panning for gold

That one time I tried to find gold in Taiwan…

I’ve lived in Taiwan for about a decade, and for all of that time, I’ve been obsessed with buried treasure. It’s not that hard to imagine: Taiwan was once a base of pirates and trading companies. There were wars – and even a rumor of a huge cache of Japanese gold buried before they abandoned the island.

Plus, it has a couple of old gold mining towns up north (Jinguashi and Jiufen) that closed down 50 years ago (the alluvial deposits should have built up by now… or maybe they missed stuff with their old fashioned mining techniques).

However, digging for gold in Taiwan is hard work.


The ground is hard and rocky. Difficult to get a shovel in. Sometimes it took an hour to dig a foot deep, just to find some old scrap metal (lots of scrap in Taiwan). I also tried panning in the river – I wasn’t the only one, check out this YouTube video.

All I got was a sunburn and a lot of dirt under my fingernails, but it was a nice day on the river.

The gold is still up there though: this article says illegal miners have broken the seals of the old mines and carried off around 5million USD worth of gold in the past few years!

Read it here.

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