Have you ever wanted to do a little panning to see if you could find some gold?
It sounds fairly easy. Find a river, dig, pan then see what's left in the bottom. Hopefully it's the shiny stuff right?
One thing I've learned over the last few years prospecting is that gold is where you find it. It doesn't matter where you are from... if you have rivers, creeks and streams nearby, chances are you can find some sort of mineral if you look hard enough. Gold, silver, copper and much more is out there waiting for us. It's always an adventure once you get down to the fine stuff in your pan. Even if you don't see gold, the monocle still comes out and you examine your little bits. Some take their cons back home for processing to make sure they don't miss a flake.
Panning for gold is a wonderful experience. It can be something you do with your family or with your friends.
It can be for fun or it could be done in order to find a prospect. Amongst the black sands lies a story of bedrock and minerals in your surrounding area.
As far as I know recreational panning with your kids or something similar on private land that is yours, or have permission to be on, is okay. If you're thinking of getting into prospecting though, you need a license.
Prospecting equipment can be found on many sites online. Here in New Brunswick, for any prospecting related materials you need to go to BAP Equipment in Fredericton. They have everything you need there to get you started. Also make sure to bring a bottle of Jet-Dry with you. It helps to separate the gold from the black sands.
The prospecting kit they have there will have big and small pans... a classifier and a small tube and sucker to get your gold flakes out with. Hopefully you find nuggets!
You can find many excellent panning basics online to get you started. My favourite site for prospecting information is from GPEX. On the lower right hand side of the website is a link for the Canadian Prospectors Forum. A plethora of information in available there.
Attached below is a video of what do though once you get to your black sands. Every panning step is crucial, but if you did stumble across a nice placer deposit, you need to make sure you collect as much as you can.
So you're ready to pan? If you're not from my area, do a bit of research and try to find a spot where gold has been found in the past. Your province, state or country's mineral occurrence database should be able to provide you with this information.
Are you from New Brunswick? Here's a couple of spots in southern N.B. to get you started off.
Black River - Located east of Saint John. Easy access. It's a 10 minute hike on a nice path to get to the river. This area lies on crown land and the terrain isn't too bad. Also a great spot for a picnic. Mineral occurrences have been found here in the past.
Lepreau River - This meandering river lies north of Lepreau and is also easy access. Gold has been found here in the past (flakes by a geologist). Maybe you can be the one to find more than gold flakes!
Remember. Be safe. Always pay attention to your surroundings when out in the wilderness. Follow rules and regulations. Respect the environment and do not trespass!
If anyone else would like to share areas in other parts of the province, feel free to do so in the comments below.
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