History

The Myra Falls mine has a long history. The first documented exploration and mineral prospecting in Central Vancouver Island began in 1865 with the John Buttle expedition. The expedition ventured from the West Coast fishing village of Tofino, up Bedwell Sound and Bedwell River valley, into what is now the southern margin of Strathcona Park. This was the first recorded sighting of what is now Buttle Lake. In 1910, the Price Ellison Expedition ventured into the Buttle Lake area where the falls were named after Eddison’s daughter, Myra. Ellison’s recommendation to the provincial legislature led to the Strathcona Park Act in 1911, protecting the first and oldest provincial park in British Columbia.

Mineral prospecting and staking was opened up shortly afterwards and the first claims were staked in 1917. Claims staked by James Cross and Associates of Victoria and Paramount Mining Company of Toronto during 1917 cover the surface expressions of the Lynx, Myra, and Price deposits. Preliminary work between 1919 and 1925 was inconclusive. The Geological Survey of Canada undertook a regional study of the mineral potential around the Buttle Lake area during 1930. A number of private examinations occurred on all the showings during the 1940’s and 1950’s, but active mineral exploration and development remained essentially dormant for the next three decades.

Interest in the property was revived in 1959 during the post-World War II economic boom when the claims were acquired and consolidated by the Reynolds Syndicate. The new consolidated claim group was subsequently sold to Western Mines Limited of Calgary in 1961. Development and mining began on the Lynx open pit in 1966 at a rate of 600 to 900 tonnes per day. Underground mining followed shortly thereafter, with an original mining reserve estimate of 1.9 million tonnes. Boat access to the property was upgraded with the building of a road along the east shoreline of Buttle Lake. The road connected the mine site to the town of Campbell River. Surface infrastructure facilities were constructed with much of the raw material being logged, milled, or excavated on site.

In 1976, Brascan Ltd. acquired control of Western Mines Limited and formed Westmin Resources Ltd. Recognizing a decline in the mineral inventory, an aggressive exploration program was launched. Following assessment of the property for its volcanic stratigraphy, structural deformation, style of mineralization and hydrothermal alteration, a decision to drill the north limb of the Myra anticline was made. This decision was rewarded by discovery of the large tonnage HW deposit 400 m below the Myra valley floor in December 1979.