Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Gold Pan as a Production Tool

The main thing to remember about the use of a gold pan is that while it is effective as a gold
catching device, it can only process a limited amount of streambed material. For this reason
the gold pan is normally not used as a production tool in professional use, other than in the most remote locations where it would be very difficult to haul large pieces of equipment, and where there is only a limited amount of material present which is paying well enough to make the panning worthwhile.

The gold pan is most commonly used to locate richer paying ground (sampling,) so that larger production equipment can be brought in to that spot in order to work the ground at greater profit.

There are stories in the old mining records about the ground being so rich during the 1849 gold rush that as much as 96 ounces of gold were recovered from a single pan. That is $43,200 at today's rate of exchange, and must have been some very rich ground indeed!

Stories like that are rare and ground like that is not run across very often. However, it's not too uncommon to hear of prospectors today who are able to consistently produce better than an ounce per week with a gold pan in the high country, and have the gold to show for it. Some do better, but these guys have been at it for awhile and have located hot spots. I personally know of two guys who support themselves with a gold pan, and one of them lives pretty well. As mentioned earlier, the gold pan gives you unlimited accessibility, and these guys concentrate
on the pockets in the exposed bedrock along the edges of the creek beds in their areas, picking up a few pieces here, a few there, and a little pocket once in awhile. It adds up, and to them it's better than punching a time clock.

There is still plenty of rich ground to be found in gold country if you are willing to do the work involved in finding it.

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