Somebody once said Maine is a state of mind. Having grown up on the coast of Maine the author must agree. It was in Maine where he learned how to pan for gold. The state has been producing gold for many years. Someone was conducting a drilling operation in the Allagash and found an area where the gold was absolutely smeared onto the drill bit.
The gold target proved to be so rich it was decided to sink a shaft right there. After they had the shaft excavated to the level where they had found the rich gold it was right there waiting. What the miners found was a long, narrow boulder that was loaded with gold and a drill hole that passed completely through the boulder vertically. At least they recovered enough gold from the boulder to break even.
That is the trouble with gold to develop a single mine requires so much money that except for a placer mine the individual operator is priced out of the game from the beginning. Placer mining has been occurring in Maine for years, and it is here that a lucky prospector can make some real money if he is lucky. It takes hundreds of hardrock prospects to make a mine.
The placer gold in Maine is the result of the continental glaciers that covered the state thousands of years ago. Some of it was ripped from local lode deposits and more was brought down from neighboring Quebec and New Brunswick in Canada. This placer gold is now found in every county in the state in all its rivers and streams as well as its many beaches. The state allows you to recover this placer gold using pans or a suction dredge no larger then four inches in diameter. They also permit a sluice box less then ten feet square
Unlike most of the other New England states Maine promotes mining activity in the state with active mines producing many commodities. The metals that are being most actively pursued are copper, lead, zinc and nickel. Another metal being pursued is molybdenum in the Allagash region where it is found in volcanic rocks.
As a teenager the author often panned for gold on the beaches of Maine around York and the surrounding oceanfront towns. The most gold I ever found in these early prospecting ventures was where a stream entered the ocean on Ogunquit Beach. This locality produced several specks of gold, and a lot of magnetite sand.
You can find gold in just about any river or stream in the state of Maine; all you have to do is look. Over the years many of the prospectors that have worked the rivers and streams of Maine have found enough gold to make manufacturing jewelry from Maine Gold a thriving business. In your search for gold especially in the western counties of Maine you are apt to find many gemstones such as amethyst, beryl, tourmaline and topaz.
A group of hunters in the town of Newry, found a pocket of tourmaline that was worth over $8 million. There was so much tourmaline removed from this pocket that they had to buy an abandoned bank in the town of Mexico to keep the gem quality crystals in the old banks vault. The remaining crystals were stored in the banks basement.
Maine has been noted for many years dating back into the 19th century for its mineral wealth. In the town of West Paris a man named Stanley Perham established the Maine Mineral Shop that became world-famous for its fine collection of native stones that were collected locally in the Oxford County Maine area. Aside from gold there are plenty of other minerals to be found in Maine that are valuable and are well worth your trouble to go looking for. Who knows you may find another valuable pocket of gemstones like the fellows found in Newry.
A partial list of the rivers and streams where you can pan for gold in the state has been prepared by the Maine Geological Survey. A link to the Maine Geological Survey accompanies this article in the references.
For more information about gold mining go here!
Maine Geological Survey, Gold in Maine, http://www.maine.gov/doc/nrimc/mgs/explore/minerals/facts/goldfact.htm
Plumbago Mining Corp., Mount Mica Rarities, http://www.mainetourmalineonline.com/tourmaline_facts.html
Maine Geological Survey, Mineral Collecting in Maine, http://www.maine.gov/doc/nrimc/mgs/explore/minerals/index.htm
Perham's of West Paris Maine, http://homepage.mac.com/rasprague/PegShop/perham.html