Gold, Platinum, and Diamonds: Whitecourt's "Triple Treat"

(The Canadian Province of Alberta: Whitecourt is located in the West-Central Portion.)

Whitecourt's "Triple Treat"

As my Canadian mining friends already know, large areas of Canada are highly mineralized. The Province of Alberta shares in this mineral wealth and the region around Whitecourt, a small community some 110 miles (177 kilometers) northwest of Edmonton, presents a "triple treat" of gold, platinum, and yes....even diamonds! I know that I would be hard pressed to find a mining locale here in the "lower 48" with this sort of small-scale mining treasure trove within its immediate environs.

Gold Locations

Although I may be wrong in this assumption, I believe there may be any number of Canadian miners who were not (or are not) aware of Whitecourt's potential. Then again, some of my fellow miners way up North may be cursing me for letting the cat out of the bag by writing this post.

(Natural platinum crystals and nuggets.)

Substantial Placer Gold, Platinum, and Diamonds

In truth, significant amounts of placer gold have been found near Whitecourt in alluvial gravels (i.e., river, stream, bench, and terrace gravels). But what's more astonishing is that along with these larger recoveries of placer gold, substantial amounts of platinum and rare diamonds have also been recovered, primarily in areas just to the north of the community of Whitecourt.
In recent tests using spiral concentrators and "shaker" tables, black sand concentrates from gravels once thought "worked out" and now used for construction and road building continue to show color and smaller amounts of platinum and diamonds. If this is indeed true, I wouldn't mind having a bit of alluvial ground north of Whitecourt to poke around on myself!

(An alluvial diamond.)

Still a Mystery of Sorts

In addition to the area's gold, platinum, and diamonds many other minerals have also been found near Whitecourt, including: garnet, zircon, monzanite, ilmenite, pyrite, lead, rutile, chromite, dolomite, calcite, cerussite, and barite, among others. As you can readily see, the Whitecourt region of Alberta is truly heavily mineralized and may present the small-scale prospector and miner with opportunities not readily available in most placer gold areas.

One interesting aspect of the Whitecourt alluvial gravels is the fact that the "experts" (i.e., geologists, mineralogists, etc.) can't seem to agree on the source of all this alluvial treasure. Although the placer gold and platinum are thought to be epithermal or mesothermal in origin, the source of the alluvial diamonds in the area is still a mystery of sorts.

So there you have it. A "triple treat" of precious metals and diamonds in Canada's Alberta Province. There are not many locations in the world that can offer up this sort of bounty.

Good luck out there!

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "'Striking It Rich:' California Man Cashes in on Spectacular Nugget"

(c)  Jim Rocha (J.R.)  2011

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