Gold is one of the most-traded and most-sought-after precious metals. Because of its physical properties, gold has many significant uses. Gold is used in coins and metal currency because it is malleable. As a matter of fact, its malleability is so high that it can be pounded into very thin sheets (as thin as several millionths of an inch), making them very useful as corrosion-resistant gilding for irregular surfaces. Gold is an extremely popular metal in jewelry not just because of its malleability but also because of its luster. Gold is even used in electronic products and circuits because it is a good conductor of electricity. Because it is resistant to rust and is not allergy-causing, gold can even find its way into your teeth – as dental filling. This article discusses the process of obtaining gold.
If you love the outdoors and frequently go backpacking, camping, hiking, etc., you can pan for gold in areas where gold was reported to be found before. You can perform gold prospecting and gold panning in sites that are open to the public. Most of these sites are recreational gold mining sites that are open to the public. Check your area first about the kind of prospecting instruments that are allowed. Streams, rivers, and creeks are good locations to pan for gold, especially in parts where the flow of water is slowed down by boulders, huge rocks, or sandbars.
Gold panning is not an expensive activity. All you need are a shovel, a magnifying lens, tweezers, a container for your find, and the most important instrument – a gold pan. Any wide and shallow dish may be used as a gold pan. You can use your old dish pan, if you have one. Or, you can buy a gold pan for less than $10 from hardware stores, rock stores, or hobby stores.
Gold panning is a manual process. Fill your pan with sand and gravel mixture that you believe to contain gold. You can use your shovel to dig for dirt from different depths. Immerse the pan in water and shake it. The shaking motion will sort the gold from the other material. Being denser than sand and gravel, gold will quickly settle to the bottom of your pan. All the shaking will also make the water in the pan cloudy. Slightly tip the pan over to remove some of the cloudy water along with some of the dirt. Bring the pan back up to level position and shake it again. Repeat the shaking and washing out until only the black sands and gold are left. If you tap the pan’s edge while swirling the water across the sand and gold mixture in your pan, you will segregate the gold from the sand. Use your tweezers to pick the gold particles (yes, they can be tiny) and place them inside a plastic container.
There are other “hard-core” methods that you can use to obtain gold. You can use metal detectors, sluice boxes, or trommels. You can also mine for gold in hard rocks. Another method is to mine for gold from other mine sites in which gold is not the primary product. Many copper mines, as well as sand-and-gravel pits, recover gold from their washing processes.
Gold is expensive in the market. An ounce of gold can make you earn, at the very least, two thousand dollars ($2,000) if you sell the nugget in a collectors’ market. So, next time you go backpacking, bring your gold pans with you. That glitter you see at the bottom of the pan may just be gold.