Anyox, Observatory Inlet

Anyox, Observatory Inlet

by | Mar 31, 2019

Anyox is an abandoned smelter and mining community on Granby Bay in Observatory Inlet, about 37 miles (60 km) southwest of Stewart, British Columbia. The name Anyox means “hidden waters” in the Nisga’a language. Observatory Inlet was named by George Vancouver in 1793, for the temporary astronomical observatory he set up on shore at Salmon Cove to calibrate navigational chronometers.

The Nisga’a people inhabited this area for thousands of years. Their legends told of a mountain of gold, which attracted the attention of prospectors. In 1910, the Granby Consolidated Mining Smelting and Power Company found gold and started construction of the town in 1912. By 1914, Anyox had a population of almost 3,000 residents and the mine and smelter were in full operation. Copper was mined from the Hidden Creek and Bonanza deposits and smelted on site. Coal to fuel the smelter was shipped from Union Bay on Vancouver Island and Fernie in southeastern British Columbia. Anyox had no rail or road links and all connections were served by ocean steamers. In the early 1920s, a hydroelectric dam was built, standing 156 feet (48 m) high, which at the time was the tallest dam in Canada. Anyox was almost wiped out by forest fires in 1923, but the townsite was rebuilt and mining operations continued.

The Great Depression drove down the demand for copper, and the mine shut down in 1935. The town was abandoned, and salvage operations in the 1940s removed most machinery and steel from the town. Two forest fires, in 1942 and 1943, burned all remaining wood structures. During its 25 years of operation, Anyox mines and smelters produced 8,750 lbs (3,669 kg) of gold, 500,000 lbs (226,796 kg) of silver and 760,000,000 pounds (344,730,201 kg) of copper. Today, limited mining continues in the area, and there has been speculative interest in renovating the hydroelectric dam and connecting this power supply to the British Columbia grid. Read more here and here. Explore more of Anyox here:

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