What Is Placer Gold And How Much Is It Worth?

Raw Gold - September 28, 2020

You may not be familiar with the term “placer gold”, but if you’ve watched movies/television shows or read books about the Wild West, then you know exactly what we’re talking about. Pioneers wading in a river, sifting through mud, sediment, and rocks in the hopes of striking it rich. Gold!


Placer Gold vs. Lode Gold

When it comes to mining for gold, you have two sources of gold deposits to choose from: lode and placer.

Lodes are what you generally expect when you think of miners going about their jobs. These are rocks and other minerals that have gold (or any other valuable metal or stone, depending on what’s being mined) embedded within them.

However, placer gold is the result of natural erosion. Whether it’s due to time and the rocks weakening on their own or the result of water flowing over the rock, the original source of the gold gets eroded and gold, which is a ‘heavier’ mineral, will be transported down a stream or river. It’s not just gold, other heavier minerals are also transported with the gold, and it all ends up becoming black sand, which you would usually find on the bottom of riverbeds and depressions. Gold that is found in such sources, like black sand, crushed or eroded ore, is known as placer gold.

It must be noted, however, that there are two different kinds of gold placer deposits. The first, shallow gold placers will generally be found within or nearby existing rivers and won’t be blocked by anything. The second, deep level placers will be buried underneath debris or solid stone.

Placer Mining vs. Lode Mining

Lode mining, also known as hard rock mining, is the process of extracting gold from traditional veins of ore that are embedded within rocks and other minerals. To extract gold from lode deposits, miners usually blast, mill, or otherwise erode the rock to get at the gold inside.

Placer mining, on the other hand, is a process that involves the ‘miner’ sifting through a lot of gravel to separate any and all pieces of gold. This is mostly what you’ll recognize from the movies. Whereas lode mining is often a team effort, it’s not the same for placer mining, which can be done by a single prospector armed with just a prospector’s pan. When swirling sediment-filled water through the pan, unwanted sediment sifts through, leaving bits of gold behind.

Mining For Placer Gold

While the actual mining process for placer gold is simple, there are a number of things you need to do before you begin mining operations if you are doing this seriously. You need to identify where the flow of water has deposited gold. This is done by evaluating the surface materials by sifting them through the pan. If on dry land, a pick and a shovel are used to loosen up the surface before being washed and then panned.

If you are taking placer mining seriously, you should also be using a sluice box rather than a prospector’s pan. More effective than prospector’s pans, sluice boxes harness the power of flowing water to more efficiently and effectively separate and extract gold from sediment. Sluice boxes are typically around 3 meters long, 0.5 meters wide and less than a 25 cm deep with a series of grooves at the bottom that will agitate the mix of sediment and water to extract gold particles and nuggets. Water is then passed through the box, which will cause the lighter waste material to spill out.

There are also trommels, which are rotating metal cylinders that are set at a slight incline with a screen at the bottom end. The sediment mixture from placer deposits is inserted into the upper end of the trommel, and then pressurized water is fed into the trommel. The combination of flowing water and agitation caused by the trommel’s design will cause any gold bits to be separated from the rest. What you get after running the placer gold through the trommel, you can further refine by using sluices and other devices.

How Much Is Placer Gold Worth?

If you have placer gold, whether you mined it yourself or not, you might be wondering how much it is worth. First of all, it should be noted that placer gold mining often does not result in as much gold as you would find with a more exhaustive mining process, but you can still make some great finds and make some money.

Hint: Want to give it a try and avoid beginner mistakes? Check out these tips!

And you’d be glad to know that placer gold most often sells for around the price of 24k pure gold, the up to date and correct price of gold. So if you do have a good amount of placer gold, you might want to think about selling it. It is a good way to make some quick cash.

Selling Placer Gold

Now, if you want to sell your placer gold, you should always make sure to sell to a reliable gold exchange. At Express Gold Cash, we pay 90% of the value of gold bullion and up to 85% of the refined value of gold jewelry. With over 25 years of industry experience, we have the relationships, the means and the know-how to get top dollar for your gold — which means that we don’t have to underpay you like other sites and gold exchanges, where you might have to sell your gold for as little as 25% of its original value.

Whatever gold you want to sell to us, we calculate how much cash you’ll receive based on the current market price (PM London Fix). All cash payments are calculated in pennyweights (DWT), the standard weight measurement in the precious metal business. So, if you wanna sell your placer gold, check out how much gold is worth currently, get in touch with us, and enjoy a fair price for your placer gold.

And of course, if you have any other questions or concerns, we’d be glad to help you out. So feel free to get in touch with us.