Rock and Mineral Collecting

BANCROFT ONTARIO & AREA MINERAL COLLECTING

The Bancroft area is rich with minerals, gems and fossils, and brings thousands of people to the area each year to either attend the Rockhound Gemboree, visit some of the local shops that sell gems, minerals, and equipment, or to go on a treasure hunt themselves.  We’ve compiled a list of rock collecting sites in Bancroft and surrounding areas, museums, mines, and rock shops.  Know of something we’ve missed?  Please let us know!

Mineral Collecting Bancroft Ontario

Some places to explore…

The Miner’s Loop
The Miner’s Loop is located approx an hour south of Bancroft.   It is a self guided tour consisting of 4 sites that teaches it’s visitors about rocks and minerals in the area, and also area mining.  It is put on by the Marmora Tourism Centre.

  1. Millside Park
  2. Hastings Trail
  3. Deloro Mine Site
  4. Marmoraton Mine Site

For more information please call 613-472-1515 or visit their website.

The Richardson Mine 
The Richardson Mine is the site of Ontario’s first gold mine.  Gold was first discovered here by Marcus Herbert Powell in 1866 on the farm of John Richardson.  The mine went into production the next year, and the town of Eldorado was founded.  Although the Richardson mine ceased operation in 1869, not long after it opened, it spurred a small gold rush to the area and a number of other small mines were established, including Deloro, Gilmour, Cordova, Feigle, Bannockburn and Golden Fleece.  These mines, like the Richardson Mine, did not hold vast amounts of gold.

To commemorate the first gold mine in Ontario, the Archeological and Historical Sites Board of Ontario installed a historical plaque at the corner of Hwy 62 and John Street in the village of Eldorado. There are a few original buildings near by that serve as a reminder of a time long past.

The Marmoraton Mine
The Marmoraton Mine, possibly one of the most successful in the area of Marmora, was started when magnetite ore was discovered under 120 feet of limestone, in 1948.  The first of the iron ore was shipped in 1955, by owners Bethlehem Steel Mills of New York.  After blasting away the limestone, the open pit mine measured approx 1700 feet x 1200 feet, with a depth of 600 feet.

Deloro Mine
The Deloro Mine is part of the Madoc gold rush, which started with the discovery of gold at Ontario’s first gold mine, the Richardson Mine.  Unfortunately the Deloro mine is heavily polluted from the materials it mined, refined and produced.  The mine is contaminated with arsenic, cobalt, copper, nickel, and low-level radioactive waste and other materials.  Work is currently under-way to contain these wastes and make the area safe for the people.

Bancroft Mineral Museum
Discover the history of the mining in the area, learn about mineral collecting, or explore over 400 local specimens, all on display in the 1200 square-foot showroom of the Bancroft Mineral Museum.

Princess Sodalite Mine Rock Shop
The Princess Sodalite Mine Rock Shop offers a unique shopping experience offering a wide selection of minerals and fossil specimens.  The selection of minerals, which is always changing, ranges from beginner to museum quality of local and world-wide minerals.  The stores also carries a nice selection of gifts including candle holders, carvings, wood chimes and more.  And if you’re not there to shop, then you are surely there to visit the rock farm.  Here you can hunt through the plant tailings from the Princess Sodalite Mine, along with materials from other local mines and quarries.  Sodalite was first discovered in the Bancroft area in the late 1800s, and it quickly became a popular gemstone. The deposits in Bancroft are some of the largest and most well-known deposits of sodalite in the world, and the town has a long history of mining and producing the mineral. In the early 20th century, sodalite from Bancroft was used to produce a range of decorative objects, including figurines, vases, and other decorative items.

Madawaska Mine (Faraday Mine)
This is a former uranium mine.  Underground development started in 1954 by Faraday Uranium Mines Ltd., and ended in 1964 when contracts to sell uranium expired.  The mine was reopened in 1975 by Madawaska Mines Ltd., and ended in 1982.

Bonnechere Museum & Geoheritage Trail
Attention hikers, geologists and fossil hunters!  The Bonnechere Museum offers a local trail for recreational geology and exploration.  Bonnechere Museum’s Geoheritage Trail is located on John Street in Eganville down the street from the Eganville Leader. The trail offers a selection of rocks and fossils as well as showcases a historical limestone quarry, now a beautiful pond, and the connecting trench.

