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Meet Jerry Jensen – an Expert on Mining History and Panning for Gold in Colorado

Jerry Jensen has gold mining in his veins. After touring the Phoenix Gold Mine back in 1995, he found gold mining to be fascinating. He immediately reached out to the owner for a job and has been working with Phoenix Gold Mine on and off for the last 26 years! While many of his coworkers lead tours, he mostly works as a miner – fixing equipment, maintaining the safety of the mine, and making educational displays. As an experienced miner, he has lots of knowledge to share. (He even helped with research and testing at the Edgar Experimental Mine at the Colorado School of Mines!) Yet, gold mining remains near and dear to him. When asked if he could only do one aspect of mining for the rest of his life, he immediately, gleefully responded “Mine gold!”

Jerry’s favorite part of his job is curating displays about historic mining practices and the lives of hard-working gold miners. He enjoys shifting people’s preconceptions about mining since people don’t always realize how mining and panning for gold in Colorado can be a lot of hard work. He said: “I think people come in with their own idea about mining and after we go through and show them what all these people have been doing, people leave with a different feeling and a sense of awe about how they did all of that hard work.”

Jerry Jensen brings his passion for mining and his personal experience working in mines to create inspiring and impressive exhibits. His favorite recent exhibit shows visitors what a vein of gold looks like before it is mined. During our interview, you could hear the joy in his voice as he started to share the secret of how a vein of gold forms - “Even when you hear about it, it is hard to believe how the vein is formed.”

Jerry clearly loves sharing his knowledge about rocks and mining with visitors. People have traveled to Idaho Springs from all over the world to try their hand at panning for gold in Colorado. He fondly recalled, “The other day we had a family here where the mom and dad spoke English, but the kids couldn’t. All they wanted to do was enjoy the gold panning.”

A woman and young girl look into a gold pan near a creek

Jerry also enjoys teaching gold panning from time to time. He said, “I do love [leading] gold panning lessons because when [people] see the gold in the bottom of the pan, their eyes get so big, and they say ‘Wow! Look at that!’”

Jerry Jensen brings The Phoenix Gold Mine a variety of entertaining and educational experiences for all ages. In addition to excellent tours and some of the best panning for gold in Colorado, you won’t want to miss Jerry Jensen’s educational exhibits. Come see Jerry’s wonderful displays and hear his nuggets of mining wisdom when you visit The Phoenix Gold Mine!

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