The Gold Vault
Panning For Gold
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Gold panning is mostly a manual technique of sorting gold. Wide, shallow pans are filled with sand and gravel that may contain gold. The pan is submerged in water and shaken, sorting the gold from the gravel and other material. As gold is much denser than rock, it quickly settles to the bottom of the pan. The panning material is usually removed from stream beds, often at the inside turn in the stream, or resting on the bedrock bed of the stream, where the density of gold allows it to concentrate. This type of gold found in streams or dry streams are called placer deposits.
Panning For Gold
Gold pans for recovering heavy minerals by gravity concentration come in several
sizes. For searching out gold in alluvial deposits a round pan some 40 cm in
diameter and 6 cm deep is generally used. A smaller pan 30 to 38 cm in diameter is perhaps a better size for new chums until they become proficient in
handling a gold pan.

The sides of the pan normally slope 30-40 degrees from the horizontal. Usually
made of iron, these pans are often kept blackened on the bottom to make it
easier to identify small specks of gold. They should be kept free of grease, as
this tends to disperse the recovered gold.

Gold panning imitates what nature has accomplished over many years in
forming placer deposits; the action whereby heavier objects, because of their
density, work their way to the bottom of a depression due to the swirling
agitation above.

Now, suppose you have chosen a good site near a source of water for your
gold-panning activities. What you do next is scrape the wash into the gold pan
and make sure that it is completely broken up and saturated before you
commence panning.

While the wash is soaking, stir or "knead" the contents of the pan with both
hands to break up lumps and free any gold present from clayish material. The
miners who used this process on a large scale many years ago called it

Next mash and discard the larger stones to begin reducing the pan's
contents. Thoroughly break up all remaining lumps of clay by rubbing them
against the sides and bottom of the pan.

During such operations the gold pan usually sits on the bottom of a waterhole,
just below the surface. When you have broken up the clay lumps take the pan
in both hands and raise it until it is only slightly covered with water then swirl
the wash around in the dish. This helps to wash the smaller stones and gravel
and loosens the gold causing it to sink through the swirling wash onto the
bottom of the pan.

The next action is to shake the pan and its contents slowly in a rhythmic motion
from side to side and then slowly tilt the pan forward as you continue to shake
it. Be careful that you only tilt the pan forward until small stones and sand are
slowly carried over the edge of the pan.
Just as this action starts, stop shaking the gold pan. Now allow more water
into the pan and repeat the whole procedure until there is little wash left in
the pan.

To see if there is any gold in the pan hold the pan up in the opposite angle to the
normal tilting, panning angle and, with a small amount of water in the pan, move
the dish around just enough to allow the water to run up and over the wash.
This should carry away the last amount of wash to reveal your first specks of

It all takes practice and it is better if someone can show you how it is done
professionally. So contact your local lapidary club, for the members of such
clubs enjoy meeting visitors and usually at least one member is an experienced
gold panner.

It is interesting to note that an experienced miner can pan off from seven to 10
dishes per hour. If this rate of panning is maintained for eight hours, the
quantity of alluvial material treated is about 0.4 m.

In many places, heavy black sands, essentially magnetic oxide of iron,
accompany gold. Take care not to lose any gold when finally panning it out in
the presence of such sands. You may find that a strong magnet is very useful to
remove black magnetic sand when it has dried out. You can then pick out the
tiny specks of gold with a moistened finger tip and drop them into a small bottle
full of water for safekeeping.

If you are working a creek in an area of very fine gold, it may be difficult to
extract the gold using a pan because it tends to float off during the final stages
of panning. To overcome this, add dish washing or laundry detergent to the
water in the pan. This will make the gold sink and it will be much easier to

For the full story recommend you visit the Museum
Article courtesy of the Gympie Gold Mining & Historical Museum

215 Brisbane Road Gympie, QLD


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Essentials in Gold Panning Equipment
By D A Westman

Born in northern Sweden, I grew up with warm summers and snowy winters. I've always loved the great outdoors, and try to spend as much ...

There are some gold panning tools that you must have to be a successful prospector, and there are some supplies that will make your gold panning efforts so much easier, more fun, and more profitable. Here's a list of basic supplies that will get you started.

Gold Pan The gold pan is the most important tool in your search for gold. This is what the 49'ers used in the 1800's to recover millions of dollars worth of gold in the wild west. There's lots of different models and sizes on the market, but the hands who are holding the pan are more important than the pan itself.

