Haile Gold Mine at Kershaw, South Carolina


South Carolina Gold Mines, Prospecting, Panning, Treasure Hunting and Rockhounding

 If you plan to pan for gold in South Carolina, you will find an abundance of creeks and branches in which to pan. Panning and gold prospecting locations are numerous and many gold sites are near primary and secondary roads. If you are a treasure hunter, you will be delighted with the treasure hunting possibilities in South Carolina. South Carolina was one of the original colonies and has many old towns, old plantations, old churches and old rural schools where treasure may be found with a metal detector.

Gem stones are sought by rockhounds in the same areas where prospecting and panning for gold and treasure hunting for nuggets is done. Gem stones reported from the northwestern part of South Carolina include beryl (aquamarine, emerald, yellow beryl ), corundum (sapphire), diamond, garnet, sillimanite, topaz, tourmaline and zircon.

Big Ten’s map of South Carolina gold shows 130 gold mines and gold prospects from official geological records of the State of South Carolina and the federal government. Gold sites are shown in these 18 South Carolina counties:

Abbeville    Anderson    Cherokee    Chesterfield    Fairfield    Greenville    Greenwood    Kershaw    Lancaster    Laurens    McCormick    Newberry    Oconee    Pickens    Saluda    Spartanburg    Union     York.
Gold sites continue on the North Carolina and Georgia Maps

Gold Mines in South Carolina

The gold mining, prospecting and panning areas of South Carolina range generally from McCormick and Columbia north and northeast to the North Carolina state line and westward to the Georgia state line. The gold prospecting areas and mines are in the northwest quadrant of the state and continue over into Georgia and North Carolina. More on South Carolina gold mining, prospecting and panning locations is given in the section that follows.

South Carolina Gold Mining History

Information on this page as pertains to gold mines, gold prospecting areas, and minerals and gem stone occurrences was obtained from research of geological records and documents of the South Carolina Geological Survey, the U.S. Bureau of Mines, the U.S. Geological Survey and similar sources. Prior work by Arthur H. Maybin III, Camilla K. McCauley and J. Robert Butler is acknowledged.



Butler mentions that most of the earliest production of gold in South Carolina came from placers. Many of the gold placers occur very close to a lode which is the suspected source of the gold. One of the most productive gold placers was the Tanyard pit at the Brewer Gold Mine in Chesterfield County. The estimated placer gold production was about twice the lode gold production. Butler’s writings mention that an interesting feature of the Tanyard pit is the evidence of deposition and sorting of the sands by sea waves (Pardee and Park) and that the placer must have been formed partly by wave action along an ancient coastline.

The Martin Mine in York County produced a considerable quantity of placer gold from a clay-gravel bed of several acres and from the underlying weathered material. Lieber (1856) reported that gold nuggets weighing 9.5 and 17 ounces were found at the Martin Mine and also large pieces of quartz were found that contained 10.5 ounces and 200 ounces of gold. Other important gold placer mines were in Oconee County and along the Middle Tyger River and its tributaries in Spartanburg and Greenville Counties.

The gold mines and prospecting regions of South Carolina are part of the gold belt that extends from Central Alabama to Northern Virginia. The famous Haile Gold Mine is near Kershaw in Lancaster County. The Ridgeway Gold Mine is about 20 miles from Columbia. The city of McCormick, South Carolina is built over a gold mine that was owned by Cyrus McCormick, inventor of the reaper.

When prospecting , panning or treasure hunting in South Carolina, don’t overlook the gold near Clemson and near the Chatooga National Wild and Scenic River, which was used as a location for filming of "Deliverance". Try treasure hunting for nuggets with a metal detector. Many gold mines and prospecting and panning sites are near Rock Hill and Gaffney. 

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