Allana Shillito (Gemboree Committee Chair):
The morning was hot and filled with anticipation as our newly-appointed wagon master Bill Needoba led us to the K2 Ocean Pearl Quarry on Mosquito Creek near Port Renfrew. There we learned that K2 has 3 different kinds of slate at their quarry: (i) black, oily slate – good for construction and aggregate material, (ii) a light blue-gray, and (iii) a dark gray. Both the latter two types are desirable for stone products. Matt Girard was our guide and explained all the processes needed to take the stone out of the ground and then to market. Any excess or unwanted material is used in conjunction with concrete and other aggregate, so nothing is wasted. Our afternoon was spent gold-panning in more temperate climes at Loss Creek. The water was definitely welcomed in comparison to our dry hot morning quarry run. Several participants found “colour” in their pans and some were able to do rock hounding in the creek as well. The Friday agenda was ended with a steak BBQ put on by the Sooke Lions and with an arrow-knapping demonstration by our very own Bruzz Bethel.
The K2 Quarry is located past Lizard lake on a challenging and extremely dusty logging road. A convoy of around 12 high-clearance vehicles made the trip, loaded to the gunnels with all who wanted to attend. We were met for the last segment by Matt Girard from the Nanaimo office of K2 Stone. In the quarry we had an hour walk-and-talk on how K2 operates. We were allowed to take any sample of rock we could physically carry to our vehicles – which led to some team efforts.
Loss Creek Gold Panning
Patrick Lydon (of the Victoria LMS) let us try panning on his claim on Loss Creek. After the hot and dusty quarry the latecomers seemed just as interested in dangling their toes in the water as in searching for gold. Nevertheless some people found a few flakes of actual gold. Almost as much fun were the garnets to be found all down the creek which conveniently collected in the panning pans.
Mineral Identification part 1