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BC ARCHIVES D-08105 "General Store "
The Cariboo Gold Rush brought miners from all over in search of gold. Their search would have failed had they not had the proper equipment such as blasting powder for tunneling and gold pans for sifting through the river banks, separating gold from dirt. Miners soon invented easier tools and machines to aid their search. Sluice, flumes, and cradles were more productive in the search for golden wealth. Sluicing washed out dirt and separated gold by using pressure from running water. Where water was not readily available, miners used flumes which were long toughs that used gravity to bring water to mining sites. A cradle allowed a miner to sift through large amounts of dirt and was more productive than panning. By rocking a cradle back and forth, rocks were separated from finer gold dust that fell through small holes.

BC ARCHIVES "List of Goods "
The mining communities which sprang up throughout the Cariboo region brought work to those outside the mining industry. Shop owners were needed to order and provide basic living necessities like food, clothing and housing material. Shop owners stocked a number of items ranging from flour, tea and sugar to stationery, fish hooks and liquor. Food prices varied depending on how much of a particular product was available. Most stores relied on products coming form outside the region which meant the prices could rise if a shipment was delayed. Tea from China, coming through the coastal ports of Vancouver and Victoria were often delayed due to land and sea transport delays. Tobacco was irregularly shipped from the Hudson's Bay Company in the east. Oats, flour, sugar, salt and coffee were transported by wagon roads to the mining communities, bad roads or weather conditions meant supplies would be late causing the prices to rise.

BC ARCHIVES I-27062 "General Store "
A general store in a mining communtiy not only sold food. Building materials were also available to the miners set on establishing a home from which to mine for riches. Most stores stocked a number of carpentry and blacksmith tools including: locks and bolts; saws, shovels and hoes; axes and hatches; cast iron car wheels; nails and rivets; as well as iron, steel and rope. In a sense, the general store in a mining community was a life line to the miners who relied on a supply of food, clothing and tools for mining and shelter.

Miner's Equipment

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. Any person who qualifies may obtain a Free Miner's Certificate in your wallet on prospecting trips.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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

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. Prices range as low as $3.95 for a 9" pan to about 6.95 for a larger 15" pan. A gold pan can also be used as a washbasin, a bucket, and a variety of other uses.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Last updated November 30, 1998.
Produced by Industrial Art Internet Group Ltd. 1998-1999