This photograph shows Pete Risby, who first came to the Yukon on June 4, 1957.
At that time, he was working at the Cassiar mine.
In 1964, Pete got into mining and claim staking.
He staked an asbestos property, which he found while trying to locate the Campbell Highway. He was looking for high ground for a right-of-way and noticed asbestos fibre in a creek.
Pete sold those claims to Quebec’s Johns Manville Company.
After that, in 1965, he staked the Pay property in the Pelly Lakes region and optioned it to Al Kulan.
During the exploration for the Faro mine, Pete worked for Kulan, and the association continued from 1965 until 1977, when Al died.
Pete later worked in Bolivia, Chile, Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico.
In later years, Pete has worked in Alaska, Yukon, NWT, BC and Alberta.
Pete started placer mining in the Indian River in 1981.
He was “placer miner of the year” in the Yukon in 1996, and was also inducted into the Yukon Prospector’s Hall of Fame that year.
Pete continues to prospect and is very respected in the mining community.
Thank you to Susan Berndt for her letter on Pete Risby.
That letter follows:
The Colourful Five Per Cent character pictured January 21 is none other than Peter C. Risby.
Pete spent most of his childhood in Alberta exploring nature and learning very fluent Cree.
He later became a Cree translator of the Alberta legal system.
He then joined the army where he spent time in Vietnam.
Later he came North, where I do believe he worked for a driver at Cassiar, BC.
There, he met a fellow studying Geology and fell in love with those rocks.
It was a love affair that was to last a lifetime.
Pete had two wives and, in his words, “four feisty children.” Unfortunately one is deceased. Another lives in Whitehorse, one in Alberta and one in Australia.
Fortunately Pete is not deceased, as suggested by the Yukon News on October 15. (Editor’s note: The paper erroneously ran a picture of Risby with the text of another column.)
The helicopter company pictured in the background blew up the picture and presented it to him last October when he was in Whitehorse.
He looked pretty good for a dead guy.