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  1. 6 likes
    #1 Rule -- ADVERTISING IS NOT ALLOWED IN THIS FORUM and you will be BANNED ON YOUR FIRST OFFENSE. I don't think we can make this any clearer -- this is not the place to post advertisements. Welcome to our forum! We had a few glitches, but we seem to have most of the bugs worked out. Our goal is to provide a place for miners and prospectors of all skill levels to exchange information. Of course, we hope you will also discover that our monthly publication, ICMJ's Prospecting and Mining Journal, is the other important piece of this information puzzle you can't live without. As most of you know, we have been serving the mining industry for a long time -- since 1931. It takes a long time to build a reputation for honesty and integrity, and we are seeking your help to remain an industry leader. We have an opportunity here with this forum to have some great exchanges of information. We have moderators, but it is impossible for them to monitor every message. We need your help to keep each forum on topic and to avoid posting derogatory or objectionable material. Off-topic posts will be deleted. Currently, your moderators are: Chris Ralph, Associate Editor, ICMJs Prospecting and Mining Journal Chris has been writing for us since 2004, and he took on the role of Associate Editor in 2008. He has experience in small and large scale mining, in both surface and underground operations. Chris has a degree in Mining Engineering from Nevada's Mackay School of Mines. He is an individual prospector who has been prospecting in California, Nevada, Arizona and Alaska for many years, and recently made his first venture into Australia in search of gold. Chris contributes several articles each month, including our "Ask The Experts" column. (View the list of articles Chris has written for the Journal.) He is based in Reno, Nevada. Scott Harn, Editor/Publisher, ICMJs Prospecting and Mining Journal Scott is a third-generation Editor/Publisher for the Journal, following his father and grandfather. He took over as Editor/Publisher in 1999, though he has been involved with the Journal since the mid-1970s. Scott is a small-scale miner/dredger who has prospected in California, Oregon, Washington and Montana. He authors an article or two each month for the Journal, including the "Legislative and Regulatory Update" column. (View the list of articles Scott has written for the Journal.) Scott is based in Aptos, California. Steve Herschbach, Senior Writer Steve has been prospecting, highbanking, dredging, and metal detecting for gold since the early 70s. He eventually acquired a large placer and hardrock property at Moore Creek, Alaska and has claims at other locations in the state. Lately his prospecting ventures have expanded to Nevada, California, the UK and Australia. His interests have expanded to include gold, copper, silver, platinum, and even meteorites. Steve co-founded a dealership in 1976 that became one of the largest multi-line suppliers of prospecting and metal detecting equipment in the country. He is a respected writer and teacher, and has authored several articles for the Journal. (View a list of articles Steve has written for the Journal.) Steve is based in Alaska. Dick Hammond (aka: chickenminer) Dick has been a year-round resident of the remote little town of Chicken, Alaska for over 40 years. His entry into mining started as a youngster pulling rocks down a sluicebox for his grandfather, a start that just naturally turned into a career as a commercial placer miner in Alaska's historic Fortymile Mining District. He has fabricated much of his own mining equipment including trommels and shaker plants. His interests are varied, including winter prospecting, rockhounding, lapidary and just about all aspects of the placer industry. 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  2. 4 likes
    Miners working a bench along the Fortymile river, just below the mouth of Smith creek, had to use a ditch and then a flume to carry the water from one side of the river to the other. Quite an engineering feat with shovels, axes and whipsaws !
  3. 4 likes
    Steve, I'm pursuing the drifting method for two reasons. I can't financially afford any other way to mine...at this point. But I'm also a guy stuck in the past. I have nothing but reverence and awe for the old miners and their ways of getting to the gold or whatever else they were mining. I'm also about adventure. I'm a dreamer and an eternal optimist who believes I can recreate the old ways..with a little help from modern technology...and be successful in my endeavors. The day I quit dreaming and pushing the edge is the day God can take me home.
  4. 3 likes
    Late December last year I began digging a 6' x 6' prospect shaft about 100' downstream from the original Cobb prospect shaft. Armed with a 30 lb electric jack hammer, a couple of shovels and my nifty 1/2 size home made "Fairbanks self dumping bucket" system I worked my way down through frozen muck and eventually a 10' gravel layer to bed rock at 62'. On my way down I encountered layers of tangled branches and trees up to 6" in diameter. After 40+ feet I hit fine sand and scattered patches of gravel, fossil bone fragments, then complete bones. I was anticipating these finds but the excitement of actually finding them was intense. The first chunk of mammoth tusk nearly put me over the top. Progressing downward, the bones became less frequent and the pay gravel more dense. I had been told that a jack hammer would be ineffective in frozen gravel. Good I don't listen to everything I hear; it busted up almost as easy as the muck. The gravel graded into fractured and decomposed bed rock and I knew I had finally reached my goal...10 months after starting the project. Before freeze up I was able to wash 5 yards of pay and the result was encouraging. I'll have to wait till late spring to resume processing what I brought up before and what I can hoist this winter. Now it's late November and all is solidly frozen above as well as below ground. Since bottoming out in the shaft I've been devoting most of my time to upgrades above the shaft in preparation for winter work. Also I had to take a part time job in town to help pay for the added expense of moving to a small cabin also in Fairbanks. What little time I've been able to devote to underground efforts have been to expand my working space. On the way down I managed to increase the dimensions of the shaft from 6' x 6' to over 7' square. The plan is to continue out to 10' square before I begin pushing the drifts across the valley. Jack hammering straight down is relatively easy compared to working horizontally and even vertically. Sufficient pressure is difficult to exert out of position so I began working on ideas to free the gravel other than by the traditional steaming or blasting to reduce the great amount of physical labor involved with jack hammering. Suffice it to say, I'm making good progress in those efforts. I'll report on this process in months to come.
  5. 3 likes
    Not an awful lot to report. I'm about 9' in my drift which is about 5' wide and 5' 6" high at the top of an arch. My gravel is very atypical with large lenses of pure muck in between a jumble of chunky, fine and ground up shist bedrock, large cobbles, angular and rounded quartz and a smattering of intrusives. There's no bedding or layering except for the muck and I even have bones almost to bed rock, one of those being a young mammoth jaw complete with two teeth found 2' off bed rock. It's quite a conundrum. And the gold is not primarily just off bed rock but spotty and scattered throughout the entire column. Got any ideas? Heavy flood event?? I'm also continually making changes to my heat rods for the gravel thawing. My latest iteration should be ready to test out in about 2 weeks. From calculations and prior experience I'm expecting some really effective thawing. I'm also improving my drilling system making it faster and less labor intensive. My bucket hoist has been working nearly flawlessly. I'm ready for the cold to leave though I'm not looking forward to fighting with runoff again this year. Got some ideas how to mitigate it. More soon. Thannks all for your continued interest.
