How To Pan For Gold

Gold panning is a simple process which takes lots of practice. You start with a panning tub which is nothing more then a container that will hold water and is big enough to work over with the gold pan. Then you need a safety pan, submerged deep in the water tub to catch any escaping gold. You can use the larger gold pan as the safety pan and the smaller 10 inch pan to pan with. It is less tiring on the wrists. Put a small amount of your concentrates in the pan and submerse it into the water and vigorously agitate the pan with a circular motion allowing the gold to settle to the bottom of the pan. Some panners use a side to side motion. You have to decide which works best for you. The specific gravity of gold is nineteen times heavier than water and allows the gold to settle to the bottom when the material is agitated to a fluid state. With a slight tip of the pan so that water can be swirled across the top of the material, the lighter aggregate can be flushed away. Care should be maintained to avoid pouring the light material out, but instead letting it slip over the side of the pan gradually. This maneuver should be done repeatedly until the material is reduced to black sand and the gold. A small amount of water is added by dipping the pan slightly into the water and swirling to remove the black sand. Tapping repeatedly on the concentrate side of the pan will assist in concentrating the gold. Using the water as the carrier, the gold can be separated from the sand and using a snifter bottle you can pick up the fine gold. The bigger pieces can be removed with fingers or tweezers if the fingers are too arthritic. Don’t forget to rerun the material that was washed out into the safety pan. It is too easy for a piece of gold to be dislodged over the edge in the process of panning.



Metal Detectors



New modern metal detectors vary in technology and certainly price. The purpose is to detect metal underground. There is a large variety of metal detectors that go from a handheld small device to a vehicle carried large one mainly used for meteorite hunting in the large fields of the mid west. The different detectors will find a multitude of objects from coins, artifacts, meteorites, and yes, even precious metals. The beginner usually starts with a lesser technological advanced machine.


This is a Gold Bug Pro. It is light weight, reliable and will find gold as deep as 6-8 inches. This is just one of the latest detectors available which uses a whole new technology. It is a Pulse Induction machine that will find gold much deeper then the older machines. With so many people turning to recreational prospecting it is often necessary to go deeper into the ground to find a nugget. The PI detector requires a different way of thinking for the prospector. For instance it will pick up the metal in your shoe eyelets often making your heart skip a beat, just knowing that you must have found ‘the big one’.


Choosing the method of prospecting is often started by joining a local club, going to the meetings and outings and learning from the more experienced prospector. In the Quartzsite area there are two very active clubs, each providing many opportunities to learn at monthly meetings and outings on their respective claims. The local prospecting stores have applications and informational maps and books on this area. These clubs have several claims, which as a member you will have access to prospecting adventures. The local Quartzsite Metal Detecting Club coin shoots are a great way to see many people with many different machines in action. It is a great way to meet people interested in the same thing as you are and most are willing to discuss the differences in machines. Please remember that it is illegal to go on the CRIT (Colorado Reservation Indian Tribe) lands without specific written permission and the Yuma Proving Grounds are off limits to all activities by civilians. Most of the public lands have been claimed up by individuals who frown upon some stranger prospecting on their claims. Sometimes if you know the registered owner of the claim, you might gain permission to detect. Claimed areas are designated by the BLM and should be marked with appropriate yellow mining signs and corner stakes. New computer technology through GeoCommunicator gives a wealth of claim information after you learn to navigate the system.





There is alot of gold-bearing mountainous dry placer ground which has remained relatively untouched by large-scale gold mining activity because of the lack of water needed to recover gold. Drywashing methods do work well enough that they can produce gold if the ground is rich enough. Recent developments in dry washing equipment have made it possible for a one or two-man operation to work larger volumes of dry placer ground without water, and obtain good results in gold recovery. Dry processing recovery systems generally use air flows to do the same job that water does in wet recovery systems. Under controlled conditions, air flows and mechanical motion and vibration can be made to effectively get rid of lighter, worthless materials. This causes a concentration of heavier materials similar to what occurs in wet processing. Dry washers are used  in areas where water is not available. Dry washing for gold goes back to the earliest days of gold discovery, where water was not available to separate the valuable minerals from waste rock. The early miners devised crude methods utilizing the flow of air and vibration to concentrate and separate valuable materials from sand and gravel. Modern improvements make drywashing for gold far more practical and efficient.





The Trommel



A trommel (from the German word for drum, Trommel) is a screened cylinder used to separate materials by size separating different sizes of crushed stone. The same principle applies to the production of compost, sand/gravel, lumber mill by-products and municipal wasteThe trommel processes a large amount of dirt with limited water. A large trommel, used many years ago in the area, sets at the intersection of Kofa Road and West Main Street. A conveyor belt carries the dirt up to a hopper which dumps it into the rotating drum with water spraying on it. The action separates the rock and dirt from the heavier gold and finer material which then drops to a sluice, concentrating the gold. Sand and other material goes into a settling pond or tank where the water can be recovered. The gold then can be recovered from the finds. It is possible to construct a home made trommel with a little ingenuity! Or purchase a one man operation.