Bonnechere Caves
The Bonnechere Caves are located in Eganville Ontario.  Welcoming people for over 55 years, the Bonnechere Caves provide a safe educational, fun, and informative tour for people of all ages.

Tyendinaga Cavern & Caves
The Tyendinaga Cavern and Caves are located 15 minutes North of Belleville at 2623 Harmony Road.  The cavern and caves are known for their rich mineral deposits and contain a variety of minerals, including calcite, quartz, and pyrite, which make them a popular location for rockhounding, or the hobby of collecting rocks and minerals.  Tours run every 30 minutes and take approximately 45 minutes from start to finish.

Greenmantle Tours
Located in Wilberforce, Ontario, Greenmantle is a 300-acre piece of land that has remained largely unchanged since the last ice age. It is home to the rare mineral fluororicherite, which can only be found in this location in Canada, as well as other minerals such as apatite, hornblende, orthoclase, quartz, and clinohumite. Mineral specimens from Greenmantle can be found in the Royal Ontario Museum, the Museum of Nature in Ottawa, the Smithsonian, and in private collections worldwide. The Bramham family offers guided eco-tours of their mineral occurrence, providing a unique opportunity for those interested in learning about the rock formations that make up our natural world.  Please visit their website to learn more or book a tour.  Please note, these are guided, paid tours.

**Check Hours of Operation before heading to any of these places.

ROCK AND MINERAL COLLECTING SITES

(Please note some sites now prohibit collecting.  Make sure you have permission to be there, respect the area and do not trespass)

CN Rock Dump
This is that the site where the Golding-Keene Quarry material was brought to be kept and used in the construction of the rail road.  Collecting is allowed here, and is managed through the Chamber of Commerce. From 1927 to 1939, this unique deposit was worked for nepheline which is used in making ceramic and glass. The deposit was too small to be commercially successful and it contained too many impurities, so some of the last shipments were left beside the railroad tracks and today is a popular collecting site. Minerals you could find include biotite, calcite, cancrinite, scapolite, sodalite, natrolite, apatite and zircons.

The dump is very easy to access and is a great place for families to hunt for interesting finds.  You’ll find the CN Rock Pile directly across the road from the Town of Bancroft Municipal Office, on the Hastings Heritage Trail. It will be approximately 200 meters down the trail on your left.

Golding-Keene Quarry
Located in the Dungannon Township, this quarry was used by the New England Nepheline Company to mine nepheline from 1927 to 1939.  The quarry was cut into the side of a hill on the bank of the York River, and is now a part of the Egan Chutes Provincial Park.  Collecting is now prohibited at this site, but it is still allowed at the CN Dump in Bancroft, where material from this quarry was deposited.

Beryl Pit / Aqua Rose
Beryl Pit is located approx 2.1 km north of Quadeville.  The site is made up of two mines, Quadeville East Mine (Beryl Pit) and the Quadeville West Mine (Rose Quartz Quarry).  The Beryl Pit is currently owned by the company Aquarose, and there is a fee for collecting.  You can purchase mineral collecting permits for the Beryl Pit at Kauffeldt’s Corner Store, where they will also give you directions to the mine.  More…

Cole Hill Gold
Located on Lower Faraday road, Coe Hill Gold features a fee-for fishing trout farm, a large rock shop, & multiple mineral occurrences open as a fee for collecting sites. You’ll find 7 mineral collecting sites, including a magnetite & garnet site.  Minerals occurring on the property have been identified by Minerals Associates Inc. and the property is open in the summer months.

Bear Lake Diggings
Prior to 2016 this was the first publicly protected collecting site in Ontario.  However, the site closed in 2016 when it was sold to new owners.

Geocaching
When you start exploring the area, you’ll find that there are some great caches hidden in old mines.  Ask at Agnew’s General Store in Wilberforce for all the details.

Graphite Roadcut
This is a road cut on the north side of Graphite Road in Hastings Highlands, Monteagle Township.  The outcrop is west of Musclow Road, on the north side.  Mineral Iist: Actinolite,  Albite, Diopside, Phlogopite, Quartz, Smoky Quartz, Titanite, Tremolite. *Please do not fill the ditch with rubble and be careful of traffic.


