The search for outcrops or surface exposures of mineral deposits. Searching for new deposits; also preliminary explorations to test the values of lodes or placers already known to exist. (See also "exploration".)
The act of searching for gold, silver, copper, lead, or any other valuable metal. In the case of placer gold deposits, the prospector retrieves the gold as he finds it, thus becoming a miner. If lodes or low-grade metals are located, the prospector usually sells or leases the rights to them to a large mining company which has the necessary equipment and resources to mine them, and he continues looking, or "prospecting," for new finds.