Virtual Museum ID: 19-RM33

Specimen Summary

Soft silvery-grey molybdenite is the main ore mineral for molybdenum. Molybdenum, often just called ‘moly’, is used to make alloys with other metals like iron. Adding molybdenum to steel makes it stronger, harder and more resistant to corrosion. It also has a very high melting temperature, so is very useful when added to alloys to make aircraft parts and industrial motors, which need to withstand high temperatures.

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:

Rossland Museum & Discovery Centre (RM)

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Collection ID:


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Date Added to VM:


Location Information

Sample Origin:

Salmo, BC

Specific Site:

Emerald Mine

UTM Easting:


UTM Northing:



11 (NAD 83)

Coordinate Accuracy:

Specimen Details

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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:

Laib Formation

Geological Period:

Lower Cambrian

Stratigraphic Age:

510 to 541 Million Years Ago

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Site Details:

This property lies on the summit between Sheep & Lost Creeks, about 11.2 kilometres southeast of Salmo. Although the Emerald has in recent years been a tungsten producer (082FSW010), its early history as a lead-zinc producer is mentioned here because the Jersey (082FSW009) workings were later extended into Emerald ground and production figures for the two have not been recorded separately.

Production of lead-zinc ore from the Emerald was begun in 1906 by the owner, J. Waldbesen. In 1917 Iron Mountain Ltd. was formed to operate the mine and a 23 tonne mill was put into operation. The Emerald was a small but steady producer of lead- zinc ore from 1906 to 1925.

A small amount of shallow development work was done on the Jersey claim (082FSW009) from 1916 to 1919 and some ore was shipped, however the main ore deposit was not discovered at this time.

Canadian Exploration Ltd., while operating the Emerald tungsten mine, carried out an extensive diamond drilling program on the Jersey during 1948 and a large tonnage of lead-zinc ore was outlined. During 1948-49 the Emerald tungsten operation was closed down and the mill, beside the Nelson-Nelway Highway, was converted to a lead-zinc operation and production from the Jersey began in March 1949. The mine has operated continuously since that time, development work being done on all seven ore zones. Track mining has been used in A, C, and D zones and trackless mining in A, D, E, F, and G zones. The A zone has been developed from the south end of the Jersey zone to a point north of the Emerald, a distance of 1524 metres.

Ore reserves as of April 1, 1965 are reported at 671,075 tonnes grading 1.2 per cent lead and 4.1 per cent zinc.

The Emerald lead-zinc ores are similar in nature to the HB deposits (082FSW004) except that lead predominates. Galena runs over 40 per cent with about 6 per cent zinc and 50 grams of silver. There is evidence to suggest the Emerald ores are controlled more by flat shears than vertical ones.

The galena-sphalerite-pyrite-pyrrhotite ores occur in several parallel zones and are characterized by their banded nature. They are hosted by dolomitized Reeves Member limestones of the Lower Cambrian Laib Formation.

Skarn with minor molybdenum was noted during underground development in 1915. Records indicate that over 50,000 tonnes of ore were shipped between 1906 and 1925 but details are not available. However, the production data, as recorded for the adjacent Jersey mine (082FSW009), indicates a distinct period of production during the 1906 to 1925 period in which 25,850 tonnes of ore were mined and 705,292 grams of silver, 6,788,936 kilograms of lead and 19,771 kilograms of zinc were recovered.

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