be no funny business, there will only be straight answers. And if we can’t give you an answer, I will get it for you.”
Griffiths also said Currie Rose would be hiring local contractors where possible. Under the four-year development plan issued in a news release earlier this year, the company will spend about $1 million on exploration in the first year, and $1.5 million in the second year (should first-year results warrant). The last two years would be spent developing a feasibility study for a full-fledged mine if the exploration phase is successful.
Griffiths said Currie Rose would move quickly to start to understand the geology of the region, then move on to further development.
“We expect this time next year we’ll be doing a whole lot more work to ensure the project moves forward in a straightforward and sequential way,” he told council.