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    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.
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    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
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    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 !!!!!!!!
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    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
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    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.
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    Thank you to all those veterans and active duty who served or at still serving.
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    As a recreational prospector I hope to have a much more productive 2017 summer than last year. Unfortunately, in the summer of 2016, my son was in a nasty car wreck and our summer prospecting was limited to 4 days of dredging. He is fine but it has been a nasty recovery for him the last 6 months. We hope to get out a lot more this year and the heavy snowpack should ensure adequate water for most of the summer/fall. We’re kicking around another trip to Alaska this summer for some dredging but have yet to make any commitments. We’ve got on some decent gold close to home the last couple of summers so it makes it difficult to justify the expense of getting up to Alaska. We’ll keep you posted as the prospecting season approaches. What are your 2017 Plans/Objective?
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    Don't have it yet but will.... It is a 5 stamp and all there.
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    JR. on the Mother lode in Northern California. Wife and I plan on holding this claim for some time so no hurry. No dredge as very little overburden and all slate bedrock so crevicing will be the order of the day. I attempted to use a gravity dredge but don't have enough drop for it to work.
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    I've got 36 acres claimed this year with over 1k feet of seasonal streambed to work, all slate bedrock. First sampling of a crevice above streambed.
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    There is more than one way to make money prospecting. Leasing out prospective claims to mining companies is a subject I have written about in the ICMJ and also in my book on prospecting. People have made big money doing this - a lot more than this check. Its a serious effort. I am publishing this check with critical areas blanked out for security reasons. I also altered the colors of the check, the company who issued it is out of business and I am guessing there is no significant money that is left in their account. So all things considered, I figure its safe to show. As one can see from the date, the issue was two years ago in 2015. I'll get my 2017 payment in a few weeks from a different company.
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    This story is about an old Florspar mine above Jamestown. It was being used as a dump. This was near the old Burlington mine. No trace anymore of this or the Burlington. They have been entirely reclaimed. http://golddredger.com/fluoritemine/fluorsparmine1.htm
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    I have to be honest, I’m real disappointed with the lack of activity in these forums over the last 18 months. I still believe the ICMJ website is the best resource for recreational and smaller-scale prospectors but we lost a lot of folks who were very passionate and active in posting. There were feathers ruffled at times but none the less the dialog was solid. I don’t have an answer or ideas for bringing this place back to life but I’d like to challenge folks who may be “lurkers” on the site to come forward and share what your 2017 prospecting plans are going to be about. There are excellent resources on this site and we simply need a little fuel to get things rolling again. Hope to hear from more of you! JR
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    It may seem awful cold now, but in time it will warm up. It always does. But yes, I've seen years when you couldn't get into the back country until after the 4th of July.
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    Chris, at the rate the snow is falling in your neck of the woods, it could be August before you get into the backcountry?
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    #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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    I think a lot of the extra interest was due to the price of gold. Interest was at a peak a few years back when gold was climbing and setting new records.
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    I'm going to get in the water when it warms up and do some sniping.
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    Dredgernaut, impressive trommel that you built. For the dirt we process here in Idaho and most of the dirt we've run through our highbanker, we'd need to have more water flow to clean the material in the hopper. Any way you can push more water through the hopper? Of course it would help the flow through the sluice box as well. Good luck. JR.
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    I was only there for a day or so. I was using just a pan. I watched a guy using a homemade sluice made out of plywood with the rough side up and no riffles in it at all. He was just shoveling it in and there was gold all over the plywood. We went back the next year and were dredging. We found some really nice gold in areas that weren't worked. Not in multiple ounce category but nice gold. You can see stories on 2 trips at http://golddredger.com/bdownie1.htm http://golddredger.com/downieindex.htm http://golddredger.com/rivercrossing/rivercrossing1.htm Leonard
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    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 ,
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    I remember the summer of 1997 after the flood. Tremendous gold! Leonard Union Flats 1997
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    Hello dredgernaut, sounds like you have a good summer planned, hope all gets the OK. Just wondering what type / make of mini excavator and trommel you are useing. Have a mini / mini myself and can feed a trommel or big banker, just curious.
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    Yeah boys, you can't let these forums die as it would be a shame that one of the foremost publications for prospecting doesn't have an arena for prospectors to meet, trade ideas and gain insight. I'm glad you guys have decided to take another run at it. Maybe you look for some outside perspective as a means to generate more traffic, i.e., great use of social media platforms, direct linkage in your publications to forum content, maybe a classified forum for selling of used recreational prospecting equipment etc. Maybe it's time for some benchmarking across other industry publications to see what they have done to drive traffic in their forums? Please let your readers know if there is anything we can do to help.
