The Red Cliff group, which included the Crown-granted Mount Lyell, Red Cliff, Montrose, Little Pat Fraction, and Waterloo claims, was staked in 1908 at Lydden Creek near the junction of American Creek and the Bear River, about 12 miles north of Stewart.
Oxide zones which mark the area of mineralization are clearly visible from the river and directed prospectors to the location and the subsequent naming of the property.
Much of the development of the property was completed by the Red Cliff Mining Co. Ltd. in the years 1908 to 1912 and during that time 1,249 tons of copper ore was shipped via the Portland Canal Short Line Railway to Stewart and then to the smelter.
The mine report of 1912 indicated 5,000 tons of ore was broken and 1,249 tons shipped, 1,500 tons left in stopes, and 2,239 tons put in ore dumps. At the time the mine had indicated it would soon ship 100 tons of ore per day and promised approximately 100,000 tons.
Operations ceased at the mine in 1912 and in 1921 the property was sold to R. W. Wood and associates, who did a minor amount of surface work on the claims.
In 1939 the property was optioned by the R. W. Wood and W. R. Wilson estates to H. D. Haywood, who explored a surface showing in the Lydden Creek canyon at 1,900 feet elevation. Small ore shipments were made in 1939, 1940, and 1941, to the Prince Rupert sampling plant. In 1946 the Yale Mining Company, Limited, took an examining option on the group to test gold showings on the Montrose claim.
In 1950, Yale Lead & Zinc Mines, Limited completed about 2,000 feet of diamond drilling on mineralized zones in the creek section. In 1959 a small amount of surface work was done by Oro Fino Mines Ltd. under option from Yale Lead & Zinc Mines, Limited. Since then the mineral deposits have undergone scrutiny but little serious attention.
Currently the lower tunnel and workings and the old camp area have largely been buried in thick gravel deposits and the upper areas are mainly worked out with little original mineralization left for study.
The development of the deposits and the description of the known mineralization has been treated extensively in Geological Survey of Canada Memoir 32, 1913, and British Columbia Minister of Mines Annual Reports, 1908 and 1909, and will not be repeated here.
The geologic setting of the isolated lenses of copper ore and gold-quartz veins is similar to that of the nearby Independent and Big Casino properties. Red and green volcanic breccias and conglomerates of the Hazelton assemblage have been intruded and variously deformed by members of the Portland Canal swarm of granitic dykes and the mineral deposits are found in diffuse fracture zones and minor shears sub-parallel to the northwest-trending dykes.