Gold Mining in Manitoba and Saskatchewan
One of the first relates of gold mining in Manitoba is referred to the traces of gold in pyrite from the small veins cuttings the gneiss formation. Also, from that in other small vein in the dolomite which forms Dog Island, close to main shore, a few kilometers north of Cape Jones. The drift of the Little Whale River valley appeared to shoe indications of alluvial gold, but several panning failed to bring any of the precious metals to light. When gold was found in Saskatchewan River, near the Rocky Mountains, it was presumed to have been washed from auriferous veins in those mountains. But this point was proved incorrect. In 1858, an expedition noted in St. Martin’s Lake a small sheet of water lying between Lakes Manitoba and Winnipeg, gneissoid rocks, traversed by quartz and felspathic veins and that these being gold-bearing rocks.
Gold was found in the plains of the Assiniboine. In this case the gold was transported with the drift from ranges of gold-bearing rocks running parallel with the Lake Winnipeg basin, and the Laurentian formation on the eastern side of the lake, and extending to the north-west beyond Lake Athabasca. After hearing the discovery in Saskatchewan, an exploration was done at the place and the conclusion at that time was that gold deposits had been washed from the shingle terraces along the eastern base of the mountains where the precious metals were. On ascending Saskatchewan, there is a gradual disappearance of the boulders of granitic, gneissic and other crystalline rocks, simultaneously with which the auriferous character of the drifts. Selwyn was credibly informed that no gold could be found in the North Saskatchewan above Rocky Mountain House, though it was frequently prospected by experienced miners.
The first gold washings were descending the river, more than 60 km below the mouth of the Brazean; and thence to Edmonton, and for some kilometers further down, more or less gold was found on the bars and in the river bands, but always in a very finely divided state, showing evidence of having been transported from afar. Even, as far down as Carlton, gold was prospected. On the South Saskatchewan, at the crossing place, about 32 km S.E. of Carlton, were detected few minute specks of gold from the gravel bed of the river, small red garnets, with a considerable quantity of magnetic sand were the pan product. It would thus appear that the gold of the Saskatchewan has not been derived from the mountains at its sources, but from the drifts composed of gneiss with hornblendic and micaceous schist, quartz and limestone, which were spread over the face of the place for hundreds of kilometers, and which must have been themselves largely derived from the denudation of the great belt of Laurentian and other crystalline rocks, which extends from the shores of Lake Superior north western tot eh Arctic Sea.