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  1. Hello everyone, I think that there should be a "newbie" section on this forum so everyone that wants to get into gold can go there instead of asking the same questions over and over again. I have found some of the answers that I needed in the other parts of this forum, but not all of them To get started, it has been a dream of mine to start a placer mining operation and one day move to a lode mining operation. I just have a few problems and one of them being I am a newbie. I do have experience operating machinery and equipment because I grew up in a ship yard in the Gulf Coast. (The same ship yard that built the Cornelia Marie) However, that doesn't mean that I will be successful at mining for gold. I figured that I could get started by having a small placer operation to get a feel for what I am doing and if I make well enough money at that, then I would expand the operation to a larger scale placer mine. The first question that everyone asks is can people make money at starting a placer mine. I see this question all over the internet and I instantly seeing the old timers coming out and telling the newbies that it can't be done or it isn't as easy as you think. That may be true, but the other truth is that someone out there is making a living pulling gold out of the earth on a small and big scale. The next question is where to get started. I would like to get a claim in Alaska to start out because there is more virgin ground there; however, the seasons are short compared to the lower 48. So I think it would be wise to start in the south. Second, California has strict laws and they don't allow dredging, at least for now. Maybe Arizona? So where would the best place be to get a claim that has long seasons or seasons that go year round? My choice would be somewhere in Plumas county, but like I said, the laws are restrictive. So if I did go to Cali, I would be restricted to trammels and highbankers. Next, what is the best type of operation to start with? Dredging, highbanking, or trammel? At first, I would start off doing the work by hand for the latter two, but then get equipment to move more dirt. But I have read that there is nothing better than dredging for getting the gold out of the river and not disturbing as much dirt like you would if you used equipment to dig the river out. I do have money to put into this operation, but I will obviously be trying to save it wherever I can. I would like for this to not be a hobby but a way of living, a lifestyle. I am not hurting for money or a job, but I went to a gold camp in Alabama a few years back and have had the fever ever since. Opinions anyone? I really am serious about this.
  2. I'm new to the forum this week... found the Mining Journal through my GPAA membership. Hi everyone! I have acquired a placer gold mine claim in Northern Idaho near the Clearwater River. It is a 10 acre claim on a fast running creek that is about 30 - 50 feet wide up in the mountains. What is the best way for me to get started on a new claim? I'm a beginner and gold prospecting is a new hobby for my wife and I. It's great getting out of town were we can spend some quality time together outside and away from the office. We have a Fisher Gold Bug-2 metal detector, a 3' sluice, a bunch of classifiers, 5 gallon buckets, shovels, a big Apex pick and of course a bunch of gold mining pans. I also recently picked up a Pro-Gold Prospecting Fine Gold Mini Sluice from my local gold prospecting supply store. Should we be digging sampling holes along the shoreline and running concentrate through the sluice to scan over the whole claim first or just start in digging in the stream bed like we have seen on lots of you-tube videos? Also, I've read that placer gold can be found up the ancient hillsides on either side of the creek up to 500' above the current stream level and that we should look there, too. The hillsides are very steep along side the stream on our claim - does it make sense to spend time digging sampling holes up there too? I've learned the value of trying to dig down to bedrock as the gold will setting there and concentrate. How do you know when you have hit bedrock when digging down along the stream-bed? I've been told that bedrock is down about 2 feet and that it is not hard rock... that you can punch a shovel through it pretty easily. Also... I've found that there is a ton of pyrite in the stream... thought it was gold at first - yikes! Is there an easy way other than just panning to try to separate any existing gold from pyrite flakes? Thanks for any tips from you guys with experience - much appreciated and I hope to be able to post lots of our lucky findings here on the forum soon, too! Jim