Finding a good market for placer gold is a very common challenge for many gold miners throughout the world. To get a fair price, you need to actually understand what your gold assays for, and find a way to market it that will maximize its value.
Finding a decent amount of gold is extremely difficult even in the richest locations, so it is important for miners and prospectors to find the best places to sell their gold.
The options that are available to you will vary depending on where you live. Many of our readers are located in countries that require that all gold sales must be made to the government, and is based on the assay of the gold. There are many countries in South American and Africa that are like this. Since the only LEGAL way to sell you gold is through a designated government organization, this is really the only option we can offer in this discussion.
However, in most countries, the miner has the ability to sell their placer gold any way that they wish, and it is important to consider some variables that will affect the price that you might receive.
One thing you must consider is the purity of your gold. The easiest and most common way that miners and prospectors sell their gold is directly to a refinery. Refineries pay a percentage below the spot price of the metal at the time of the sale, but remember that your gold is not 24k pure.
Most placer gold varies between 18k and 22k in purity. In some areas it ranges even lower than that. This means that your gold may only be worth only 70%- 80% of spot value of the metal.
Selling to a collector is an option that may be worth considering. However, small gold dust and flakes of placer gold are not as collectable as larger gold nuggets are, so finding a buyer that will pay a premium may be difficult. However, if you aren’t in a rush, this may be a viable option, especially if you have smaller quantities of just an ounce or two.
Sometimes jewelers will use placer gold in their jewelry, and will gladly buy your gold. But much like the refineries, they will usually only pay around 80% of spot price, unless you have something that is especially nice like chunkier gold nuggets with good character.
Artisanal miners in many countries have very limited options. Sometimes selling local gold to tourists is an option to get a higher price for your gold.
Selling gold online is an option. Some miners sell their gold on eBay and do relatively well, although the fees and shipping costs can often reduce the profits.
The quantity of placer gold that you are trying to sell is another consideration. If you just have a few ounces, you can take the time to search for a collector who might pay a little extra for it. However, if you are mining several ounces of gold per week in a larger operation, you will find it difficult to find a buyer who will pay a premium AND buy large amounts. Getting a premium price generally only happens in small quantities.
Anytime you want to sell gold, it is important to know the current spot price of the metal. It’s also never a good idea to try to sell your placer gold when you absolutely NEED to. This is a surefire way to get a bad deal. Sell your gold before it is critical to pay your operating costs. This way you will have the option to turn down a bad offer.
If you need the money to pay the bills, you are almost certain to get screwed!