Gold panning season opens April 5 at Reed Gold Mine

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 23, 2014

MIDLAND — Reed Gold Mine’s gold panning season begins April 5 and visitors can use metal pans to find gold. A few special gold nuggets will be given away throughout the day. Panning tickets are $3 per pan, and visitors must be at least 8 to participate. Other activities are free.
The traveling exhibit, “Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge: 1718,” will be in its final days at Reed Gold Mine. This exhibit showcases cannon balls, gold nuggets and other artifacts recovered from Blackbeard’s shipwreck. It highlights information on Blackbeard, the recovery effort and pirates off the coast of North Carolina. It is the largest display of artifacts, except for the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort which is the repository for artifacts from the shipwreck. There will be a children’s craft and coloring area to create a take home souvenir of the exhibit.
Reed Gold Mine will also begin operation of the stamp mill for the season during this celebration. The 1890s era California type 10 stamp mill was used to extract gold from quartz. The quartz was crushed, washed over mercury treated copper plates and ended up on the concentrating table. Mercury and gold form an amalgam which could then heated, boiling the mercury away to collect the gold.
Visitors also can view the exhibits and explore the underground mine through guided and self-guided tours. The mine takes visitors through 450 feet of tunnel, mostly 50 feet below the surface. There are also several walking trails on the property, allowing for a pleasant mix of history and nature experiences. 
Reed Gold Mine State Historic Site is part of the N.C. Division of State Historic Sites. Reed Gold Mine preserves the site of the first documented discovery of gold in the United States.