Common Methods Of Gold Prospecting In Canada


Prospecting is the technique used for exploring mineral deposits in specific areas. This process can be carried out using various methods like direct observation, research, sampling, and studying the area’s geology. If a site shows potential for having mineral deposits, then extraction methods like drilling, mining, and prospecting are used to extract the said minerals. Gold prospecting in Ontario is important for exploring gold deposits and may even lead to discovering new and valuable mineral deposits. Let us see the various methods used for gold prospecting.

Gold Panning

This is one of the world’s oldest, most inexpensive and most common methods for gold prospecting in Ontario. The gold pans for this method are available in various sizes and shapes, mostly made of plastic or metal. These pans are used for cleaning gold-bearing concentrates, gold prospecting and hand-working isolated and rich deposits. The heavy minerals are concentrated at the bottom of the gold pans, while the lighter materials remain at the top and are removed. Thus the basic operation of gold panning is very simple but requires skills and requisite experience to process large amounts with maximum recovery.

The process of gold panning has been widely used as the primary gold prospecting method but is an extremely limiting process since only coarse gold can be recovered while the fine grains are normally washed away with the pebbles. Hence, even the most experienced panners can process only a small amount of gravel. In today’s time, gold panning is used for cleaning concentrate and prospecting. This technique provides many benefits like immediate availability, portability, and low price, thus making it a vital instrument for prospectors. This method is also used for gathering geological information about a specific area and is supported by other techniques like electromagnetic, mechanical, electrostatic separation, microscopic examination and instrumental mineralogical evaluation.

Geochemical Prospecting

The method of geochemical prospecting includes an orderly measurement of chemical aspects of water, glacial debris, rocks, stream sediments, and soil. The most common chemical property calculated in this method is the content of a main trace element. The zones in the soil and rocks of high concentrations of specific elements may lead to the exploration of elements in soil and rocks which comprise a geochemical anomaly. In this method, the actual amount of the chief component in the samples may be very small, but the concentration of the sample may be relatively high to the surrounding region’s concentration. Thus, when the analytical results are plotted on the map, they may illustrate zones that require further exploration.

Geochemical anomalies can be classified into primary or secondary. The primary anomalies occur due to exterior elements’ dispersion by mineral-forming solutions, which means that the high concentration of the metals surrounds the deposit. Thus, it can be inferred that metals’ vertical or lateral dispersion along the faults and fractures may lead to a halo surrounding the deposit. This halo effect is helpful in prospecting as they might be hundreds of times greater than the surrounding deposit, thus making them easier to locate.

In contrast, the secondary anomalies result from the dispersion of elements through weathering. Since gold is a primary mineral, it is resistant to chemical weathering. This indicates that the streams transport gold as fragmental material, while the other fragmental material may be dissolved and carried away in solutions or get locally redeposited in surface and ground waters. Most of the weathering products enter the rivers along with the streams that flow across them and emerge as chemicals in the solution in the river water along with their sediments. These products in the solution can be tested or sampled. The sample composition may reflect the rock’s chemical nature in the drainage basin. The presence of gold ore can then be evaluated by sampling sediment and water from successive tributaries and also assessing the samples for metals’ anomalous amounts. This procedure narrows the exploration of gold deposits.

Geophysical Prospecting

Geophysical prospecting is another method used for gold prospecting, a med approach that combines the sciences of geology and physics to explore energy fuel and mineral deposits. Geomagnetic surveys for gold deposits, magnetic surveys for iron deposits and using scintillation counters for sensing radioactive uranium deposits are all examples of geophysical surveys. However, the five main geophysical methods include seismic, gravimetric, geo-electric, radiometric and magnetic techniques, all of which are commonly used for mineral exploration. While some methods are inexpensive and simple, others may need complex tools and sophisticated processing techniques and may be costly. The magnetic approach is the most widely used geophysical method for gold prospecting as it is very efficient for mapping gold ore deposits.

Mapping magnetite is the basic principle behind magnetic techniques. The method of magnetic gradiometry is widely used for the exploration of gold and silver deposits. One of the major reasons for this is that the initial residue magnetic field derivative offering value-added products may lead to the geological understanding of magnetic data.

Summing Up

Gold prospecting methods are the key to exploring gold ore deposits and new gold fields. Although these methods have been used for decades, modern gold prospecting and exploration are largely influenced by technology.