  6. 3 likes
    Here is a bit of gold I have got on a couple recent trips to the northern Nevada goldfields - Been a really wet last 6 weeks or so up this way with thundershowers and lightning on many days. The total weight for this gold is about ten grams, or roughly 1/3rd of an ounce. The bigger pieces were found with Minelab's GPZ 7000, while the smaller stuff, mostly to the right side of the photo, was taken with their SDC 2300 - both very definitely have their place for the types of detecting I do. I've had rain shortened days prospecting where I had to sit in my car and wait out a storm, etc. and some partial days that were spent with some time prospecting but some time driving back and forth to the gold fields and later returning home. I'd say this gold represents the equivalent of about 5 full days of prospecting. I wish I could claim the biggest piece was some faint warble of a signal that I had the talent and skills to hear and identify, but it was a loud booming target less than an inch deep that any metal detector could have heard. When it boomed through my earphones I was sure it was trash, but I dug it and in much of northern Nevada there is not a lot of trash. The second swing of my pick a dirt clod flipped over and the big nugget was shining back at me. That was a nice feeling! Good gold is still out there, it just takes some work, persistence and a bit of luck - and sometimes you need some patience while waiting for the thunderstorms to stop.
  7. 3 likes
    Great story Harry. Best to use the power of the mining laws and discreetly go about your business. If you come to the determination that your activities will rise to a "notice level" of disturbance, then it may be time to make a call to a public land official. For small-scale projects, "hide and do your thing" works pretty well.
  8. 3 likes
    I'll address the issue that you put in the title of your post. Equipment that is powered by human strength (non-motorized) is legal in any water, any time per the Deputy Atty General for Natural Resources and IDWR. If you are running a highbanker in an upland location, obviously you are away from the creek, so IDWR says no permit required, BUT they recommend a Water Rights Permit to draw water from the creek to feed your upland located highbanker. If you're trying to run a highbanker right next to the creek with your discharge returning directly to the creek, however you filter it through the grass, etc, is a gray area. In that case, I'd seek forgiveness rather than permission. Bob
  9. 3 likes
    We got permission to park the Airstream in an outlying lot of a nearby truck stop which was roughly 2 miles from where we could access the claims. The monsoon season was full on but the rain had let up briefly while we off loaded the 4 wheeler and the rest of the gear we would need work down at the old mine site. Earlier in the summer I was able to brush out an overgrown trail that ran down a long ridge and then plunged precipitously to the valley floor. The trommel along with the rest of our tools, camping equipment, pump and hoses fit nicely in a large sled I had built to haul stuff down to the mine and the Polaris had no trouble towing the load. We set up two tents, one for tools and equipment and the other to cook and sleep in. I wanted to let Alethea work the trommel and recover our first gold, so we got busy uncovering the unwashed pay gravel at the base of the gin pole. As Alethea fed the trommel, I made adjustments to the spray into both the hopper and inside the barrel. With very little tweeking I had our Eureka Gold Thief running just as I had hoped it would. Now, would it catch gold and was there any gold in the gin pole gravel? It was not easy hand shoveling the cobbles and packed gravel even after going at it with my pick mattock, and after about a half hour we couldn't stand the anticipation, so we shut off the pump and engine to do a clean up. There was a good amount of heavies in front of the riffles and a lot in the miners moss. Into the 5 gal. bucket it all went and then into my pan. A couple minutes later there was a nice line of colors in the crease. Jubilation! I left Alethea with the gold washing while I plowed into the task of cleaning out all the debris collapsed in the 6' x 6' shaft. Down a couple of feet revealed cribbing logs in various stages of decay and some were partially locked in ice. I had read about shafts being sealed off with a plug of logs, moss, and snow and I was hopeful that is what I was encountering. Rain, rain, rain! Usually light, it was more annoying than inhibiting and our rain suits kept us dry while working.; Alethea divided her time between running the trommel and making the campsite more "homey" as women are inclined to do, especially keeping a fire going for warmth and cooking. I was so into my shaft reclamation I had to be pried away to take a lunch break. Every now and then I got sidetracked digging about in the steam shack. I was utterly fascinated with the old boiler, engine and hoist and as with the shaft I was determined to free them from their prison of ice, mud and rotted logs. At that time and still now I have the dream of rebuilding the old steam works and using them to once again to bring buckets of gold bearing gravels from 60' below to the surface to be dumped beneath the gin pole. The boiler is too far gone to use safely, but the engine and hoist need only a few minor repairs, a good greasing and they'll be good to go. Every evening we hopped onto the 4 wheeler and made our way back up the trail to the road where the Jimmy was waiting to take us back to the trailer for the night...the night with almost no darkness. We were tired enough that that didn't pose much of a problem. But the rain, the rain lulled us to sleep but it made leaving the warmth of the trailer each morning just a little difficult. Hardy Alaskan miners just suck it up and go to it...so that's just what we did for 8 days. Then it was time to leave for Nome. Les and the rest of the Nome crew met at the airport, boarded a 16 passenger turbo prop aircraft and a few hours later we were looking out over Nome harbor at a choppy gray ocean. Before leaving for the remote mine camp, groceries had to be purchased, arrangements made for a loader and dozer to be hauled and a short tour around the fascinating and historic mining town taken. About as quickly as we had arrived, we were out of sight of Nome and on our way to our destination 80 miles to the north. We had been forewarned that the camp was primitive, but on first sight "primitive" was a gross understatement. The eight small shacks stood out starkly against the barren rolling tundra. Three of the 6' x 10' buildings were sleeping quarters as was a larger structure on a hill above the camp. There was a cozy kitchen/dining shack, a storage building that doubled as a propane fired shower facility, and a parts shed. Rounding out the compound was the privy which had no door. The three women in the party quickly saw to it that one was made and installed. The last time the mine was in operation was in the '30's and it was a combination of drift mine and open cut. None of the drifts were still visible as the adits were long ago collapsed. The open cut was evidenced by the rusted remains of a Sauerman bucket winch deck operated by an ancient gas engine. On another ridge were four dilapidated frame buildings that had been part of the original camp but were too far gone to use in the new operation. One of the main jobs we had was to remove any usable items from the buildings on the ridge and the grounds around them and then burn them down. It was a choice location and the new camp would eventually be relocated there. That never happened. Another job given to me was to set up a potable water supply for the camp making use of the pristine Quartz Creek. I also helped Alethea with the cooking every now and then. One of the guys started ripping and pushing frozen muck so as to get to the pay gravel beneath. The five mile long mine road off the main gravel road was in bad need of smoothing out and widening and I had the opportunity to learn to operate the large front end loader in performing that task. I must add that once I did get the loader stuck in a particularly boggy section and the dozer had to be brought out to extricate it. It wasn't all work out in the wilds of the Seward Peninsula. We had some time to explore other nearby mining ruins, pick blueberries, wash gold with a small Gold Fields vibrating washer, photograph Musk Oxen and swat hoards of mosquitoes. One Sunday afternoon I even did a 10 mile run out to the Kugaroc River and back. Yet our time in the Nome area was cut short by an unexpected cut off of funding for the operation. As difficult as were the circumstances and living conditions at the remote camp, we were sad to have to leave so soon. The tundra had a mystical beauty and serenity that we had never experienced anywhere else in our lives and we're convinced we will return some day. Stay tuned for more.