Which type of collector are you?

In Ontario, the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines recognizes two types of mineral collectors.  The hobby and the large scale / commercial collectors.  These two types of collectors are distinguished by their threshold limit.

Hobby Mineral Collecting

  • for personal pleasure or interest only
  • the amount you collect is below the threshold limit
  • minerals collected are for your personal collection
  • you have no intention of selling the minerals you have collected (swapping/trading of minerals collected is acceptable)

Large Scale Mineral Collecting (Commercial Collecting)

  • you are collecting / extracting minerals with the intention of selling them
  • the amount you collect is above the threshold limit
  • you collect  your samples through the use of mechanical equipment

Comments (73)

  • Maureen Cummings Reply

    Bear Lake Diggings is now privately owned and not open for digging.

    July 14, 2017 at 11:48 am
    • ria Reply

      can i still go mining as of 2023?

      June 5, 2023 at 2:10 pm
      • Jane Reply

        Not at Bear Lake diggings, no. Now private property, and so are several other places on this list.

        August 3, 2023 at 7:44 am
  • Debbie Reply

    Who can teach me how to pan my dirt? I watched the YouTube videos but I need confirmation of what I’m doing and seeing. Thanks

    August 25, 2018 at 2:13 pm
    • Kenny Reply

      Hi Debbie my name is Kenny. I have been panning in Ontario couple years now. I’m not quick but I catch it. My email is payner2000@live.can. give a email I’ll get back to ya with my phone number.

      December 23, 2018 at 5:00 pm
  • Yana Mill Reply

    Hello,
    Would anyone know whether Beryl Pit is still open for digging as of 2019?
    Thanks,

    March 30, 2019 at 11:32 am
    • Scott Reply

      Would like to know myself…

      April 8, 2019 at 6:53 pm
    • Chris Reply

      Yes, of course. Pay the fee at Kauffeldt’s store in Quadeville, ($12 for adults, $10 for youth) and you will have to sign a waiver, and will get a map and a list of minerals you can find there, plus directions for parking.

      May 7, 2019 at 9:35 pm
      • Patrick Reply

        Does this also apply for the Rose Quartz quarry?

        September 6, 2019 at 10:13 am
    • Paula Reply

      Which mine is good for gems and do you need your own supplies to dig

      July 17, 2019 at 10:23 pm
    • Hayley Reply

      Is the Miller property still accessible?

      August 1, 2023 at 8:05 pm
      • Jane Reply

        Yes

        August 3, 2023 at 7:41 am
  • Jim Reply

    Anyone interested in going as a group together in early September for some rockhounding adventures? Email me at saltyaulddawg@gmail.com and let me know which week. I dont want to go alone into the woods, lol.

    May 25, 2019 at 9:37 pm
    • Tracy Hawkins Reply

      Hi Jim, my name is Tracy, and I live in the village of Hastings on the Trent River. I would love to go rock collecting with you! I’m on Facebook under Hawkins Tracy (with no comma between), or email me at hawkins45_trekkie@yahoo.ca

      June 17, 2019 at 11:34 pm
      • Radha Reply

        Are you guys planning to go in September? If so let me know and I would love to join!

        August 21, 2019 at 4:50 pm
  • PHILIP Reply

    anyone know the name of mine at picture on the top? thanks

    July 10, 2019 at 2:16 pm
    • BP Reply

      The mine shown is the MacDonald mine near Bancroft. The photo was taken some years ago, as the site has now been rehabilitated.

      August 2, 2019 at 10:05 am
      • PHILIP Reply

        thanks, is the site accessible ? I like to take my daughters !

        September 4, 2019 at 9:46 am
      • sm Reply

        They filled in the cave and the enitie valley with rock and dirt, destroyed trees, plants,weeds, nests, dens,etc.Over some law suit. But they did put a barred vent in at the end of the cave for bats 🙂 for years
        I discovered the mine in the 1990’s, My boy’s were young when we started going there, we went there a few times a year, every year (until they became to cool to hang with mom). I still go to Bancroft,but how I miss Mcdonald mine.

