Various miners have employed different methods for mining of gold from ancient times. These are in the form of gold panning, dredging, sluicing, metal detecting, hard rock mining and byproduct recovery. Panning of gold is an age-old process making use of a shallow pan which is kept in the river water and filled with the gravel and sand with gold in it. After submerging it in water, it is shaken so that the heavy gold particles settle down and the rest float and are thrown away. Panning is usually done in placer deposits which are present near water bodies like streams. But the disadvantage is that it is very time-consuming. However, it is a good method for finding gold deposits
Metal detectors are used in mining for gold. These have sensors which will be able to detect the presence of gold even if it is about one meter below the ground. As this can be carried around quite easily, it is quite a convenient method.
Some gold prospectors use a sluice box for mining on a small scale. It is a channel with riffles at the bottom. These riffles allow the gold to drop away from the suspended particles. The less dense material flows out of the box which is placed in a stream where the water is flowing. Many commercial gold prospecting companies use screening plants which remove boulders and gravel and then the remaining material is placed in the sluice box. They need to make use of earth-moving equipment which are powered by diesel such as excavators, bull dozers and rock trucks.
Mining for gold can also be done with the method of dredging which essentially makes use of suction dredges which also contain sluice boxes with pontoons. It has a suction hose held under the water level and is quite economic. It does not cause harm to the environment and there is no deforestation or water wastage as the water can be reused.
Other kinds of mining of gold involve hard rock gold mining which is performed in cases where the gold is trapped in rock and not loosely found. Gold can also be mined from substances where the principal product may be something else such as copper and gold is only a byproduct.