  10. 3 likes
    We are blessed that Chris, Steve, and Dick are helping out as moderators! Chris Ralph, Associate Editor, ICMJs Prospecting and Mining Journal Chris has been writing for us since 2004, and he took on the role of Associate Editor in 2008. He has experience in small and large scale mining, in both surface and underground operations. Chris has a degree in Mining Engineering from Nevada's Mackay School of Mines. He is an individual prospector who has been prospecting in California, Nevada, Arizona and Alaska for many years, and recently made his first venture into Australia in search of gold. Chris contributes several articles each month, including our "Ask The Experts" column. (View the list of articles Chris has written for the Journal.) He is based in Reno, Nevada. Steve Herschbach, Contributing Writer Steve has been prospecting, highbanking, dredging, and metal detecting for gold since the early 70s. He eventually acquired a large placer and hardrock property at Moore Creek, Alaska and has claims at other locations in the state. Lately his prospecting ventures have expanded to Nevada, California, the UK and Australia. His interests have expanded to include gold, copper, silver, platinum, and even meteorites. Steve co-founded a dealership in 1976 that became one of the largest multi-line suppliers of prospecting and metal detecting equipment in the country. He is a respected writer and teacher, and has authored several articles for the Journal. (View a list of articles Steve has written for the Journal.) Steve is based in Alaska. Scott Harn, Editor/Publisher, ICMJs Prospecting and Mining Journal Scott is a third-generation Editor/Publisher for the Journal, following his father and grandfather. He took over as Editor/Publisher in 1999, though he has been involved with the Journal since the mid-1970s. Scott is a small-scale miner/dredger who has prospected in California, Oregon, Washington and Montana. He authors an article or two each month for the Journal, including the "Legislative and Regulatory Update" column. (View the list of articles Scott has written for the Journal.) Scott is based in Aptos, California. Dick Hammond (aka: chickenminer) Dick has been a year-round resident of the remote little town of Chicken, Alaska for over 40 years. His entry into mining started as a youngster pulling rocks down a sluicebox for his grandfather, a start that just naturally turned into a career as a commercial placer miner in Alaska's historic Fortymile Mining District. He has fabricated much of his own mining equipment including trommels and shaker plants. His interests are varied, including winter prospecting, rockhounding, lapidary and just about all aspects of the placer industry.
  11. 3 likes
    "I think that only 5% of the people who go for gold can make a living isnt because of the lack of gold, but because of the lack of determination and hard work that it takes to get it." Try less than 1%
  12. 3 likes
    This is all nonsense from the EPA. I'll go into more detail later but here are a few points to consider: 1. The EPA is not in charge of permitting dredging on navigable waters of the United States, the Army Corps of Engineers is. The EPA just got spanked by the Supreme Court for interfering with the Army on their duty to administer dredge and fill. The EPA tried to void an existing permit from the Army the court told them to F* OFF. The Courts will not be pleased to hear about the EPA continuing to push their nose in their bosses business. 2. Dredge permits are for taking material from wetlands and placing it elsewhere. Gold "dredging does not "displace" material according to several recent court decisions. 3. The NPDES permit system is for permitting "point source pollution" from outside the waterway. In-water gold dredging is neither "pollution" under the law nor is it a "point source". It seems the EPA has determined that gold dredgers in Idaho are an easy mark. Despite many court cases over the last 14 years, including several Supreme Court decisions, telling the EPA they just don't have that legal power they continue to pick on the little guy in hopes of finding some way to do what Congress and the courts have told them they can't do.
  13. 2 likes
    This is from a visit in Colorado about 20 years ago. It's probably still there, just in worse shape. A lot of good equipment just left to rot! This was a mining area near Jamestown, Colorado. Flotation mill Leonard
  14. 2 likes
    I plan IiIII think I'm going to have a very interesting season myself. Gonna be doing some dredgeing, digging with my mini / mini excavator & feeding a highbanker, then moving up one sde of my claim and clearing some timber and overburden to check and see if it's bench off like I suspect, and of course with all that I'll do some metal detecting as well. And of course haveing some fun along the way. Happy & Safe Digging to You All !!!!!!!!
  15. 2 likes
    Lots of spots I've done well sniping over the years - I'm going to try to see if they have re-filled with nuggets.
  16. 2 likes
    Its been a real tough time for residents, but the floods in California should make for some great prospecting this summer. The photos below show flooding on the north fork of the Yuba River in the Downieville area. Chris
  17. 2 likes
    hey bud , thanks , me too , I built the trommel with a friend , I call it the "dredgenaut" , it is meant to be bucket fed , or small excavator , but the trommel will require direct supervision pretty consistently if using a mini ex. to feed it , and I have not purchased a mini yet , but I am willing and able too, should the need arise , California will not let me use one on my claim , and I am praying the will let me run my trommel , that is why I'm considering other opportunities , I work by myself because I don't have anyone to work with , lol , so I built the trommel to be very mobile , meant to be carried in pieces , 6 to 7 trips , heaviest piece is about 75 lbs. , I can carry each piece like nothing , made a backpack to carry the motors , here is a short , first test run , with old concentrates with some hammered lead added , do you have a place that will allow you to use your mini ,
  18. 2 likes
    With my little prospect shack buttoned up it was time to bring in a barrel stove to provide some warmth. The stove was located at the mine cabin a half mile away on my Babe Creek claim block. It would be my first time over to the cabin since the snows had blanketed the valley so I had to break trail with my trusty old Skandic snow machine. The task went smoothly though the stove was much heavier than I had expected. If I had bothered to look inside I would have seen it was encrusted with at least 30 pounds of clinker and solidified ash. Back at Cobb I beat on the barrel with a small sledge hammer till nearly all the scale had been loosened, emptied it and dragged it into the shack. Two days later the stove pipe was in place with a short section of 8" insulated pipe through the roof and a rain cap to top it all off. I brought down a load of firewood from our cabin and with the help of bit of diesel oil I had a nice fire going. The stove drew well and it took only about 20 minutes for the shack to be comfortably warm. Now it was much easier to work on the reconfiguration of my steamer from horizontal to vertical. In its previous position it presented two significant problems; it belched sickening quantities of diesel smoke into the shack and it was difficult to drain to avoid freezing and rupturing the coil. In the vertical position I have completely enclosed the coil inside a 55 gallon drum and will be able to vent all the smoke out through the roof. And when I shut the steamer down at the end of the day it will gravity drain so freezing won't be an issue. While I'm working down at Cobb the barrel stove does the job of keeping things thawed out but when I'm away and the fire dies out I need the place to remain above freezing. To accomplish this I bought and old oil drip stove which I'm hoping will do the trick. I just finished plumbing it in today to a tank outside the shack, but I didn't have a chance to try it out...had to get back to town to watch the Denver Broncos open a can of whoop ass on the Brady Bunch.
