Gold mining is a hobby for many and a career for some. Whether you want to mine gold for fun or serious income you still need to invest in certain pieces of equipment particular to the mining business, and you should not hit the road for gold and glory before you have all the most important tools.
Before you can begin to process the gold you need to find the gold. Metal detecting machines in the 21st century, according to Steve Herschbach at akmining.com, “can detect gold as small as a half a grain with ease. The depth of detection grows with the size of the target,” and “only the largest nuggets will be found at depths over a foot.” Metal detectors range in price from hundreds to thousands of dollars, but you can find detectors at yard sales and auctions for much less, or you can learn to build the metal-finding devices.
Sluice boxes are narrow boxes used to filter the gold. Original sluice boxes, according to keenengineering.com, “were lined with raised obstructions that were placed in a vertical position to the flow of the current. The flow of water carried the material down the length of the box” and the heavier sediment (and hopefully gold) quickly sank to the bottom as the water and lighter material flowed through the box. Original sluices were made from lumber and logs, but modern sluices are made from light-weight metals and are very portable. You can buy a sluice box for under $100, or you can make your own.
Original gold miners could not penetrate deep waters, but over time they began to build machines to do what they could not. Dredging machines, old and new, perform similar functions, sucking the sediment from lake and river beds and then running the particles through a sluice. There are three types of gold dredge: the surface dredge, the submersible dredging tube and the underwater submersible dredge. Each type of dredge has a system to suck and filter underwater materials, but underwater dredges are more complicated, more expensive and require more maintenance. According to keenengineering.com, “A small portable backpack dredge of today can weigh as little as 40 pounds and cost around eight hundred dollars.”