The Nanaimo River flows east- north east from its head waters on Mount Moriarty in the northwest and El Capitan Mountain in the southwest to its mouth on eastern Vancouver Island.
Regionally, the area is underlain by Upper Triassic Karmutsen Formation (Vancouver Group) volcanic rocks intruded by granodiorites of the Early to Middle Jurassic Island Plutonic Suite. These rocks are unconformably overlain by conglomerates and sandstones of the Upper Cretaceous Nanaimo Group. Dacite dikes of the Late Eocene to Early Oligocene Mount Washington Intrusive Suite (previously Catface Intrusions) cut the overall sequence and numerous northwest- trending shear zones and faults occur.
Bulletin 21, from 1946, states that placer miners have worked the following rivers and streams of Vancouver Island: China and Loss creeks, and Leech, Gordon, Jordan, Sooke, Sombrio, San Juan, Bedwell, Nanaimo, Gold, and Zeballos rivers.
It appears that most of the gold was derived from bars or in crevices in the bedrock of the river bed, or from benches along the side of the creek.
During the 1930’s, a placer training school was set up on the river by the government near were White Rapids. During the 1970’s and 1980’s, an operation consisting of a back-hoe and wash plant was reported in the same area.
Placer gold is also noted on Jump Creek, possibly related to the Amore (MINFILE 092C 117) occurrence.