  19. 2 likes
    I appologize to everyone here on this forum. It was never my intent to come here and start a brawl. I however have been in recovery for three months, due to a back injury, but between the drugs and the pain, I have not been very friendly to anyone. In no way do I feel that my problems should become your problems, So I will try even harder to be friendly with everyone. I am sure my kids like that idea too.
  20. 2 likes
    Great topic. Around here the ditch companies made a much better profit than the miners ever did, there are over 100 miles of ditches in the Boise Basin District. Ditches don't always parellel the creek, there was a hydraulic operation in Idaho City, that used water from two creeks. The old timers didn't start digging ditches just because pumps were expensive, they dug ditches because they did not have portable pumps, like we have today, even a small pump back then was made out of so much iron that you would not want to keep moving it.
  21. 2 likes
    Over the last decade or two, I've begun studying, building and using metal detectors. The first thing I learned is everyone seems to have an opinion and most are questionable. So in a fit of irritation, I started buying books. Guess what? Most are just opinions as well. However, ... Carl Moreland and George Overton, long time denizens of the Geotech website and MD designers in their own right wrote the book, "Inside the Metal Detector." Not only does the book cover theory, but design principles and actual projects as well. But again, the principal mechanisms presented have their own biases built into the explanations. So here is my take. ALL MDs use the same basic principles. Emit an magnetic wave which induces eddy currents in the target. Then compare the magnetic wave re-emitted by the target against the magnetic wave emitted by the detector. That's it. Compare after target with before target. MD coils are NOT, I say again, NOT antennas. So for all practical purposes, forget about radio waves. Think strictly magnetic. MD coils are just one side of a transformer. Now we have to consider the detection methods. Unlike so many others, I content that there are three detection methodologies: Frequency domain, time domain and phase domain. In frequency domain, the target affects the frequency. Think of it as frequency shift. I count two different types of detectors that use this method: BFO and Loaded Loops aka Off-resonance. In the BFO, the target pulls the transmitted frequency and you hear the difference of the pull when it is compared to a stable oscillator. In the Loaded Loop, the target pulls the transmitter either into a filter pass-band or away from the filter pass-band. This pulling of frequency is due to conditionally stable oscillators using coils that have the coil characteristics (inductance) changed by metal getting within the coils area of influence. Altering the inductance changes the operating frequency. In time domain, the re-emitted signal changes the decay characteristics of the soil. By shutting off the transmitter and coil real fast and then sampling, any noticeable change in the decay can be detected. This is the realm of Pulse Induction detectors. Stability of the oscillator is absolutely mandatory. Then there is phase domain. In phase domain detection, we look at how does the target change the phase relationship designed into the detector. Regular electricity is single phase 60 cycles per second. In industry, where there is a demand for far more power, we have three phase 60 cycle. There are three separate waveforms going down the wires with each 120 degrees out of phase with the others. In phase detection MDs, the coil and electronics are designed to accommodate the difference in phase relationships between emitted and the re-emitted signal from ground. Any conductive target will alter that phase relationship. That phase difference is measured in degrees: plus or minus. Among the phase domain detectors we have T-R and IB. Stability of the oscillator is once again mandatory. In the T-R detector, we have a carefully phase balanced pair of transmitter and receiver. Each has a separate coil. Any conductive mineral will unbalance the system. These detectors are often called two-box and were used for surveys. Most are now airborne and much more complex. This complexity is at it peak in the IB detector. It uses the same principles as the T-R, but adds discrimination. So how does it add this? Remember that phase relationship and how it can be plus or minus a few degrees? That is the key. You compare the emitted against the re-emitted in both short-term and slightly longer. The ground doesn't change much in the short-term while a target does. The ground changes slower and this is compared separately and alters the ground balance. There is no change in frequency, ergo T-R and IB are NOT frequency domain detectors. Now here it comes just because I'm old and cantankerous. You WON'T learn doodley squat from reading about detector theory on some website. It will only confuse you more. If MD theory really appeals to you, buy the book. Read it, do the experiments and build the project MDs covered in the book. You might wanna lurk for awhile on the Geotech forums. Do NOT go there if your sole interest is using detectors. It is the hang-out for designers, builders and flat-out unusual characters with odd ideas. Such as mine with frequency, time and phase domain design characteristics. There is nothing mysterious about MDs. Once you learn the theory and gain experience building with electronics, you will notice that excellent MDs can be home-made. Technically speaking, magnetometers and gradiometers are MDs. They detect a localized shift in the earth's magnetic field. Once again, it is ALL about magnetism. In using mags, there must be two mags in operation. One is the reference that logs the changes in the earth's magnetic field throughout the day while the other is the sampling mag that gets carried through the survey zone. In gradiometers, there are two mags that compare their readings. Both mags are separated by a few feet and the one closest to the iron target, remember this is about magnetism, detects the localized shift in the earth's magnetic field before the one further away. No separate reference magnetometer is required because this is only a comparative detector. Comparing here with back there. Or in cases where the gradiometer is used in vertical mode, here with just up there. The key to understanding all this is forget everything you think you know about radio. This is about magnetic fields. Yes, there is an accompanying electrical field but it isn't relevant. Hope this helps a bit. I'm still learning and have a long ways to go before I can claim any measure of proficiency. First, last and always, it is all about magnetism. Induced or natural. Oh and just a friendly aside. College doesn't teach metal detector theory or design. My electronics training background was military. Even it was awful weak. Fortunately the technical manuals covering each of the military MDs was quite well written and at an 8th grade level. Nuf said. This isn't the best forum for MD theory and design. And I admit that I am pretty much a novice. Try Geotech. It is where I go for answers. Just be aware, they ain't gonna hold your hand. So you better get familiar with the website's search function. Hope you got the idea that I'm done with this thread. I presented it only for information purposes only. eric
  22. 2 likes
    Weeder... Good luck on the project! My trommel is a piece of 48" pipeline pipe. I use 1" woven wire screen in the screening section. I chose not to use punch plate. It is heavy and the surface to open space is far less than with wire screen. How many yards you can put through a 42" drum really depends on your material, the screen type and the opening in your screen. In typical material with about 50% of the bank run being minus 1" mesh I have no problem getting 50 yd/hr through my 48" drum with a 5' screen section. As for the sprocket .... having sections cut from stock works fine. If it is wearing on the chain rollers it is more likely a bad placement/ alignment issue. You do not need a continuous sprocket around the drum. Spaced segments works fine. I'll try and post some photos of my trommel build for you.
