URL of this website: http://www.sticksite.com/gold_panning/
I got dragged out of retirement for ONE more Gold Panning Workshop. Sunday, July 25, 2010 near Grande Prairie, Alberta. Details at the bottom of this page.
Back in 1974 I took my 8-year-old son David, bought a new truck and went to the Yukon to look for GOLD! Been in love with that search ever since, and have been teaching a Gold Panning Workshop for many years. AND made good money with it AND met a lot of really cool people.
See the detailed article in "The Cottage Magazine" http://www.cottagemagazine.com/ (Sept/Oct.2000 issue) by Shar Mitchell.
My workshop usually ran one evening, in a classroom situation, with all next day at the nearest creek. Whether or not there is gold on that creek is not important.
Workshops were arranged for almost any location; usually, municipal departments such as "Parks & Recreation" or schools, Universities or colleges and other groups arranged a workshop with me, and they did all the administration.
At my workshops I always gave out a handout. This covered all the important stuff.
There was so much useful information in it that I am making it available to you here; it was a huge amount of work but I finally have the booklet in PDF format. It is 33 pages. It even includes my private lecture notes and plans for building the Portasluice.
If you do not have the PDF reader, you can get it free from Adobe at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html That's something every computer should have in it anyway!
email my son Dave to ask about availability. You can find his email addy on his website: http://www.pixelpuddle.com/.
Gold pans were available (steel, flat-bottom, 14-inch) and a handout of some 25 pages was available as well. The evening session included lecture, show & tell, demos and video/slides. The all day session included panning, sluicing and explanation/demo of the recovery of extra-fine flour gold. THIS WORKSHOP WAS GREAT FUN and could be the start to a new career.......! If you are serious, the cost could even be tax-deductible!
At the end of the workshop I usually even had a FINAL EXAM! (a very UNusual exam!)
This is a typical result of some time of panning for gold. You have removed the magnetite and panned off as much of the other material as possible and have added just enough mercury to amagamate all the fine particles of gold. I did that here, then panned off the dirt and collected the amalgam (mercury with gold) in a chamois, and squeezed out the mercury leaving this blob of gold particles held together by mercury. This is to show you what to expect. Next is the little matter of burning off the mercury (being careful NOT to breathe in the fumes) and melt the gold particles together into one little nugget.
DO NOT breathe the evaporating mercury!
Here we are burning the mercury off with a hand-held torch burning propylene. Propane does not burn hot enough.
the amalgam is in a small depression made in the piece of firebrick.
The gold will turn red-hot before it turns to liquid.
This is what you will collect if you are fortunate; gold flakes and little nuggets. The large nugget was made from very fine "flour gold" particles almost too small to see with the naked eye.
This little pile is probably close to 3/4 Troy Ounce.
I found a new place to sell black sand:
the Canadian Jewelry Exchange
520 Bernard Ave,
Ph toll free - 1-877-763-2099
Here is the black sand I collected; the one on the left is very black; all removed with a magnet:
(these are actual comments from evaluations we did a few years)
lunch and drink
rubber boots ("Peace River Oxfords")
shovel, if you have one
ice cream & 5-gal pails if you can
clean spray bottles
hat, sunglasses (raincoat?)
$$ for gold pan
4x4 truck if you can
(if you can bring extra pails & spray bottles, please do)
gloves (waterproof would be nice?)
The price of gold has been rising; look at this chart!
This shows a 10-year graph ending April 11, 2011.
Here is a nice little pile of raw gold; near as I can tell, it weighs .80377 Troy Ounce. At prices of today, July 29, 2011, that should be worth about US$1,303.
Here is the class of 14 hard at work; WE FOUND GOLD too! This was on Saturday, June 1, 2002.
All that hard panning made us hungry so we swapped a few stories over lunch.
If you want to buy a claim, look for signs like this one in areas where gold has been found. But check the claim very carefully; sellers have been known to "salt" a mine to make it LOOK good.
Here is a very interesting link to a site about GOLD: http://www.therockerbox.com.
Dawson City from the hill next to it where folks go to watch the sun go down, touch the horizon and then go back up; the "Land of the Midnight Sun."
The road on the other side of the Klondike River is the "Top of the World Highway" to Alaska. We went on that one. Super trip!
I took this shot in about 1975.
The old dredge slowly sinking into the gravel of Bonanza Creek with my 1974 pickup on the road. Since then, they've opened that dredge up for tourists to go through it."
The chains on the back end of that old dredge showing my daughter and son on the chain. The bottoms of the chains were sunk out of sight into the gravel.
One of three partners, Don Murphy, bringing a buggy of gravel out of the old "Harry Leaman Mine" which they bought after Harry passed on. Apparently Harry made a lot of money with that mine.
