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Swiss win silver panning for gold

Gold panning is a popular hobby the world over Keystone Archive

A Swiss team, looking for gold at the world panning championships in Maryborough, Australia, has walked away with a silver medal.

This content was published on October 31, 2001 - 12:24

Five Swiss joined over 300 other gold prospectors from all over the world in the small Victorian town, a historical mining centre not far from Melbourne.

Despite their numerical inferiority - the Swedish team had 60 members - the Swiss managed to come second in the pairs' competition thanks to René Rollier and Werner Marti. Rollier also finished fourth in the individual event, behind two Swedes and a Finn.

The rules of the competition are simple. Each team receives a 15-kilogramme bucket of sand and gravel in which 10 gold flakes are hidden.

The winner is the team that finds the flakes in the shortest time, with five-minute penalties added for each missed flake. The best competitors took less than two minutes to separate the gold from the dirt.

The Swiss group was also on a fact-finding mission in Australia. The next world championships will be held in Switzerland in 2003.

Prospectors will meet in Willisau, canton Lucerne, where gold has always been easy to find. The site is a favourite haunt of Swiss panning enthusiasts.

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