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    I'll agree that the District Ranger is "one" of the governing authorities. But, I see no reason that "any planned use should be discussed with the District Ranger". You can certainly prospect AND mine without asking. There are already regulations in place that you can review without going to the District Ranger. If the Ranger feels that you are doing something that may have an adverse affect on the forest resources, he/she will require that you file a Notice of Intent. I've done the "meet with the Ranger" before and it was a joke. My intent was to sluice an existing pile(probably 50 CY) of creek gravel into an existing hole.(both left by a past miner) When 3 vehicles and seven people showed up, I changed my strategy. I told them that I wanted to do some sampling with a shovel and a 5 gallon bucket. Whoa!!! "We need to do a detailed study on each site for arch., cultural, historical, endangered, etc...etc.... And notice needs to be sent to NOOA and it will probably be a year before they can review it". Well, I told them we had better get started locating these sites then. (The "5 gallon sampling" was only to get their reaction.) The Ranger asked me how many samples I wanted to take. I said "as long as I'm going to have to jump through the hoops, let's do about 500 throughout the claim". He said "500?". I said "yeah, about 500". He paused a moment and then asked if he could talk to his other members. They chatted a few minutes and he came back and said that they felt that I could probably do my sampling without bothering anything. They didn't want to do the "reports" that they had tried to scare me with. No more problems.....
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    Prospecting and mining in the National Forest is controlled by the District Ranger. - Geowizard
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    The Bradshaw mtns of Az have received a good amount of rain and snow lately. Most of the larger drainages should be flowing now and for several weeks. I would guess other drainages in placers around the state might be flowing now as well. If you don't know where to try dredging, you might join the roadrunner's prospecting club out of Phx. (Or meet a member and go as a guest). They have lots of dredgeable claims. Unfortunately, they agree to various restrictions imposed by the Forest Service, such as 3" dredge max (unless you are grandfathered to use 4"). There are also seasonal closures on many of the club claims due to birds and frogs you should look into. I was a member for a few years and then decided I'd go do my own thing, but it still might be a good way to get into the scene, meet peeps and get to know some creeks.
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    Sampson... This is a public forum. People post their opinions based on their observations/ life experiences. In many cases when someone asks a question they are purposely vague about details. This does not help in answering their question. Sometimes not purposely, but the questioner lacks understanding and gives misleading information in the initial question. Good luck with your project.
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    Back in November, Geowhiz wondered what was happening with Cobb Prospect; was I finished for the season? In a nutshell...things are ongoing at Cobb and my "season" never ends. It's just that what I have been doing has basically been relatively uneventful . Though of late that has begun to change, enough so that I've decided to resume documenting my endeavors. The rains of last summer played minor havoc with my claims in Fairbanks as they did Geo's in Ophir, though I was not impacted nearly to the extent many miners were statewide. Frequently I had to extricate my 4 wheeler from super saturated bogs enroute to the prospect or build makeshift bridges over my swollen little creek. But my biggest headache was incessant seepage into the shaft. And, of course, there were the never ending equipment malfunctions. As summer wound down and crisp fall weather set in it became apparent I was not going to be bringing in the gold we were counting on to help pay the bills any time soon. I had to take a job in town. About the same time my wife and I realized that wintering through in our little travel trailer was not really an option so we rented a small “wet” cabin on the banks of the Chena River at the west end of Fairbanks. I arranged my work schedule to have Friday through Sunday off so I could devote time to work the prospect. It was a welcome relief to finally have enough money to purchase some necessary equipment and supplies not the least of those being my first snow machine. I knew it wouldn't be long before my old, tired 4 wheeler wouldn't be able to manage the coming snow. A '93 Skandic II with reverse and electric start fit the bill nicely. Fairbanks got its first measurable snow, 6", at the end of October and that provided barely enough cover to operate my sled. It wasn't long before I was grinding along on bare gravel ever more frequently. You can imagine I was not enjoying my first snow machining experience and even considered selling it. Fortunately I didn't follow through with that notion. When finally the good snow cover arrived I discovered what a delightful experience snow machining can be. I bought a heavy duty Beaver plastic sled to haul stuff in and became a regular Alaska "freighter" transporting everything from fuel to lumber to wood stoves and generators from my Elliot Highway drop off down the one mile trail into the valley. The constant runoff into the shaft even as temperatures dipped below freezing inexorably built up on the walls and made the remaining opening so tight I could no longer get my bucket down. Seepage continued till the shaft was filled within 6' of the deck. Soon it was cold enough for heavy ice to form on the surface, but I was so frustrated with the whole mess I found it difficult to deal with the problem. When I finally decided to bite the bullet and do something about getting the shaft drained my chain saw came in handy in cutting the ice into manageable blocks for removal. Then the idea occurred to me to remove the ice by heating the water in the shaft with my steam coil. There was still water to be had in the pond after I broke through the ice to reset the sump pump. I was able to send steam to the bottom of the shaft for several hours before I had to shut down. I drained the system and heated the coil sufficiently to remove any remaining water. Next day saw the same procedure. The day following I turned on the high pressure water pump that feeds the coil and fired up the burner. To my extreme disgust steam began blasting from the center of the coil. I had a rupture caused by water that somehow didn’t get evacuated the previous evening and had frozen. That put an end to plans for warming the ice out. Any other plan would require a shaft drained of water , but now the hoses were partially frozen and one length was also frozen to the side of the shaft. I was able to pull the pump and one 50’ length of hose. A propane weed burner enabled me to thaw out the hose and warm up the pump but I had to get another length of hose in town before the draining could continue. Several days later and with the pump setup complete and in working order I resumed the operation. All went well and I had 30+ feet of the shaft free of water and then the pump quit. Back up the whole works came to be disassembled to determine the problem. When I couldn’t ascertain the nature of the malfunction I arranged for Ice Water Well [yes, the owners’ last name really is“Ice”] to check things out. A week later they called to tell me I needed a new motor…bearings and shaft had issues most probably caused by the strain of pumping too much mud. Another week went by before I was able to get the pump back in the shaft and get the remaining 30+ feet drained. With no clear plan to get the ice out I resumed work on the mine shacks. A friend basically gave me several thousand square feet of foil backed R8 insulation he had salvaged from an old shop building somewhere near Coldfoot [?]