Gold Mining

Gold Claims For Sale in BC

Exploring a Placer Claim

If you own a placer claim, you want to know where there is (more) ground worth mining.

For most placer miners, the goal of exploration is finding somewhere to mine so that they can produce gold.

Some people find exploration and prospecting to be the most interesting part of placer mining. If they make a good discovery, they have made the claim more valuable. Their goal might be to sell the claim for more than they paid for it.

Some claim owners pay for trenching - They get great information and when they register the work, the claim will be good for years.

Streams, Valleys, etc.

Placer prospecting is all about physical geology - streams, valleys, bedrock, gravel deposits, channels, benches and so on.

The location of the bedrock can be important in placer mining. What rocks and minerals make up the bedrock is usually not important. Where there are boulders and how rounded they are (how far they have traveled) may be important.

Exploring Online

You can explore a claim on the web to a certain extent.

Some creeks have more history than others. We have a claim on Lightning Creek at Wingdam Creek. Now, that's a claim where you can get some history!

A lot of claims get only this kind of exploration.


Prospecting is exploration on the ground - on the claim.

A shovel and gold pan (and notepad and GPS) are the standard tools.

Some people use gold-detectors - specialized metal-detectors, which can cost a lot - thousands of dollars for some equipment. They are powerful tools.

But there is also a lot to be said for using your brain and a $20 gold pan.

Placer prospecting almost always involves taking and testing samples with a gold pan or sluice box.

Exploration and mining are often combined. Many miners focus on their most promising ground, but also spend some time over the season prospecting and test-mining. Some leads turn into prospects, some get serious test-mining and some become the new "most promising ground".

Trenching and test-mining with a backhoe or excavator or other mechanical equipment requires a permit.

Doing Traverses

Hardrock prospectors do "traverses" - walking along (usually straight) lines that are recorded - observing, sampling, testing, and recording locations, observations and results.

Some placer prospectors do traverses, although they might do them along lines that follow or cross the stream or valley.

If creating a Property Report is one of the goals of exploration, traverses are a good way of collecting information.

Traverses are advised if you want to impress someone with a prospecting report. This includes registering prospecting as technical work to maintain your placer claim or trying to interest a potential backer who might invest in your project.