Placer Mining in BC

Information and Resources


Welcome to BC Placer

This website is about placer mining in BC - finding and mining gold that has been deposited by moving water. It is not about "hard rock" mining in solid rock.

Placer mining can be as simple as using a shovel and a gold pan in a creek.

Although gold pans are great for testing, a hand-mining operation usually involves a water pump and a sluice box.

A machine-digging operation generally uses a backhoe or larger excavator and a more sophisticated "wash plant" for processing - separating the gold from the pay dirt.

Of course, there are laws and regulations that govern all of this.

Learning How Use the MTO Mapping System

To get into placer mining (other than maybe recreational hand panning), you really need to learn how to use the MTO Mapping system. It looks complicated because it can do a lot, but it is pretty easy to use.

Click on the MTO Maps etc. link in the main menu to the left and then click on the Making Maps link.

Information But No Guarantee

This website has been made available to help people. The owner does not claim to be an expert and all information is provided "as is" with no guarantee that it is correct or fit for any particular purpose.

Use the information from this website At Your Own Risk.

A Great Time For Placer Mining in BC

The Price of Gold

'nuf said.

Water Pumps and Deposits Above Creek Level

Low cost gasoline powered water pumps make it possible to mine deposits well above creek level - something that was very difficult to do in the gold rushes or in the 1930s. These deposits can be the best potential opportunities for the individual hand-miner.

Abandoned Channels

Modern water pumps make it a simple matter to mine an abandoned channel that is above and away from the current channel, which can be the best potential opportunity for machine-digging operations.

Hydraulic Excavators

Excavators of any size can be bought or leased. They can also be rented - with or without an operator. And, of course, BC has no shortage of guys with a backhoe.

The BC Government Wants You To Mine Gold.

The laws, fees and inspectors in BC are generally very friendly towards individuals and small operations.

The Ministry knows that you and your buddy working a placer claim aren't likely to add a lot to the wealth of the province, but you may discover a large, rich deposit that does.

A Quick Look At The Big Picture

Hand Panning

Anyone may get into Recreational_Hand_Panning.

Hand Mining

You need a Free Miner Certificate (FMC) for anything beyond recreational panning.

Anyone with a FMC may acquire a new claim or buy an existing placer claim in BC and work it by by hand, generally without a reclamation permit, unless it is required to get a permit or license to:

Machine Digging

If powered equipment is used for digging, a reclamation permit is required.

On the Fraser River (only), machine digging may be done on gravel bars.

Where Should I Go?

The bad news is that ground that can be mined at a profit is already being mined or the owner is looking for either development money or a buyer. Most folks don't have that kind of money.

If you want to buy a claim that is for sale, you will focus on the claims. Location is mostly a matter of how you feel about the travelling.

For prospecting, you want ground in a Placer Area that hasn't already been well explored. Areas convenient to tourists and residents have had a lot of attention.

The Cariboo seems to be such a wonderful area, but every foot of every historic creek is covered with claims.

Probably the best approach is to focus on more remote areas and/or benches well above creek level.

Two areas for serious folks willing to do some serious travelling -

  • For prospecting, consider the Omineca placer area North and West of Prince George. It is huge and has not been well explored.
  • To hook up with people and outfits that are already mining, the best area may be Atlin, on the East side of Atlin Lake, in the FAR North-West of BC. (By road, you have to come South from the Yukon).
You may also want to check out the Opportunities page (in the Getting a Claim part of this website).

The Odd Web Address

placer_areas.htm: You can get to this website from:
but when you get here, the web address is:

The odd web address is also where Google finds the pages of this website.

The reason is that this website is hosted here in my personal webspace because Google likes it because there are hundreds of links to my stuff (mostly some Open Source artificial intelligence research and software I worked on long ago).


Copyright 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 by Brian Marshall

All images on this website are copyrighted by their owners and they may not be downloaded for other than personal use - republication, retransmission, reproduction or other use is prohibited.