. The plan was to cut spruce poles for the uprights and cross members, sheath them with ½” osb, and overlay that with the insulation. Ideally the outer skin would be more ½” osb but I couldn’t afford that, but I had a long way to go before I needed to worry about what to use. Always, however, was the issue of the shaft ice hanging like an ominous cloud over my head, and I couldn’t ignore it. I could once again mechanically chip it out as I had done the previous summer and by now I had repaired the steam coil to thaw the chipped ice, but it would be useless as I had no water supply…the creek and pond were frozen solid. Sharing my dilemma with a fellow miner he suggested an electric heater suspended at the bottom of the shaft to do the melting. My generator could handle 3500 watts so I picked up two “milk house” heaters with a max output of 3000 watts. I bundled the two heaters together with a trash can lid fixed over the top to protect from dripping water and lowered them into the shaft. The 150 watt LED light at the bottom of the shaft revealed dripping water so I knew the heaters were doing their job. The problem was I could see it would probably take several months to thaw all the ice at the rate it was going. What next? I had considered sending the diesel space heater down but before I went ahead with that idea I saw a compact propane fired space heater with a btu range of 30,000 to 60,000…substantially more than the electric heaters. Since I didn’t want to send a 20lb propane bottle down in the shaft with the heater I needed to have a long supply hose. That need was filled by an old 80’ air hose I had laying around. It was a bit tricky sending down a heater, hose and electric cord suspended by a ¼” nylon rope. It worked. Even on the heater’s lowest output he water poured down the sides of the shaft. But after a couple of minutes the heater shut off. I pulled it up, relit and sent it back down about 15’. Same thing. Tried it a few more times with the same result. It became apparent the oxygen was being used up and the CO was extinguishing the flame. I connected an air line from a small compressor to the intake of the heater to supply additional oxygen but it wasn’t sufficient to keep the heater lit. I needed to either suck out the heavy CO from the shaft or force a large volume of air into the shaft. Either way I needed a large blower fan and some flexible ducting. I got a slavaged furnace fan and 6 10’ lengths of corrugated drain pipe. I first rigged the fan so as to suck the CO. No matter where I placed the ducting…on the bottom or right below the heater the flame went out after a few minutes. It was evident a large volume of air needed to be force fed to the heater, so I accomplished that with a 4 inch flange and an elbow and a few feet of bailing wire. So far I’ve run the heater for about 4 hours uninterrupted and the ice is disappearing rapidly. I’ll keep you posted how that goes. I’ve discovered the usefulness of rubber roof membrane and I determined it would be a fine exterior skin for my mine shacks. There are quite a few roofing companies in Fairbanks and I found one that had a pile of salvaged membrane I could have. It was snow covered and partially frozen to the ground and it was HEAVY. With a shovel and a 2x4 pry bar I managed to loosen the pile enough to get a tow strap attached so I could pull it free and out where I could lay it out and cut it into three manageable pieces. Well, almost manageable. Two of us could barely lift each piece into my pickup. I got a 50’ x 30’ piece for $50!! What a score. Back at the mine I realized I would have to keep the rubber skin from crushing the insulation so I accomplished that with short posts through the insulation, fixed to the inner and poles across the posts. I now have one of three shacks covered over. Much of my efforts have taken place after dark under flood lights and a headlamp. At first I was reluctant to work at night but now I have come to actually enjoy it. Here in Alaska in the winter if you wait till it’s light to get busy, you’ll not get much accomplished. I’m also learning to be adept at performing many common tasks wearing heavy gloves or mittens. It takes patience, perseverance and a little bit of idiocy to work out doors, at night in the arctic winter. Though I must concede, this has been a mighty easy going fall and winter so far up here in the great North. And from what they say, it’s supposed to remain mild for the duration. Waaaah!
  28. 2 likes
    I've seen some that say: Earth First - We'll mine other planets later To be honest I am concerned that if I have a pro-mining license plate some self righteous and arrogant environmental terrorist / extremist will purposefully damage my car - especially in California, where ill-informed environmental zealots run rampant.
  29. 2 likes
    Have you considered being a seasonal miner? People tend to disagree over water when it's in short supply, as the current CA drought. At the moment at my home near Redding CA, we have too much water falling from the sky. Nobody cares about miners washing gravel in the wet season. That was always a historical fact concerning placer mining in CA. Your claim elevation and access might be beneficial for seasonal work......or maybe not. I'm very glad to hear your personal views over the Brandon Rinehart Plumas County case. We share a great respect for miner's constitutional rights.
  30. 2 likes
    Thank you Clay, It's very difficult to receive valid information about mining, especially for a noob like me. The relatively recent legal challenges, and the renewed interest in CA over water as it applies to these interests has, as you put it, created a "cranky monster". Heh. I have learned that for the most part, the mining community is very tight-lipped (for good reason I surmise), and I am grateful for your response. Fortune favors the bold, so I keep asking questions so I can learn. Your thoughtful response brings up several points; some of which I have considered, and others I have not (for which I am grateful). I know that CA has the 8th largest economy in the world, and I know that agriculture comprises a large part of that. I grew up near Chico, bucking hay and picking fruit, so I have some understanding of the importance of water to agricultural interests. I have also been reading voraciously for the past year, with great interest, about the current struggles of the mining community with regulatory agencies and other interest groups in CA. So much so, in fact, that I was convinced by the mining community's overwhelming response to the the Rinehart case, to send my eight letters for the case to be published for citation in other federal and state mining rights arguments. My name is on that list. I am delighted that many of these decisions have supported the legal assertions that federal mining rights supercede state "regulation" which have resulted in prohibition. Also, my Father was a Millwright (capitalization intentional). Mining is in my blood. (Parker Schnabel helped me realize how I need mining in my life - that kid is really something!). No, I do not possess sufficient personal resources to sustain a long legal campaign. Such battles, while important, would certainly place my family in financial difficulties, which is why I joined ICMJ and PLP (special offer), so I could contribute to Mr. Rinehart's defense and learn more about mining. I also donated $100 (10 tickets) to McCracken's (although I am not a New 49'ers member) last nugget raffle fundraiser . I didn't win, but that's okay...for me, it's not about getting the gold, it's about finding the gold. I also need to be in the forest and to shovel gravel in summer... to unwind from my job. I am a college professor (I know...some may label me "the enemy") but I happen to believe that I can hold these two seemingly contradictory thoughts in my mind: Public management entities have a solemn duty to protect resources for everyone, and mining activity is a fundamental right of American citizens. I do not believe that I must hate one side, in order to love the other. The historical and social context is far too complicated for that stance, in my opinion. The reason we have the judicial system is so we can work out these conflicts when they arise. But just because we disagree on resources use, doesn't mean we need to hate the opposition. They are people just like us, with families and struggles and well-meaning intentions...mostly. I will figure out a solution to my water needs, and I am grateful for any assistance provided by you folks. I have learned a lot this past year through research. I bought a claim, I sampled it, I am purchasing equipment to extract the minerals, (according to my lovely wife my spending has been out of control....mining is not an inexpensive pursuit*), and I continue to learn more from generous "old timers" like yourself (um..I mean... your experience, not your age I have made some mistakes, but I am truly enjoying the ride. Sorry for this long missive; my introduction to the community requires that I divulge my thoughts and intentions to the community...in order to build trust. You are correct sir, my intention is to mine. ~
