Placer gold deposits of the Quesnel Highland region, including the former rich producers of the Barkerville camp, have accounted for a large proportion of British Columbia's alluvial gold production. With the exception of a few producers in the Wingdam area, which are underlain by Upper Triassic sediments correlative with the Nicola Group, almost all the deposits are underlain by the Upper Proterozoic to Lower Paleozoic Snowshoe Group. These predominantly metasedimentary rocks have been metamorphosed to greenschist facies.
Placer gold deposits in the region are generally found in relatively young Pleistocene gravels. The morphology and mineral associations of the gold suggests that it was derived locally, the most obvious sources are the numerous auriferous veins in the Downey succession of the Snowshoe Group.
Early placer gold mining of benches and channels along Burns Creek was done by drifting and open cutting. Hydraulic methods were used later.
Supergene leaching of gold, dispersed by Tertiary deep weathering and 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).
In 1988, Frontier eosciences carried out a dipole-dipole resistivity survey for Golden Opportunity Mining Ltd. In all, a total of 2375 m of survey work was carried out on claims on Burns Mountain in the divide area between Burns and Chisholm Creek.
In 1989, Frontier Geosciences carried out a seismic refraction survey in the Wells area of British Columbia for Boulder Gold Mines Ltd. In all, a total of 1690 metres of survey work was carried out on claims on Burns Mountain in the divide area between Burns and Chisholm Creek. The purpose of the survey was to delineate bedrock depressions infilled with either alluvial sands, gravels, cobbles and boulders or glacial till which may contain anomalously high placer gold values. The survey revealed shallow depths to bedrock. Interpreted thicknesses of overburden vary from a minimum of lm to a maximum of 10.5 meters.