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We Found Gold in Dawson City

Saturday, June 9, 2007

sunny 0 °F

Today is gold panning day. We start off by driving out to a restored gold mining dredge, Dredge No. 4, several miles outside of Dawson City. This tour guide is also good, but she’s almost too good – she explains everything anyone would ever want to know about the operation of a gold mining dredge and then more. They also have a 20-minute movie about the dredge to watch after the tour.
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Then we drive over to The Goldpanner Gold Mine. It’s back a dirt road, about 30 minutes off the Klondike Highway. We’re a little early for the tour, so the owner tells us to do some gold panning while we wait for the others to join us. We put on our boots, his assistant shows us how it’s done and we give it a try. Joe finds a large flake of gold within 5 minutes, but Jere & I have no luck. When the other couple arrives, we start our tour.
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There are just 5 of us on the tour. The owner’s assistant and a tour-guide-in-training leads our tour of their working gold mine. All of the gold mines in this area are placer mining. There are about 150 of these small gold mines in the area. No large gold mine companies. They use a power shovel to dig through the permafrost to the layer of earth that contains the gold flakes.
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Then they use a ‘gold mine plant’ to separate the rock/earth from the gold.
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They take it through another step or two to purify, so that all that remains is 100% gold ore, which in this area is actually 80% gold/20% silver.
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The tour takes about 90 minutes. It includes a ride in an old van through a creek and up a muddy road – Joe really enjoyed that part of the tour :-)

After the tour we try gold panning again. They bring us some fresh ‘dirt’ from the one mining sight we just toured and this time, everyone finds some flakes of gold. My last pan is my best pan and I find 5 flakes of gold. We really enjoyed the tour and the gold panning – lots of fun.
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We drive back to the RV, have dinner and enjoy our HBO.

Posted by jengelman 13:48 Archived in Canada Tagged family_travel

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