        October 14, 2019 at 3:38 pm
        • Chris Robb Reply

          Any GPS coordinates to locate? Thank you

          July 19, 2023 at 3:15 pm
          • Jane

            Hi Chris, the Macdonald mine is on private property and collecting is not allowed there. Fines for digging at rehabilitated mines are steep.

            August 3, 2023 at 7:47 am
  • Elizabeth Barte Reply

    Hello my name is Elizabeth I’ve experienced picking up amethyst in Sudbury when we first went to Alberta and drop by for site seeing from one of the mining site. Since then I love to collect gemstone from buying gemstone show in Toronto. And I love to experience picking up gemstone in any self guided tour site. Watching on YouTube how wonderful feeling it might be picking up one or two kinds of gemstone in Bancroft area is what I’m looking forward to experience. My email lizbtalan@yahoo.ca asking for information on how to join the tour and experience collecting stones.Thank you.

    July 22, 2019 at 4:31 pm
  • Patrick Reply

    Hello!

    How would I go about collecting at the Rose Quartz Quarry? Would I also have to get a permit at the corner store? Or are there other arrangements?

    Thanks!

    September 5, 2019 at 11:44 pm
  • kristen Reply

    What do you need to bring with you to collect?

    September 27, 2019 at 8:49 pm
  • Anne-Marie Hendry/Terry Austin Reply

    Wondering if any mines open in Bancroft area for fun collecting. Used to be in exploration geology…now in different profession. Would like to visit the area if open next week. Today is Sunday August16th/20. We would be travelling from the Barrie area…stay over night somewhere then come home. Looking for something fun to do and see outside.

    August 16, 2020 at 5:18 pm
    • Shawn Wideman Reply

      Princess Sodalite Mine is open for 2020 season. Come on and do some collecting

      August 22, 2020 at 3:19 am
      • kay Reply

        Hi there,
        I would love to visit Barelpit but, i don’t have ride. Do you know of any bus that comes from Toronto or if you can connect me to someone who does come there Please? Thank you
        adijasoda01@gmail.com

        April 12, 2021 at 8:35 pm
  • Jenny McDonell Reply

    Hello! I was hoping to visit Dave, at the Rose Quartz mine… is he still the man to meet for that? Aquarose if I recall correctly, I’d love to visit the site but have lost his contact info. Can anyone help?
    Otherwise, is anyone offering a site to find some stones on Saturday September 12, 2020? Thank you in advance…
    Jen

    September 3, 2020 at 8:28 am
    • makayla fallis Reply

      you can find some on dinno road at bancroft i go there all the time it is so much fun and you get lots of rocks the rock you might find is the tiger eye me and my dad went it was so much fun and i got the best rocks i have ever gotten please type back to me.

      November 30, 2020 at 9:55 pm
      • Carrie Reply

        Can you please send more information? My daughter and I love to hunt for treasures and I would like to take her on a trip up that way for rock hunting. Any help is greatly appreciated.

        July 12, 2021 at 8:52 pm
      • Deborah Lobban Reply

        That sounds like fun. Can u possibly tell me where on Dinno Rd u find ur rocks? Especially the tiger eye? Thank u. Deborah

        July 27, 2021 at 12:43 am
      • Danielle Dowdall Reply

        Yes could you share with me also? Looking to go August 6ths perhaps for my birthday. Trying to do a wild goose hunt for hubby and I and hoping to find stuff at no or very little cost. The adventure makes it more fun.
        Maybe email me at highlandsa1@hotmail.ca

        August 1, 2021 at 10:53 pm
      • Mark Blondin Reply

        Hey can you tell me how to find dinno rd pls

        August 30, 2023 at 12:28 pm
    • Deborah Lobban Reply

      If u google aquarose mine or the beryl pit, u will find the contact information. I’m making plans to visit soon.

      July 27, 2021 at 12:45 am
  • Diana Reply

    Is there anyone that still provides guided rock hounding tours. Looking to find a guide as a birthday gift for my grandsons.

    March 21, 2021 at 12:32 pm
    • Kelly Reply

      Lakeside gems in bancoft

      August 2, 2021 at 1:28 pm
  • Jeff Reply

    When would these mines be open? Thanks In advanced

    March 27, 2021 at 7:26 pm
    • Randy Renaud Reply

      Hello Jeff my grandson is a big rock collector and I’m living in labrador city comin in town in the middle of July can you tell me the best places to go to look for some great looking rocks amethysts and other great pcs … I don’t care if it cost me money like I said it’s for my grandson so if you could send me in the right direction would be so great full !!!! Thanks..

