Gold Panning Questions and Considerations for Groups, Scout Troops, and Schools......
First, a little background on gold and its sizes just in case you are unfamiliar. Gold is exceedingly scarce and dense - its price is very high even in small amounts. At market price, you are looking at over $420 per ounce of gold and that is for melted gold not even the more valuable natural nugget type used in gold panning.
Budget considerations: Most school or scout functions work with a minimum $100 budget if there are going to be more than 30 children panning. You need to decide if any children will be allowed to keep some gold to take home with them. And consider whether this will be a regular event for your school or club or troop. If you will be holding panning events on a regular basis it would make most sense to retain the gold for future use. If you would like to send some gold home with each child (recommended) plan on ordering enough so that each child receives a fair portion. See below for a discussion of fun ideas to help your group offset some of the cost and maybe even make a profit! (All prices quoted were accurate at the time of writing but are subject to frequent change)
Question: What Size Gold Should Be Used?
Answer: This depends on your budget and the experience and age range of the children participating. Generally young children and inexperienced adults have difficulty recovering very small gold from their pans. Gold should be of medium mesh size at least, approximately 12-14 mesh size (see picture for sizes) in order to allow easy and quick recovery. Smaller gold can be used, however, it will be much more challenging. Children are impatient creatures by nature - we want them to have a good time and perhaps get them excited about a new life time hobby - so show them a little flash in the pan! Don't torture them :-) Leave that sweating and toiling in the rivers for Mom and Dad and summer vacations. LOL!
Question: I only have a $50 budget to work with and 50 kids want to pan. What do I do?
Answer:> A $50 budget is tough to work with if we are going to use both the easier to recover larger gold AND allow some gold left over for the kids to take home. We could do it with the small, less expensive gold but recovery would be tougher. For $50 plus shipping we could get you about 1.5 grams of small mesh gold (about 14-16 mesh).
See the picture to view gold sizes:
In the small 14-16 mesh size there are about 30-35 pieces of gold per gram. So you could expect about 45-50 small pieces for $50 in this size. Enough for the kids to take home a little bit each - but not much at all really.
For younger children we usually recommend the 12 to 10 mesh medium size. This step up in size would equal about 20 pieces per gram - much better size and far easier to remove from the pan. Keep in mind that with this option the number of pieces of gold will be less because the weight per piece is higher. For 50 children you are looking at about 1 small piece per child. Not worth taking home.
Usually for larger groups we work with a budget at least $100 which allows us to offer a greater amount of gold and a greater variety of sizes. It also allows you greater flexibility in not having to scramble to recover all the gold before the next panning session begins. Believe me this happens. Gold gets lost - it's best to have some extra. Increasing your budget just a bit will allow some extra small gold to be on hand to divide up for the children to take home. Use the larger gold to pan with and the smaller gold to give out for keepsakes.
Question: My budget is fixed I can't increase it
Answer: Hold a Nugget Raffle to raise cash!
Parents love to bid on gold nuggets! Have a get together or schedule some time in your next meeting with parents and let them know you are raising funds for a gold panning day. You will be surprised at how much you can raise for your next gold panning demonstration.
Answer: we have everything you need right here in our prospecting equipment section.
We keep our prices really low for these types of events so we don't have much wiggle room. But we are always happy to try to accommodate everyone's needs and budget.