Suction Gold Dredging

Suction Gold Dredging is usually a smaller mining operation when compared to past mining operations. Gold Dredges use suction, much like a vacuum cleaner to suck up the dirt off the bottom on waterways. The dirt and gravel travel through a ten feet or longer hose and deposit the material into a sluice box. The sluice box then catches the gold and any other material heavy enough to be caught in the sluice box.

Some gold dredges are equipped with a Hookah system, which will allow the operator to work underwater for longer periods of time, thus increasing production. When working in deep holes it may be a requirement to have on installed or available in order to get to the good gold. Having air is something to consider when purchasing a gold dredge.

Sampling is a critical for successful gold dredging. Instead of just jumping in and start dredging. It may be wiser to make some sample holes until you find gold, as gold will not always be just anywhere. Gold follows a specific path within the waterway and many times the gold will accumulate in what is called pay streaks. Sampling might take some time, but once you find a pay streak it can usually be followed up stream or down stream.

Be Safe. Do not create hazards underwater. If you dig a dredge hole at too steep an angle you may be asking for trouble. Don’t place yourself in harms way. You can become trapped or seriously injured if boulders fall down into the hole you are digging. It is best to have a plan and to systematically dig your hole. throwing rocks and boulders as far as you can from the dredge hole. Be smart.

Larger gold dredges allow you to move more rocks and material into your sluice box, but they also do not clog as easily as smaller dredges. On small dredges with a 3 inch or less diameter hose size, smaller material will get clogged and you will have to unclog them from time to time. All gold dredges get clogged, but the bigger ones are much more efficient.




Gold Dredges

Gold dredges are placer gold getting machines that extracts gold from sand, gravel and dirt from under the water using methods to process the dirt and material into a sluice box for gold recovery.

Original gold dredges were very large and expensive to build. The larger dredges used buckets to move material from the bottom of the waterway and empties into a sluice system that water was being pumped through. In the Summer of 2009 I took this picture of a bucket line dredge, or what is left of it: (click on the picture for a closer look)


bucket line gold dredge

An old bucket line gold dredge near the Cripple River Nome, Alaska

Sumpter bucket gold dredge

Probably the most famous bucket gold dredge. Sumpter, Oregon.

Smaller suction machines are currently marketed as “gold dredges” to consumers known as prospectors or small scale gold miners who want to try their luck at finding some yellow gold. Gold Dredging is one of the most effective ways of gold recovery, while improving fish habitat by creating deeper and cooler holes for the fish and creating new spawning areas in heavily competitive spawning grounds.

Gold dredging is environmentally friendly, fun and you can make money at it.

Gold mining equipment is very hard to find and acquire during the peak mining period mainly the summer months, so it is advised to buy your equipment as soon as possible if you are serious about it.