Bralorne Gold Mine

Bralorne Mine BC

Back in 1858-1860 the Fraser River Gold Rush was running full steam. Miners coming into this area headed up to the Cayoosh and Bridge River areas looking for placer deposits. Earlier prospecting parties of Chinese around Bridge River basin were driven out by another miner prospector, Chief Hunter Jack, who himself had a secret placer mine somewhere in the region which many believed to be in upper portions reaches of Tyaughton Creek. A prospector named Cadwallader looked for the outcroppings on the creek that is now named after him and this creek later to be the site of the richest hard-rock veins in the region.

During the 1870s Chief Hunter Jack started to allow chosen prospectors into the valley, and ran a ferry across the Bridge River that virtually all entering the region had to cross. Among these prospectors were those who would eventually discover the hard rock lodes on Cadwallader Creek. In the 1890s many prospectors searched for the underground source of that gold in the mountains around Cadwallader Creek. Then in 1897, three men hiked from Lillooet to Cadwallader Creek area looking for gold. They made three claims—the Lorne, Marquis, and the Golden King. These would form the core of the complex of claims which became the Bralorne Mine.

Then a man named Arthur Noel bought the claims. He installed a stamp mill but Unfortunately the mine became tied up in litigation and stood idle for a dozen years. Then in 1914, Pioneer Gold Mines was set up with newer equipment and modern rock mill. The site worked through the 1920s and the profitable King vein was exploited. Then in 1929 when the start of the the Depression hit, the mines really took off and men and investment ramped up production. The district was one of the few bright lights in the BC economy during the Depression. In a seven-year period in the 1930s, the mines of the Bridge River produced $370,000,000 in gold.

In 1931 a man named Austin Taylor acquired Bralorne property and financed construction of a 100 ton mill. The Bralorne Mine then operated from March 1932 until 1971. During that time 3 million ounces of gold were refined from its adits. Over one hundred miles of underground tunnels were dug in the forty or so years of operation.

Because Bridge River is a geologic complex, there was gold mining at Cayuse Creek and other mines started up also at Brexton and Minto City. These mines were not as large as Bralorne, employing men in the order of dozens, and not hundreds, but still contributed to the area.

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