Kitsault, Alice Arm

Kitsault, Alice Arm

by | Jun 16, 2019

Kitsault is a community at the head of Alice Arm in Observatory Inlet near the mouth of the Kitsault River on the North Coast of British Columbia. Kitsault is 86 air miles (140 km) northeast of Prince Rupert and the border with Alaska is only 22 miles (35 km) to the west. The name “Kitsault” is an adaptation of Gits’oohl which means “a way in behind”.

Kitsault is located within the traditional territory of the Nisga’a First Nation. Villages and fishing sites were historically located throughout Observatory Inlet, but smallpox epidemics of the late 1700s and 1860s mostly depopulated the villages of the North Coast. By the early 1900s, the village site at Gits’oohl was unoccupied. In 1929, lands on the west side of Kitsault River were sold for building lots within the mining town of Alice Arm. In 2000, the remaining land of Gits’oohl became part of the Nisga’a titled land holdings resulting from the Nisga’a Treaty.

On the east (Kitsault) side of the inlet, silver deposits were staked in 1911 along Lime Creek, and the prospects were worked through the 1920s and early 1930s. A small amount of molybdenite was produced from the Lime Creek prospects during World War I, but the ore was not considered significant. Mining interests in these deposits were revitalized and in 1957 a large deposit of porphyry molybdenum was discovered. In 1964, a mine was developed, and between 1968 and 1972, this operation produced 22.9 million pounds (10 million kg) of molybdenum before closing due to low prices. In 1979, the mine was reopened, and construction of a company town called Kitsault was started to house its workers and their families in this remote location. From 1981 to 1982, the mine produced an estimated 8 million pounds (3 million kg) of molybdenum. Mining stopped in 1982 when prices for molybdenum again collapsed. Kitsault was evacuated but the townsite and all the buildings were continuously maintained until 2005 when the entire town was sold to Kitsault Resort Ltd. with the goal of developing a world-class eco-resort. Read more here and here. Explore more of Kitsault here:

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