Gold Prospecting and Panning In The UK
Almost all gold panning in the UK takes
place in North Wales and Scotland.
If you want to take up panning and you live
in the south east of England (for example), you will need to
have a lot of free time and be prepared to do a lot of
driving or, alternatively, take up
back garden gold
panning, it's less travel, less hassle and will give you
a greater chance of actually finding some gold.
We should also be clear on one thing from
the beginning; gold panning in the UK will not make you
rich, if you are having to travel any great distance to get
to areas that are worth panning you will not even cover your
expenses, unless you are exceptionally lucky - and I mean a
lottery jackpot level of lucky.
Most people who pan in this country do it
for the love of the outdoors and the thrill of the hunt,
very few (if any) do it for the money.
Gold Mines in Wales
The Clogau Gold Mine (sometimes known as the Clogau St
David's Mine) was once the largest and richest mine of all
the gold mines in the Dolgellau gold mining area. It is
situated in Bontddu, near Barmouth, in Gwynedd, north-west
After producing copper and a little lead for quite a number
of years, the mine developed into gold production in the
1862 'rush' and continued as a major operator until 1911
during which 165,031 tons of gold ore was mined resulting in
78,507 troy ounces (2,442 kg) of gold. It worked the St
David's lode of Clogau mountain alongside the co-owned Vigra
Mine. Since 1911 the mine has been re-opened several times
for smaller scale operations. It last closed in 1998, but
has been held by a local exploration company since 1999.
When in production the mine used a two-foot gauge railway.
Gwynfynydd Gold Mine at Dolgellau, Gwynedd, Wales, was
discovered in 1860. It was active until 1998 and has
produced 45,000+ troy ounces of Welsh gold since 1884. The
mine, when open, was open to the public and provided guided
tours which included the opportunity to pan for gold.
The mine closed because of Health and Safety issues and
because of changing pollution control legislation which
would have made the owners liable for the quality of the
mine discharge into the River Mawddach had the mine remained
Gold Mines In Scotland
In 1984 a gold bearing quartz vein was discovered by the
Irish firm Ennex International on the lower south eastern
slopes of Beinn Chýirn just above Cononish Farm at Eas Anie.
The company spent over £250,000 doing test drillings and
were hopeful that the mine would be very productive. The
gold, which is the most important deposit found in Scotland
so far, occurs as minute particles inside Pyrite and Galena
which in turn occur in the quartz vein. Despite claims that
there are up to a million tonnes of ore present on the site
which could produce five tonnes of gold and about 25 tonnes
of silver, the location was only developed briefly as a mine
in the 1990s.
In 1994, The Caledonian Mining Company acquired the mine
with the intention of putting it into production, however
the falling price of gold meant that such a small mine was
uneconomic at the time. Higher gold prices in 2007 have led
to renewed activity with Scotgold Resources purchasing the
mine and applying to extend the lease and start mining again
within two years, for a period of eight years. Permission to
mine is yet to be granted by the Crown Estate who owns the
rights to all gold in the UK and by the Loch Lomond and the
Trossachs National Park.
Before panning anywhere you need to make
sure you have the
permission of the landowner (preferably in
writing), but be careful, it is the owner of the riverbank
whose permission you need, not the owner of the surrounding
arable or pasture land. The mineral rights to the area
may even belong to someone completely different to the
landowner, so you really do need to take care.
Environmental Issues and Impact
Another area with many pitfalls. You need to
ensure that your gold panning activities won't have an
adverse effect on the local environment or you could find
yourself being prosecuted Environment Agency, if you have
any doubts or questions about an area you wish to pan
contact them and ask them where you stand.
Calling All Gold Panners!
Are you a goldpanner in the UK? Do you you
have a story to tell or do you want to share your
email us we would love to hear from you!
UK Gold Panning Links
The Scottish Goldprospectors
Kit Andrews' Gold Prospecting blog, Kit is a UK based prospector with 30 years experience.
Other sources of precious metals in the UK
Silver has also been mined commercially in the UK, one
mine on the island of Sark produced more than 25,000 ounces