Virtual Museum ID: 17-PME4351

Specimen Summary

Gold with galena, laumontite and sphalerite from the White Star Mine, Zeballos, Vancouver Island.

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, as seen in this sample. In its natural mineral form, gold is commonly alloyed with silver. Gold is distinguishable by its characteristic golden yellow colour and extreme heaviness.

This sample is from the White Star Mine, near Zeballos on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Gold was mined at White Star from the 1930s to 1950s and is found in quartz veins with other ore minerals sphalerite and galena, as well as pyrite. Five main veins were mined there. This sample is from the Number One vein, which with the Number Two vein produced most of the mine’s gold. The individual veins are narrow, just 3-30 cm wide.

The White Star Mine is one of several mines in the Zeballos area and is known for its well-formed gold crystals, which are visible in this sample.

This sample also contains several other minerals as well as gold: silver-grey galena, an important lead ore; brown sphalerite, the most common zinc ore; and grey-white quartz. Powdery white laumontite can also be seen. Laumontite is a member of the zeolite group of minerals, which are commonly found in igneous rocks or produced artificially and used in industrial applications such as water purification.

Between 1935 and 1957, White Star produced 221 kilograms of gold, 92.5 kilograms of silver, 30 kilograms of zinc, 14.1 tonnes of lead and 1.6 tonnes of copper.

Specimen Data


The information listed below relates to the current holding location or collection that the sample is from, and whether the item is viewable at that location or is part of a private collection. Coordinates are given as guides, and we remind you that collecting specimens from these locations is not allowed. Caution is advised visiting such sites and Below BC assumes no responsibility for any injuries or trespassing charges that may occur as a result of the viewer entering these sites.

Collection Details

Original Collection:

Pacific Museum of Earth (PME)

Sub Collection:


Collection ID:


Virtual Museum ID:



Date Added to VM:


Location Information

Sample Origin:

Zeballos, Vancouver Island, BC

Specific Site:

White Star MIne

UTM Easting:


UTM Northing:



09 (NAD 83)

Coordinate Accuracy:


Specimen Details

VM Category:


Primary Features:


Primary Mineral Formula:


Primary Category:

native element

Secondary Features:

Advanced Geological Information


The following section provides geological data relating to the specimen or the site it was collected from, when available. Information has been obtained from various sources including private and government datasets but may not be up to date. Any geological time periods or ages listed often relate to the primary geology of the area, and may not be the actual date of an event such as mineral formation.

Geological Formation:

Bonanza Group

Geological Period:

Lower Jurassic

Stratigraphic Age:

174.1 to 201.3 Million Years

Geological Belt:


Geological Terrane:

Wrangell, Plutonic Rocks

Minfile ID:

092L 010

Site Details:

The White Star mine lies in the Zeballos gold camp, an area underlain by a Lower Jurassic Bonanza Group Island arc sequence of basaltic to rhyolitic volcanic rocks. Conformably underlying the Bonanza rocks are limestones and limy clastics of the Quatsino and Parson Bay formations, and the tholeiitic basalts of the Karmutsen Formation, all belonging to the Upper Triassic Vancouver Group. Dioritic to granodioritic Jurassic plutons of the Zeballos intrusion phase of the Island Intrusions have intruded all older rocks. The Eocene Zeballos stock, a quartz diorite phase of the Catface Intrusions, is spatially related to the areas gold-quartz veins. Bedded rocks are predominantly northwest striking, southwest dipping, and anticlinally folded about a northwest axis.

Recorded production for the camp totals 9465 kilograms gold and 4119 kilograms silver, from 652,000 tonnes of ore mined (Fieldwork 1982, page 291). Most production came from the Spud Valley (092L 013, 211) and Privateer (092L 008) deposits.

Five veins are recognized at the White Star mine, all within quartz diorite intruded by north to north-northeast striking feldspar porphyry dykes all related to the Eocene Catface Intrusions. The veins lie 300 metres east of the quartz diorite contact with calc- silicate altered tuffs of the Lower Jurassic Bonanza Group.

The veins follow shear zones that dip steeply southeast and strike approximately 040 degrees. The shear zones are up to 15 centimetres wide, the quartz veins contained in them are somewhat narrower. Diagonal gash veins, commonly filled with comb quartz, are common.

The Number One (Donaldson) vein, which with Number Two accounted for most of the mine's production, follows in part a 1.8 metre wide feldspar porphyry dyke. The veins contain moderate amounts of pyrite, galena, sphalerite, arsenopyrite and free gold in quartz gangue. Sulphide banding is common. The Numbers 3, 4, and 5 veins, located 60 metres west of the Donaldson Vein, are much narrower, averaging less than 3 centimetres.

Production between 1935 and 1942 totalled 1283 tonnes averaging 171.7 grams per tonne gold, 71.7 grams per tonne silver (Bulletin 27, page 77). Production between 1935 to 1957, includes 220,987 grams of gold, 92,531 grams of silver, 17,144 kilograms of lead with 1563 kilo- grams of copper and 30 kilograms of zinc.

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