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Where to find Gold in South Carolina

Where to find gold in South Carolina From amateur prospectors to commercial mining entities, both have asked this question throughout history and while the state itself may not have as rich of a tapestry as some of the others, gold in South Carolina has been found time and time again.

History of Gold in South Carolina

First was in the county of Greenville, the discovery made in 1802 saw the question where to find gold in South Carolina seemingly answered with several additional discoveries made in quick succession afterwards all along the Carolina Slate Belt, inspiring commercial and private mining operations throughout the state.

With so much activity and attention on gold in South Carolina over that hundred year period starting 1802 eventually saw much of the easily commercially viable gold depleted, and by 1902 many of the commercial mining entities and private prospectors began to struggle and conceded to close up operations in search of more golden pastures.

Despite the exodus at the end of the initial mining boom, many of the companies themselves have left a significant historic marker on South Carolina, both at an economic level and as part of the states spirit of adventure, to go out and boldly ask where to find gold in South Carolina and not be swayed by the initial hardships, some of the more notable commercial entities are and were…

Commercially Mining Gold in South Carolina

Historic Haile Gold Mine

The Haile Gold Mine, first discovered and put into operation by Benjamin Haile in 1827, rose to prominence quite fast, and in short order became on of the most profitable gold mines in all of South Carolina, still in operation today as overseen by the OceanaGold Company, the spirit of the gold rush lives on in the vast tunnels and pits of The Haile Gold Mine.

Gold Mine Ridgeway

Established in Fairfield County in the year of 1988 the Ridgeway Gold Mine was in operation for only a mere 11 years before closing operations, though within that time was a great economic boon to the state of South Carolina with over 900,000 ounces of Silver extracted along with 1.5 Million ounces of Gold.

The Gold Mines of Barite Hill

Through the years of 1990 and 1994 nestled in the hills of McCormick County the Barite Hill Gold Mine sought to find out where to find gold in south Carolina and found it, in abundance, and while commercial operations were short at the end of their four year period had extracted 109,000 ounces of silver and more than 58,996 ounces of gold, and impressive feat for only four years of mining gold in South Carolina.

Panning & Prospecting in South Carolina Today

For those contemplating where to find gold in South Carolina, it has often been stated by those in hobbyist panning circles, that the state itself, is more suited to veterans or those with a great level of skill in the craft of panning, as easier targets for those new to gold panning can often be found in the state of Georgia, however, that in and of itself is no reason to overlook South Carolina, particularly if you are a resident, or simply seeking an adventure as there are many prominent locations where gold can still be found in South Carolina today.

Chesterfield County

The appropriately named “Nugget Creek” located in Chesterfield county, has given rise to only but a few professional gold producers and while not as prominent as it was in the past, the creek itself has been known to give up large quantities of gold in the past, hence its name and while modern prospectors now only are able to turn up placer gold, who knows what mysteries still may lay undiscovered along the creeks riverbed for those with the skill and patience to explore it.

Saluda County

A favourite among hobbyist prospectors asking where to find gold in South Carolina is Saluda County whose rivers hold gold and colour no matter where one choses to drop their sluice, all be it, some being more profitable than others, while sweet spots can be found in all the counties rivers, the most popular is Little Saluda River though it is worth noting gold that goes uncovered in Little Saluda River often flows into its tributaries, giving an advantage to prospectors that are willing to do a little bit of homework with their river cartography and venture off the beaten track.

Cherokee County

Home of the former Love Springs mine, Cherokee County is a popular favourite among all hobbyist prospectors asking where to find gold in South Carolina as it is said that almost all rivers and creeks within the county can at least be expected to yield small amounts of lode gold, as well as placer gold, to which the now closed Love Springs Mine harvested to great economic boon to the surrounding area for many years until its close, but with some gold in trace amounts still trickling down into the surrounding river systems for prospectors to find through to this day.

York County

Prospectors asking where to find gold in South Carolina often look to York County, with places such as Bullock’s Creek, Wolf Creek and Kings Creek all being popular panning locations for hobbyists, as well as the notable Rock Hill which has been said to hold nuggets, all be it fairly sparingly, though the most popular of locations within York County is without a doubt the Broad River.

The Broad River is a tributary of the Congaree River and travels for a full 150 miles through North Carolina and Southern Carolina, panned by prospectors on both sides of the border the river system itself boasts a wide variety of gold no matter where one searches, with gold hidden in many of the systems natural streams.

Prospecting Essentials

  • Gold Pan
  • Sluice Box
  • Small Digging Tool
  • Glass Vials

Gold Placer Deposits in South Carolina

So, you ask the question, where to find gold in South Carolina, but what on earth exactly are placer deposits? Natural materials that are accumulated in concertation, such as unconsolidated sediments from residual deposits, beaches or stream beds, Gold often can be derived from these placer deposits, due to the metals weight and its resistance from corrosion, the yellow-sun colour making it very easy to spot even in very small quantities.

For those asking where to find gold in South Carolina, using a gold miner’s pan or simple gold pan will allow those to clean potentially gold holding gravel and other heavy materials, in a process known as “panning” while hard work, this simple process separates the heavy materials from the lighter materials, sand, gravel, and similar and often leave what is referred to as “colour” as a result, the distinct, yellow that is every prospectors goal, always remember in modern times, metal detectors can be used to great effect to increase prospecting chances.

Additional Prospecting Locations for Gold in South Carolina


Near the area of the Chattooga River is place named Clemson, an abstract place for all those asking where to find gold in South Carolina, nuggets have been found historically with the employ of a Metal Detector though it is important to seek permission from the local forest service before panning as a permit is required, though well worth doing as the river system stretches for some 26 miles through Oconee County, though while prosperous, gold prospectors must be careful and stay close to the shoreline as the river system does have rough rapids.

Kings Mountain Belt

While those asking where to find gold in South Carolina will need to ask permission from the department of parks, recreation and tourism before entering the Kings Mountain Belt for panning, it is widely a popular choice, sitting right on top of the Carolina Slate Belt, though at the northern part, much gold can be found in this region.

The belt itself begins near Abbeville and McCormick counties and runs all the way to the Georgie and Cherokee counties which border North Carolina.


In Lancaster County, South Carolina is the city of Kershaw, and for all those asking where to find gold in South Carolina, it remains a popular choice, while closed on the most to the public, given its proximity to the old Haile Mine, prospectors can still hope to find gold that trickles down through the streams that flow out of private property, though on venturing inward, one should always seek prior written consent from the land owners, who on the whole are friendly to hobbyist prospectors.

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