Gold(Native) & Quartz

Gold is a valuable, highly prized mineral used in everything from jewellery to electronics and dentistry. Gold is desirable due to its special properties, such as malleability and resistance to tarnishing. Gold is commonly microscopic or embedded within or around sulphide grains. Free visible gold occurs as disseminated grains, or rarely as crystals. Crystals of gold commonly form within or around quartz. In its natural mineral form, gold is commonly alloyed with silver. Gold is distinguishable by its characteristic golden yellow colour and extreme heaviness.

Quartz is the second most abundant mineral on Earth, occurring in many different types of rocks. Although usually clear or milky white in colour, quartz can be found in a variety of colours because of impurities in the crystal structure. Pure quartz is made up of silicon and oxygen only, but atoms of other elements, like iron or titanium, often make their way into the quartz crystal structure. Some varieties of quartz, like purple amethyst, are considered to be semi-precious gemstones and have been used since ancient times to make jewellery and decorative objects.

This sample is from the Golden Contact mine, also known as the Anderson Lake mine, near McGillivray in BC, about 30 km west-southwest of Lillooet.

McGillivray, once known as McGillivray Falls, was a small mining town on the western shore of Anderson Lake. Gold was mined in the area during the Bridge River Gold Rush of the late 1800s. The historic Pioneer mine is 20 km to the northwest.

The town, nearby falls and mountain were named by an early miner, Jack McGillivary, and his brother, Don. The brothers owned MGillivray Bros, which helped build the PGE railway between Squamish and Lillooet, and had worked on the construction of the CPR main line through the Fraser Canyon. Some houses still remain from the early 1900s.

Mineralization in the area is contained in steeply dipping quartz veins 4-7 m wide with free gold and minor chalcopyrite (seen green-blue tarnished in this sample), pyrite, arsenopyrite, sphalerite and galena.

Several different companies owned this underground mine and constructed adits for exploration and sampling, but the mine was only in production from 1900 to 1904 and again in 1910 and in 1962.  In total, 9,177 tonnes or ore was extracted, producing 21.4 kilograms of gold.

Specimen Information

Store:  Association for Mineral Exploration (AME)

Collection: –

Accession #: AME 555

Primary Mineral: Gold (Native)

Secondary Mineral: Quartz

Site Locality: Golden Contact Mine (Anderson Lake Mine)

Location:  McGillivray, British Columbia

Special Features: n/a

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