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Yukon Drones

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As technology marches on we miners must adapt or perish. I've read much but no hands on as in kalif mining is dead,over regulated and public hearings kill your op 99.99% of the time. Many shot down in Shasta county these past few years as hootn' and a hollern' environutz decry the fouling of motherearthship sic sic sic-John

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The Yukon and Alaska realize the importance of developing their mineral resources. The Tintina Gold Province has been the subject of much research and investigation because it is a prolific gold producing region. So, there you have it; an extensive gold province and stable political environment that promotes mining. :)

 

Alaska is spending millions of dollars doing geophysical surveys every year. All of that is done to provide data for exploration and mining of new mineral resources. The small miner has an opportunity to learn about the technology used in these surveys. Then apply their newly found understanding to explore areas that encourage mining. It's all laid out. I personally encourage every miner in California and Arizona or anywhere else that mining is discouraged to look at the new frontier in Alaska and the Yukon.

 

- Geowizard

 

www.alaska-gold.com

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I found this part of the article interesting:

 

Then they take a geoprobe of the area. It’s about
the size of a riding mower with rubber tracks on it to minimize
environmental damage.

 

I'm thinking "about the size of a riding lawnmower" is a bit of a stretch. To my knowledge the smaller tracked geoprobes are in the three ton range. Weights and sizes go up from there.

 

Then again I haven't shopped for riding lawnmowers recently - have they gotten a lot bigger and heavier in recent times? :lol:

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I personally encourage every miner in California and Arizona or

anywhere else that mining is discouraged to look at the new frontier in

Alaska and the Yukon.

 

- Geowizard

 

I'm sure Alaska and the Yukon are accommodating to miners Geowizard but please don't lump Arizona in with California. Although John would like us to believe that "the cancer from the Klamath" will spread and destroy mining throughout the U.S. it just aint so here in Arizona.

 

Here are some basic facts about Arizona mining:

 

No dredge restrictions or permits needed in Arizona.

 

Three permitted underground gold mines a year ago now 14 permitted underground gold lode mines today.

 

8 Billion dollars in mined minerals last year.

 

Second largest mining state after Nevada.

 

More than 15,000 full time miners.

 

Average annual income of Arizona miners $108,000. Average annual income of other workers in Arizona $47,000.

 

More than 3 Billion dollars per year in personal income for Arizonans is generated by mining each year.

 

Arizona produces 68% of the copper mined in the U.S. It's the sixth largest producer worldwide.

 

Nine active Uranium mines produced 10,700 metric tons of ore.

 

Three world class open pit mines permitted within the last two years. One that could eventually rival Bingham Canyon in size and production.

 

Some of the most productive gold mines in the Southwest are being reopened Including the Vulture, Tarantula (Congress) and Newsboy - all within 30 miles of my winter home. Three new hardrock gold mines in the Quartzsite area alone were permitted in the last year.

 

Taxes on inter related mining company transactions have been eliminated. Permitting has been streamlined and the various permitting agencies consolidated. Legislation is being considered, and has a very good chance of passing, limiting the time to permit to a maximum of 30 months. Most permits are already issued in under 9 months.

 

Considering the projects scheduled today copper, silver and gold production statewide has the very real possibility of doubling or even tripling in the next three to five years.

 

Arizona is very mining friendly these days. There have been a lot of changes, to the better, in the last few years.

 

We still have to contend with campaigning by the green weenies and the same Federal regulations as Alaska, California or any other state but the Arizona State attitude towards mining can in no way be compared to California.

 

The objections by the greenies are so focused on the several huge mining projects in development here that the small scale miner has virtually no worries about interference by those folks. Unlike California the greenies resources are overwhelmed in Arizona by the sheer number and size of the mining projects in the planning stages at any given moment in time.

 

This may sound like the opinion of one man in Arizona, I am not alone. This week I spent more than six hours with the principles of one of the largest mining companies in North America. They have active producing mines in B.C., the Yukon, Ontario and Nevada. It was their opinion that Arizona presents a better regulatory environment than any of those locations.

 

You might reasonably disagree with me or the opinions of large mining companies about mining regulation in Arizona. I think that with some reflection that you will agree that lumping Arizona in with California in regards to regulation is, to put it mildly, an overstatement.

 

The perception that the US is not mining friendly is well deserved. Nonetheless we are still the third largest producer of mined gold in the world.

 

While the trend in most States is towards more obstructive regulation of mining Arizona has had the opposite trend over the last several years.

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Clay,

 

Your post arose my curiosity, so I did a search for "Geoprobe".