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    I am new to the forum. Bears...some general bromides: -Don't cook meat after dark. -Sleep in a camper or trailer. -If you sleep in a tent, keep a flash camera under your pillow. If a bear comes in, take it's photo. The flash will temporarily blind it, and you have time to get away...and you get a bonus photo to accompany your new bear story. -DO NOT keep food or toothpaste in your tent. No granola, not trail mix. No food in your tent. Can I say that again? -Camp with dogs. Black bears...not as dangerous, as was previously mentioned. In the high Sierra, they will mostly avoid you, unless they are very hungry. Be careful in Spring. Nothing as dangerous as a sow with cubs. She will chase you down. Run...or fire warning shot. That works sometimes. (be advised bears can run up to 35 MPH). Grizzly bears...Carry a sidearm... .45LC or .44mag...or larger. Single action... because you need to think for 1/2 a second before pulling the trigger. A bear's skull is thick, so aim straight down the gullet, or square in the chest. Nothing else will stop them. Shoot to kill if they come at you or stand up on you. They want food not danger. They will remember your ice chest and your location if they find a food source, especially if you have the ingredients for smores. Brian
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    Chris and Rod, you guys are spot on. Charles, I enjoy your posts and hope you update some of your other threads soon. ***To those who come across this thread in the years to come*** The Airborne Geophysical Surveys the State of Alaska contracts out and then provides to us for free are a great resource. But beware, when viewing the pretty colors and interesting shapes, locating a viable deposit takes a lot more work. The surveys are but one small tool in a very big tool chest and should never be the primary source of information when deciding to fund an exploration project, stake claims or worse, buy claims from someone else. Case in point, Donlin is a 39,000,000 (million) ounce AU deposit constrained to a relatively small area. Within the deposit anomalous AU is in the overburden, quartz veins and sulfides. A few years ago the State of Alaska contracted out an Airborne Geophysical Survey of the region. Later they published all the maps that were a product of the survey. The state also wrote and published an Interpretation report that contained detailed EM Anomaly maps. Question?, "Shouldn't such a large and varied AU deposit stand out like a "Smoking Gun" in at least some of the various maps?"...lets take a look and see. When viewing the various survey maps one could easily come to the conclusion that the area of the Donlin Ultimate Pit is unremarkable...no "Smoking Gun". Attached are some of the maps referenced, you be the judge. I have overlaid the outline of the Donlin Ultimate pit in each map. In some maps the pit is outlined in red, in other maps the pit is outlined in black. Tad Ref; Alaska State Geophysical website and Novagold report
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    Peter, You have an interesting project. I would recommend two magnetometers. One magnetometer works as a reference station. You need a reference station because the magnetic field changes up and down from "diurnal" effects. The diurnal and regional field will be subtracted from the total magnetic field to get the amount of magnetic change related to black sand. I can provide numbers if you need them. With reference to the time factor, it depends on the number of traverses and the speed of the traverse. A standard 20 acre (approx.) mining claim is 1500 feet long and 600 feet wide. If you survey along lines at 50 feet separation, it will require 12 traverses per claim x 1500 feet = 18,000 survey feet. Assuming it looks like a golf course, and you can walk along at 4 mph, you can expect the survey to take about 1 hour . In reality, you will need to take a stationary reading every 50 feet. The reading can take several minutes depending on the magnetometer. Three hundred and sixty readings adds 3 x 360 = 1080 minutes. If the project requires surveying 400 acres, equivalent to 20 claims x 20 hours = about 400 hours. Depth is a function of the amount of magnetic anomaly caused by the black sand. Magnetometer surveys from one area can be compared to results from a different area if the readings are corrected for regional magnetic field and diurnal variation. - Geowizard
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    Here is a photo of the little patch - the dirt in front of Steve - just to show how small an area it was. It did stretch uphill a ways behind Steve, but it was small.
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    If you are getting good gold on a second run, then 12 mesh is probably too coarse. To get the most out of the blue bowl, you need to separate by screenings the material to be treated into multiple finer size fractions. I've used mine much and if you have too broad a size mixture you will not get good recovery. I can tell you the maker recommends processing a minus 30 mesh fraction. It seems like minus 12 is not enough size fractions. This is because if you screen to 12 mesh, the flow needed to push 12 mesh black sand and rock will also blow the -30 mesh finer sized gold right out. The water speed is everything. So you have to separate out the finer material and then process it separately with slower water speeds. What you need to do depends on the amount of real fine gold you have. If you have a lot of real fine gold, like 50 mesh and smaller, You need to produce multiple fractions. So in that case I would produce a minus 12, a minus 30 and a minus 50. Then process them separately. The water speed needs to be not too fast - it is the separating force of the flowing water that separates the gold (high density) from black and blonde sands (lower density). Smaller fractions can be processed at slower speeds. If for some reason you don't have a lot of minus 50 gold you may be able to get away with two products, a minus 12 and a minus 30 (and still do them separately with appropriate water speeds. ) My experience is that when you do this properly, you should find the tailings from proper treatment with the blue bowl to be nearly barren.
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    One important clue is knowing where to look for the maps! - Geowizard
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    Here is a closeup of a 1.7 gram specimen I found recently near Winnemucca, NV with my White's GMT. This and a few other pieces are my first Nevada gold! The GMT is excellent on gold like this that PI detectors have a hard time seeing.
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    Perhaps a larger issues to consider on the future price of gold will be how much faster the Federal Gov. expands Socialism. What we considered normal trade with a Capitalist basis has now been transform in a Communist like Gov. controlled shell game. Our Gov. pour huge amounts of liquidity into any sector it see fit and for whatever reason it chooses. They could crash gold or make it go out of sight with just a flick of a button. GS and the FEDS all feed at the same place, your earnings. The system we have controlling our financial future has clearly established the new rules,, If you produce anything with labor or goods you will be punished and the more labor or goods you produce the more you will be punished with progressive taxes. AND If you choose to fail they will reward you. The more you fail the more they will reward you with someone else's labor and goods. Maybe a few ups and downs for gold but for me I can't wait to trade some more Federal RES. Notes for gold.
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    Cool... that means within 2 years, we could be looking at $2000 an ounce. Gotta love GS and the way they continually manipulate the media and their clients... errr I mean their muppets.
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    Nice Job Rod, let's get you up to Idaho next year to do a little dredging.......I've seen a few dredges on the Salmon River but I think the EPA has most of us worried about getting cited......Should be out dredging this weekend since the government is shut down and therefore no EPA Nazis on the river.....
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    "and your young again,even for a second,is worth 100 hours a work to me-addict yes and proud of it-John" Totally understand. I'm only 66 and need to get back to dredging for gold. Time's a wastin'. For me CA is over and done. I dredged OR this summer for a total of 15 days, it's over too. My own pride caused me to dredge the Klamath for 11 days in August after CDFW shut everybody down. I suppose I was dareing one of 'em to cite me, never did though. I was stared at and photographed, but I was busy being me and ignored 'em. Sad situation. I'm heading up north, I'm running away from down here.