      June 8, 2021 at 8:59 pm
    • Deborah Lobban Reply

      If u google the Princess Sodalite Mine, The Beryl Pit and The Miner’s Loop, u will find the times they open.

      July 27, 2021 at 12:47 am
  • Brian Conley Reply

    As a ‘former member’ of the Bancroft Mineral & Rock Club, Oshawa Mineral & Rock Club, and Sudbury Rock & Mineral Club, I have been involved in mineral collecting in South Eastern Ontario since the early 1950’s. I am looking for a responsible, mature individual, experienced in the natural world, to enjoy (share) brief periods of exploration of mineral sites in various locals with the purpose of studying and collecting. Practicality and ‘safety’ are paramount requisites, along with companionship and shared enjoyable experiences.
    Contact: electronautsys@hotmai.com

    July 8, 2021 at 4:41 pm
    • Jim Reply

      Hello, Brian. I am going to the Bancroft area in Sept around the weekend of the 17th. Want to rock hound together?

      August 6, 2021 at 3:31 pm
      • Brian W. Conley Reply

        Hello, Jim:
        In reply to Your posting for ‘rock hound’ venture to Bancroft area in September (17th or about, 2021. Please email me directly (Not through Bancroftontario.com website) through address … Electronautsys@hotmail.com … So we might make some arrangements to our liking!?
        Brian C.

        August 10, 2021 at 12:40 pm
    • Nicole Reply

      Hello!

      We are going to take our son tomorrow to hunt for rocks. Which location do you suggest to go to for our first hunt?

      October 10, 2021 at 8:52 pm
  • ROY LUMLEY Reply

    GOOD DAY MY NANE IS ROY LUMLEY LIKE TO COME TO SEE Rock Shop MINES IN &AN AROUND CAN YOU HELP ME THANK YOU ROY LUMLEY 49-424 BLEECKER AVE. BELLEVILLE ONT. K8N 5R5 LIKE MAPS INFOR.

    July 12, 2021 at 2:24 pm
  • Mariah Reply

    Hi, I’m wondering if there’s anyone who could help me identify minerals I found at Beryl Pit & princess sodalite mine .
    Email:mariahdon64@gmail.com

    September 20, 2021 at 12:43 am
  • Mandi Lowthian Smith Reply

    Thank you so much for this! Very helpful.
    Mandi

    September 30, 2021 at 2:03 pm
  • Stephanie Reply

    Can anyone share their experiences at the Beryl Pit?

    September 30, 2021 at 4:51 pm
    • Darren F Reply

      I have been there several times. The general store in Quadsville is where you sign a waiver and pay $10. You can find a number of minerals there … And the walk from parking at the road to the site is easy. Worth a stop buy bring safety glasses and a hammer and chisel.

      October 4, 2021 at 11:00 pm
  • Janet L Reply

    I live in Peterborough and am interested in driving up to Bancroft for the day to do some rockhounding. Looking for a companion since it’s safer than a woman wandering around alone in the bush.

    October 13, 2021 at 3:36 pm
    • Mikaela Reply

      Hi Janet! I live roughly half an hour away and would be interested in joining you. I am a 28yo female from Australia. Look forward to hearing back from you.

      November 11, 2021 at 12:43 pm
      • Lucas McNea Reply

        ill go with you, 32 male from chatham-kent farming region, about 4-5hrs away, but I come from a family of gemologist and goldminers and feel a connection to rockhounding. Also want to go to BC for placer goldmining.

        December 28, 2021 at 6:03 pm
      • Ruby Reply

        Can I join? I would like to go from Dominican Rep. I’m 24 years old and I’m really interested

        December 31, 2021 at 11:05 am
    • Ruby Reply

      I’m down for the same and looking for companion

      December 31, 2021 at 11:03 am
      • Anthony Reply

        Hi.. I am also looking a companion to visit Bancroft and some other Gemstones mining locations…. if interested write me: taillon4766@gmail.com

        March 12, 2022 at 5:11 am
      • Janet Louden Reply

        Janetlouden3@gmail.com if you’re interested in going together some time.

