Gold mining must have been a nightmare in the 1800’s, where people panned for gold for months only to find small flakes of gold or give up before finding any. In this age of advanced technology, gold prospecting technologies using gold metal detectors have come a long way in ensuring that before embarking on mining, gold miners know exactly the amount of gold they will get.
A gold metal detector is specifically made for gold prospection. They are exclusive to gold detecting and do not pick signals for other metals, unlike regular metal detectors. The standard gold metal detector uses Very Low Frequency (VLF) or Pulse Inductioncircuits to detect gold and filter out all the other metals in its magnetic field.
The major investment you make in gold prospecting is purchasing a quality gold metal detector. Having a good gold metal detector is a great stride towards success. There a variety of gold metal detectors and some review of those detectors will have you well informed before purchasing one.
Types of gold metal detectors
They are generally two types of gold metal detectors, based on their mechanism for detecting gold;
- Very Low Frequency (VLF) gold metal detectors
- Pulse Induction (PI)gold metal detectors
Very Low Frequency fold metal detectors
As the name suggests, these detectors use very low frequency circuits to detect gold nuggets. Some of the popular models in this category are
- Fisher Gold Bug Pro
- Fisher Gold Bug 2
- White’sGoldMaster GMT
- Garret AT Gold
- Tesoro LoboSuperTra
- Minelab Eureka Gold
VLF gold metal detectors greatly pride in their ability to detect very minute nuggets of gold. In hands of an experienced user, these detectors beat their Pulse Induction counterparts in detecting small sized nuggets.
VLF gold metal detectors are quite affordable compared to pulse induction detectors. It is possible to find a new VLF detector for less than $ 1000, or even a second hand but in-shape detector for a few hundred bucks.
They are relatively light, which makes carrying them around less of a hard task.
On the other hand, VLF gold metal detectors have their shortcomings, the main of them being their inability to detect gold nuggets lying deep. They can only detect gold nuggets at a maximum depth of 12”, a factor that greatly cripples their success if the nuggets are lying deeper than that.
VLF gold metal detectors cannot detect nuggets in highly mineralized ground and very hot rocks, the common surrounding of gold nuggets. This problem is solved by proper tuning, reducing sensitivity to a point it can only detect a very limited depth.
Here is a quick review of each of the VLF gold metal detectors;
Fisher Gold Bug 2metal detector
This gold metal detector exhibits excellent sensitivity, ultra-high frequency (highest in the marker), and dust and moisture resistance, incredible iron discrimination ability making it suitable for highly mineralized soils. It has an audio- boost that ensures signals for small and deep seated nuggets are heard.
It has 3-level mineralization switch, to ensure perfect ground balance is achieved.
It operates at 71 kHz, for extreme sensitivity to small gold nuggets. It operates on an iron diskmode which bears its high iron discrimination ability.
It features a 10” elliptical search coil and is convertible to hip mount or chest mount. It weighs 2.9 lbs.
Fisher Gold Bug Pro metal detector
This metal detector was released in 2010, its digital and is made to find very small amount of gold.
It features digitalized ground balancing, static pinpoint with depth indicator, V.C.O audio in all Metal and Discrimination mode, computerized ground grab TM and 5” search coil.
It also has independent control over threshold and gain, continuous ground readouts and ground phase value that indicates the amount of mineralization.
It is a lightweight machine weighing at 2.5 lbs.
White’s GoldMaster GMTmetal detector
This is a tough machine meant for gold mining in harsh environments. It features 48 kHz frequency ,6×9” waterproof elleptical search coil and a digital microprocessor software that automatically eliminate ground mineralization
It has long life batteries lasting for 30-35 hours after recharging, a grab push pad for setting ground balance, automatic ground balace and Follow the Paystreakfeature that displays the amount of magnetic minerals in the soil.
