History of Gold in Southern Quebec
The Beauce and Eastern Townships region of southern Quebec has a rich history of Gold mining. Gold is widely found through the region both as placer and hard rock deposits. The region was the scene of Canada's first gold rush in the 1850's, decades before the famous Klondike gold rush.
In 1846 a young girl, Clotilde Gilbert, found an egg size gold nugget in the sands of a shallow river now call the Gilbert River. News of the find attracted hundreds of prospectors who panned just about every stream, brook and river in the area. By 1880, the profitable properties were taken over by mining companies.
Many gold occurrences have been found and a number of famous mines have operated such as the Gilbert River, Eustis and Weedon mines. Two of the largest gold nuggets found in Canada came from the Gilbert River. There was the Kilgour nugget at 52 ounces and the McDonald nugget at 45 ounces.
Other gold regions of Quebec like the Abitibi or Chibougamau, the mineral rights belonged to the state. In the Eastern Townships and the Beauce regions, a Superior Court ruling in 1883 gave back mineral rights to property owners whose land was granted under the English regime versus land granted during the seigniorial system. As a result, gold exploration and mining in the was largely abandoned.
For almost a century very little work ensued except for a handful of players. This changed in 1982 when the Quebec government took back mineral rights and made the area available for staking.
This allowed secondary and tertiary gold regions of Quebec to be re-evaluated, such as was the case for the Beauce and Eastern Townships. The main conclusion derived from the evaluation was that the gold mineralization was significant.
Synthese Gitologique de l'Estrie et de la Beauce,
1989, MRNF du Quebec
Hydraulic mining for placer gold,
Chaudiere river, 1882
Quartz mill of the De Lery Gold Mining Co,
Rapide-du-Diable River, 1880
Drilling near the Gilbert, 1910
Drilling near the Gilbert with a Keystone Drill, 1911
Miners next to the shaft of the Eustis Mine, 1890
Stock certificate from the Beauce Gold Mining and Milling Company issued in 1881
A dredge of the Dominion Gold Fields Ltd. operating on the Des Meules brook, 1910