The Cedar Creek placer workings were among the earliest workings in the Likely area and are located about 4 kilometres south of Likely, east of Cedar Point Provincial Park near the eastern shore of Quesnel Lake.
Placer gold mining within the surrounding areas began in the mid 1800’s. From Cedar Creek, the Cariboo Gold rush produced 5,000 ounces of gold within a 30 year period from 1862 to 1891. Placer mining on the Cedar Creek Plateau began in 1921 and from 1921 to 1945 approximately 37,000 ounces of gold were reported recovered to the B.C Minister of Mines, as being from local origin.
Early placer workings along the creek were largely confined to post-glacial gravels in the bed of the lower part of the creek. Later, benches along the creek, above the present creek level, were mined. In 1921, gold was discovered in the gravels on the plateau immediately south of the canyon. Placer activity has been carried out sporadically and evidence of this work is clearly visible in the many old buildings, abandoned equipment and disturbed state of the overburden.
In 1923, John Creagh drove an adit into the north canyon wall of Cedar Creek, located 1.6 kilometres from the junction of Cedar Creek and Quesnel Lake. The adit penetrated a shear zone containing gold-sulphide veins with pyrrhotite, pyrite, arsenopyrite, galena and chalcopyrite. The “Paddy Creagh Tunnel” is still open today, although the opening is covered with extensive talus.
In the 1940’s, the Cedar Dam was constructed to provide water for placer operations and hydraulicking. The construction led to the excavation of a 40 metre by 20 metre pit that exposed a large amount of outcrop. Rocks exposed on the eastern and southeastern edges comprise sandstone, greywacke and chert in contact with hornblende diorite, basalt and tuff along the southeastern edge. Disseminated pyrite and veining containing pyrite, pyrrhotite and minor chalcopyrite, are common throughout the Cedar Dam Showing. In the 1950s, dragline operations left a deep trench and ridge 1 kilometre long.
Placer operations in Cedar Creek often mined the upper 1-2 metres of bedrock along with the pay gravels. The gravel consists predominantly of angular fragments of the same composition as the bedrock, and the gold pieces were not much worn or travelled in appearance. Depth of gravel and “boulder clay” ranges up to 5 metres in the placer area. Total gold production is recorded as 37,784 ounces (1,175,207 grams) in two main periods, 1881-1895 and 1921-1945.