Searching For Gold!

sluicing

Not surprisingly lots of people have recently discovered they’ve acquired an interest in gold. Gold’s value has risen substantially during the last ten years and the popularity of TV shows on gold prospecting and mining has intrigued many with the notion that perhaps they too could go out and find gold. Also true…many of these people know little to nothing about how to prospect and mine for gold. With gold mining, knowledge is your most important tool. Having good sources for valid information and gaining some basic knowledge on the sciences and techniques of prospecting will help you learn where gold can be found AND how you can recover it. We, at Keene Engineering, can help with all of these.

We’ve often heard the two most common inquiries ‘beginners’ ask after realizing they’ve found an interest in gold prospecting. These questions are…“What equipment do I need?”, and…“Where do I go to find gold?” The first question is about the basic tools needed for prospecting. These include a gold pan and a couple of hand tools but many quickly learn there are more complex and expensive tools available. We’d encourage all to do some research on basic gold prospecting and to keep their initial involvement simple. Stick with the ‘basics’…that is the tools anyone new to gold seeking must have for prospecting for gold. If you later find that prospecting is not what you want to pursue you’ve not invested a lot of money.

The Tools You Need to Find Gold

As for your prospecting ‘tool kit’ Keene created this list of the “must have” tools that all prospectors require for their initial gold mining adventures. You can carry these fundamental items in the back of your vehicle when you are just getting started. Some of these tools are likely sitting out in your garage. Here’s our basic gold prospecting ‘tool kit’ list.

  • Utility Shovel (Garden Spade)
  • Garden Hand Trowel
  • Plastic Keene SP14 Gold pan
  • Keene Plastic Classifying Screen
  • 5 Gallon Bucket
  • Sucker (snuffer) bottle and small plastic container bottle

Keene offers all of these tools…and a lot more. You can also find that a good reference book with instructions on gold panning or other mining information will be quite useful. Local mining equipment stores stock these or you can order them online. After mastering these tools (and hopefully finding some gold) you might consider adding a small sluice box. Using a sluice box more than quadruples the amount of material you’re able to process. Purchasing good sluice box like Keene’s Model A51 is not costly when you consider the costs of other types of recreational gear. Check the internet for the location of your nearest mining store.

Where Can I Go To Find Gold?

This second question…“Where do I go?”…is more difficult because there are so many answers depending on where you live…and how far are you willing to travel. We suggest doing a little research on gold locations nearest your community. A good place to begin your adventures is always a location where gold has previously been discovered. You can learn where gold has been found on the internet but also ask your local mining supply store representative or call Keene for information. You might also connect with a member of a local gold prospecting club. Becoming involved with a local (or national) mining association offers a lot for anyone new to prospecting and it will be a great source for information and advice.

Besides knowledge and education many mining clubs offer member training sessions on prospecting and mining fundamentals and some provide access to mineral mining claims, all for the price of an annual membership, usually around $35-$50. Attend a club meeting and ask a member for help. There are also many public areas where gold panning in a forest stream will bring you enjoyment AND possibly some gold.

After you get more involved you can decide how much time and effort you are willing to invest in your gold prospecting endeavors. As we’ve said, we always tell people ‘start small’ and find someone with similar interests. This can be a great hobby to share with friends and family. Keene offers an entire line of small and large mining gear, from motorized power sluices to floating gold dredges, but first go small and decide on your level of interest, that’s so it will not just hang on their garage wall for the next dozen years.

Another fact is that gold is found in streams, rivers and gravel bars and many a few are just a short drive from home. While you won’t likely strike it rich mining on these places but they are a good place to practice your gold panning skills. Many of the local streams and rivers in this state have a history of producing gold. This is where internet research can provide you with lots of valuable information. Your local mining equipment dealer is always a good source for answers to your gold prospecting and mining questions.

We want to answer one more question…one we’ve heard many times over. It’s…“What is the difference between gold prospecting and gold mining?” This answer came from an old-time miner who told me: “Gold prospecting is ‘searching’ for gold…gold mining is ‘getting’ the gold.” When you think about it this is likely as good an answer as we’ve heard.

Above All…Have Fun and Be Safe

We at Keene encourage all, whether beginner or avid and experienced gold seekers, to discover the enjoyment in your search for gold but always in a safe and responsible manner. Because gold is found in remote forest wilderness regions and mountainous surroundings always be well prepared for any and all outdoor challenges and emergencies. Bring along a small survival and first aid kit and always carry ample food and water. Tell someone where you are going AND when you plan to return. Always pack out what you bring in and leave the wilderness you visit just how you found it. This is just good common sense.

Who knows…if you do become lucky and discover some gold, well…that’s just the bonus to an interesting and entertaining outdoor adventure. Now go out there, have some fun, good luck, stay safe…find some gold.

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