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    Well, as my article in the latest Journal relates my dredging plans are off for the summer. One door closes, others open, and I am hot the path of some excellent metal detecting opportunities in Alaska this summer. I am going to have three main targets. First, sniping bedrock with a detector which is going to get gold no matter what, but the average size will be very small. That will basically to make sure the bills get paid. Then I will put in significant amounts of time hunting tailing piles. This is not Ganes Creek or Moore Creek type stuff, which is exceptional in nature, but run of the mill tailings. That means lots of hours, very low odds of hitting gold on any given day. But the hope is a larger nugget will make the time pay off. Then finally something I have never done in Alaska - hunting virgin ground in hopes of finding a patch of gold. Extreme long odds stuff with low probability of a find, which is why I have not done it in Alaska before. I literally did not have the time! Despite the low odds however it is the type of hunting where results could be newsworthy if a find is made. The bedrock detecting will be with high frequency VLFs like the Fisher Gold Bug 2 and White's GMT. I will be doing lots of "scrape and detect" and hitting every tiny bit if gold is more important than depth when doing that. The tailing pile detecting will be with either the Fisher F75 SE or Gold Bug Pro which are good at sorting out ferrous from non-ferrous. Tailings are full of junk. I detect about 12 hours a day so these models have ended up being what I prefer hunting tailings simply due to their light weight. Many other units would do as well but add another pound on my arm, and that is a critical factor for me, having experienced arm strain in the past. If the VLFs prove an area of tailings relatively free of trash, I will switch to my Minelab GPX 5000. The blue-sky prospecting in deep ground will be with the GPX 5000 almost exclusively. Going to be my first real go at it in Alaska for an entire summer with a detector. I will be staying very mobile and may end up all over the state by the end of summer, or parked in one spot if I am doing well. That is one very nice thing about detecting - I can stay very light and very flexible. The entire time, I will be scouting for possibilities for 2014 and beyond. When fall hits I will head for Reno and start my new gig as a Lower 48 prospector. The whole time I will be shooting photos and video and writing articles for the Journal. I will check in here as often as I can throughout the summer.
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    Gold mining, or for that matter any type of mining, has a built in cost of production. Those costs can be affected by management decisions or by rises in the cost of materials, labor or permitting but by and large those costs are built in by the time actual mining begins. Suppose the market price of gold is $1,500 per troy ounce. Suppose the miner's cost of production for that delivered Troy ounce is $1,300. If the gold market drops to $1,400 then the miner's profits are cut in half. If the market price is reduced to $1,300 the miner is out of business no matter how rich his strike or how much time or money he has invested. When gold prices are rising every dollar of rise in the price is 100% profit for the profitable mine. It looks real good when it's rising but investors get real nervous when it's dropping because they see each dollar lost as coming directly out of their profit. Add in hedging, junior investments and forward sales and it becomes obvious that even the smallest difference in the market price of gold is going to affect mining sentiment directly. Considering each major country has gold reserves as part of their financial makeup and those countries have direct control over the interest rates, quantity of currency in circulation and commodities market regulation (including margins) it becomes clear that the price of gold and the resultant profitability of mining are largely controlled by political policy and considerations in each country with a hand in the pie. In my opinion the market pricing of gold is almost strictly a political matter and has very little, if anything, to do with actual supply and demand by consumers and users. Betting on anything other than the general price trend for a political commodity is delusional in my experience. There is no "free market" in gold unless you consider a local market among gold producers and users. As anyone who trades in physical gold knows the COMEX paper market does not represent the market for physical gold in hand. Two different animals.
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    Here's a link to an image of the highbank stratification: - Geowizard
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    Oxford is offering you 65% only because they don't know your assay. You might be better off just paying to have the assay done this time, then in the future you and they will know. You can try all the jewelers around town for the coarse gold. I use to sell all my +10 mesh that way. Unique, specimen gold can command much higher price, but you have to be willing to market it !
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    Thanks, Joe I'm a real fan of early miners and are fascinated by their equipment, methods and skills, so it's fun to emulate them and keep the mining simple [with a few modern conveniences]. Almost daily I am blown away by the tenacity, work ethic and vision of those guys who went after the gold a hundred years ago. I couldn't stand with them in their ranks but I am honored to be considered of like spirit. Today we passed the 50' mark and still no bottom in sight. When I get weary of jack hammering ice and frozen muck in my cramped little shaft and hoisting bucket after bucket I just think of the guys before me who put down that shaft in the winter using fires to thaw the overburden and ultimately the gravel. My partner just discovered another prospect shaft about 200 yards from where Cobb shaft. First pan from its dump pile was barren but we'll be checking it out more thoroughly later in the summer. And equipment nightmares continue with the loss of my trash pump engine. Fortunately I have another engine that's just waiting for a chance to do some work.
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    I find it odd that gold nugget detectors are selling at absurd levels the last few years, yet there seems to be little interest in catering to the gold nugget market specifically on the part of the manufacturers. Most detector manufacturers hedge their bets by producing multipurpose detectors, and the few dedicated units undergo little change if any over time. Fisher - I have all but given up on there being a Gold Bug 3. The Gold Bug Pro seems to be the designated successor, and no apparent interest on Fishers part on producing a more compact GB3 or better yet a version with selectable frequencies. And as of yet no PI entry at all. Garrett - The Stinger inexplicably still lives but I do applaud Garrett releasing a capable successor, the AT Gold. Some nice out-of-box thinking on the AT units. The Infinium has always suffered by being a hybrid - be nice to see a dedicated prospecting PI with a better coil selection. The waterproof case adds unneeded weight and expense plus touchy coil and headphone connections. Minelab - I guess I have to forgive Minelab on the PI units as the only competition they have is themselves and they have done a great job taking the PI tech to the max. What the GPX mainly needs now is a physical makeover. But the Eureka is overdue for retirement and good as the X-Terra 705 is I think Minelab could do much better with a new dedicated VLF nugget detector if they tried. Tesoro - How long can they milk the Lobo? Add manual ground balance or at least a GB "Lock" for the automatic ground tracking. Reintroduce the uMax Diablo with iron disc added. White's - Please put the GMT in a box made for prospecting, not coin detecting. And lose the 1980 coils.
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    I called Idaho to get the permit as a resident advised me, and asked if it was ok not to list the specific site I was working and write "ALL OPEN WATERS" and they said no. I told them the permit should be good for anywhere and not what sites I list because I do not know where I will be in rugged terrain or who's claim I may lease. They said in that case I'm supposed to call and notify them. They want to come check on me...I said I'll be fine.....don't bother... What a bunch of BS. So I'm supposed to get verbal approval when I move? I told her nevermind... I'll keep my $30 and mine under the 1872 Mining Law...
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    I will never say there are not newer and better options - maybe there are. But if in doubt, use the Clarkson recommendations and you can't go too far wrong. It is solid information, and was considered so important by the State of Alaska in improving gold recovery (and therefore taxes) that all operators in the state were sent a copy.