A lookback at GPAA show in California on gold panning with a new type of gold pan.

Panning for gold is no doubt the most popular way for finding fine gold. A well-designed gold pan, whether the currently popular plastic ones, or the original metal ones is a stable part of every gold prospectors equipment. The proper gold panning technique is not hard to master and when properly done, can extract a very high percentage of the fine gold.

Panning Gold

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Gold panning, or simply panning, is a form of placer mining and traditional mining that extracts gold from a placer deposit using a pan. The process is one of the simplest ways to extract gold, and is popular with geology enthusiasts especially because of its low cost and relative simplicity.

The first recorded instances of placer mining are from ancient Rome, where gold and other precious metals were extracted from streams and mountainsides using sluices and panning.However, the productivity rate is comparatively smaller compared to other methods such as the rocker box or large extractors, such as those used at the Super Pit gold mine, in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, which has led to panning being largely replaced in the commercial market.

Gold panning is a simple process. Once a suitable placer deposit is located, some alluvial deposits are scooped into a pan, where they are then gently agitated in water and the gold sinks to the bottom of the pan. Materials with a low specific gravity are allowed to spill out of the pan, whereas materials with a higher specific gravity sink to the bottom of the sediment during agitation and remain within the pan for examination and collection by the prospector. These dense materials usually consist primarily of a black, magnetite sand with whatever stones or metal dust that may be found in the deposit that is used for source material.

While an effective method with certain kinds of deposits, and essential for prospecting, even skilled panners can work but a limited amount of material, significantly less than the other methods which have replaced it in larger operation. Pans remain in use in places where there is limited capital or infrastructure, as well as in recreational gold mining.

In many situations, gold panning usually turns up only minor gold dust that is usually collected as a souvenir in small clear tubes by hobbyists. Nuggets and considerable amounts of dust are occasionally found, but panning mining is not generally lucrative. Panning for gold can be used to locate the parent gold veins which are the source of most placer deposits.


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