        June 19, 2022 at 11:20 am
    • Heather W Reply

      Did you go?? If not I’d be interested in the spring..I live in Bancroft

      January 16, 2022 at 10:12 pm
      • Anthony Reply

        Hi , I live in Montreal, I’d like to visit some mining areas in Bancroft, I have never been there before, looking a companion to knows/familiar in those places to visit and buying some tough gemstones (Beryl….like Aquamarine, Emerald and other colors like red beryl, golden beryl, yellow beryl, orange beryl, pink Beryl), planning to spend a week or more… aarulvasam@yahoo.ca

        March 12, 2022 at 4:33 am
      • Janet Louden Reply

        No, I haven’t. Janetlouden3@gmail.com

        June 19, 2022 at 11:19 am
    • Anne Reply

      I am in the same boat as you and would also like to go yet being alone doing this hobby is tough. Would gladly join you in the spring. I live in south western Ontario but wouldn’t mind the drive. Doing this has been on my bucket list for years.

      January 26, 2022 at 5:05 am
      • Chris Reply

        Im headed up there july 16 yo the 23rd 2022 with my wife and 2 daughters. My good friend and his family are coming too. We do the beryl pit every year, its awesome. The kids love it too. I also go to some other pits and a mountain site that still jas open mine shafts!!
        Look me up if you wanna join us.
        Chrisjamespatenaude@gmail.com
        Cheers

        January 28, 2022 at 11:18 am
      • Janet Louden Reply

        Hi I got super busy at work but still interested. Janetlouden3@gmail.com

        June 19, 2022 at 11:17 am
    • Amelia Reply

      Hello! I’d love to go if you still want to go there. I need someone to go with as well

      April 10, 2022 at 5:44 am
    • John Howlett Reply

      Iam wanting to go again. And am willing to take or go with ppl

      May 9, 2022 at 4:53 am
  • Anthony Reply

    Hi , I live in Montreal, I’d like to visit some mining areas in Bancroft, I have never been there before, looking a companion to knows/familiar in those places to visit and buying some tough gemstones (Beryl….like Aquamarine, Emerald and other colors like red beryl, golden beryl, yellow beryl, orange beryl, pink Beryl), planning to spend a week or more… aarulvasam@yahoo.ca

    March 12, 2022 at 4:52 am
    • Donna Reply

      Hello , I’m not sure if you have already gone to bancroft..but we have a cottage for rent 7 minutes from town…thanks Donna 226 388 7584

      July 27, 2022 at 11:27 am
  • Eleen Ebert Reply

    Me i just wish i could go ,same thing i’m alone hate to drive all the way there

    August 15, 2022 at 12:57 pm
    • Heather-Jean Reply

      Love driving and used to live in Bancroft. Out in Welland ont currently. Can akways check with me and likley can corridinate going together. I have a Dodge Caravan minvan that can seat 7. I also used to do vollenteer driving for Haliburton. Completely clean driving record and also was a driving instructor for 28 years. You should be able to reach out to me on Facebook.Heather-Jean Vandenberg

      November 28, 2022 at 8:01 pm
  • Dorothy Kenefick Reply

    Looking for a reasonable place to stay in the Bancroft area for August 27-31. Please contact me text to 613-360-2733 Thank You

    August 17, 2022 at 3:08 pm
  • Elena Reply

    Hello, which site would be the best to take little kids to? They like gems and rocks, and very curious how they’re acquired from the sites.

    January 22, 2023 at 10:11 pm
  • Nolan Erwin Reply

    I’m looking into coming up sometime soon, it’s a 4 hour drive and I’d prefer if I wasn’t alone, I’m a 25 year old from Ontario just not familiar with the area or rockhounding in general, let me know if there’s anyone else looking! 226-567-5017

    April 16, 2023 at 11:06 am
  • sylvia Reply

    The info posted for the gemboree sessions indicates it is for 2022 and will be updated for this year. When is this going to happen, and does the no tours refer to last year or this year?

    July 27, 2023 at 9:26 am
    • Jane Reply

      The only mention of tours I could find in their information is offered through Lakeside Gems/Highlands East tourism. The tours with old time rockhounds seem to be a thing of the past, sadly.

      August 3, 2023 at 7:54 am

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