Gold can be found in nature in a few different forms. Small nuggets of pure metal are sometimes found by themselves, but typically they are part of veins or placer deposits consisting of gravel and other materials. Lode or hard rock deposits can also contain gold, which is often mixed with other minerals. Metal detectors can uncover gold in any of these forms; however, a metal detector designed specifically for gold prospecting is ideal because it can decipher metal vs. mineral composition.
An example of gold that can be found with a metal detector. Located recently by a MetalDetector.com customer in New England.
Because of advancements in metal detection technology, amateur gold prospectors now have a better chance of finding gold. If you’ve decided you’re ready to try out prospecting for yourself, the first step is choosing a metal detector well-suited for the task. Articles such as “What’s the Best Gold Prospecting Metal Detector?” will quickly direct you to the right metal detector. Next, you will need to decide where your first search sites will be. Are there riverbeds, streams or waterways nearby that are known for placer deposits? Another option seasoned prospectors suggest to beginners is: work abandoned mines and mine dumps where others have successfully extracted gold from nature. Early day miners were known to miss a rich ore vein by mere inches, leaving the location laden with valuable gold. Pioneer gold seekers would rely on their eyesight to follow a gold vein far into a mountain, digging just inches away from a much more productive vein. Modern metal detectors now reveal the precise location of these long-overlooked veins along the walls of old mine tunnels.
Working Abandoned Mines in Search of Gold
These old mines may be long forgotten, but a prospector can cash in with newer technology—in the form of a highly capable metal detector. Equipped with a gold detector, a recreational miner can examine the space behind the walls, roof and floor of a mine in just a few hours; it took the old-time miners months to do this. The tunnel floors of old mines are known to yield ore deposits when searched with a metal detector. Pieces of valuable ore fell from carts as it crossed the tunnel floor. Since most mine tunnels were driven through highly mineralized or magnetic material, a metal detector must be ground balanced as precisely as possible to cancel the effects of the minerals. Before ever setting out in the field, practice ground balancing your detector (instruction manual will give exact instructions and how to test it on gold and iron). Once ground balanced, make a general sweep of the mine floor, collecting all samples that give a metal reading. There are likely to be small iron objects in an old mine including rail spikes and hangers for candles and mining lamps.
Operate your metal detectors search coil approximately one to two inches from the tunnel wall, depending upon the amount of iron mineralization present. Scan the walls and ceiling carefully, marking any positive (metallic) signals. Ore containing a sufficient amount of conductivity will respond positively as metal. Then you can use a mattock or rock pick to dig beneath the surface debris to locate all likely looking samples to test. Once you have collected a number of ore samples, lay your metal detector flat and test each of your rock samples individually. You will be able to determine its composition based on conductivity (target ID display, if equipped) which rock fragments contain high-quality ore deposits. Continue this testing as you work the mine tunnel. Experts recommend adjusting your audio so a faint but constant signal is maintained; headphones are also highly recommended by many prospectors.
One Man’s Junk is Another Man’s Gold!
Tailing piles from old mines and the mine’s dump are hot locations to work. They are definitely the easiest and quickest sources of gold if a prospector is proficient with his metal detector. “Tailings” are the discarded pieces of rock left from previous mining activities. Again, many valuable remnants of gold were cast aside. Old-time miners were looking for the obvious pay dirt, but today’s prospectors have the equipment to locate even tiny pieces of gold. A minuscule looking 2 grams of gold is worth $100 at today’s gold prices. And amazingly, large gold or silver nuggets are often found hidden inside a chunk of rock that was discarded at the dump site. The old-time miner could not see the valuable material hidden by the rock. And this is where a metal detector comes in to signal its presence.
Searching for gold inside mines requires a metal detector that is highly sensitive and one that can precisely tune out the minute minerals known to exist in gold bearing areas. Not all metal detectors are suited for prospecting, so it is important to have a gold-hunting metal detector. With it, you may be another lucky hobbyist who discovers high grade ore that has been lying around unnoticed for decades!
Listed below are some of the top-ranked gold prospecting metal detectors available. You can compare features and functionality to determine which unit is best for you.
Entry-Level Gold Detectors
Mid-Level Gold Detectors
High-End Gold Detectors