Monday, December 31, 2012

How to Mine for Diamonds: Diamond mining Deep in the Venezuelan Jungle

How to Mine for Diamonds
How to Mine for Diamonds

This was a diamond mining area near Santa Elana  Venezuela. We used this old but reliable excavator to strip off the overburden, then jumped down into the pit and loosened up the gravels which made it much easier to Hydraulic mine the exposed very rich Diamond bearing gravels. 

The local miners used this system very effectively. Just down stream from this man we had a 4" gravel pump that pumped the sand to a Venezuela style jig that recovered our Diamonds. We yielded many 2 1/2 Carat Diamonds from this stretch of Jungle. While there was some fine gold recovered.

It was not enough to be of economic value at the time.  I had a washplant about three kilometers away and I tested several area's like this and it really helped in defining our reserve's.

Rob Towner
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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Hydraulic mining in Venezuela; diamond mine prospecting tools

diamond mine prospecting tools
Diamond mine prospecting tools

This is a photo of hydraulic mining in the Venezuelan jungle. The local Diamond miners were the first in this area. It is always a good idea to see what the local miners are doing and get an idea to what you are going to be up against. This was a particularly rich area in central Venezuela near where we were exploring and later set up a Diamond recovery plant.



Rob Towner
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Prospecting for Diamonds and Gold can be a real adventure

Prospecting for gold is a real adventure
Prospecting for Diamonds and Gold can be a real adventure


When I was in India 2007 Sam,my brother Terry and I stayed with one of the people that was running for political office and when we came down the stairs, our landlords jeep was firebombed. 
While it is alarming to say the least, events like this happen quite frequently in foreign lands.









Rob Towner
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Bags of gold exist - are you willing to find them?

Bag of Gold
Bags of gold do exist.


I wish I could say I recovered this bag of gold but I did not , just wanted to share that there is still bags of gold to be recovered out there somewhere in the world!!







Rob Towner
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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Dredging for diamonds

Dredging for diamonds

Just coming up from another long dive suction dredging for Diamonds. The hard work of wrestling around a 10" suction hose gets you in amazing shape very quickly. I love diving and the challenges it brings to keep the production coming.








Rob Towner
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Gold in our sluicebox riffles at the end of the day

Gold in my pan at the end of the day

You are a happy alluvial engineer when you see the results like this at the end of a good shift. 

That is the way it needs to look - gold in the riffles at the end of the day. I use expanded metal riffles on most of my plants with good results. There are many more styles and I will get to that another day.

Miners moss is the very best and there is no substitute that works as well as this material for underneath the riffles.












Rob Towner
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Working remote, what happens when your engine blows up?


I blew up an engine on the dredge and we quickly found a Muslim mechanic and a hindi mechanic that worked in perfect scync to get me up and running again. Boy they worked like best friends!! I'll never forget them for helping me out of a jam!!!











Rob Towner
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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Gold Prospecting: Lost Treasure Hunters show (video)

Great video trailer of the Lost Treasure Hunter TV show about gold prospecting in India that I am in.




Rob Towner
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The unexpected acquaintances you meet when prospecting for gold

The unexpected acquaintances you meet when prospecting for gold.

The unexpected acquaintances you meet when prospecting for gold.

The villagers killed this big rock python really close to the spot where I was dredging with my team. 

This big snake could be the end of me or anyone .... after I saw it, even though it was dead as a door nail, I had to dig a little deeper to get back into the water.....

It took a couple of days fixing the dredge washing it down tightening bolts and whatever else I could fix to do to some stalling .... just to get my courage back up to dive in the murky waters of the Krishna River.

Rob Towner
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Wash plant and placer gold: Gold mining is easy when you have the right tools for the job at hand

Wash plant and placer gold
Gold mining is easy when you have the right tools for the job at hand....

Wash Plant and Placer Gold

With my big 5ft x 40' tromel, at my old *Bannack Montana project, we were getting 100 ounces a week for almost three months. A big sluice box and a gravel pump made it easy!! I had rebuilt the old trommel that was used in 1940's. with the addition of a 8x6 Gallagher gravel pump and an additional 8ft x 25 foot sluicebox we averaged about 750 yards per day. As you can see, pumping it to a contained settling pond with a lot of tailings room, makes it much easier to keep the operation going without fine tailings building up. Less equipment, less manpower = a few more bucks at the end of the day.






Wash plant and placer gold
*Bon Accord (near Bannack Montana) in some really hungry ground. I had a spare 4ft x 30ft trommel and set up alongside my other big plant and the added production saved our butts again!!!



*Bannack holds a number of firsts in Montana history. It was the site of the first major gold discovery in the Montana Territory; it saw the first lode mining in Montana Territory and it was the location of the first successful dredging operation in the United States. Mining began in 1862 and continues sporadically on a minor scale today. The main periods of mining in the Bannack area were the early placer, hydraulic and lode activity (1862 to 1875) and the dredging of Grasshopper Creek (1895 to 1902). [courtesy of Montana Bureau Of Mining]




Rob Towner
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The joys of diamond mining and good friends

The joys of diamond mining and good friends
About diamond mining .....

My great friend and confidant Samuel Speerstra a true treasure hunter and prospector. 

Sam has the nose of a bloodhound, researching , tramping the hills and traveling the most remote trainyards to get to a new mine. He is always  traveling the entire planet in search of treasure. 

He is holding a tiny tiny Diamond we found one afternoon in India. He is always happy!!

Don't forget about that diamond mining tool I mentioned.


Rob Towner
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A gold prospector's best friend

A gold prospector's best friend ....


