Gold Occurrences in South Carolina

Although gold mining operations reportedly ceased in South Carolina in 1990 at the Hailie Mine because it became too deep to work with the technology of those days, but recently a Canadian mining company has taken an interest in the mine and is reopening it.

The headframe of a goldmine at sunset.
Photo by Babakathy

Gold was first discovered in South Carolina in 1827 as part of the gold belt that extends all the way from Maryland to Alabama where gold is found in both placer lode deposits. The South Carolina geological survey lists over 130 gold mines or prospects in the state. Even though many of these mines are now closed there is still an active group of small-scale miners and prospectors that are continually finding gold in many of the creeks and branches of the state. Recently several large gold mining companies have taken interest in some of these mines. The gold belt that extends across central South Carolina is part of the gold pyrite belt that is found in the Piedmont and Blue Ridge Mountains of the the Southern States.

Although the gold is no in South Carolina is originally came from Morocco were a piece of that country was plastered onto the East Coast of North America during the Appalachian orogeny that created the southern Appalachians. The same orogeny carried with it but some pieces of oceanic crust that created the greenstone belts in the southern Appalachians that is the source of much gold and other mineralization that is found in South Carolina.

Most geologists feel this oceanic crust was the bearer of gold that has been found in the region that was activated by a late Permian to the early Jurassic thermal event the mobilized goals of the greenstone belt and caused it to be deposited in quartz veins and all types of rock in the affected area.

South Carolina gold is found in the following counties of the state:

“Abbeville, Anderson, Cherokee, Chesterfield, Fairfield, Greenville, Greenwood, Kershaw, Lancaster, Laurens, McCormick, Newberry, Oconee, Pickens, Saluda, Spartanburg, Union and York.”