Geological Specimen


Mineral sample, Argentiferous Galena (Galena, Freibergite), from Keno Mine Number 18, Vein Number 4, North Slope.

Galena is the natural mineral form of lead sulphide, its chemical compound is denoted by PbS. Argentiferous galena is one of the most important ores in silver mining. Aside from being rich in silver and lead, the galena often contains significant amounts of zinc, cadmium, antimony, arsenic, bismuth. The silver and lead bearing ore was first found in the Keno area by placer miner Jacob Davidson in 1903. Davidson staked the claim but let it lapse, his interests at that point were mainly in gold. In 1913, the Silver King mine was staked and opened up to reveal high concentration of silver in the ore. Silver has been mined in the area ever since, with major operations opening in the 1920 and ongoing exploration today. This area was considered Canada's second largest silver producer, not to mention it helped build the wealth of the Guggenheims, Treadwell Yukon, United Keno Hill Mines and countless individuals.

Between 1919 and 1942, $23,000,000 worth of silver were extracted from the mines in this area. The commercial activities supporting this mining were critical to the Yukon economy during most of the period, after the placer gold reserves had largly been mined out.

Silver King was staked for silver and lead in 1906. Restaked in 1912, it first produced ore from 1914-1916. Jack Alverson and Grant Huffman worked in the drift, one of them holding the drill steel while the other pounded it with a single jack, then blasting, mucking and drilling again.

Aitken mined the silver king the next year, using 40 hp boilers, steam compressors, pumps and other machinery to upgrade the operation. He also established an assay lab. In two winters and three summers, he mined out about 3500 tons, down to 200 feet.

The vein Aitken had been mining ran out but farther on lay another, one of the largest ore bodies in the district. This lens of Ore was successfully mined in the 1930s, when the Silver King was again a major producer in the area.


Keno City Mining Museum, Keno City

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