Backpack Dredging in Quito
by Lisa G.
I'm seriously thinking about coming to Ecuador and doing some backpack dredging for gold near Quito. I was a regular on your other site a couple of years ago and I remember one fellow who was complaining that he was "only" pulling about 1/3 oz. per day out of the river dredging.
A couple of questions...is that kind of yield average in the rivers near Quito? Also, with gold at all time highs, will there be difficulties with foreigners coming in and prospecting?
Thanks in advance for your input. Glad to see you back, by the way; we had a pretty good email correspondence going for a little while and I've missed talking to you!
Stan's response: Hi Lisa, Good to be back in touch with you again.
Your question, while very good, is a little bit complicated to answer properly. I'll break it down into a few pieces and see what we come up with.
First, yes there are alluvial gold deposits within 5 hours (by bus) of Quito that have enough gold in them to dredge 1/3 of an oz. per day with a backpacker dredge (2" or 3").
BUT, in order to recover 1/3 oz. of gold per day you must:
1. Be an experienced gold dredger and know how to read the river and work in the "high-possibility" spots.
2. Speak pretty good Spanish or have a full-time translator.
3. Have the necessary time to get located in the best possible spot without entering into problems with fellow dredgers or with landowners or with concession owners. This could take a week or three if you work fast and have the right personality.
Conditions have changed a bit now from when I began prospecting in the jungle here in Ecuador. A few years ago, nobody even knew what a gold dredge was. Now, there is an association of gold dredgers in the jungle and they have about 150 members!
Landowners have also become very demanding and now want up to 50% of the recovery. That is downright stupid and ridiculous. And, that is before even talking to the concession owner, if there is one. What is the solution to all this craziness?
I recommend going to more remote, lesser-known areas. I know of at least a dozen. If you do make the decision to come to Ecuador with your dredge, I will be willing to spend a day with you going over the maps and geology. I have done this with dozens of people in the last 3 years and I'll be happy to do it for you - no charge.
Feel free to continue this discussion and ask me more questions. I am here to help.