The Birrell Creek placer showing is located along Birrell Creek, about 27 kilometres west of Likely.
The first placer mining in the Quesnel mining district was along the Quesnel River, and on Horsefly River in 1859. In 1860, new discoveries were rapidly made - Keithley, Snowshoe, and Harvey creeks were discovered and a large amount of gold was produced before the earliest production was recorded in 1874. Fully one-third of the total production of the Quesnel district is believed to have been mined between 1860 and 1873 (Bulletin 28).
Gold production was recorded from Birrell Creek in 1916-20 and totalled 17,820 grams gold (Bulletin 28). Area geology comprises basalt and volcaniclastics of the Lower Jurassic-Upper Triassic Nicola Group close to a contact with Cretaceous intrusive rocks to the west.
Data from the Cariboo mining district indicate that supergene leaching of gold dispersed within massive sulphides by Tertiary deep weathering followed by Cenozoic erosion is the most likely explanation for the occurrence of coarse gold nuggets in Quaternary sediments (Exploration in British Columbia 1989, page 147).