by Cameron Bridge, manager, Nicola Valley Museum and Archives —
While Iron Mountain has never undergone a major mining operation, it has held the interest of mining companies for well over 100 years. The first talk of ore deposits on iron mountain was made by George Dawson in the 1877 Geological Survey of Canada. Dawson is also the one that named the mountain, writing in the report “Near the top, a deposit of spectacular iron ore exists, from which, as it appears to bear no other name, it may be called Iron Mountain.”
By 1896, it was reported that there were 24 mineral claims made on Iron Mountain by the Mining Recorder, High Hunter. This includes a mining claim by a company out of Victoria that took up three adjoining claims that claimed to have found a valuable deposit of gold, silver, and copper. This would end up being disputed as a report from a decade later in 1905 claimed that nothing of significant economic importance had been found.
In 1927, Emmett Todd discovered a vein of silver-lead ore which would become known as the Leadville Group. They managed to follow the vein down about 100 feet, but lost it after that point. Later that same year, Emmett Todd would be found dead in his room at the Victoria Rooming House under suspicious circumstances but there appears to have been no further evidence found. Shortly thereafter, B.C. Ltd. was to acquire and develop three properties, including the Leadville group. Development continued using a compressor to drive a tunnel to the intersection of the original ore vein, but by 1931 no further work had been done on the property.
In 1947, George Hunter and his partners re-activated the property as the Lucky Todd Mine. A total crew of five managed to excavate 36 tonnes of silver, lead, and zinc ore using a compressor. By the early 1950’s, Granby Consolidated Mining, Smelting, and Power Company Ltd., took an option on this same property and managed to drain the mine shaft but no further work was done on the site. Finally, the New Jersey Zinc Explorations Company (Canada) Ltd. Drilled a 87 foot vertical shaft not far from the original Lucky Todd Mine shaft.
Since this point there has only been only small interests that have examined the possibility of ore on Iron Mountain.
The Nicola Valley Museum and Archives is open from Tuesday until Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. If you have any questions about the history of Merritt or the Nicola Valley please stop on by, give us a phone call, or send us an email!