Alluvial Gold Mining is the most common form of gold mining. It is done everywhere in the world.
Because wherever there is gold there is water that carries that gold from its source where the Mother Lode is located to the mouths of rivers, and there in the river beds people pan for gold. This is alluvial mining in its simplest form.
Why this is possible with gold is because gold as an element is very heavy, so it sinks to the bottom and can somewhat easily be separated from gravel, rocks and stones, just by shaking and sifting the contents of a pan of rock you might scoop off a river bed.
Many of us are familiar with the pictures of folks in Alaska wading into the river beds to pan for gold. Here is a video taken from YouTube of this being done in Alaska today.
But now we understand alluvial gold mining a little better, the question arises, why PNG? PNG or Papua New Guinea is probably one of the few countries in the world to be widely covered by a mantle of gold. Strange but true! Many of its rich gold deposits are still waiting to be discovered as they are all covered by vegetation. PNG is not only rich in gold but it is also a rainforest.
Now remember what I said about gold and water. Gold is carried from its source to the mouths of rivers and here because gold is abundant in PNG alluvial gold mining is very profitable.
Many of the locals do much as you saw in that video, they wade into river beds with a special gold pan and they simply pan for gold. How nice. If you suddenly need a little more money it is pretty easy to find.
But alluvial mining can also be done with rudimentary machines, like simple excavators or pumps that are sort of like water vacuums. Then the rocks and sand and gravel are dumped into sluice boxes and sifted and sorted until all that remains is the gold.
Now much more gold is discovered in the course of a day and the operation becomes much more profitable.
The alluvial gold in PNG can also vary in terms of its purity, as the gold may be mixed with impurities that don’t separate from the tiny nuggets of gold. So the gold is rated from 99% pure down to as little as 30% pure. After that it becomes too much trouble to bother with in an area as rich in gold as PNG.