Finding gold isn’t all that hard. In fact, even newcomers can expect to find a show of color in their gold pans providing they are in an area that has a proven, historical track record of producing placer gold.
What IS DIFFICULT is finding and recovering gold in greater quantity or coarseness such as nuggets, clinkers, and pickers.
Put a newcomer on proven gold ground in a good gold area and its almost guaranteed that they will turn up a fleck of gold somewhere. It’s not finding gold that’s the problem for our small-scale miners, it’s getting lots of it. Nuggets and pickers are great and exciting to find, but several ounces of fine gold sure beats a half-ounce nugget. In an ideal mining world, we’d all find lots of coarse, chunky gold with nuggets scattered throughout, but today, that is rarely going to happen.
Finding color right away isn’t really a huge deal. Finding grams or ounces of gold in a short period of time IS A BIG DEAL.
In order to maximize your gold recovery, learn every possible detail about a prospective gold location BEFORE you prospect or work it. By loading your gear in the truck and heading for the nearest gold location you can start panning away and you’re probably going to find a few specks of color or a nice flake or two. No research or study needed.
If you’re truly committed to getting more than just a few flecks or specks of color, you need to do your research. This is especially true if you are prospecting in British Columbia. With our present MTO on-line claiming system, many newcomers are grabbing anything they can in order to “have a claim” they can call their own. There are a lot of good claims to be had, but there are also a lot of BAD ONES. Why did the claim lapse? Usually, it’s either there is very little gold or it was never prospected properly.
Check for the area’s geological history and lay-out, what types or amounts of gold were recovered, where the gold came from, and how much gold was produced in the area. Also, what techniques, methods, and equipment, if any, were used and how much potential still remains.
Doing things wrong combined with having fun equals less gold. Doing things right and having fun equals more gold.