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Just scratching the surface: Gold exploration

Bill Glasier inspects some core samples taken off Valentine Mountain. - Submitted photo
Bill Glasier inspects some core samples taken off Valentine Mountain.
— image credit: Submitted photo

Gold and the lure of it has sent countless men and women into the wilderness in search of the elusive precious metal. It has always been a boom and bust industry and with the prices creeping towards the $2,000 mark per ounce, even small strikes are becoming more profitable.

About 25 miles north of Shirley is Valentine Mountain and it is the site of the operations of modern day gold prospectors. These miners don’t pan for gold or even dredge for it, they are at the formative stages of searching and exploring for it — scratching the surface if you will.

Mill Bay Ventures Inc. has struck gold and the future is looking promising for the company. The property hosts an inferred mineral resource, known as the Discovery Zone, with an estimated 55,105 tonnes grading 16.3 grams (0.52 ounces) of gold per tonne.

President Bill Glasier said they have found gold-bearing veins on their mineral claim in a 7 x 0.5 km. area after drilling core samples. The property hosts an inferred mineral resource, known as the Discovery Zone, with an estimated 55,105 tonnes grading 16.3 grams (0.52 ounces) of gold per tonne.

“We are planning to go back and do more drilling. We have had recommendations from the engineer of where to drill.” said Glasier. “We’ve increased the resource from $20 million to $40 million. We don’t know how big it is, we need to do more drilling.”

The company announced a program of trenching, excavating and milling of 3,000 tonnes of quart-sulphide vein material for it 100 per cent owned Valentine Mountain Gold Project. The plan has been approved by the Ministry of Energy and Mines.

“We will have to run it through some type of recovery unit, we should get $3 million of gold from it,” he stated. “Who knows how big it is — it will take a lot of work.”

So far the drilling and excavating has been shallow and Glasier figures they will drill deeper to find what they hope is there. Full-scale drilling will take place if it is justified after the  3,000 tonne sampling.

He thinks the company will need more than $40 million to continue drilling and blocking out.

“The zone is big enough,” said Glasier, it could become something major.”

If it is major, a large mining company would likely take it over.

Will this create some employment in the Sooke area? Glasier said they do use locals and hire their equipment as much as possible and they do eat at Mom’s Cafe whenever they are in Sooke.

Robert Beaupre actually discovered the gold-laden site in 1976, and retains a position as consultant for Mill Bay Ventures. He said the property has been in the hands of a number of mining companies in the past but a lot of the big companies left when the NDP came into power. He said the business is more streamlined now.

“I know every inch of ground,” he said. “We’ve found some fine specimens of gold, even the Sooke Museum has samples.”

He said several million dollars has been spent up there and it is “starting to look promising,” although it is not a cheap business to be in.

“This could be a good splash for the Sooke area,” said Beaupre.

The company has been drilling and exploring on Valentine Mountain since 2008.

William Glasier retired from his role as a stockbroker back in 1987. He didn’t know what to do upon retirement, so he formed Mill Bay Ventures and started purchasing properties. As a broker he pursued money for junior companies and, in a sense, he is doing the same now. Mill Bay Ventures has claims in Bralorne and Valentine Mountain in British Columbia, as well as claims in Nevada and government coal leases in Saskatchewan.

The Valentine Mountain area was first mined in the 1860s, when placer gold was discovered in its numerous stream drainages. According to historical accounts, nuggets up to one ounce and a total production of 10,000-20,000 ounces of gold may have been sluiced from gravel/bedrock contacts along gravel bars of the Leech River

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