Gold prospecting is an exciting and potentially lucrative activity that is enjoyed by many around the world. Whether you’re a seasoned prospector or a beginner looking to get started, this guide will provide you with the knowledge and tools you need to increase your chances of finding that elusive yellow metal.
Understanding Gold Prospecting
Gold prospecting involves searching for gold deposits in various types of geological formations. The old saying, “Gold is where you find it,” holds a lot of truth. However, you can’t find gold if there is no gold in the area you’re exploring. Therefore, the key to successful gold prospecting is placing yourself in an area where gold has been found before1.
Contrary to popular belief, the old-timers didn’t get all the gold. It’s estimated that only about 5% of the available gold has been found, leaving 95% for us to discover with today’s advanced gold detectors1.
Choosing a Prospecting Area
There are two main ways to choose a prospecting area. The first is to find someone who has already prospected the area and learn from them. This approach is particularly beneficial for beginners, as it allows you to gain valuable hunting techniques1.
The second method involves researching the area you’re interested in. This can be done by reading “How To” and “Where To Go” books, magazine articles, and maps. Topographic maps can be particularly helpful, as they often show the location of mines and placer diggings1.
The Right Equipment for Gold Prospecting
When it comes to equipment, gold prospecting requires a specific set of tools. A metal detector is just one of many tools used in the search for gold. Other essential equipment includes a good gold pan, a set of tweezers, a “snuffer” bottle, storage vials, picks, and scrapers2.
Metal Detecting Tip: I’ve spent the time doing the investigation already. Check out this article 👉 The Best VLF Metal Detectors for Finding Gold
Metal Detectors for Gold Prospecting
While you can search for gold with any metal detector, you’ll have better success with a machine dedicated to gold prospecting2. These specialized detectors are designed to handle the unique challenges of finding gold, such as dealing with highly mineralized soils and distinguishing gold from other minerals3.
High-frequency VLF (Very Low Frequency) machines are a popular choice for gold prospecting. These detectors are extremely sensitive to small gold nuggets. However, they don’t penetrate the ground very well, meaning the gold you’re after will have to be close to the surface3.
Different coils are available for different jobs. New detectors often come in different package configurations that allow you to choose the coil that best suits your needs1. A small elliptical coil on a high kHz machine can detect pieces of gold the size of fly poop1.
Other Gold Detecting Accessories
In addition to a metal detector, you’ll need some other tools to help you sort through the soil and find gold. These include pans, classifiers, screens, a pick, a rock hammer, a shovel, buckets, a plastic scoop, and a magnet2.
Advanced Equipment for Gold Prospecting
For those who are serious about gold prospecting, there are more advanced tools available. These include sluices, hand-powered pumps, rocker boxes, dry washers, highbankers, gold concentrators, and dredges2. These tools can process more sand and soil, increasing your chances of finding gold2.
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Where to Look for Gold
When it comes to metal detecting for gold, there are some specific things that need to come together to put a nugget under your coil. The gold deposits you’re after need to be big enough to detect and shallow enough to detect1.
One phrase that you’ll often hear prospectors say is to “look where it’s been found before.” Government records provide information on gold mines, including the amount mined, type of deposit, purity, and general size and character of the gold1.
The Biggest Nugget Found Metal Detecting
The world of gold prospecting has seen some truly impressive finds over the years. One of the most notable discoveries was made by an Australian man using his metal detector in Victoria’s “Golden Triangle,” a region famous for its gold rush in the 1850s1.
The man, who wished to remain anonymous, was scanning the area when his Minelab Equinox 800 metal detector started to beep. He unearthed a 4.6 kg rock, which contained an astonishing 2.6 kg of gold1. The nugget was valued at about 240,000 Australian dollars, or about $160,0001.
This discovery is a testament to the potential of gold prospecting and the capabilities of modern metal detectors. However, it’s worth noting that finds of this magnitude are incredibly rare. Most gold nuggets found by prospectors are much smaller, often no larger than a pinhead2.
Despite the rarity of such large finds, they serve as a reminder of the exciting possibilities that gold prospecting offers. Whether you’re searching for small flakes or hoping to stumble upon a large nugget, the thrill of the hunt is what keeps many prospectors coming back for more.
On Last Swing Looking For Gold
Finding gold requires patience, effort, and the right equipment. However, the thrill of discovering that beautiful yellow metal makes it all worthwhile. Remember, the secret to finding gold is to go where gold has been known to be found and spend time walking and swinging your detector1. With the right approach and a bit of luck, you could find your share of the remaining 95% of gold that’s still out there waiting to be discovered.
David Humphries, Writer and Creator of METAL DETECTING TIPS. After borrowing my son’s detector and finding $.25. I felt like a treasure hunter. FREE MONEY! I was seriously bitten by the metal detecting bug.