The west coast of Vancouver Island, specifically the Clayoquot Sound and Kennedy River areas, underwent of a period of prolific prospecting activity in the late 1800’s. While several lode deposits were uncovered and worked throughout the early part of the 1900’s, interestingly enough, there were no substantial placer gold deposits.
Lode gold discoveries in the latter part of the 1800’s in the Kennedy River drainage resulted in limited production from two deposits, the Leora (a.k.a. Lost Canyon) and Rose Marie both of which lie east of the Kennedy River. The Leora had the most impressive production of all the Kennedy River area deposits. Intermittent production at the Leora between 1902 and 1915 produced 383 tonnes of ore containing 8,771 grams of gold and 2,831 grams of silver.
More so than gold mining, the region was known as an iron production location as from 1963 – 1966 the Brynor Mine near Meggie Lake east of Kennedy Lake produced iron ore, enough to make it the largest and most economic deposit in the entire area. In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s Vancouver Island and the Coastal Mainland of British Columbia saw extensive mineral exploration and mine development.
The Fandora Mine and several lesser auriferous quartz veins in the Tranquil Creek and adjacent watersheds of the Clayoquot Sound were first discovered in the late 1930’s. Initially, these discoveries were explored on surface by hand trenching and other limited exploration techniques. In 1940, the Fandora property was staked by E.G. Brown and P. Donahue to cover what is now defined as the Bell No 1-4 Crown Grants. The site was subsequently taken over by Privateer Mines, who in conjunction with Canamac Mining Company, carried out most of the underground development on the Property. Four main adits were driven on the 2100, 1900, 1700, and 1500 foot elevations utilizing hand steel and wheelbarrows over the course of one year. In 1947 three main properties (Gold Flake, Tofino, and Fandora) were amalgamated and placed into the newly formed Tofino Gold Mining Company. For several years, the Property was heavily explored, chiefly by a series of open cuts along the strike of the high-grade zones of the Fandora vein structure.
Between 1957 and 1964 a new phase of development was initiated by a group organized by Moneta Porcupine Mines. A 35 tonne/day mill and a full 20 man camp was constructed, as well as an access road, telegraph line, and tram line connecting the lower beach camp with the upper mining camp.
In 1998, Doublestar Resources Ltd. purchased the Fandora Crown Granted Mineral Claims and succeeded in highlighting the ease of recovery of the gold within the Fandora vein material.
Kennedy River Panning Reserve
The Kennedy River offers some very interesting areas to prospect and abounds in bedrock exposures.