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    Chris Ralph and I were just discussing that last night. About a year ago we were having problems with people using the forum for spamming and advertising, and it was very difficult to keep a handle on it. We were going to let the forum die a slow death. But we have reconsidered. There's a lot of good people on here and some past info that many still read because it's "good stuff." And we think we have solved a few of the problems with spammers. The forum was recently overhauled/updated on January 11, 2017, and we seem to have the spammers from China and Russia blocked for good now. (We'll see if that lasts.) We will still have to manually delete the advertisements and block the accounts of users who fail to read the terms of service or can't resist posting promotional material. Chris is going to put the word out that we are back, and would appreciate your help doing the same. Thank you very much for your support and your comments! Scott
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    hello , I am new to this site , I have been digging for about 20 years off and on , I make my own equipment sometimes , here is my newest and best creation , I call it the dredgenaut
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    Nice job on the trommel. How fast are you turning that drum?
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    I am looking for a 1 yard per hour trommel - something you could hand shovel into. I am not looking for a high banker, I need a rotating trommel and one built to last and get used for a long time. Anyone out there make or have experience with such a thing? Chris
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    i have about 40 or so buckets prepared and lined up before i even start it , that gives me all morning to dig , run when ready , start to refill before the day ends , can average 40 to 60 buckets in a day depending in amount of clay , and how hard the digging is , but I work alone
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    Wow, nice work Dredgernaut!..........you better be eating your Wheaties before operating that thing as it looks like it will eat buckets for lunch!
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    Like I was saying the TDI will pick up almost everything the MInelabs will, a used TDI will go for under $800 and have about the same depth as a Minelab at Only around 3K , Petty much like my BH Pioneer 505 will hit targets at 3 feet in all metal mode and my more expensive detectors like my X-TERRA 70 will not go that deep , but it does not do it as well ,it does not have all of the features of a more expensive detector , for a guy on a budget you can do a lot more for less if you pick up the right detector , I have been an ELECTRONICS TECH working in a number of fields for over 35 years including industrial and consumer metal detecting products to component level ...
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    Welcome to the Forum. That's a pretty slick looking piece of equipment and well made too. Aluminum? Where are you located?
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    hello , i used a honda gx160 with a factory 6 to 1 gear reducer , motor with reducer cost 500 , used a 1.5 inch shaft pulley , i have a 15 inch diameter trommel barrel , used a normal belt around barrel and pulley , no slipage , no gears or sprocket, , works awesome , hope this helps , good luck
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    Thanks, Doug I hope my efforts serve as an encouragement to other current and future drift miners. I'm hoping to develop simple systems that can be utilized by even just one person to successfully mine underground.
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    Sorry about the dead link. As I recall the drill was a Rube Goldberg type of contraption. The operator turned a crank and a series of hammers on a rotating wheel hammered away on the drill steel. The New Rock Drill Design thread title is sort of a joke.
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    Hello ICMJ, am a little late to the conversation but here is a list of online equations for metallurgist you will find helpful in sizing ball mills or balls.
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    and Huh? when I go into the woods alone I am always on an elevated awareness...this is a good thing, I got's to watch my own back, But I'm still calm and enjoying myself, I enjoy carrying a rifle in the woods and I am almost always by myself. ...There's also cougars in them Tulameen hills and coyotes I imagine, I was reading about cougar attacks and holy #$%@# ...go read the one about the woman that was killed in 1996 I think by a 65 pound cougar defending her kids near Tulameen, she fought it for an hour and died minutes after help arrived...unbelievable. . .them cougars seem sneaky and lightning fast too by what I was reading (the last 20 years of mountain lion attacks).... So just lions and bears in Tulameen, No tigers. There is gold there, the claim seller does a random sample pan and takes a picture and guarantees the claim. He sells lots of claims in B.C. So we'll see in a week or so. I just finished building my highbanker, tested it today and it's ready. 5 foot sluice box 12 inches wide, wash box is 16" x 34" and waitin' on a Honda WH15X 1.5 inch HP water pump.
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    stargatetraveler, Nice photo and welcome to the forum! - Geowizard
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    Howdy all, My name is Erik, and I'm obsessed with gold prospecting. I have been prospecting a few years, and making some videos of my trips. Here's the links to a few videos below. I work out of the California motherlode. If any of you want to talk prospecting, or go on a Goldventure please message me. May your pans be golden! Goldventures - Whitewater Gold http://youtu.be/jOLSHRBWlhE Goldventures - Sneak Peek Explorations of Whitewater http://youtu.be/rl1iDgJHuIs Goldventures - Explorations of the Mother Lode http://youtu.be/u4W5zpuQDf0 Check out YouTube channel under Goldventures or EriktheProspector to see more. Subscribe and join the fun if you feel like.
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    Gold Hog .. Upper left corner in the reply box, icon says "Special BBCode". It will allow you to embed a video.
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    I wish those reality shows would go away and then maybe the nameless bureaucrats in Washington DC would quit making more needless regulations and permits for us to contend with.