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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Gold Prospecting

It is becoming harder and harder to buy gold with the gold supply shortage and bigger demand for gold bullion. The wait period can be several months now for a person wanting to buy gold bullion.

Well, an alternative to buying gold bullion is gold prospecting. There is still lots of gold in "them thar hills" and it is not really hard to find with the right knowledge and equipment and a bit of determination. Besides which, imagine the excitement you will feel when you find that beautiful golden nugget worth thousands of dollars after panning in a stream in the fresh open air.

Gold prospecting is the action of searching potential gold deposits or looking for new gold deposits. There are various methods of prospecting for gold and these are not just for the commercial companies. Many a good living is being made, and some fine gold nuggets have been found by what is known as recreational gold prospecting.

How to Prospect for Gold
First one needs to understand a little about how to prospect for gold. For many years panning for gold in streams has been the traditional method of gold prospecting. There are many places around the world where this can and is still done with remarkable results. This is the way to find gold nuggets. Gold nuggets are only found on the surface and usually in streams although sometimes can be found in rock or earth. This sort of gold prospecting is uneconomical to do for large mining companies so there is still a lot of gold available for the prospector with his trusty gold pan or even a metal detector designed to scan the ground for gold. Recreational gold prospecting can be a lot of fun too for the whole family.

The basic gold prospecting techniques include panning, metal detectors and mining.

Gold Panning

Using gold prospecting pans is the simplest and cheapest. One finds an area where gold is known to be found and prospects for "placer gold". "Placer gold" is gold found in deposits of sand or gravel in the beds of streams. The gold pan used is a wide shallow dish, usually black or a dark color to show up any gold found, and the technique is to scope an amount of sediment from the river or stream bead and swirl that around gently in the pan with water, gradually filtering out the sand and gravel from any gold found. It works on a the gravity principle as gold will be heavier than the sand or gravel. Some expertise is needed but, with practice, a person can become quite adept at filtering out the gold from the sand.

Gold Metal Detector
Another gold prospecting technique is to use a metal detector. This is a machine that uses an electromagnetic field generated by the metal detector that is swept over and just under the surface of the ground. When the field meets gold (or any other metal it can be set for) the metal alters the electromagnetic field and this alteration is shown to the user so he or she knows that there is gold there. There are some very basic metal detectors that will basically detect metal and one would have to dig up everything found, from old rusty nails to bright coins or other metal, to very sophisticated models that can be adjusted to pick out gold or another precious metal only even if quite deep down under the surface.

Gold Mining
Mining is the other gold prospecting technique. This is for the more serious minded as it involves a lot of expense and equipment. It can also require the acquisition of mining rights and much more. For most people panning for gold and using metal detectors are the way to go. Especially for gold nugget prospecting!

Gold Prospecting Equipment
The gold prospecting tools needed for a day out depend on the type of gold prospecting you want to do.

Basic gold prospecting tools and equipment should include"
  • A gold prospecting pan

  • Digging implements such as a spade, and smaller ones

  • Good reliable compass so you don’t get lost

  • A easy to read and understand map of the area

  • A means of contact with the outside world, such as a cell phone or other communications device

  • Gold or metal detector

  • A book about gold prospecting

  • Good solid clothing and boots
  • For the more sophisticated there are also sluices, filters, and chemicals to check for the purity of gold plus many more additional tools and equipment.

    A quick search on google or msn will get you a heap of suppliers willing to supply you with every imaginable gold prospecting tool you could ever need.

    If one is going to camp out for a night or two, then camping equipment and food etc, is a must. Also if one is going to go gold prospecting by oneself and out into the bush or country, it is advisable to inform someone of where you are going and how long you expect to be away.

    Where to Prospect for Gold
    Of course if we knew where all the gold was, it would have all been removed by now. In fact there are still many pockets of gold in most if not all of the major continents and quite possibly not far from you still available and waiting to be found. It has been estimated that only 5 percent of all the gold in the world has been found so there is still plenty more to find!

    A good idea is to join a local gold prospecting club and perhaps, initially, join a gold prospecting tour. You can pick up much valuable information as well as go out with others and learn all the tricks of gold prospecting. One can pick up a lot of experiential information from others who enjoy the fun of gold prospecting. Locating your nearest club, joining in the gold prospecting tours, pouring over gold prospecting maps, all have an air of excitement hard to resist.

    There are also a heap of gold prospecting books available from many online and local bookstores from the very simple to the extremely complex.

    It should be noted that many areas have laws relating to gold prospecting. These are usually state gold prospecting laws and sometimes a licence is required before someone can go gold prospecting. It is advisable to check with the local authorities or gold prospecting clubs, who will have this sort of information, before venturing forth.

    Above all, when going out gold prospecting, it is important to have fun and, who knows, you might be the one to find that big golden nugget worth thousands of dollars.

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