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Gold and silver are classed as ‘Mines Royal’. This means that in most cases they belong to the Crown. Because of this, if you intend to carry out gold and silver exploration for commercial gain, you should contact The Crown Estate.
You will also need permission from The Crown Estate to take away gold that you may have found or discovered, whatever the method you have used. However, if you find gold through panning it is unlikely that The Crown Estate will grant you permission to take it away.
The Crown Estate may sometimes grant you a lease of Mines Royal within a specific area. However, you will still have to get rights of access to this land from the landowner.
If you want to commercially exploit any Mines Royal, you should contact Wardell Armstrong LLP - The Crown Estate Mineral Agent.