Dawson City Gold Panning:
Eureka Gold Panning Adventures
Pan for gold in the Klondike. Keep the gold you find. Equipped walled tents available for stay.
Gold Bottom Mine Tours & Gold Panning
Gold Bottom Tours offers visitors to the Yukon a chance at gold panning. All supplies and instructions are provided including demonstrations. Mine tours are also offered and accommodations are available.
Free Gold Claim #6
Bring your own gold pan or rent one in town and keep all the gold you find at this claim post. Located 14 km (8.7 mi) up Bonanza Road, past Dredge #4.
Dawson City RV Park & Campground
Phone: (867) 993-5142
Claim 33 Gold Panning & Museum
Phone: (867) 993-662
Keno City Gold Panning
Pan for gold in Lightning Creek, located near the Keno City Campground. A local mining recorder can advise visitors of other streams to pan.
Whitehorse Gold Panning:
Gold Rush Float Tours
Gold Rush Float Tours takes guests on a two and a half hour float trip, down the Yukon River in a replica stampeder's raft. Try your hand at gold panning and listen to stories of the area from experienced guides.
Placer Gold Mining in Yukon
Placer Mining: The Search for Gold in the Gravel by Elaine Schiman
Placer mining is the technique of recovering gold from gravel. The term "placer" is a Spanish word meaning "place where gold can be recovered from gravel." But which gravel? This question is a mystery that still fascinates prospectors and placer miners alike.
"There's a certain allure to the idea of looking for gold," says Tara Christie, Executive Director of the Klondike Placer Miners' Association and partner in Gimlex Gold Mines of Dawson City. "No matter how much gold has already been found, there is always the chance of gold deposits somewhere out there, waiting to be found. That's what keeps placer miners at it, and draws new people as well. But it's more than just chance or luck. The science of geology contributes greatly to the placer mining industry. Placer miners have a huge interest in understanding how the gold gets there in the first place, and where we are most likely to find it."
As new developments in geoscience occur, much of the information is passed on to placer miners through the Yukon Geological Survey, a branch of the Yukon government's Department of Energy, Mines and Resources. "The work of the Survey gives placer miners information about how deposits are formed," says Christie. "The science of gold deposits has evolved so that we now have a much better idea of which areas have the best potential."
Bill LeBarge is a placer geologist with the Yukon Geological Survey. He visits placer mines throughout the territory, collects gravel samples and gathers information on what areas are being mined, how much gold is being produced, and what methods and equipment are being used. That information is then shared with placer miners and the public through various reports, articles and presentations. Much of the information is also found in the Placer Database, first created two years ago and currently being updated.
"The transfer of information is very important," says LeBarge. "We have information that can help placer miners understand their deposits and do their work more economically, but in turn, we rely on the knowledge placer miners have about their own ground."
A basic piece of geological information is whether the land was ever covered by a glacier. In other words, is the ground glaciated or unglaciated? Geologists also look at when the land was glaciated, how many times and what layers have ended up on top. They study the "stratigraphy" or in other words, the layers of gravel, lake sediment and glacial deposits.
The majority of gold production in the Yukon, about 85 per cent, comes from unglaciated areas, where the geology was not complicated by the movements of glaciers. "Glaciated areas are more difficult to understand," says LeBarge. "The way the glacial ice flowed into the valley affects how the gold deposits were buried. Or in some cases the gold would have been encompassed into the glacial material, and diluted."
As a result, glaciated areas only provide about 15 per cent of total gold production in the Yukon. But that is slowly changing, says LeBarge. "Now that we're learning more about how placer deposits occur, the new trend is to explore in glaciated areas as well."
Placer gold deposits occur when gravel that holds minerals is washed many times by the flow of creek water. Gold, one of the heaviest minerals, tends to drop down during the washing process, until it can go no further. It gradually finds its way to some impermeable layer, like bedrock or thick clay.
Placer miners and others are still captivated by the idea of the mother lode - the place from which the gold originates in the bedrock. The idea is that if you can find the mother lode, you'll also find a whole lot of gold. No one knows for sure that such a mother lode even exists, but there are tantalizing clues. "The Mount Nansen hard rock gold deposit near Carmacks has the same geochemical composition as placer gold nearby," says LeBarge. "So we can conclude that the placer gold came from the hard rock deposit."
In the Klondike area, small gold veins have been found, but no larger possible sources of bedrock gold. "People have been looking for a mother lode for a long time," says LeBarge. "One theory is that the bedrock gold has already been completely eroded into the creeks and no longer exists.
Whatever the fate of a possible mother lode, it seems clear that there are still placer gold deposits to be found in the Yukon. And although geoscience provides the baseline information for placer miners, it's still up to the individual miners to find and choose the patch of ground they believe will pay off.
Yukon Contact Information:
Contact the Yukon Mining Recorder at 867.456.3823 for assistance and information on ground open for staking, claim maps, mineral titles, assessment work, permitting and licensing of proposed exploration and mining developments. Contact the Yukon Geological Survey for maps, scientific and technical information on the geology and mineral deposits of the territory, and to apply for grassroots prospector funding.
Visit the Yukon Department of Energy, Mines and Resources at: www.emr.gov.yk.ca/mining/placermining.html for information on placer gold mining procedures and regulations.
The Mineral Resources Branch can be reached at 867.633.7952 Toll Free (in Yukon): 1.800.661.0408 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.