Prospecting for gold

Are there any prospectors in the group? I have always been interested in prospecting and would like to do some. How would I go about getting some others interested in outfitting a prospect to , say Mexico or Arizona or some place that might have gold. Would any board members like to go prospecting?

IANAP, but I can tell you that you will not make any money at it using your method. Gold mining is nearly a 24/7 operation to be profitable. Perhaps you should hire a geologist or mining engineer for your team.


I use to pan for gold for fun. Got me out of the house. Kinda nice. I guess like fishing. I don’t fish.

I live in a VERY gold rich area. Placer Valley. Placer is a type of mining operation. Giants, or large water guns would wash the canyon walls and they would run the ‘waste’ through sluice boxes.

I got a little. I have it in a test tube. And if you look real close, it is gold.

I’d like to pan some more, just don’t have the time.

Gold prospecting is a good hobby I guess but certainly no a money-maker when done small scale.

A mine near here in Randsburg was operating on a lode that originally assayed at 0.03 oz. (troy) of gold per ton (avoirdupois) of ore. And with gold then at $350 an oz. they were able to clear enough to make it financially worthwhile. Their gross on a ton of ore was $10.50 and it takes a big initial investment in machinery to be able to move a ton of rocks and make a profit at that rate.

In Colorado, they made a couple of the old dead gold mining towns, Blackhawk and Central City, casinos with legalized gambling.

The gambing is doing much better than the gold ever did any they are building large casinos in a narrow canyon. That means they are moving tons of dirt, and companies bid on the dirt removal service, so they can process it for gold. A remember they hit a pretty good vein a couple years ago. But I doubt it would be profitable as a stand-alone venture anymore.

I had a great uncle who did this for a living in Northern Saskatchewan. In his ‘retirement’ years he maintained a claim and had to work it (assay minerals) for a minimum period of time per year to keep his claim active. I think he had to apply to the government to stake the claim and pay some sort of fee for the privilege. He would charter a bush plane to take him in, camp for a couple of weeks and look for promising locations. He would collect a few samples (rocks) and send them to a lab for assaying. Some of the rocks he would cook in a campfire for a few hours and then pulverize them using an iron mortar and pestle. He would then pan the resulting dust for gold (as an initial assay at camp).

That was the old way of doing things. With arial photography and satellite imaging technology, geologists are able to identify possible veins and locations for ore than in the past. It takes out a lot of the guesswork and ‘art’ of prospecting.

If you are looking to try panning for gold, look for locations where gold was mined back in the 1800s and try panning the river silt somewhere downstream. The original operations were not as efficient at extracting every last speck as current processing, so some may have washed out to the river. (I haven’t looked on the web at all, but I would expect there would be some sort of suggestions, directions, or ‘tours’ for this type of activity.)

The tailings of old mines, and maybe even new ones, are also a place although the owners will object. At the Randsburg mine I spoke of, and all such operations, every truckload is assayed. Those that are below an economic gold content go to the tailings pile. Those that are above that content are dumped in the leach pit to recover the gold. The amount of dirt moved in such operations is enormous. The Randsburg mine was a small one and yet its diggings and piling ups altered the skyline of the mountains in the vicinity.

Another way to prospect is to pan the streams at the bottoms of canyons. If you find a good yield at some canyon then start working your way up to locate the source.

General Questions is designed for specific answers which have factual answers.

I moved this one to MPSIMS where I think you’ll hit pay dirt.

samclem GQ moderator