Fine Gold Panning Without Using Mercury
March 2012 by Jim HalloranThe technique I will describe is a much safer alternative and it works. It’s a fine-gold panning technique that eliminates the need for mercury amalgamation of most placer samples.
This article is about our recent gold prospecting adventure, which has yielded over 20 ounces of specimen gold—with more to come.
The gold in this area can get quite large. Most of the pieces are about half a pennyweight on average.
The first location we worked was a small, dry ravine cutting through many mineralized zones in an area where some hard rock mining had taken place in the past.
I furiously started pulling material out of the side wall and putting it in my scoop. It didn't take long to discover that the source of the scream was from a one-ounce chunk...
There were nice sections of vein material at the end of several drifts, like they just stopped work one day and walked away.
Lots of prospectors are trying out nugget detecting for the first time and finding out that it isn’t all that easy. In fact, in my opinion, metal detecting for nuggets is perhaps the most difficult form of prospecting that one can take on.
The metal is expensive, not because it is rare but because of the expense to produce and work it. The minerals mined for titanium are all oxides, unlike many base metals that are mostly mined as sulfide minerals.
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