Sunday, March 31, 2013

Big spiders in Venezuela and I mean big!!!!!

spiders in Venezuela
Spiders in Venezuela 

You can see that the spiders were very big where we were working in central Venezuela.

My old buddy Kieth was absolutly fearless whenever we encountered anything in the jungle.

I caught several of these huge anthropoids by hand and it really take a lot of focus, and your courage is tested.  The local indians showed me many times how to catch them and eventually I was successful at capturing some.

Their front legs are off the ground in a menacing pose, but with a swift but sure grab from behind, you have a hold of some pretty interesting hairy legs and fangs up close and very personal!!! The indians from the area we were working loved to cook them and I have dined on their legs more than once. Tasted a lot like crab. The indians would use the fangs like a toothpick and I really never understood why they did this. Whenever you saw one of these it always was an interesting event!!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Another "mining" bug of the week in Venezuela

Another "mining" bug of the week in Venezuela

That is a picture I took of the largest bee I have ever seen.

This is a tarantula bee from the jungles of Venezuela. These bee's have evolved into such huge insects because their prey is so big. The stinger is an easy half inch long. These animals live in a burrow in the ground.

When one of these starts winding up to take off, you can hear them from a long way off.

I caught this one by putting a jar over the hole in the ground that they live in, and that is how I captured him. Only two to the burrow was the norm but when ever you started seeing many of these, the number of big tarantulas also went way up. Just more excitement for bug of the week!!!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

My buddy Prospector Dan

My buddy Prospector Dan

My buddy.... prospector Dan.

Dan is a good, old school prospector. Dan has been a very good friend and I always pay close attention when he tells me of a new find.

Dan is always finding treasures. I meet some very interesting and cool guys in my gold mining Adventures.

Montana is warming up and it about time to go mining!!

Monday, March 25, 2013

The most dangerous snake in the world. The Russells viper

The most dangerous snake in the world. The Russells viper

 Yep, in this photo that is my annoyed look!!
Seems like some animal is always prickin with me.

I am on the end of my dredge on hyper alert we got a viper underneath it and we gotta get it.

My dredgemaster has got him spotted.

I made short work of him when he came out from under the dredge platform. The Russells viper kills tens of thousands of people in asia every year.

The local villagers fear this snake above all others. This snake is unusually aggressive and I am glad that  my guys were heads up enough to warn me that we had a very unwelcome visitor.

I am checking out the fangs on this snake that if you get nipped you are history.

I am holding the beautiful Russells viper and its beauty just does not seem to lend to the fact that this deadly killer is all around our work site and you have to even be more cautious and heads up than ever before.

I am back home in Montana and these crazy events do not even seem real !!!!!


Sunday, March 24, 2013

10 inch suction dredge and recovery barge for Diamonds

10 inch suction dredge and recovery barge for Diamonds
10 inch suction dredge and recovery barge for Diamonds

I am standing alongside our Diamond recovery dredge and recovery barge I designed and built in country including the Pan american style Jig.

As you can see the barge was built using local material and labor. Even though there was language barriers, my work went smoothly and very efficiently.

The old shop dirt floor and antique equipment was more than adequate for completing our project. Even the flotation sections were bent by sledgehammer, unbelievable!!!!

The innovation and skill that the young men had working for me was really a great experience.
The 10 inch dredge my buddy Dave McCracken designed and had built in Happy Camp California. It is a first of a kind and it worked well.

To just have a sluice box recovery for Diamonds you are probably going to have major losses. Being able to screen the gravel on the suction dredge and use a hydraulic gravel pump to send the 1" minus to the Jig worked great. We went on to do a Movie for animal planet using this dredge. You can view it on my website.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

My little test plant out in the jungles of Venezuela

My little test plant out in the jungles of Venezuela
My little test plant out in the jungles of Venezuela

Thats my little test plant we dragged into some remote areas of Venezuela testing for Diamonds.
My old excavator we had in
Bannack Mt, is in the thick of it!!!

This area was in central venezuela in an area that was unexplored and boy was it wild. I loved it.
If you just don't get into to big of a hurry you can pick your way into some really remote places. As you can see this was in heavy jungle. We did find some small Diamonds!

