The Merry Widow Group
The property known as the Merry Widow Group is located on the east slope of Merry Widow Mountain in the Nanaimo Mining Division, about 40km southwest of Port McNeill on Vancouver Island. It comprises 44 Crown Granted mineral claims and a 20 unit claim held by record. The property is accessible by an excellent main haulage logging road from Port McNeill to the Benson River valley. Secondary logging roads which are in good four wheel drive condition give access to the old Merry Widow mine and the favourable mineralized areas that are the subject of this report.
There has been over 100 years of prospecting, staking, exploration and mining within the boundaries of the Merry Widow Group property (Merry Widow property). Occurrences of copper are reported to have been discovered in 1897 along the Old Sport horizon near the Benson River on the east slope of Merry Widow Mountain. The claim staking that eventually covered the whole property started at that time.
The oldest rocks in the map area are massive to pillowed volcanics and subvolcanic gabbroic intrusions of the upper Triassic Karmutsen Formation. These are conformably overlain by approximately 1,000m of massive to bedded grey limestone belonging to the upper Triassic Quatsino Formation. The Quatsino is uncomformably overlain by the lower Jurassic Bonanza Group, which includes andesitic ash and lapilli tuff, breccia, greenstone and well-bedded tuffaceous siltstone. The area includes two major episodes of intrusive rocks. The oldest, the Keystone suite, is believed to be coeval with the Bonanza Group and resulted in swarms of minor sills and bikes, as well as some subvertical breccia pipes. The largest pipe, the Keystone intrusion, reaches 600m in diameter. The suite comprises fine to medium grained rocks of largely andesitic composition. The second major intrusive episode resulted in the emplacement of the Coast Copper stock. This is mostly a coarse grained, mafic gabbro of subalkalic and tholeitic affinity. It contains uralitized pyroxene, hornblende, plagioclase, ilmenite, magnetite and apatite. The last stage of Jurassic volcanic and intrusive activity was the introduction of skarn forming and magnetite solutions. The Merry Widow and other magnetite ore bodies are thought to have been introduced along northeast trending fault and fracture systems in the Quatsino limestone. Copper mineralization is associated with the magnetite but contains a minor percentage of gold.
The target deposit type of the present exploration program is Precious Metals Enriched (PME) Skarn deposits. The locus of the known gold bearing massive sulfide showings is centered at the old Merry Widow magnetite mine. The main showings are situated along a north-south trending zone of favourable host rocks between the Coast Copper intrusive diorite stock to the west and Quatsino Formation limestone rocks to the east. This favourable host rock zone is about 5km long. The favourable host rock is Quatsino Formation limestone into which a complicated assemblage of greenstone rocks including dikes, sills and breccia-filled volcanic pipes have been intruded. Late stage north trending fractures and dikes appear to be associated with feeder zones that have brought in the massive sulfide mineralization containing excellent values in gold and copper along with interesting values in silver and cobalt. This mineralization is hypothesized to belong to the Tertiary Period as are so many of the gold deposits of Vancouver Island. The massive sulfide mineralization is comprised of pyrite, pyrrhotite, chalcopyrite, aresenopyrite, and cobaltite along with gold and silver which are present in part, as particulate or free gold and silver.
Two large ore bodies on the property were mined during the period 1957 to 1973. First was the Empire Development Merry Widow mine, which lay at surface elevation of about 732m. Far below this magnetite mine, at the contact of the Karmutsen Volcanics Formation and the overlying Quatsino Limestone Formation along what is called the Old Sport horizon, Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company mined out a copper deposit with accessory gold and silver values in the Benson Lake mine. This mineralized horizon underlies all or most of the property, dipping at about 40 degrees westerly from the outcrop area near the eastern boundary of the property at an elevation of about 150m. At a position below the Merry Widow mine pit the Old Sport Horizon would be at least 770m lower. There is a potential for other bodies of gold bearing massive sulfide deposits, close to the diorite stock throughout the 770m of elevation, and along the entire five kilometers of contact zone.
Along this favourable host zone are many showings of the gold bearing massive sulfide deposits. These contain excellent values in gold and copper and interesting values in silver and cobalt. When it is considered that the favourable host zone extends for 5km in length and down dip along the contact of the Coast Copper stock for at least 770m, the potential for the presence of a really large resource of gold bearing massive sulfide minerlization becomes plausible.
- May 15, 2006:
Summary Geological Report on the Merry Widow Property [PDF file, 7.3 MB]
- September 7, 2005:
Geological, Mining History and Mineral Deposits, Merry Widow Group Property [PDF file, 1.2 MB]
- Location Map (PDF)
- Claim Ownership (PDF)
- Historic Showings & 2006 Drill Holes (PDF)
- Regional Geology (PDF)
- Silver Geochemistry (PDF)
- Gold Geochemistry (PDF)
- Cobalt Geochemistry (PDF)
- Copper Geochemistry (PDF)
- Iron Geochemistry (PDF)
- Government 2006 Aeromagnetic Map (PDF)
- 2006 Aeromagnetic Map (PDF)
- Pit Area EM Targets (PDF)
- Craft Creek EM Targets (PDF)
- Old Sport EM Targets (PDF)
- Rainier Creek EM Targets (PDF)