During the boom period, extensive prospecting was carried on throughout the district, and many hundreds of mineral locations were made. Among these were the original Premier claims staked by “Scotty” Dilworth, Wm. Bunting, Wm. Logan and J. D. Morrison, in which an interest was obtained by O. B. Bush and the Salmon River Mining Co. Ltd. Was formed.
In 1914 the property was obtained by the Dominion Exploration Company and some work was done with little apparent success. Shortly afterwards H. R. Plate bonded the claims on behalf of New York interest, who spent in the neighborhood of $60,000, mostly in underground work, but this failed to disclose commercial ore bodies.. It is said , however, that Plate had great faith in the property, and had greater support been given him, the discovery of the first high-grade ore body would have been made then. The work stopped in 1915 and the following year Pat Daly, who had worked on the property with different owners, interested R. K. Neill, who spent considerable time on the claims and took many samples. These on assay, proved too low grade to interest the backer, Mr. Bacon, who withdrew from the enterprise. Some time later Neill succeeded in getting Trites, Woods, and Wilson, of Fernie, to join him and work was started again with the result that a crosscut, driven under Neill’s direction, opened up bonanza ore, which soon brought that property into prominence.
Development work on the mine was carried on energetically and. In spite of many difficulties a road was built. Some 500 tons of ore was shipped, yielding in the neighborhood of $175,000. This initial success stimulated activities in the project by the American Smelting and Refining Company for a million dollars, and the Premier Gold Mining Co. Ltd. Was incorporated in 1919.
Since then the history of the mine has been one of steady advancement and the property is known through out the mining world as a noteworthy success, it’s production to date being about $47,500,000 with $18,358,074.69 paid in dividends.
Recently the property was amalgamated with B. C. Silver and Sebakwa and the name changed to Premier Gold Mines Ltd.
This concludes a phase in history of Stewart and the Portland Canal covering a period of some thirty odd years.
NEXT PIONEERS TED APPLEWAITE