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Downtown Fairbanks, AlaskaThere is a considerable amount of gold in the hills that surround Fairbanks, Alaska. Near Fairbanks the Fort Knox Gold Mine opened about five years ago. This state-of-the-art multimillion dollar facility had every intention of extracting more than a billion ounces of gold from the land around where the gold mile was located.

There are literally thousands of notices of gold mining claims as well as hundreds of small gold mining operations on numerous pieces of land just north of Fairbanks. There are many different public places where a prospector can pan for gold, but if a claim is posted you can’t operate a gold dredge or pan for gold. For the extra hardy prospector, there is always the back country to search for gold.

There are some prospectors who supplement their income or even make a decent living by searching for and finding gold, although there are no stories of overnight millionaires. During what is known locally as a break up in the spring of 1995 when everything was either melting of thawing the low lying areas were flooding. One man who lived in downtown Fairbanks had a flooded dirt floor in his garage. Since he didn’t have a pump around, he decided to use his two and a half gold dredge to pump out his flooded garage. Much to the consternation of the local experts and his surprise he determined that his dirt garage floor contained several ounces of gold.

Gold nuggets are very rare in the Fairbanks area. What the majority of prospectors find is known a placer gold. However, it isn’t pronounce placer but rather placid. Placer gold was carried to Fairbanks as a result of glaciers. There was a time when Fairbanks was totally covered by glaciers. After these glaciers retreated, what they carried what was left behind and deposited that into the local landscape. Placer or glacier gold is found in the form of dust or fine flakes.

The was a man who lived in a cabin next to Farmers Loop in 1997 who supplemented his income by helping local mining claimants by working their claims for them in the summertime. If your mining claim is on federal land, in order to keep it open every so often it's necessary to work your claim and then report the amount of gold that you have recovered. Panning for gold in Fairbanks is a hit or miss proposition. After working all summer long this man found only $1,700 worth of gold and another time after working another man‘s claim for only a month he recovered $35,000 worth of gold. For those who don’t necessarily enjoy taking such a risk but still see gold as a good investment, there is always gold for sale.

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