Photo - Looking North up Bear River Valley
The original Independent group of six claims was located Independent Group in 1919 by the Fitzgerald brothers, of Stewart. The property is situated on the steep slope west of Bear River and bounded by Goose, or Fitzgerald, Creek and the ice cap on Bear River Ridge.
The Big Casino and Red Cliff properties are adjacent to the north and east boundaries of the Independent. The area is presently accessible only by helicopter. The country rocks are red and green Hazelton assemblage volcanic conglomerates and breccias which trend northerly and dip steeply west.
The main Portland Canal dyke swarm passes through this section and has divided the country rocks into thin panels and wedges. Fitzgerald Creek marks a major normal fault zone where the east side has moved down and north relative to the main ridge.
At least five veins or mineralized zones have been explored by trenches, several adits, and diamond drilling. The old camp is completely demolished and most of the trenches are filled in, the main adit at elevation 2,950 feet on No. I vein is still accessible, but the small adits on No. 3 and 4 veins in the gully a few hundred feet to the northeast, which were presumably driven from the old snow level, are completely out of reach at present.
No. 1 vein, trenched at an elevation of 3,250 feet and traced by a drift for 700 feet, consists of a northwest-trending, steep, east-dipping, irregular, quartz-barite-jasper breccia zone containing erratic pyrite, chalcopyrite, sphalerite, minor arseno-pyrite, and pyrrhotite, as well as angular fragments of weakly bleached wallrocks.
Silver values reportedly were as high as 10 ounces to the ton and the other metals were negligible. In 1928, in spite of poor diamond-drill results, a second adit at an elevation of 2,760 feet was initiated on the No. 1 vein, but operations ceased at the end of the year. Work has not been recorded on the property since then, but evidence of recent diamond drilling above the main showings at about 3,400 feet elevation was noticed in 1965.
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