The Coquihalla Gold Belt is situated in the northern Cascade Mountains of British Columbia. This gold belt follows the Hozameen fault structure for approximately 28 km and is located just outside the town of Hope BC which is about 80 miles from Vancouver. This gold belt has produced a lot of gold and has seen different mines come and go throughout the years.
Prospectors first became interested in the area when placer gold was disovered in the Fraser River in the 1850's. In 1868 the first Crown-granted claim in mainland British Columbia was awarded -- this covered silver discoveries located south of Hope. The rough terrain made prospecting difficult but by about 1891 placer miners were washing placer gravel on Siwash Creek near the Fraser River found lode gold deposits about 4 miles up Siwash Creek.
Prospecting in the region was given a boost when the Kettle Valley railway was constructed along the Coquihalla River between 1910 and 1916. This opened up access to the south basin area. About this same time was when hard rock mines were starting to get developed. The Ward Mine, the first hard rock mine that mined out a deposit of gold hosted in rock adjacent to the faulted eastern margin of the Coquihalla gold belt and operated in 1905 and produced about 135 ounces of gold. This same property also saw the developement of other mines, being the Emancipation and the Pipestem Mines.
The Emancipation Mine was located in 1913 by prospector Mike Merrick. He discovered lode gold in a large quartz vein. Between 1916 and 1919, mining took place with shipments totaling approximately 118 tons of high-grade gold ore. The Emancipation Mine produced 90.1 kg (2,897 ounces) of gold and 18.8 kg (605 ounces) of silver between 1916 and 1941. Between 1916 and 1919, mining took place with shipments totaling approximately 118 tons of high-grade gold ore. In the 1920's a mill was constructed near the Kettle Valley railway and connected to the mine via aerial tram. The Pipestem, Aurum and Emancipation Mines, all together produced about 3,700 ounces of gold.
Mining was on again off again for a few decades until the 1970's when gold prices started to go back up. At this time a group was formed an some of the claims were looked at again and exploration led to the discovery of the Carolin gold mine located approximately 2 km north of the Emancipation Mine. Under the management of Carolin Gold Mines, the Carolin Mine was opened to exploit this deposit and produced over 43,500 ounces of gold during 27 months of operation. The mill with a design capacity of 1,360 tonnes per day was commissioned in early 1982. Construction coincided with the high gold prices in 1980, but typically of the era, the first gold was produced in 1982 when gold had retreated back to near US$300 per ounce. The Carolin Mine operated from 1982 to 1984 and closed at the end of 1984 due to poor gold recoveries, low grades due primarily to dilution, and low gold prices.
Today with gold prices once again on the rise a new company called the New Carolin Gold Corp has been active in starting up the old mine and exploring the other original deposits for mining. There is still a lot of gold left there just waiting for the right miners to come along. You can also follow the news of this company on their website.