The Gold Dredging MethodOne of the ways that some companies look for gold in rivers and bodies of water is through the gold dredging process. Although it has been replaced in modern times by the use of chemicals and other methods, dredging for gold is still one of the more popular techniques of gold mining for smaller companies and individuals that can afford the necessary equipment. In this method of prospecting for gold, a machine called a suction dredge is used to separate the different materials that make up the bed of the body of water. Most models of the mining equipment are designed to float on top of the water and use a sluice box that is connected to a hose that provides the necessary suction.
In the United States, there are several regulations that guide how a person or company can use gold dredging techniques. Many of these guidelines limit the operations to certain periods of time throughout the year. This is because many of the rivers and lakes are the native breeding grounds for particular species of fish and other animals. The time allotted for dredging for gold is meant to prevent the procedures from disrupting the natural breeding season. In addition, many of the states and regions where gold dredging is common have instituted other licensing requirements for companies that engage in prospecting for gold.
There is also a form of gold dredging that is much less damaging to the environment. In areas where tides recede and leave parts of the ground exposed, some mining equipment can be used that is placed only on the land. With the bed being visible, less of the natural vegetation will be removed and the operators of the gold dredging devices will be able to limit the disruption to the flow of water.