Still panning gold in the cabin!

panning gold
Still panning gold in the cabin!

My ol buddy pete and I are still panning in the cabin.

We had some old concentrates that we found a few sapphires and some gold left over from an old project.

Getting ready for the spring mining season.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Panning gold in the cabin in Montana

Panning gold in the cabin in Montana
Panning gold in the cabin in Montana

Oh ya.....cold outside you just bring in some concentrate in and take the edge off with a little winter time panning in the cabin.

I never ever ever get tired of panning gold!!!

My daughter in the jungle!!!

My daughter in the jungle!!!
My daughter in the jungle!!!

My Daughter was just 10 years old in this picture.  She spent several months with me on one of my South American projects.

Always a happy liaison with the local people she was a really fine young lady to have on my projects. The people just loved her!

She is now a teacher for the head start program here in Montana. And I now have a Grandson who is a candidate for one of my up and coming projects I know he will love it like his mom did!!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Placer Mining Strategies: Keeping your mine site neat and tidy

Placer mining strategies Keeping your mine site neat and tidy
Placer Mining Strategies: Keeping your mine site neat and tidy

This is one of our mine sites and what I expect from a mine site after you get it dialed in from the chaos of startup.

You have your excavator up where you can see what is happening in the hopper, good steady feed rate, you know what is happening on the front end as well as the backend.

 Your pay gravel is starting to stockpile up nicely. Flat even runs up for your haul truck. Keeping your mine site very tidy will pay you very well in the long run. There is absolutely no chaos going on here.

Everything is much easier on the equipment. Once you are dialed in like this it makes it so much easier to plan your hauling and stripping programs and keep rock in the box.
 I can say it does not  hurt to have a good Montana blue sky in there for sure either!!!

South American Diamonds discovered by Rob Towner

South American Diamonds discovered by Rob Towner
South American Diamonds discovered by Rob Towner

This was a batch of Diamonds I recovered in South America some years back.

I was using the same system that I use for gold mining now except I was using jigs for the Diamond recovery. If you have your system properly tuned you will catch all of your Diamonds.

The material has to be properly sized to ensure you are going to recover all your Diamonds. We recovered many Diamonds in this fashion and it really worked well in our jungle environment. Most of the material was a heavy Kaolin clay and quartz gravel. I made up a specially designed hopper that worked well for me.

I made it oversized and really used a high pressure washing system that really liquified the clays and made our recoveries much better. We never were ever able to find a missed stone and I was rewashing our tailings on scheduled tailings loss check program I always implement.

As with any recovery system you are always wondering if some is getting away!!! I can tell you first hand... Diamonds will always bring out your mineral recovery insecurities quicker than any other mineral I know!!!

Treasure Hunters: Placer Mining Montana Gold (video)

Treasure Hunters: Placer Mining Montana Gold 

Placer mining management tips

placer mining management tips
Placer mining management tips

Materials management is the number one priority on any placer mining project.

Project management of placer operations in materials management is so important to the success of an alluvial mining project.

You can see here we are setting up the pit for the last lift of a cut to strip off the remaining 18 ft of overburden. Overburden will swell as much as 50% and can cause havoc if you do not plan accordingly.

All gravel and overburden has a swell factor and you will come to grips with that in short order after you handle your material a few times. Your screen analysis is usually a pretty good baseline and you need to learn to trust those numbers, then adjust accordingly.

Every operator must share any discoveries you find during the shift as far a boulders, tight gravel or any other operating difficulties you may encounter. As a mine manager you need to study each and every detail that your crew is encountering and plan ahead for any anomalies that your mining plan may encounter. Just when you think you have it all under control there is always something that comes out to bite you. Weather, ground water, materials consistency, even manpower fatigue. You must as a mine manager stay multifaceted to every detail and stay on it and do not become complacent.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Our little sluice box is getting pretty full with fine gold

sluice box full of fine gold
 Sluice box is getting pretty full with fine gold

This is my brother Les running the big wash plant sluice concentrates through our cleanup sluice box. We did not have a lot of black sands in this deposit and it lent itself well to this type of cleanup recovery.

