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.
Placer operations have been carried out over most of the length of Stouts Gulch located about 1.6 kilometres west of Barkerville. The preglacial channel is up to about 200 metres in width and there are also remnants of a wide bench 6 to 9 metres above the channel. The main gold values were found at bedrock in the gravels of the channel and on the bench. Some gold was also found on a false bedrock of boulder clay. Most of the production was from hydraulic methods although there was apparently some drift mining done in the early days. Recorded intermittent production from 1875-1945 totalled 495,174 grams gold (Bulletin 28).
In 1961, two to three weeks work on Stout’s and Lowhee gulches produced 8600 grams of gold (Property File Placer Dome - Pawlowicz, L., 1981).
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).