During the hey days of the Atlin gold rush, prospectors where out combing the hills and valleys for any spots that may have contained some gold. It was during this time in 1897 that silver was discovered not far from the town of Atlin BC. It was later in 1900 that a group of claims called Big Canyon were staked by a Mr. Gleason of Atlin that the area started to be explored for mining potential.
It wasn't until 1919 though that things really started to happen. That is when a fellow named J.M Ruffner came into town and optioned the Big Canyon group of claims. J.M. Ruffner came to Atlin about 1903 to manage the North Columbia Gold Mining Company, which had an office in Discovery and was a man with connections and it wasn't long before he was able to secure money and investors and formed the Ruffner Mines. Worked continued on these claims until 1922 when the company was reorganized under the name of Atlin Silver-Lead Nines Limited.
Atlin Silver-Lead Mines continued on with exploration and putting in adits and other development work until 1925 when the Ruffner group was leased to the Federal Mining & Smelting Company. By 1927, J.M. Ruffner had a crew of about 20 men working on these claims and the mine site. In 1929 J.M. Ruffner died and at that point in time the mine changed hands to a group of New York investors who bought the mine. From 1916 onward to 1950, 327 tons of sorted ore were shipped from this property. From this ore 57 ounces of gold, 39,996 ounces of silver, 188 pounds of copper, 144,074 pounds of lead, and 8,057' pounds of zinc were recovered.
Over the years the mine was worked off and on by various owners. Drilling and sampling had been done to see if new desposits could be located. The operator to run the mine was in the late 1970's and in 1981, they shipped out 31 tons of concentrate
with 235 ounces per ton of silver.
Today the site of the old mill and crusher has been reclaimed and leveled out however you can still travel up the switch backs to the top of Mt. Vaugn and see the old workings and adits. The old narrow guage rails are still there as is various other artifacts.