Gold Mining

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Placer Mining Methods

Hardrock Mining Methods

Hydraulic Mining

Gold Panning

Mining Claims

Mining Claims Map



Hardrock Mining Methods

(BC Archives: A-03858)
Windlass at the Barker Claim
(BC Archives: A-03858)

Hardrock mining entailed the sinking of shafts which enabled large machinery to remove veins of gold from quartz rock.

Shafts and Tunnels

To extract gold that was lying deep in the earth, miners sunk shafts into the ground and ran tunnels into the sides of hills. Miners would raise rock and gravel up to the surface using a windlass and a bucket or use a rail car in a tunnel. Heavy timbers were used in tunnels and shafts to support against cave-ins.

The Cornish Wheel

(BC Archives: A-00558)
Cornish Wheel and Flume at Williams Creek
(BC Archives: A-00558)

Miners who had dug shafts into the ground were often faced with water seeping into the shaft and flooding. The "Cornish Wheel", a large wooden wheel with shelves, was the solution. Water would be fed to the wheel using flumes and then allowed to fall onto the top of the wheel and its shelves, making it turn. The wheel would then drive a rocker arm, which in turn would pump water out of the mine shaft.

Placer Mining Large Scale Mining

Last updated November 30, 1998.
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