1880’s – 1930’s
The area was first prospected in the late 1800s for gold and then shortly after for lead, zinc, and silver. The first gold discoveries were made in the early 1890s, and a small stamp mill was built on Decision Creek to treat gold ore obtained from the Burns and Dutchman mining leases. The present McMurdo property covers the former Burns mining leases and quartz-sulphide veins. At about the same time, the Crown Point prospect, comprising lead-zinc-silver replacement style mineralization, was discovered at the headwaters of McMurdo Creek. This prospect was periodically mined until the 1940s with a total of 762 meters of underground workings. Several minor gold showings were also discovered near the former Crown Point mine at this time.
In 1966, West Gate Mines completed the most recent documented exploration program focusing on gold in the area. West Gate’s work consisted of prospecting and re-sampling of historical workings, and recommended diamond drilling to follow up on results.
Commencing in the late 1970s, the area underwent regional exploration over a period of several years for SEDEX-style lead – zinc mineralization. A significant amount of geological, geochemical and geophysical surveying was completed, followed by exploration diamond drilling. Only a small portion of this work was completed on the McMurdo property, and most of the geochemical samples were not assayed for gold.
1980 – 1981
First Nuclear Corporation conducted a reconnaissance program of geological mapping, prospecting and geochemical sampling over an 18 km area of the northern Purcell mountain range. The program results suggested there was potential for stratiform lead-zinc deposits in the area. The prospecting conducted on the McMurdo property returned elevated gold and silver grades from grab samples obtained from carbonate lithologies, even in the samples that contained low base metal content.
1982 – 1983
Samim Canada Ltd optioned the property and continued exploration for stratiform lead-zinc deposits as a follow-up program for work completed by First Nuclear Corp. The programs included geological mapping, IP Surveys, Soil sampling, and 11 diamond drill holes. The majority of this work was not conducted on the McMurdo property.
In 1997 Mountain Star Resources Ltd acquired a large block of claims and conducted a property examination for its lead-zinc SEDEX deposit potential as well as its potential to host more extensive gold-quartz veins systems. Very limited field work was conducted on the property with no work being conducted on the McMurdo property.