They were 115 feet into the hillside if memory serves. There, they laid down a large metal sheet, drilled about 5 holes into the face of the shaft, pushed in dynamite, lit the fuse and then walked out. After the dust settled, they would shovel the material into this buggy and dump it. They kept the shaft COLD/FROZEN with moss all around the entry door. It was like walking into a shaft in a GRAVEL pile. Bits of Harry's timbers were still visible but they depended on permafrost to keep the hill from coming down on top of them.
Piles of gravel, called "tailings" from the gold-dredging operations near Dawson City.
The extra-large nuggets are still in those piles; the dredges could not recover large nuggets.
Years later, I was there again and then the dredge had become a tourist attraction.
This is a gold mining operation near Atlin, B.C. With the use of this dragline, they were able to dig down to where the miners in "gold rush" days could not and they were finding good gold
Note the cat with ripper on the back to tear up the bedrock, and the top end of the sluice box on the left.
This shows the huge pit they had dug. Note the cat pushing the tailings away and on the left the pipe bringing water from the creek in the distance. Note also the cat in the pit, tearing up the bedrock.
This was a one-man operation. Note his small cat pushing gravel into the sluice box, the pipe bringing water from the creek and the tailings pushed away from the lower end of the sluice box.
Tailings near Atlin, B.C.
The "Golden Horn Mine" which was a tourist attraction at mile 894 on the Alaska Highway. Here you could pan for gold in one of their tubs of water. Gold guaranteed. They KNEW it was in there, because they put it there!
Here is my son David getting some instructions. I learned a really neat trick that day and usually pass it along at my Gold Panning Workshops. Bill Eglinski was our guide that day.
Out with our metal detectors looking for little treasures lost by pioneers.
At Taylor, B.C. every fall, there is a gold panning competition. They often have coin-hunts with metal detectors too and that is a lot of fun. They bury the coins ahead of time.
That's Yours Truly with the headphones at the back by the rope.
This is a pile of treasure that I recovered over a period of years.Note the watch, the old silver coins AND the bunch of keys! Bet the guy who lost those was some upset when he got back to his truck and could not get in! Note also the gold and silver rings and how some coins have paint on them; those were marked for the metal detector competition at Taylor.
Note this fellow's system. He made a little dam of rocks so that the river's current won't bother his panning.
This was at a Gold Panning workshop I attended near Red Deer about 1975.
Nothing like being comfortable while you're at it. Note his can of cola keeping cool in the river, behind that big rock.
This is at a Gold Panning workshop I ran on the Simonnette River.
And there is no law that says you cannot listen to music while panning. This is at a workshop I did at Peace River.
You really do need a chair to sit on while panning; if you did not bring one, make a milking stool like she did!
Note the propane tank and torch for burning the new, metal, oil-coated gold pans and see how blue the pans are after burning them.
When I did this one at Peace River, the water was so high we could not get to the riverbank so we found a small water hole in a nearby gravel pit and settled down around it for the afternoon.
This is just above a waterfall, on a creek a few miles east of Grande Cache, looking DOWNstream..........
And this is looking UPstream; note how the rocky bottom (bedrock) makes for a natural sluice to trap gold.
Since I had to hike in there alone, and it being grizzly country, I took a rifle. There, I used my little "syphon device" to suck dirt out of the cracks and put it into my pan to pan it. Perfect place for it except for one thing; there was NO gold!
Back to the competitions at Taylor. This is the Gold Panning competition; Yours Truly with the light-blue shirt.
Paul Ajas and his wife setting up their "Blanket Box" at Red Deer.
This thing kept falling over so it did not impress me.
This is much like the blanket box, but made from metal.
Dorsey Prosser at Baldonnal, B.C. made this unit. Next picture shows the other side.
The other side of Dorsey's machine.
Dorsey Prosser at Baldonnal, with another of his sluices.
A motorized gold machine at Taylor, BC.
They move this around as you would move a wheelbarrow.
My old friend Otto made this one. Note the straps to carry it.
And here is Otto, carrying his sluice.
Yours Truly, at a far-away spot in the mountains, accessible only with an Argo.
Note the outboard motor on the back of the Argo; we crossed a lake with two Argos to get to this spot.
One place I would like to pan for gold is here, but I'd want to go by boat: 56 9'56.42"N,
120 45'44.16"W. You can use Google Earth to see just where that is. I've been there and found good gold
long ago and yes, I went by boat.
Another spot where I have found gold: 53 22'2.62"N, 113 45'19.72"W. The last few hundred yards on this road might be virtually impassible to anything other than a 4x4 truck. That's the Graminia Road.
another: 55 8'22.04"N, 118 10'49.29"W and you can drive a car right to the spot.
I'm told that there is "good gold" at 53 22'15.83"N, 114 15'32.97"W.
(July 25, 2010)
As mentioned above, on July 25, 2010, I got dragged, kicking and screaming, out of retirement by Troy S. Troy put together a group and we went up the Wapiti River a half hour or so with five jet riverboats. In total, there were 18 of us. Here are four pix of that trip.
I think it was safe to say that "A Good Trip Was Had By All."