My ever present Christi, my Fiance. Always accompanies me on my mining adventure's and she is a very accomplished gold panner.

I can always trust her results! 

Rob Towner
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Sapphire Mining: What in the heck is a surucas? The best tool you'll ever find.


My mining buddy Dan Yanke and I out exploring for Sapphires in the mountains of Montana. We have had some extraordinary finds and I hope to be posting some pictures here real soon.

The majority of sapphires I have located over the years, are usually associate with known deposits.  

My Venezuela diamond surucas are the most valuable and fastest tool to prospect for both diamonds and sapphires I have ever found. Yes, I will get a photo of that here too very soon.



Rob Towner
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Prospecting Gold: Gold is always at the end of the rainbow


Prospecting Gold: Gold is always at the end of the rainbowI have been doing this for decades - prospecting for gold. Believe me, the gold is always at the end of the rainbow if you work hard and study what the earth has to share. This gift has landed on me my whole life.








Rob Towner
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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Treasure hunters: Bitterroot man travels to India in search of lost diamond mine


Treasure hunters: Bitterroot man travels to India in search of lost diamond mine



Towner spent six weeks with his friend, Sam Speerstra, in the world’s second-most populous nation last winter, filming a Discovery Channel show called “Lost Treasure Hunters,” which is set to premier this Sunday night at 11 p.m. on the Animal Planet channel.
When he wasn’t dealing with deadly vipers and cobras or watching his Indian crew members sacrifice a goat to appease the angry river gods,  Dave Mccracken and I were vacuuming diamonds off the bottom of the Krishna River, one of the longest rivers in central-southern India.
The show is marketed as an action-packed documentary about a team of highly skilled extreme prospectors attempting to rediscover the long-lost source of the great diamonds of Golconda, India.
“It was high adventure,” he said.
You can see it all this Sunday night at 11 p.m. on Animal Planet.
Read Article

Rob Towner
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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Commercial mining with one of my signature style Vibrating screens





This vibrating screen washplant design has been very successful in processing large amounts of paygravel with little downtime.
My signature design can be implemented  with the vibrating screen, which is my favorite!  I have used this same process with trommels with very good results.

I will be sharing video's of our projects, and many I have been involved with over the year's throughout the coming months.  It is my desire to share some of the oldtimers knowledge and skills I have learned and pass them on to new and upcoming miners as well as veteran miners.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Prospecting for Gold: plenty of gold to be found, what type of enthusiast are you?

plenty of gold to be foundThere is plenty of gold to be found by any of the three types of gold prospectors I have identified.

My goal is to help people discover the fun and enjoyment of prospecting for gold.

There are three distinct characteristics that separate gold prospectors: Time and money and experience..


One group is folks, including families, that go out on the weekends and pan for gold. You can get started with about twenty bucks in tools, suntan lotion, and a couple of mineral books. The locations you will find will be most likely old historical locations. Ownership of the land in question ,is always number one on the search for gold bearing gravel. Do your homework as there are many publications that will give you a good start. I will soon have some reference material to get you started.


The next group of gold prospectors spends more money and time. Typically these prospectors will be using a portable sluice in their work. You can find them at locations of the weekenders and also in more remote locations too.  A sluice box and a good Garret gold pan will get you started as a small producer
provided you get yourself into some gold bearing ground.
Prospecting for Gold
Standard Wash Plant
The other group of prospectors is comprised of a more sophisticated endeavor. Their  equipment will include a dredge and/or a wash plant.  Working capital and budgets are paramount here.

Very soon I will be making available an online course to learn the methods and techniques for successful gold mining. I will post the material on this blog and make the announcement in the coming weeks.


Rob Towner
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Rob Towner On TV: Lost Treasure Hunters - gold mining and diamond mining series

rob toner lost treasure hunter
Rob will be on TV in the Lost Treasure Hunters episode airing on December 23, 2012. Here is a link to the trailer: http://www.cableready.net/6238/lost-treasure-hunters/

A team of highly skilled extreme prospectors attempt to rediscover the long lost source of the great diamonds of Golconda, India. Using a mix of ancient maps and modern geology, the team races to find untold riches in diamonds before the monsoons arrive.


Rob Towner
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Dredging is important mining technique to insure a successful effort


Dredging is important mining technique to insure successful mining
Dredging is important mining technique to insure successful mining.

I am getting ready to launch our suction dredge on the Krishna river in India. It is a 10 inch dredge with a vibrating screen This is a great design by Dave Mccracken.

This recovery system was a very valuable asset to our prospecting team. Reliable and efficient.



Rob Towner
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Diamond Mining History: hand forged tool from probably the 15th century


diamond mining history: hand forged tool from probably the 15th century
This was a hand forged tool from probably the 15th century, when the Moguls controlled the ancient Diamond fields of India.

The Diamond trading village of Kollur , where  Jean - Baptise Tavernier collected Diamond's for his patron King Louis XIV in 1638 was where the French Blue was purchased. The colorful and mysterious Blue Hope Diamond originated here.

The Blue Hope Diamond now resides in The Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC as the most famous Diamond in the world.

Everytime I look at this ancient tool Sam and I found. I wonder if this was the tool that some ancient miner used and unearthed from some obscure crack on the riverbed gravels, the most famous Diamond in the world.



Rob Towner
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Diamonds on the Krishna River in India


diamonds on Krishna River
I am testing for Diamonds on the Krishna River in India.

Surucas are the mainstay of my prospecting technics for Diamonds. The suruca Diamond screens give you a fast precise evaluation of the gravels.

Rob Towner
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