Locations, Requirements, Informations

What about legal requirements regarding goldpanning?

Mining law in Switzerland is cantonal or municipal law. Goldpanning is tolerated by most of our cantons and municipalities. There are a few exeptions, however (see below). The positive image of goldpanning in Switzerland is the reason for this tolerance. Since 1993, the Swiss Goldprospectors' Association has advised prospectors to avoid using motorized suction dredges and has recommended working manually (goldpans, shovels, and sluices). This equipment is adequate to recover gold from the small gold occurences in Switzerland and allows everyone to fully relax in the quiet of nature. The Swiss Goldprospectors' Association calls upon compliance with its Code of Conduct (text in German).

The exeptions:
Please be aware that the Swiss Goldprospectors' Association does not warrant for these informations mentioned below because the cantons/municipalities normally do not inform us about changes. So the informations could be outdated or incomplete.

Location Requirements Information
Canton Ticino (entire canton) A fee is charged for goldpanning (Decreto legislativo disciplinate la ricerca e la raccolta di rocce, minerali e fossili 15.3. 1995):
  • Annual pass (Ticinesi/inhabitants of Ticino) CHF 150.-
  • Annual pass (all others) CHF 250.-
  • Daily pass (Groups up to 10) CHF 200.-
  • Daily pass (Groups 11 to 20) CHF 350.-
To apply for a pass (please send photo of yourself and use form on Museo cantonale website):

Museo cantonale di storia naturale
Via cantonale 4
CH-6900 Lugano
Tel. 091/923 78 27

Canton Grison, Municipality of Disentis Goldpanning is only permitted from May 1st to October 15th. Only hand methods (goldpan, shovel, sluice up to 1.2m in length) are permitted. Guided tours are subjected to a fee. Information and text of the law (of May 2000) available at Gemeindeverwaltung Disentis ([email protected])
Canton Grison, Municipality of Medel/Lucmagn Goldpanning is forbidden on Sundays. Otherwise, restrictions are similar to those of Disentis. Information and text of the law (of 15 Dec. 2000) available at Gemeindeverwaltung Medel/Lucmagn
Canton Grison, Municipality of Sumvitg Goldpanning is only permitted from May 1st to October 15th. Only hand methods (pan, shovel, sluice up to 2m in length) are permitted. Guided tours are subject to a fee. Text of the law (of January 1st, 2001):
Canton Grison, Municipality of Obersaxen Goldpanning needs a permit, is possible only between May 1st and Sept. 15th. and only with hand methods. Special permits for guided tours. Text of the law (of June 18th, 2004): http://www.gemeinde-obersaxen.ch/ (Rubrik Gemeinde/Verwaltung/Gesetze)
Canton Geneva (entire canton) Goldpanning with hand methods only. Permit for groups required.

River Allondon: Forbidden downstream of bridge near Russin, generally forbidden in the entire river from Oct. 1st to the 3rd saturday in May.

Require permit for groups from:

Domaine nature et paysage (DNP), Rue des Battoirs 7, 1201 Genève

Canton Neuchâtel (entire canton) Since January 1st, 2008 the canton of Neuchâtel has banned goldpanning from all its creeks and rivers Text of the applicable law (Art. 6, p. 3) and information of the state council (p. 2).

Searching for gold outside of the rivers (which is not gold panning but hard rock searching of lode gold occurrences) is regulated like rock and gem collecting (rock hounding). Many Swiss cantons or municipalities put restrictions into force . You find the details on the Website of the Schweizerischen Vereinigung der Strahler, Mineralien- und Fossiliensammler SVSMF, section Reglemente/Patente+Verbote.