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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Gold Occurrences in British Columbia

It is near Mt. Robeson where the Fraser River rises that was the scene of a gold rush in 1859.   Tobi87

It was in Yale, British Columbia on the banks of the Fraser River where I first learned about British Columbia gold there were several flour sized flakes gold in the bottom of my gold pan. From what I understand this flour sized gold is characteristic of the Fraser River. For the benefit of the reading audience it takes approximately 40,000 of these to weigh a troy ounce (31.1 g).  At the time there was a terrific thunder shower coming up, and I worked the pan out in about two minutes leaving the proprietor of the gold panning site completely mystified because he had already seen the Connecticut greenhorn could work so fast, he already seen the plates on my car.  He didn't know I had been a prospector most of my life. The Fraser River was the site of a gold rush in 1859, and there is still gold to be found in the Fraser River system.  There are also jade boulders found with the gold in the river.

Yale, British Columbia during the Freaser River Gold Rush in 1859

British Columbia also contains the southern terminus of the Tintina Gold Belt in the northern part of the province. This appears to be the largest gold belt in the world since it is traceable all the way from northern British Columbia, through the southwest corner of the Yukon Territory and sweeping all the way across Alaska for a distance of 1200 km where it finally ends in the Pacific Ocean just above Anchorage, Alaska.

The first discovery of gold by Whiteman was at Gold Harbor on the west coast of Moresby Island near the Haida village of Tasa in 1850 where it was discovered on Mitchell Inlet, an arm of Gold Harbor.  This discovery touched off a brief gold rush in 1851.  This led to the area being declared the Colony of the Queen Charlotte Islands.  The British government didn’t want the islands to be overrun by American Miners even though the gold deposits proved to be superficial in nature, and there are stories about the American miners being harassed by the local Haida warriors.  Later the area became the site of a modern mine for iron rather then gold.

Like all the beaches in the Pacific Northwest of the United States and Canada The beaches do contain flour gold in payable amounts sometimes covering the beaches with enough gold so they attract the locals trying to get as much of this gold as possible before the next tide washes it away until the next big storm that may wash up enough gold to be noticeable again.  In the same area the mountains of the coastal range including the British Columbia Batholith have had several producing gold mines and numerous showings of gold.

There is another gold producing area on the western slopes of the Rockies and the rivers and streams draining them.  This area was made famous during the Fraser River Gold Rush and the later Caribou Gold Rush. 

Gold is not the only source of mineral wealth in the province because it also contains world class deposits of jade that are mined both in-situ and as boulders of jade found in numerous rivers.  The area around Cache Creek has produced both gold and jade.  British Columbia is also noted for producing large quantities of copper, lead and silver.

British Columbia has vast deposits of mineral wealth throughout its length and breadth with many deposits yet to be discovered.  There are numerous mines that are accessible only by air especially in the northern part of the province.


  1. John, now I know where I'm going. Off to the beaches of NW B.C. where I can have fun and pan for gold too! Great article!

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