Virtual Museum ID: 17-PME6060

Specimen Summary

Look at the beautiful specimen of Gold! Everyone is familiar with this mineral - it is highly prized and commonly used in everything from jewelry to electronics and dentistry. 

This particular specimen is from the small town of Van Anda on Texada Island in British Columbia. Today, the town has a population of around 70 people, but in the 1880's was the site a major gold rush.

The town itself is named after the Van Anda Copper and Gold Mining Company who owned 840 acres on the north east side of the Island. The President of the company, Edward Blewitt, was a prominent capitalist from Seattle as well as a miner, and so led the charge into these Canadian sites. 

The area first became active in 1876 when Harry Trim, a local Whaler, discovered iron ore in the same area. The ore was used to build battleships, but focus soon switched to gold and copper after they were discovered in 1880. The boom was short as the minerals were localized, but in that time, the small town of Van Anda grew immensely, including having the largest opera house north of San Francisco for the time! 

Alas the town was struck by a fire in 1910 which destroyed most of the buildings in just 40 minutes. Confidence in the mining was still high, and the town was rebuilt, only to be destroyed again by fire in 1912. In 1917, the town was once again decimated by fire, leaving only the store intact, and the mining of precious metals died with the final conflagration. 

Today there are several quarries in the region that ships three million tons of limestone a year, but the gold, copper and iron mines are a thing of the past.

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:

Van Anda, Texada Island, British Columbia

Specific Site:

Holly Claim

UTM Easting:


UTM Northing:



10 (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:

Karmutsen Formation/Quatsino Formation (Vancouver Group_

Geological Period:

Upper Triassic

Stratigraphic Age:

145 to 163.5 Million Years Ago

Geological Belt:


Geological Terrane:


Minfile ID:

092F 105

Site Details:

The Little Billie mine is located just outside the town of Vananda on the northeast coast of Texada Island, 120 kilometres northwest of Vancouver. Historic work at the Little Billie mine has included moderate underground development. The shaft collar is situated on Lots 521 and 522, 0.5 kilometre east-southeast of Vananda Cove.

Northern Texada Island is underlain by Karmutsen Formation pillowed and massive basaltic flows with thick units of pillowed breccia conformably overlain by massive limestone of the Quatsino Formation, both of the Upper Triassic Vancouver Group. Various Middle Jurassic stocks and minor intrusions, ranging in composition from gabbro through diorite to quartz monzonite, intrude the volcanics and limestones. These intrusions are locally associated with iron and copper-gold skarn mineralization. A major episode of folding (F1) has resulted in the limestones and, to a lesser extent, the underlying volcanics, being deformed into a series of broad, northwest trending open folds that plunge northwards. Three subparallel northwest striking lineaments are also recognized and coincide with the Ideal, Holly and Marble Bay faults. These faults cut a set of northeast striking faults. The Marble Bay fault, and to a lesser extent the Ideal fault, have apparently controlled the emplacement of some of the Jurassic intrusions and their associated skarn mineralization.

The Little Billie occurrence, near the Marble Bay fault, is underlain by massive, recrystallized limestone of the Quatsino Formation intruded by the Cretaceous Little Billy stock comprised of a light grey, fine to medium-grained equigranular tonalite. A suite of amphibole rich mafic dykes also occur and appear to pre- and postdate the Little Billy stock. The limestone is gently folded and bedding is poorly defined. Skarn mineralization is spatially associated with the dykes and stock. Mineralization often forms irregular pipe-like bodies that plunge moderately, subparallel to the contacts between limestone and intrusive rocks. The mafic dykes appear to be of two generations. The older, and commonly altered northeast striking dykes cut only the limestone and are cut off along strike by the Little Billy stock. They contain abundant veinlets and lenses of garnet-diopside skarn which locally have completely replaced the dyke rock. The younger, "fresher looking" dykes strike east and cut the older dykes, the Little Billy stock and skarn developed along the intrusive/limestone contacts. Several, west-dipping, quartz-feldspar porphyry and hornblende-feldspar porphyry dykes are locally present in the mine area but are not exposed in the mine workings. Numerous minor faults are exposed underground. At the Little Billie mine, irregularly distributed skarn and related mineralization is developed in limestone near the tonalitic Little Billy stock where amphibole-rich mafic dykes cut the limestone. The skarn also extends into dyke material. The shape of the skarns are determined by the tonalite/limestone contacts or by the attitude of the mafic dykes. The skarns are comprised of coarse, light tan grossularite and light green and dark brown andradite garnet as well as wollastonite, clinopyroxene (diopside), tremolite, quartz and feldspar.

Two types of skarn ore are recognized; one is characterized by a gangue of coarse granular brown garnet and abundant magnetite that is loosely held together and the second by a gangue of green garnet, wollastonite and diopside which is dense and hard. The main ore minerals are chalcopyrite and bornite with variable but minor amounts of molybdenite, pyrite, magnetite and sphalerite. Bornite sometimes occurs as coarse euhedral crystals intergrown with garnet, and the higher gold values are commonly found with the higher copper concentrations. Chalcopyrite and bornite are interstitial to bladed wollastonite. Although chalcopyrite and bornite occur together in both the green and brown garnet skarn bodies, the chalcopyrite favours the brown garnet (andradite)-magnetite bodies and the bornite favours the green garnet (andradite)-wollastonite-diopside bodies. The light tan grossularite garnet is associated with diopside and wollastonite and clusters of quartz, epidote and feldspar but is typically not mineralized with sulphides.

Other minerals identified at the Little Billie mine include galena, scheelite and native silver as well as the tellurides hessite, petzite and wehrlite (Fieldwork, 1989). Small amounts of pyrrhotite are found along joints in some altered mafic dykes.

Inferred reserves are 181,420 tonnes of ore grading 11.65 grams per tonne gold, 2 per cent copper and 34.28 grams per tonne silver (George Cross News Letter No. 202 (October 20), 1992)). A recent diamond-drill hole intersection of skarn mineralization below the 6th level graded 7.26 grams per tonne gold, 29.13 grams per tonne silver and 1.6 per cent copper across 5.8 metres of skarn (Northern Miner - January 2, 1989).

Wollastonite, at the Little Billie, is common in green exoskarn which commonly occurs with green andradite in layers 0.6 to 5 centimetres thick.

A 38.7 kilogram sample of massive, white wollastonite-rich skarn was sent to CANMET for processing and the results were as follows (Open File 1991-17):


SiO2 44.5 %

Al2O3 1.10%

Fe2O3 4.21%

CaCo3 14.3 %

MgO 1.20%

L.O.I. 5.72

Brightness 62.78

Lightness 80.30


Recent interest in the wollastonite potential of the Little Billie mine has resulted in unclassified reserves of 100,000 tonnes of wollastonite skarn material in the old mine workings. The reserve figure is based on Stevenson's report in the Minister of Mines Annual Report 1944 (Fieldwork, 1988). Recent drilling has cut intercepts of up to 24 metres comprised essentially of wollastonite (Open File 1991-17).

Production from 1896 to 1952 totalled 63,713 tonnes yielding 1,198,533 grams of silver, 363,199 grams of gold and 819,225 kilograms of copper.

The property is held by Consolidated Van Anda Gold Ltd.

Additional Images