I always had a lot of respect for the late Pete Risby. Every time I talked to him it was a pleasure and, also, interesting.
Like a lot of old-time mining people, he had an interesting outlook on life. We can’t replace people like Risby, all we can do is cherish their memory.
He came to the Yukon on June 4, 1957. At the time, he was working at the Cassiar Mine.
In 1964, Risby 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, a place to put a road right-of-way, and noticed asbestos fibre in a creek. Bob Greenway and Dan Van Bibber were working there at the time. They didn’t stake the site though.
Risby sold his claims to the Johns Manville Co. of Quebec.
After that, in 1965, he staked the Pay property in the Pelly Lakes area and optioned it to Al Kulan.
During the exploration of the Faro mine, Risby worked for Kulan and his companies between 1965 and 1977, when Kulan died.
Risby later worked in Bolivia, Chile, Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico. In later years, Risby worked in Alaska, Yukon, NWT, BC and Alberta.
He started placer mining in the Indian River area in 1981. He was the Yukon’s placer miner of the year in 1996 and was inducted into the hall of fame in 1996.
It was Risby’s wish that Yukon natives greatly participated in the development of mining in the territory. In the past, Risby, along with John Brock and Kulan, hired all-native prospectors to do their exploration programs, with success.
A celebration of Risby’s life will be held on Saturday, July 2, at 2 p.m. at the Town Hall of the Gold Rush Inn, Whitehorse. Everyone is welcome.
Anyone with information about this subject, please write Jim Robb: The Colourful Five Per Cent Scrapbook – Can You Identify? c/o the Yukon News, 211 Wood Street, Whitehorse, Yukon, Y1A 2E4, or email through the News website, www.yukon-news.com.