Approximately 2,500,000 troy ounces (77,760 kilograms/86 tons) of gold were produced from Hedley’s mines between 1904 and 1996. Using the price of gold from January, 2010 of $1090 USD per troy ounce, today’s value would be about $2,725,000,000.
The Nickel Plate Mine
Gold was found on top of Nickel Plate Mountain in 1898. The ore was rich but it had to be extracted from the host rock by crushing and chemical treatment. By 1903, men were digging the first of 120 kilometers of tunnels into the mountain and building a tramway down to a 40 stamp mill. Men climbed the mountain each day to go to work until a second town for 200 persons was built on the mountain top.
Nickel Plate operated as an underground mine until 1955. The average price of gold over all those years had been about $40 per ounce. Houses, rail tracks and the mill machinery were removed. Some buildings were hauled down on the tram and placed on new foundations in Hedley town. The mine was reopened in 1986 and worked for ten years as an open pit mine.
The Mascot Mine
A rival mine with a dramatic history dug into the mountainside high above the valley, driving 67 kilometers of tunnels between 1935 and 1949. These mine buildings still cling to the cliff and have been repaired by the Upper Similkameen Indian Band so that visitors may safely explore them and walk into the mine portal to experience a spectacular special effects tour. You may also visit the Snaza'ist Discovery Center. Tours will commence May 1. They take 4.5 hours. Be sure to confirm ahead.
Contact: 1.888.799.8733 www.mascotmine.com