Gold panning procedures
Here are seven simple steps to follow while gold panning. Keep in mind that you’ll need to adjust these procedures based on the type of gold pan you have and the type of placer gold that you find while prospecting and mining. Other reasons to adjust include, skill levels, recent floods and topography, All these will influence your gold panning steps. A gold pan is the most fundamental of gold prospecting tools. In fact the gold pan is a very, very old technology.
Gold panning still provides you the simplest, cheapest and most reliable means to concentrate gold for extraction or recovery. And gold panning is fun!
When a gold pan is used with the proper gold panning technique it is fairly easy to do and should not need that much effort to reduce each pan to gold concentrates and black sands as a result. So here is a simple guide on how to pan for gold…
Want to see these seven gold panning steps in action?
Watch this Gold panning video training…
Seven steps to gold panning success:
- Fill the gold pan 3/4 full with gold pay-dirt from your placer sample location . Gently submerge the pan slightly & soak the contents while holding pan horizontally. Stir the wet material with your fingers and remove any large rocks, sticks or roots. Always check these gold panning tailings materials, perform a brief check for gold. Usually look for gold’s bright yellow glowing color and metallic luster, not sparkles. Also separate this gold panning waste material into neat tailings pile that you go through later, perhaps using a metal detector to look out for gold bearing rocks that you may have overlooked.
- For effective gold recovery, be sure you can easily recover material from this mining tailings pile later, or put it into another clean safety pan or container when you initially practice. This container consists of another gold pan or you can use a lid from a tub. Set theses such that you can safely pan into them without loss. As you get good at panning or sampling for gold you’ll need the safety pan less because you be confident of the gold that you’ll recover. Even then there are times a pro will use a safety pan because of the knowledge that there will be significant remaining gold that was missed in the previous panning cycle. Usually this is only when there’s a lot of fine gold present.
- Now it’s time to break up any clay or hard packed pay-dirt material in the pan. Stir the water into the material and submerge your pan gently and carefully to wash any twigs, roots, rocks or mossy material that may be in your pan with the dirt you picked up . It’s a good idea to rinse any coarse porous rocks free of any clay material stuck to their surface. Gold will easily stick to clay and can be washed downstream with the lighter rocks and gravel with clay stuck to them. If you don’t break apart or wash gold out of the pores and holes in the rock before the rock passes out of your pan, you can lose gold.
- Shake the gold pan vigorously in a slight circle mixing it up with your hand at the same time. You are going to liquify the sand, mud, rocks & gold. Be careful not to slosh over the sides before the gold gets settled to the bottom. This will wash and agitate the dirt and clay and rock material so that the heavy gold will sink to the bottom of your pan and the lighter, rocks, sticks and sandy-muddy material will float to the top. This gold panning step is known as stratification or layering. It creates horizontal layers of material of the various densities the materials in your pan. The layers will have lighter rock, sand & gravel on top and heavy black sands & gold sink to the bottom. Now start to tilt the pan downward while holding just under the surface & continue the shaking to keep material in suspension. Stop shaking just when material starts to slide forward. The gold will be at the lowest point in the pan right now.
- This next step is where we shave the stratified pan layers out of the pan from light to heavy. This is done by tipping the pan to one edge just under the surface of the water (The edge with coarse riffles facing away from you.) Then while holding the pan at this ~45 degree angle you begin by pulling the pan toward you. As you stop pulling you will see a small wave pile up at the back of the pan and reflect across the sand & gravel. As the wave of water sweeps across, it will shave or sweep off a bit of layered material. Continue this action until you have removed the top layers. Do not shake and stir the layered material up at this point. If the gold panning material starts to get stirred up, then tilt the pan back flat and re-stratify to get any disturbed gold layers back to the bottom corner of the pan. The goal is to get down to gold concentrates and black sands. Then perform the next step.
- In this step we swirl the gold concentrates and black sands to create a comet tail of gold colors following the black sands in your pan that will allow us to use our gold snuffer bottle to quickly suck up the concentrated gold particles and coarse gold. Of course, hand pick the nuggets and pickers out and place them in your sample vial.
- Keep all gold bearing black sands in a clean plastic jar for further fine gold concentration later after your gold panning is finished for the day…Next gold panning step is to start the procedures again at step 1 with a new pan full of your gold bearing material.
For more on gold panning and a detailed video demonstration…
See this detailed gold panning demonstration video offer – Gold panning video here
Another small article on gold panning can be found here. The video in the link above covers a lot more about these seven steps to use a gold pan…