 

http://www.emservicesonline.com/

 

This system is used in many applications where surface - soil sampling is done i.e. with a ground penetrometer.

 

- Geowizard

 

Yep those are the ones I'm familiar with Geowizard!

 

Three tons is about the minimum platform to drive a probe to any depth. These things are really more suited to regular "dirt" soils than drilling gravels of any size or depth. A single rock of size will stop them cold.

 

I'm thinking the laws of physics aren't going to ever allow the design of an impact probe to be small or lightweight. The counter mass has to be equal or greater than the force applied to the probe otherwise you've just got an expensive pogo stick. :)

 

The soil drill version will still have to resist the torque of the drill plus some. Anchors can help with the drill version but nothing the size of a "riding lawnmower" will survive the shock of that drill when it jams in rock. It would be an interesting ride when the platform began spinning rather than the drill. :o

 

The small tracked version of the geoprobes is going to need a road graded for it in most of the gold fields I've encountered. Low clearance and limited track footprint on those machines can be pretty limiting. Getting a truck and crane that can haul a three ton probe to your location can be a problem.

 

The Banka drill is much more portable and effective in most real world mining situations. The Banka can be motor or human driven and can drill through most rock. Longer segment lengths and a 4" or 6" core profile are more useful for placer deposits. I doubt the Geoprobes can get anywhere near the depth a Banka can. A Banka, when operated properly, can segregate the sample material from the drill dross by driving the casing in front of the drill segment. Lighter weight, truly portable and much less expensive.

 

I'm sure the tracked geoprobes excel in the right conditions and the whiz bang nature of the high tech machine is probably a good selling point but they are not nearly as versatile in the field as a simple Banka drill.

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Clay,

 

Having lived in, prospected and operated mining properties for the past 30 years in AZ, I differ on the reality of small miner access to the public domain.

 

Your remarks are true (if taken for their literal content) thanks to Freeport-McMoRan, and a hand full of Majors.

 

Off hand, I can't think of a single river or creek in Arizona with enough water to float a dredge that has public access and gold.

 

I would also cite Rosemont Copper as the poster child for how the permitting process can keep even a well funded project busy giving away handouts to everyone that protests their mining plan for six years. In their most recent mailing, they point out they're getting close and it's their sixth year in the permitting and millions of dollars spent in the process.

 

Of course, Alaska is not immune to those that protest i.e. Pebble. But at least on the scale of the small mine operator, Alaska is preferable to Arizona.

 

The Federal Domain in CA is under the same regulation as AZ. California has a larger - more organized i.e. a protest is just a tweet away from reality - network of protesters.

 

- Geowizard

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Clay,

 

Having lived in, prospected and operated mining properties for the past 30 years in AZ, I differ on the reality of small miner access to the public domain.

 

Your remarks are true (if taken for their literal content) thanks to Freeport-McMoRan, and a hand full of Majors.

 

Off hand, I can't think of a single river or creek in Arizona with enough water to float a dredge that has public access and gold.

 

- Geowizard

 

Not McMo or any of the usual suspects Geowizard. This large mining company has no operations in Arizona - yet. It was the regulatory changes that attracted them.

 

Yeah the water can be an issue here. Alaska and Arizona both have shortened seasons due to weather and water flow extremes. The best deposits here need unavailable water for processing and I'm sure Alaska has good deposits unmined because of access or seasonal issues.

 

It could be water or weather or chemistry or unreasonable regulation that makes good mineral deposits bad bets. It's our job as small miners to solve those problems or move on to the next prospect.

 

Back in the early 80s I had some mining friends running a 10" dredge year round in a secret location in Arizona. They did quite well. Interestingly once the deposit was played out they took their profits and moved their operation to Alaska. :lol:

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I could write a book about the Rosemont project Geowizard.  Maybe if I ever retire I'll take the time to do that. There is a lot more history and planning there than meets the eye. On the company side the land status and political work was started way back in 1964. Most folks don't know it but the 1988 land swap that created the National Forest and Cienega reserves were an integral and essential part of that plan.

 

Rosemont submitted their final plan in July 2007. Arizona has issued all the permits needed. The actual deposits (there are three of them) are all on 1,968 acres of patented land Rosemont (in a different incarnation) purchased long ago. The "problem", if there is one, is the 12,000 acres of Forest lands claimed for the tailings and waste piles. Even so that Forest land was created and engineered by Rosemont's corporate predecessors and it's been a slam dunk guarantee that the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Interior will push the project through. Long term planning and backdoor deals have paid off in that respect.

