Where to Find Gold

By Eric Hammer

Everyone wants to know where to find gold. These days especially, with gold soaring past $1,400 per ounce (this is being written at the start of 2011, it seems everyone has gold fever. The problem however is exactly that - everyone has gold fever and everyone wants to know where to find gold.

So how do you get into this business of looking for gold? Well, you have two choices. You can become a professional miner, in which case you need to pay for licenses to land so that you have the exclusive right to look for gold or you can be a "recreational" gold prospector.

A recreational prospector (which is what we're going to focus on here) is someone who probably has another job (though there are some who make their entire living prospecting for gold, though they do it in the same way an ordinary person might do it) and does this as a hobby and for extra money.

How Much Can You Make?

First, the good news: There are some people who make this a full time living and some people can find several ounces of gold per month. With current prices at their fever pitch over more than $1,400 per ounce, finding out where to find gold can be profitable indeed.

Now the bad news, most people don't make more than a few dollars doing this. To get a consistent income, even if you simply pan for gold the way everyone else might do so, you need to pay for a license to a private area where you can pan for gold to your heart's content.

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Keep in mind that there are two ways to prospect for gold. Most people do it using a gold pan. This is a simple pan which you use to scoop up a pile of dirt. You then shake it from side to side so that the heaviest material (namely, the gold, which is a rather heavy metal) will fall to the bottom. Once that's done, you pour out the stuff on top and (hopefully) are left with some flecks of gold. The thing to remember though is that this is a very time consuming process and to get enough to make it worth your while, you need to find just the right spot to do it.

Speaking of that (this is after all, where to find gold), the best way to find promising locations is to check government geological records and old mining records. Typically, where gold has been found before, it can be found again, even if a mine has been played out.

That's because mother nature takes her time in releasing gold from wherever it's hiding (remember, it's heavy, so storms that might break down the rock surrounding the stuff take a lot more time to break down the gold and thrust it into locations where it can be found than it does to do it with other kinds of metal).

You can find geological records from both the state and federal governments. Also, remember that gold prospecting for recreational purposes is legal on federal land (check with your state government regarding state land). However, if a location has proven profitable, someone may have already laid claim to it and paid for a private license to prospect in that area. Unfortunately, the only way to find out is to choose a particular spot and then contact the Bureau of Land Management to ask if it's available for public prospecting. They don't maintain a list of places to find gold.

Qualifications / Requirements

There's no formal test and anyone (literally, anyone) can prospect for gold if they so desire. The only catch is to check and make sure the place you are prospecting on is legal for you to do so (if you own the land, obviously, you can, however, even if you don't, it's possible that you can find public land where it can be done).

First Steps

Start by studying old geological records and mining records to find out where gold has been found in the past. Then, go out there and find out if the area is legal for prospecting if it is, get yourself a gold pan and go to work. If it's not, try elsewhere.


Check out these helpful resources to find out more about where to find gold:

Gold Panning Instructions - While it doesn't really tell you where to find gold, this resource can be invaluable since it offers you a very detailed explanation of how to find gold.

Bureau of Land Management: Recreational Gold Prospecting on Public Land - This is a great guide to prospecting on public land. It tells you everything you need to know in order to figure out where it's legal to do it. Just take your time reading it because the information can be a bit confusing at first.

Gold Prospectors Association of America - A membership organization for those who are serious about finding gold.

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