Where and How to Find Gold - Gold Nugget Detecting - Natural Gold Nuggets for Sale - Gold Panning and Prospecting Tips

8 Different Ways to Mine for Gold

There are many different types of prospecting equipment that you can use to find gold. Choosing the best one will vary depending on the type of location that you are prospecting, the amount of material that you need to process, and your budget. Each of these prospecting tools can be the right choice depending on your situation.

placer gold

Gold Pan

Every serious gold miner should own a gold pan. You can’t process large amounts of gravel in a day using only a gold pan, but they are inexpensive and lightweight, making them the perfect tool for sampling different areas quickly. You can move around and pan small test samples to locate the rich paystreaks. And for many casual prospectors, this is all that you need to start finding a little color. Good gold panning kits can be purchased that are very inexpensive and can get you started finding gold right away.

Sluice Box

For less than $100, you can purchase a good quality sluice box that will allow the casual prospector to start finding a good amount of gold once you have located a rich paystreak. The trick is to use a gold pan to find good gold concentrations in a creek or river, and then set up your sluice box.

One tip to better gold recovery with a sluice box is to classify your material, which will allow for the best gold retention and will increase your overall finds after a long day of gold prospecting.

Also Read: Classify your Gravels to Retain More Fine Gold


Sniping for gold is a very simple way to find gold that is actually a very productive way to find gold. You simply put in some extra effort to clean out deep cracks in bedrock and get down to the bottom where the best gold is. Often this material is hard-packed and cannot be sucked out by dredges, so the extra effort to recover gold from the cracks can really pay off. The only tools required are a simple sniping kit that includes a variety of simple hand tools, and a standard gold pan to pan out the concentrates that you accumulate over the day.

Metal Detectors

If you want to find gold nuggets, then a metal detector is perhaps your best choice. Good quality gold nugget detectors can be quite expensive, but digging only a few gold nuggets can easily pay for one. One of the better gold detectors on the market right now is the Fisher Gold Bug Pro. It is reasonably priced and can find small gold nuggets along with larger nuggets at depth. The most important tip for successful gold detecting is to make sure you are in an area that actually produces gold nuggets, which requires some research before you ever turn your detector on.

Also Read: These MASSIVE Gold Nuggets were all found with Metal Detectors

Detecting Gold Nuggets


A highbanker is basically a standard sluice box that you pump water through and shovel material directly into it. A grizzly will screen out the larger rocks, so you can shovel right into the highbanker and quickly process relatively large amounts of gravel in a short time. These may be the best placer mining option for miners who are in areas with restrictions on suction dredging.

Suction Dredge

A suction dredge is the ultimate tool for mining gold paystreaks in rivers and streams. The vacuum up material off the bottom of the river and run it through a floating sluice box. Divers literally snorkel down underwater and vacuum up the riverbed.

Dredges work extremely well when they are tuned and set up properly and used in a rich gold area. Just like all types of prospecting though, you must sample different areas and locate the rich paystreaks of gold to have success with dredging. Unfortunately, dredging is restricted or banned in quite a few areas now, so make sure you can legally use one before spending big money investing in a suction dredge.


Trommels are another expensive piece of mining equipment that are used primarily at large commercial placer mining operations. Heavy equipment is used to put large amounts of gold-bearing gravel into the trommel.

Professional trommel operations can often recover hundreds of even thousands of ounces of gold in a mining season. They are the tool of choice at many commercial mines because they can process such a large amount of material. They are very expensive.


In the desert, the drywasher is the tool of choice for gold prospectors. They use air pressure and vibration to separate gold from dirt, rather than water. This is one of the only types of equipment that desert prospectors can use to mine for gold without bringing in water.

Also Read: Find Gold in Arid Regions with a Drywasher

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