Saturday, December 11, 2010

Important Prospecting Equipment

A Prospecting Pan: Although the pan is such an old thing, it is still a basic element in prospecting both for people that are just taking up this hobby (or profession) as well as for the experienced professionals. In the past during the gold rush people would use all kinds of things as gold pans. There were even people that used to cook and pan out of the same frying pan.

Supposedly the first ones to have brought a vessel to the gold fields which they used to separate precious metals from the sand and gravel of the stream beds. The Mexicans used to use a pan they called Batea. The Batea was wood carved and it was around sixteen inches wide, close to eight inches deep and was not exactly the lightest thing you can imagine, it was actually quite heavy.

The pans that we have these days though are made out of plastic, steel or copper. However, for people that are just getting into prospecting it would probably be wise to use the plastic pan due to several things: Plastic pans are molded with a set of riffles in the pan. The ridges on the pan help to keep someone new at the job from losing the gold (or as least most of it) by trapping the gold. A lot of the plastic pans are made in black because the color contrast will allow you to see the gold better and it makes it easier to separate it from the concentrates.

Experienced people can go ahead and get the steel pans but often times people burn them black so they can see the gold color easier. Plastic pans have the advantage also of not getting rusted or corroded if wet black sand is left inside of it. the professional prospectors many times use copper pans when using mercury to get to the finer gold.

Although there are different types of pans available, some more exotic than others, there are in general three sizes in which they come in. The first one is the smaller one that is around six to eight inches wide, then you have the medium sized pan that is around twelve to fourteen inches wide and a lot of beginners say this is the easiest one to use, and finally you have the large or professional size pan that is sixteen to eighteen inches wide. It is not recommended to try to use the big one to start off with because you will notice how it collects a lot of material which will not be easy to pan, besides this, it’s plain downright heavy.

A Shovel: A shovel is necessary so that you can dig up dirt into your pan. There are two basic types, one has a long handle and the other has a short handle. The long handled one will help you not to break your back, however the shorter one is more convenient when it come to moving around and carrying it. It is also recommended you have a hand garden trowel with you as it will help you be able to get to those hard to reach areas.

White Adhesive Tape: White adhesive tape is a very necessary item when it comes to prospecting because it is used for marking the ore samples. If you find a vein that you feel may just have gold in it and that you think is worthwhile examining, use the adhesive tape to mark the spot you got it from. You should write the exact location and date you found it on a piece of tape and stick it on each piece of ore you take in from the field so that it can be assayed.

Knife: Invest in a hunting knife. This can be used for scrapping, digging and prying.

Tweezers: Get ahold of some pointed jeweler’s tweezers so that you can pick out the teensy flecks of gold from your pan.

Small Plastic Bottle: Take along a plastic bottle so you can hold your findings in. Glass is not recommended because if you drop your findings…. well, picking it up would be quite an ordeal.

Magnifying Glass: Carry a magnifying glass in your pocket so you can study your gold pan etc.

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