The first active mining on the Queen Charlotte Islands took place at the south end of Moresby Island. Francis Poole in 1862, felt there was a sufficient quantity of copper, this creating the Queen Charlotte Mining Company who sank several shafts. They did not pursue their interest and abandoned activities in 1864. In 1905 an important copper find was made at Harriet Harbour and by 1906 many prospectors were working in this area leading eventually to the town site of Jedway. Within a few years Ikeda Mines were up and running and shipping copper ore. These claims all died off or were abandoned and it wasn't until 1961 that iron ore was discovered and Jedway became active again. Tasu also started as a mine site in the early 1900 but it wasn't until 1966 that a mine site started up.
British Columbia's first gold rush occurred in 1851 when gold was discovered at Mitchell Inlet. The rush never materialized as the gold prospects were disappointing and there was strong opposition by the Haida.
On Morseby Island, in 1865, 6 years before British Columbia became a province the governor granted a 5000 acre lease to the Queen Charlotte Coal Company in the Skidegate Inlet region. Narrowing the vast area to a section that was most promising the coal company staked a claim to 1150 acres in the Kagan Bay area. In 1868 it was registered as Lot 1, the first lot registered on the islands and the oldest document on record at the Prince Rupert Land Registry Office. The Yakoun Valley was the best access for this region. A skid road ran from Port Clements (then Queenstown) down the valley through trees and muskeg. It took the better part of a year to transport the 83 tons of equipment needed for the coal mines. There was an excellent quality of anthracite but seams were badly faulted. The years following the outbreak of WW1 brought a slump in the market bringing an end to the drilling.
Out on the east coast, placer gold (black sand) was pursued but the ever-changing position of the sand due to the ocean tides did not make this very lucrative. In more recent times Richfield Oil Company drilled a test hole in 1958 near Mayer Lake and later another test hole was drilled at Cape Ball.
Back in the Yakoun Valley, in 1979, Elfram Specogna discovered the Specogna gold deposit which later became the Cinola Gold Mine. A feasibility study in 1982 states an open pit mine could produce 2-3 million ounces of gold but this would be the result of moving 43 million tons of rock. Due to the high risk for environmental damage to the Valley with the dangerously high amounts of mercury and arsenic needed local opposition is high. Although test holes were dug the mine has never opened.