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Although this method has largely been replaced by modern methods, some dredging is done by small-scale miners using suction dredges.
These are small machines that float on the water and are usually operated by one or two people.
The box is placed in the stream to channel water flow.
Gold-bearing material is placed at the top of the box.
Gold panning is the easiest and quickest technique for searching for gold, but is not commercially viable for extracting gold from large deposits, except where labor costs are very low or gold traces are substantial.
Panning is often marketed as a tourist attraction on former gold fields.
(Golden objects found in Harappa and Mohenjo-daro have been traced to Kolar through the analysis of impurities — the impurities include 11% silver concentration, found only in KGF ore.) The Champion reef at the Kolar gold fields was mined to a depth of 50 metres (160 ft) during the Gupta period in the fifth century AD.
During the Chola period in the 9th and 10th century AD, the scale of the operation grew.
Gold was a prime motivation for the campaign in Dacia when the Romans invaded Transylvania in what is now modern Romania in the second century AD.A suction dredge consists of a sluice box supported by pontoons, attached to a suction hose which is controlled by a miner working beneath the water.State dredging permits in many of the United States gold dredging areas specify a seasonal time period and area closures to avoid conflicts between dredgers and the spawning time of fish populations.The metal continued to be mined by the eleventh century kings of South India, the Vijayanagara Empire from 1336 to 1560, and later by Tipu Sultan, the king of Mysore state and the British.It is estimated that the total gold production in Karnataka to date is 1000 tons.
Placer deposits are composed of relatively loose material that makes tunneling difficult, and so most means of extracting it involve the use of water or dredging.