Gold Mining
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Placer Mining Methods

Hardrock Mining Methods

Hydraulic Mining

Gold Panning

Mining Claims

Mining Claims Map




Free Miner's Certificates

This is a permit required before the individual is allowed to stake a recognized Placer Mining Lease. The following requirements must be met: the applicant, with one or two exceptions, must be a Canadian citizen 18 years of age or older. A fee of $5.00 is paid to the Provincial Government Agent, Gold Commissioner or Deputy Recorder. The certificate is valid from the date of issue to the year end (December 31st). Old age pensioners are exempt from paying the $5.00 fee. Each person who qualifies may obtain a Free Miner's Certificate and should carry it in their wallet on prospecting trips.

Gold Pan

There is a wide variety of gold pans available to the panner as most hardware and general stores stock this item. A metal gold pan is considered better over a plastic pan because the latter will split or break. A metal pan with riffles or ridges is probably the best. They are considered the best because they are easier and faster, and they are able to save both fine gold and nuggets more easily than a standard pan. A gold pan can also be used as a washbasin, a bucket, and a variety of other uses.

Miner's Pick

A miner's pick is also called a placer pick. A placer pick is slimmer and lighter than the head of a standard pick. Today miner's picks are hard to find. A good pick would last for years and should be kept sharp for maximum efficiency.

Round-nosed Shovel

A good shovel is a necessity. A round-nosed type is specified because a flat-nosed shovel cannot be used efficiently.


Even on short trips it is a good idea to carry all mining equipment in either a packsack or on a packboard. If you were on a trip under 10 miles a packsack would be fine. For trips that last several days a packboard should be chosen instead. It is very important that the harness is comfortable.

Matches and Compass

Matches should be kept waterproof in case of a fall in the river or a creek. A compass is a necessity.

Small Plastic Bottle

Used for storing fine gold, coarse gold and nuggets. This should have a good lid on it to safeguard against the top falling off.

Brass Gold Tweezers

Choose tweezers which have curved points. Brass tweezers are the best because they don't magnetize. Tweezers are a handy tool for extracting gold from the pan or nuggets from crevices and cracks in bedrock.

Pry Bar or Breaking Bar

Both of these tools are most useful but a breaking bar is used only when a miner is working in water or dredging. These bars are good for moving a several hundred pound rock.

Area Map

This item should always be taken on trips. The best maps are from the Department of Lands, Forests and Water Resources maps, with a scale of one inch to two miles.


A standard single bitted type can also double as a hammer. This tool has many uses: cutting firewood, clearing brush, cutting tent pegs, squaring claim posts, etc.

Claim Tags

Tags are required by law if any Free Miner wishes to stake a Placer Mining Lease (PML) in the province. The tags come in pairs with matching numbers.


Staple items like salt, sugar, flour, tea, and bacon should always be included. Items should be checked off as they are packed.

Clean-up Pan

Experienced Placer men usually have a small gold pan which they use exclusively for cleaning up.


A handy piece of equipment because a magnet can be used to separate the gold from the blacksand (magnetite). The blacksand is dried and then placed on a stiff piece of fairly heavy paper. The magnet is then placed under the paper and drawn along. The moving magnet attracts the blacksand, leaving the gold behing.


Should always have first aid kits, sleeping bag, knife, hammer, rope, extra change of clothes, cooking utensils, and nails.

Mining Claims People of the Cariboo

Last updated November 30, 1998.
Produced by Steven Davies and the Schoolnet Digital Collections Team.