Garret AT Goldmetal detector
It is an all-terrain machine, with excellent depth detection. It operates at a frequency of 18 kHz which makes detection of small nuggets of gold possible. It has a digital target ID which makes it easy to distinguish target from other metal.
It features high resolution iron discrimination, with 40 points of iron resolution. It has adjustable threshold that allows the user to adjust audio threshold to hear targets better.
It has a manual ground balance, allowing the detector to preset the machine for suitability of the location of gold prospecting. It also features an electronic pinpoint that helps with telling the precise location of the gold nuggets detected
Tesoro Lobo SuperTraqmetal detector
This machine has a computerized ground tracking system with three modes; normal, alkali and black sand. It has adjustable threshold control, operates excellently in mineralized soils due to good ground balancing and has maximum boost sensitivity.
It can detect small nuggets of gold at quite some depth. It is lightweight and has a body mountable design.
Minelab Eureka Gold metal detector
It has triple frequency of 6.4, 20 and 60 kHz, giving a broader operation range for different soils. It has an automatic ground balancing system and has variable discrimination control with high iron discrimination in each level.
It features 5×10” elliptical search coil and it shows the depth and size of the gold, through change in the reading at the elliptical coil.
It has an easy mount system, with a single button push firmly mounting the control box to the stem. It also has easy to access rechargeable batteries, making recharging them easy.
It is a lightweight weighing 2.6 lbs.
Pulse Induction gold metal detectors
Some of the common PI gold metal detectors are
- Minelab GP and SD metal detector models
- White’ TDI Pro
- White’s TDI
Pulse induction gold metal detectors are considered superior to VLF detectors, due to their ability to detect gold nuggets at great depths. They can detect small to medium sized nuggets but not small flakes.
They are also able to detect gold nuggets on hot rocks; hot rocks do not tamper with their efficiency.
Pulse induction detectors have superior ability to ignore conductive and non-conductive ground mineralization and still maintain high sensitivity to target metal/metals and in this case gold.
Gold metal detectors in this category are quite pricey, going for well over $5000, which most likely screams quality.
Minelab GP and SD metal detector models
Minelab GPX 5000 metal detectors
It is the latest release from Minelab and it is the beast in gold prospecting. It is the deepest detecting machine in the market.
It uses Minelab’s patented technologies; MPS, SETA and DVT. MPS technology establishes the amount of ground mineralization, which help the machine achieve better ground balancing.
DVT technology involves transmission of two voltages giving better sensitivity to small targets at deeper depths. It has audio indications of the size and depth of the god nugget.
SETA keeps all the timings perfectly aligned improving depth, sensitivity and stability of the GP detector.
It applies the Minelab’s Bi-level technology that gives more target information, discriminating iron and other non- target metals.
GPX 5000 has 8 timings, with each of the timing changing the way the machine works. The preference of timing is informed by your target size and level of mineralization of the soil.
It has 11” DD coil that discriminate iron and other non-ferrous materials.
Minelab SDC 2300 metal detector
It is compact, waterproof and a tough machine for harsh gold prospecting conditions. It is a high performance mid-range gold detector, excellent for detecting minute nuggets of gold on water and soil.
It is a military grade machine with automatic ground tracking, 9 audio levels, 8 step sensitivity adjustment and a weight of 5.3 lbs.
It is submersible hence can be used for gold prospecting in water bodies.
It detects gold nuggets at great depths, has high sensitivity and automatic ground balance that filters out iron mineralization.
It has 12” spider search coil or 7.5” optical search coil, is waterproof and weighs 3.5 pounds.
It has variable audio select, volume control, threshold control, pulse delay control, frequency control and 3 way target conductivity selector. It can detect small deep-seated gold nuggets.
White TDI Pro
It is a lightweight machine that provides great stability and sensitivity, elimination effects of heavy ground mineralization. It can detect small sizes of gold at great depths using pulse induction power.
It has a NHIM rechargeable battery that lasts up to hours, with a backup alkaline AA battery to ensure all day prospecting.