Classifier By classifying your dirt before you drop it into your pan you don't have to sort out the rocks by hand. This will save a lot of time and you will be able to recover more gold in a shorter amount of time.

Snuffer Bottle Prospectors use this bottle to suck up the gold from their pan and then they either transfer it to a vial or let it stay in the bottle until they get home. A good snuffer bottle is made of sturdy plastic and is constructed so that the gold can get in but not get out.

Bucket Depending on the location of your gold-bearing pay-dirt, you might have to move it to a nearby water source for panning. That's where a good, sturdy bucket comes in handy. It's also great for storing and carrying your other gold panning tools when you're not panning.

Shovel Don't leave home without a sturdy shovel. Using your gold pan as a shovel is not an option, so invest in a quality shovel. A lot of people prefer mini shovels for their weight and mobility, but if you're going to run a serious operation a bigger shovel will come in handy.

Vial This is for storing your gold flakes. They're made up of either glass or plastic and comes in a variety of sizes. You fill it up with water and then just drop the gold in there. A gold filled vial is a perfect gift for children, I promise that will spark an interest in them.

These 6 essentials is really all you need to get a good start. When you get more experience and become more serious with your gold recovery efforts you might want to invest in a sluice box or a dredge, but that's a whole other chapter. The first item you should get your hands on is of course a pan. Here's a guide for you who are looking to buy a gold pan

I'm Daniel Westman and I write about gold panning and prospecting over at
Panning For Gold at $1,200 Per Ounce
By Jeffrey White
Ten years ago gold was selling for $250 per ounce. At such low prices, gold panning was considered a fun hobby that could possibly pay for your equipment and weekend excursions, but not a realistic source of income. Today, prices are over $1,200 per ounce, almost five times their previous levels and making gold panning a much more realistic source of income.

Gold panning is an excellent family activity that provides exercise, family bonding, an appreciation for nature and put money in your pocket. But if you have no experience with gold panning it can be very discouraging without the proper guidance. You need to have the right equipment, know how to use it, know where to use it and know what to look for.

Obviously, the first thing you'll need is a gold pan. For adults I recommend a 14" plastic pan with ridges to collect the gold as it settles. Children do better with the smaller 10.5" pan. You'll also need a couple of snuffer sucker bottles to suck up small pieces of gold from your pan and shatter proof vials to store your gold.

Once you have the proper equipment you need to find a place to pan. Gold has been found in nearly every stream, creek and river in the United States but, not all contain enough gold to justify panning. To find the best places to pan you can research online, check with medal detector and panning dealers in your area, look for gold prospecting maps at your local library or talk to "old timers" in the area.

Once you've located possible panning areas you will need to check state and local laws to ensure that panning is legal in that area. Many places will allow panning as long as you are not digging or dredging. If the stream is on private property get permission from the owner.

Now you're ready to pan! Locate an area of the stream where it changes velocity, such as a bend or where the river widens. Use the pan to scoop up enough sand so that it's about 75% full. Pick out any large rocks. Place the rim of the pan just below the surface of the water and begin to swirl the pan in a circular motion so that the light material will wash off the top. This will allow the heavier material, including the gold, the settle to the bottom. Do this until there is only a small amount of sand and very small rocks remaining in the bottom.

The remaining sand should be mostly black. If you found any gold it will be in the grooves of the pan. Tilt the pan forward and gently shake it back and forth so that water moves the sand around. Gold dust and small nuggets will be obvious. Use the sucker bottles the suck up any pieces of gold that are in the bottom.

The key to successful gold panning is having the proper equipment, knowing how to use it, and learning how to recognize likely settling areas for placer gold and nuggets along the streams. Good luck with your prospecting.

Jeff White has written hundreds of Internet Articles over the past 15 years for sites such as Water Treatment Operator Jobs.

Article Source:


Build your wealth by trading gold for silver, and then silver back to gold, using the gold/Silver Ratio! And that's just a fraction of what you'll find out in

"Why Trade My Labor For and Invest in Gold Coins."

Learn the astonishing secrets of WHY our Ancestors used GOLD AND SILVER COINS in all their business ventures in order to build their WEALTH and the greatest nation in the world!

(What you discover here could be the most important news you read all year.)"

Click Here!