GOLD FEVER at GOLD HILL
Gold on the Wild Horse River was discovered in the fall of 1863 by American prospectors. The river was originally known as Stud Horse Creek. The Wild Horse River yielded close to $7,000,000 (48 tons or around $2,000,000,000 in today’s dollars) in gold during the gold rush. It is believed that a far greater amount was mined and venver accounted for. The river is considered to be one of the greatest gold creeks in the entire province of British Columbia. A miner named Mike Reynolds who mined the river in the 1860s recovered a 36 ounce gold nugget. This was the largest nugget recovered from the river. The river was mined with many methods including hydraulics, tunnels, and shafts. During the Gold Rush this river went through two eras of great activity. The first era was from 1863 to 1868 and the second was from 1885 to 1900. The river was worked by both European and Chinese miners.
Fort Steele and Fisherville shone brightly in their glory years of the 1860’s. They were rough, rip-roaring frontier towns full of the riff-raff that chased after gold from California in 1849 up through Helena Montana and Coeur d’Alene Idaho to the Kootenay region of B.C just north of the border.
The majority of the gold taken from the river was located along a 6km stretch between Boulder Creek (upstream) and Brewery Creek (downstream). While there was some gold found further upstream from Boulder Creek, it’s quantity increased dramatically where this steep creek empties into the much more level Wild horse River. Brewery Creek greatly contributes to the flow of the Wild Horse and therefore it is likely that far less gold was found below this point as much of it would be carried out to the much larger Kootenay River. While most of the gold has been taken from the placer deposits downstream from Gold Hill, there are still placer operations in the area ranging from small scale panning / sluicing to full scale mining operations.
During the second era of activity efforts were made to trace the source / sources of the placer gold. This led explorers (including geologists from Cominco) up the Boulder Creek to what is now called the Gold Hill property. This property constitutes a significant portion of the watershed for Boulder Creek including two main areas where gold was recovered by Cominco (along with others). These areas are known as Big Chief and Gold Hill. Both areas are believed to be contributing sources for the incredible resources found in the Wild Horse River and as such have tremendous potential. While gold was discovered on the property, the gold price in 1900 did not support extensive hard rock exploration at the time.
The historical gold on the property is referred to as “free gold”, which in mining terms means “gold not in combination with any other substance”. It also generally indicates that the gold can be liberated from its host rock through a simple process of crushing which is basically what took place in nature over millions of years to create the placer gold in the Boulder and Wild Horse creeks.
The property has been overlook and sat dormant for many years. American Creek was very fortunate to acquire a property with such a rich history and such huge potential.