 

The average time to permit for a mine of this size is approximately 10 years and many fail. Arizona completed approval of more than 90% of their permit processes in under two years. The only permit left before Rosemont is fully permitted is the EPA 404 permit. By all accounts that's as good as a done deal. Arizona has only delayed permitting to the extent needed to keep from seeming too eager. Each permit has been objected to by the greenie organizations and each in turn has been dealt with swiftly and cleanly by those permitting agencies. Those greenie organizations have been complaining bitterly but they are left without a legal leg to stand on.

 

With a permitting time of about 6 years one of the largest mines ever proposed in the US will be permitted. That has got to be some sort of record in any state. I can tell you from personal knowledge that Arizona, the BLM and Forest Service are 100% behind this project from day one. They were all co-opted long before the first public announcements of an intent to mine the Rosemont/Helvetia property. Any and all delays have been anticipated long before permits were requested and the permitting agencies had already scheduled time and manpower to deal with the inevitable objections and legal maneuvers by the greenies. Rosemont will go down in US mining history as the new model for the mining industry to dance through the permitting process and the resulting "public" outcry whenever a large company wants to move dirt.

 

You might think that this only applies to large and powerful mining companies doing backdoor deals and of course you would be right. Nonetheless the little guy is benefiting from the backwash. Besides the multiple agency and court decisions against any further delay tactics by the greenies there is the 30 month limit on permits from the state and the precedent of rapid agency action paths being created. Add in the hidden financing of the local and national greenie groups by Rosemont that will be pulled when the mine is in full operation and you will have a much poorer and weaker opposition to future mine permitting.

 

Things do change ... and sometimes it's to the advantage of miners. Let's hope the trend continues in Arizona and ultimately in all the western states - including California.

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Clay,

 

Another excellent post although we are getting a little off topic.

 

I commend Jan Brewer, our Gov. for pushing the AZ SLD to fast-track mine permitting on State domain. :)

 

I have a Silver Mine east of the ASARCO/Grupo Ray Mine that I look forward to permitting.

 

Thanks for the encouragement re: Mining in Arizona. I needed that!

 

- Geowizard

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Yeah you are right about the off topic Geowizard. Sorry for the mission creep.

 

It would be interesting to do a real world analysis of the differences in the different permitting processes and time per state. Of course the Federal role doesn't change technically but I find it hard to imagine that the Federal agencies allot the same time, budget and priority to identical mining plans in say California or Alaska.

 

Maybe another retirement project but I have enough just keeping up with Arizona, New Mexico and California right now. The more I consider it the more I'm beginning to see retirement as more of what interests me - pretty much what I do now. I wonder how I will know that I'm retired if there is no difference? :huh:

 

Getting back on subject - have you seen the recent announcement that the USGS is beginning a project to produce 15 Centimeter lidar scans of the entire US? Completion date is scheduled for 2018.

 

High resolution digital elevation models would make a world of difference to the types of mapping we do. The current 10 meter resolution is really limiting. We have done some custom work at the 15 Cm resolution but at a cost of ~ $16,000 per acre for small projects with $25,000 minimums and lead times of 1 - 6 months if you can find a company with the time it's really cost prohibitive for the small scale miner.

 

The scanning itself isn't so expensive but putting the phase differenced kinematic GPS stations in place on rough terrain can easily double the base cost. Screw up that part and it doesn't matter what frequency of scan the aircraft laser is running. Garbage in garbage out.

 

There are lots of "new" methods and techniques for terrain and deposit models but the ability to just download the data needed at the resolutions and quality that makes them useful is still a few years off.

 

I'm looking forward to the future tools soon to become available but boots on the ground and experienced, knowledgeable prospectors are going to have the edge over raw technology for the foreseeable future in my opinion.

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Some time ago, I started a thread under the category "Hard Rock Mining" on geophysics.

 

That thread discusses information about geophysical surveys conducted by the State of Alaska. The surveys done by Fugro Airborne (www.fugroairborne.com) are a complete compilation of relevant geophysical data as acquired using helicopters flying survey flightlines over an entire mining district.

 

Unlike lidar which is surface reflective technology, the systems employed by Fugro Airborne are deep sensing magnetic and electromagnetic sensor systems.

 

The sampling is done on approximately 13 ft intervals and uses differentially corrected GPS with occasional predetermined checks over a surveyed base station.

 

Metaliferous orebodies provide both a magnetic and electromagnetic signature. The signatures can be interpreted as having characteristics of known geologic deposit models i.e. vein type, broad or discrete anomalies, etc. Depth to top of the anomalies can also be obtained from inversion of the multi-frequency electromagnetic data and also from the magnetic profile along a survey line. 

 

Link to an example: http://www.ophir-alaska.com/L22410.png

 

- Geowizard

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