How To Mine Gold

Gold Mining Process And Techniques For Mining Gold

Modern gold mining processes are largely the same techniques used in gold mining for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. The modern processes for mining gold use larger equipment and more refined techniques, but essentially it still the same principles as has always been used.

Gold Prospecting

For many modern day gold prospectors little has changed from the methods that their ancestors may have used in the great gold rushes of the twentieth century.  It is possible to take a pan and a shovel and hike into remote areas exploring for undiscovered sources of the yellow metal just as it was a hundred years ago. The gold pans are lighter and it is possible to keep in contact with the outside world via cell phones and to have GPS maps so you know where you are, but you get some of the same sense of adventure.

Learn more about Gold Prospecting and how to use modern equipment to increase your chances of striking it rich.

Panning For Gold

Gold panning is one of the gold mining processes that has changed little. There are many fancy shaped gold pans that are claimed to improve the speed and gold recovery rates, but at the end of the day it is still about shoveling some (hopefully) gold rich raw material into a pan and washing out everything that is not gold.

The more experienced a person is in using a gold pan the quicker and more efficient they are at this process of gold mining, however, almost anyone can use a pan to find some gold with very little training.

See Gold Panning in action.

Alluvial Gold Mining

Alluvial gold mining, or river gold mining, is one of the most common and most accessible forms of gold mining in New Zealand. Hydraulic Mining at French Corral, California Gold Rush, c.1850The government has set aside 16 areas for the general public to practice their gold mining skills without any need for licensing.  Use your gold panning skills to discover the adventure that is alluvial gold mining.

On a larger scale alluvial gold mining takes on a number of forms. Sluice boxes are a step up from panning, and these can range in size from the backpacker’s version to much larger versions that essentially channeled whole water courses through a sluice while the river banks were washed down and through the sluice much like the picture depicts.

Learn more about Alluvial Gold Mining and the tools used today.

Gold Dredging

Other forms of alluvial gold mining are dredges. And again, these can be small enough to be carried by backpack or they can be great floating barges that use everything from large conveyer buckets to excavators to feed them.

If you want to increase your gold yields then gold dredging is one of the most popular techniques to make the transition into full-time, or serious gold mining.  Get more tips on the process of choosing the right Gold Dredge for you.

 Black Sand Gold Mining

Black sand gold mining in New Zealand is an extension of alluvial gold mining as the gold and black sands are usually found together in the rivers.  As both are washed down the river they form areas of high concentration where the river meets the sea.

While these black sands are often rich in gold concentrates they are also some of the most difficult areas to mine for gold because separating the fine gold from the dense black sand is often a slow and tedious task.  Modern gold mining techniques have made this more viable and greater levels of gold recovery are possible. Remember, a lot of fine flakes can be melted together to make a big nugget so don’t over-look the obvious gold in search of the elusive naturally occurring nuggets.

Learn what tools are available today that make Black Sand Gold Mining a much more viable option.

 Gold Ore Mining

Gold ore mining is quite different to the previous mentioned methods.  It is the other main source of gold in New Zealand and has produced a lot of our gold.  Gold is often found in quartz reefs in the ground. So gold ore mining often leads a miner underground, or alternative requires large holes dug to access the gold from the surface.  The reefs or veins of gold bearing mineral are associated with fault lines and volcanic activities, where mineral rich liquids are forced up from the bowls of the earth.  Which all sounds very romantic but results in on of the most painstaking and difficult methods of gold mining.

The quartz must be crushed and big stamping plants were set up to accomplish this great task, the first of which were powered by steam or water. Today electricity and oil powered hydraulics are used. Once the mineral is crushed to a powder the gold is then extracted. This has often meant using chemicals such as cyanide and mercury to absorb the gold before it is later separated off.

Learn more about how to Mine Gold Ore.

Gold Refinery

Gold refinery is often a dangerous task, as described above, it can involve using toxic chemicals such as mercury, cyanide, and acid. For the alluvial gold prospector this is not generally an issue, but for the black sand or gold ore mining this is more likely to be an occupational hazard.

Learn the modern gold mining techniques that make Gold Refinery a much safer prospect and give a higher rate of gold recovery.