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Alluvial Gold

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

ALLUVIAL GOLD : YUKON. Placer gold mining began in the Yukon in 1881. The main district is the Klondike region, where mining began in 1896. This field has an area of about 1,000 square miles, and upwards of seventy or eighty miles of creeks have proved productive. In some parts, the sands worked yielded 2,000 dollars per running foot, with a pay streak varying from 150 to 300 feet wide. This was in the early days when the Klondike was an ideal field for the individual miner. That time, however, has passed, and the rich creeks have practically been exhausted from the standpoint of the individual miner. The placer miner is being replaced by powerful companies, with capital enough to establish hydraulic plants on a large scale for working the poorer sand and gravels. A typical example is the Yukon Gold Consolidated Company, Limited, who have constructed a ditch and pipe line forty-eight miles in length, and have established an hydraulic plant at the cost of several million dollars.

Up to 1907 the two main fields of the Yukon the Klondike and the Indian River had produced some 120,000,000 dollars, and it is very conservatively estimated that by hydraulic mining some 95,000,000 to 100,000,000 dollars of gold could still be extracted from the present known gold-bearing creeks.

Another method which promises to yield good results in the near future in working auriferous gold-bearing gravels and sand is that of gold-dredging. Several attempts are at present being made in this line, and it is expected that this industry will soon be on a good working basis. A certain amount of success in gold-dredging has been achieved on the Stewart River, B.C.

BRITISH COLUMBIA. In British Columbia almost every stream and river has yielded more or less gold. The main fields in alluvial mining are the Cariboo and Atlin districts, where hydraulic mining operations on a large scale are being conducted. Moreover, some attempts are being made to dredge bottoms and bars of the Fraser, Thompson, and other rivers ; and if these prove successful it will materially contribute to the gold output of British Columbia. It is not easy to make a forecast as to the future of placer gold mining in British Columbia ; but it may be stated that the total gold produced by this province from alluvial sources, up to date, has been about 70,000,000 dollars : and that the present yearly output is in the vicinity of 1,000,000 dollars ; so that, if we even consider only the present known placer deposits, there is no reason why this rate of production should not be maintained for many years to come.

In Alberta and Saskatchewan, gold has been found in the sands of the Saskatchewan, Peace, McLeod, Athabaska, Bow, Old Man, and other rivers ; but the North Saskatchewan for sixty miles above Edmonton, and a like distance below has been the chief field of operations. These operations are limited, because they are mainly carried on by individual miners, and the sands and gravels are not very rich. It is quite possible, however, that this industry may develop in the future.

QUEBEC. Of the eastern provinces, Quebec is the only one in which workable alluvial deposits have been found. The most important field is the Beauce auriferous region, which embraces the valleys of the Chaudiere, and De Loup Rivers, and that of the Gilbert River. Some very large nuggets have been found the heaviest weighing seventy one ounces. Operations are being conducted on these alluvial deposits but they are on a small scale.

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