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File Created: 25-Apr-1988 by Kirk Hancock (KDH)
Last Edit:  25-May-2009 by Karl A. Flower (KAF)

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NMI 093A12 Au5
BCGS Map 093A062
Status Past Producer NTS Map 093A12E
Latitude 052º 37' 38'' UTM 10 (NAD 83)
Longitude 121º 38' 21'' Northing 5831673
Easting 592108
Commodities Gold Deposit Types C02 : Buried-channel placers
C01 : Surficial placers
Tectonic Belt Intermontane Terrane Quesnel
Capsule Geology

The Bullion Pit is located 97 kilometres east of Williams Lake and 5 kilometres west of Likely.

The Bullion was one of the largest placer gold mines in the world, measuring 1500 by 450 by 125 metres. In 1859, Thomas “Dancing Bill” Lather discovered gold at the mouth of what is now referred to as “Dancing Bill Gulch”. It was reported that Thomas was returning $110 (189.2 grams) per day of gold in a small hand-rocker from a gravel bar at the confluence of the creek and the Quesnel River. Eventually, heavy overburden was encountered and other miners took over the area and re-worked a larger area for the next eighteen years. This site became known as the “China Pit” and was worked with a 12.5 centimetre pipe and 3.75 centimetre nozzle hydraulic project. In 1897, the Consolidated Hydraulic Mining Company commenced full scale operations and between 1898 and 1902 the company processed 5,912,700 cubic metres of mixed materials, recovering 1,402,316 grams of gold at a recoverable grade of 0.132 grams per tonne gold. During 1903 to 1905, operations were continued but hampered by severe water shortages. Over these three years there was only 155 days of production, yielding 623,775 grams of gold from 2,622,800 cubic metres of material. Over the next couple of decades various owners completed small scale rehabilitation work on the property until in 1933, Bullion Placers Limited acquired the property and commenced operations with larger monitors and rehabilitated water systems (Property File Placer Dome Candol Developments Ltd., 1988). Estimations indicate that a total of 200 million tonnes of material were removed by hydraulic methods and 5.463 million grams (175,644 ounces) of gold were produced.

The gravels in the Bullion Pit are stratigraphically equivalent to those hosting the Wells-Barkerville Cariboo gold fields. These are Pleistocene gravels, predominantly from the last glacial event. The lowest gravels are fluvial and may represent a pre-Wisconsin (greater than 100,000 years before present) non-glacial event. Above these are glacio-fluvial gravels and till of the early Wisconsin stade. This segment is 33 to 100 metres thick and contain the highest gold values. Unconformably above that is a layer of consolidated lodgement till called the "boulder clay" by early placer miners. The unconformity represents the Olympia glacial interstade of the middle Wisconsin (60,000 to 30,000 years before present). This lodgement till is typically no more than several metres thick. The lodgement till represents the base of the Fraser glacial stade of the late Wisconsin (30,000-10,000 years before present). Above the till are well stratified gravels that form the balance of the upper 30 to 50 metres of section. The top of the section is capped by a thin veneer of Holocene debris (less than 10,000 years before present). The ancient channel of the Bullion pit represents an infill of a fluvial channel (greater than 100,000 years before present).

Gold recovered from the Pleistocene gravels was usually fine "coarse" gold with nuggets 0.9 to 7 grams in size. Gold is flattened, well worn and frequently coated in oxide. Provenance, in part, appears to be the metamorphic terrane to the east, the same as the provenance of placer gold in the Wells-Barkerville area. Some of the gold, along with large euhedral crystals of pyrite and arsenopyrite, is probably more proximal. The source is possibly from quartz veins with pyrite and arsenopyrite bearing alteration envelopes hosted by black phyllites of the basal Triassic assemblage, such as those on Spanish Mountain.

The lower gravels of the early Wisconsin glacial stade carry the higher grade gold values (0.203 grams per cubic metre). Calculated from all published sources, the average grade is 0.0711 gram per tonne and the best value was 0.0766 gram per tonne (Minister of Mines Annual Report 1935, page 16). In 1986, measured recoverable reserves of 16,200,000 tonnes of ore grading 0.7542 gram per tonne gold were reported (George Cross Newsletter #120, 1986).

In 1989, Candol Developments completed various exploration programs on the property to delineate the possible and probable gold reserves within the Bullion Pit.

Location Probable and Possible Reserves Reserve Grade Total

(cubic metres) (grams per cubic meter) (grams)

Slough Gravels within 279,000 0.563 157,121

Bullion Hydraulic Pit

Bullion Tailings 99,000 0.214 21,186

Boulder Till Unit 38,000 1.162 44,156

Lower Interglacial 300,000 0.830 249,000

Channel Gravels

Total Reserves 716,000 0.658 471,463

associated with

Bullion Pit

(Property File Placer Dome Candol Developments Ltd., 1988)

EMPR AR 1902-72; 1907-42; 1909-21; 1910-48; 1911-K50,54; 1913-K63,
64; 1914-K72; 1915-K57; 1918-K136; 1919-K111; 1921-G111,114;
1929-C191,204; 1930-A173; 1931-A90,91; 1932-A107; 1933-A140;
*1935-C16; 1937-A7,50,C35; 1938-C50; 1939-A10; 1940-A89; 1942-A89
EMPR BULL 1, p. 39; 15, pp. 8,36; 28, pp. 21-31,48-52
EMPR EXPL 1989, pp. 147-169
EMPR FIELDWORK 1990, pp. 331-356; 1992, pp. 463-473
EMPR PF (Placer Gold Fields Co. 1900 map; Annes, E.C., (1925):
Sketch Map of Pre-Glacial Channels of the South Fork of Quesnel
River; Lay, D., (1927): Sketch Map of the South Fork of Quesnel
River; Bullion Mining Co. various maps; Clague, J.J. 1987, A
placer gold exploration target in the Cariboo district, B.C. GSC P
EMPR PF Placer Dome (Candol Developments Ltd. (1988-01-01): Bullion Hydraulic Pit Placer Project, Compilation Report, draft)
GSC P *87-1A, pp. 177-180
GCNL #9, 1983; #120, 1986; #35 (Feb.19), #89 (May 7), #91 (May 11),
GEOLOG #22 part 3, August, 1993
Placer Dome File
Sharpe, R.F., (1939): *The Bullion Hydraulic Mine, The Miner, Vol. 12,
No. 1, pp. 37-40 (copy in PF)