We worked a high mountain placer in Southwestern Montana for a few months. The price of gold was pretty low and kept dropping and we abandoned the project as the values did not support the project.

Gold prices that hovered around $285.00 to the low $300's an ounce and these were pretty tough times for most placer miners and we were no exception.

One thing is for sure you tough it out and never quit. Rethinking material handling strategies was probably one of the best things to come out of these lean times.

Good mining buddies in Montana!!

montana mining

A good shot of my gold mining buddies. Judging from the smiles on everybody's face, we are right in the middle of some good gold mining stories.

Tony my partner, my good friend and fellow miner Kenny,  and my other good buddy Dick another fellow miner. We can talk about mining till the wee hours of the morning!!!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Montana Grasshopper Creek Wire Gold

Montana Grasshopper Creek Wire Gold

This was some wire gold I recovered just below the Old Gold Bug mine, on grasshopper creek. Just sharing some really neat pictures of some of the gold we recovered back in my old days mining on grasshopper creek.

I guess the old timers didn't get it all.
The gold we recovered here and the stories of how we did it,will be a major part of my book we have embarked on writing.  I'll tell you it wasn't all glory, thats for sure.

Rob Towner, Mineral Extraction Specialist
Mining Consultant
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Saturday, March 16, 2013

A beautiful Octahedron Gold nugget discovered by Rob Towner on Grasshoper Creek Montana

Octahedron Gold nugget
Octahedron Gold Nugget

This is a picture of the results of a hard rock quartz ledge seam I discovered in 1988. I was stripping some ground that I was sure was underlaid by an elluvial placer.

An Elluvial placer is the concentration of gold right over where the mother lode vein comes to the surface.

Little erosion had taken place. A bit of old fashioned geological investigation  and I was one of the lucky few on the planet to have found a  high grade hard rock gold vein as good as any that was  found by the first prospectors that  found the rich deposits of gold bearing quartz on Grasshopper creek.

Literally chunks of gold was coming out in the sugar quartz as we mined this section of elluvial property I had on Grasshopper Creek.

That piece of octahedral gold was the largest octahedron nugget of gold I have ever found.
Old Gosta Miller my mentor at the time, absolutely had to have this and I gave it to him for his collection. While I found many smaller specimens this was truly the biggest.

I hope someday his family donates this huge specimen to the Butte school of mines here in Montana as it is one of Montana's true treasures and I discovered it!!!

I donated some smaller pieces of Dendritic and Octahedral gold to the museum and they are currently on display.

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Friday, March 15, 2013

The Indigenous Indians I encountered

The Indigenous Indians I encountered
The Indigenous Indians I encountered 

I was working in south america some years back. We would encounter indigenous indians almost daily where we were mining.

They would come out of the jungle and ask for a lift into town especially when they learned of our travel habits. They always had unusual food to give us and I always enjoyed these jungle folks.

Their hand made packs always smelled of campfire. They usually had a singed monkey or a bird or two.

 They were always friendly and occasionally would have a Diamond or a bit of gold that they wanted to sell to me. I always learned a little bit of jungle lore from these people while they hung around our camp waiting for a ride. What a fabulous experience.

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Gold nuggets: shaped as Rams horn

Gold nuggets: shaped as Rams Horn 
These are a couple of Rams horn Gold Specimens that I have in my collection.

Gold nuggets: shaped as Rams horn

Gold nuggets: shaped as Rams horn

These type of gold nuggets are really quite rare and the source is generally not far away.
We recovered these from our Gold Placer mining operations a couple of years ago.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Good gold picture Montana gold nuggets

Montana gold nuggets
Montana gold nuggets

I love this photo of some gold we recovered. It gives me the gold fever every time!

My partners Tony and Les with Bear Creek Placer are pretty excited about this year. We have a fine gold property we are anxious to get on in southwest Montana. The snow should be off the property by end of april. I don't think there is a piece of gold this big there, but little ones add up quickly.

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Uncle Bill in India

Uncle Bill in India
Uncle Bill in India

Uncle Bill you just gotta love him!
80 years old and he came to India and really helped us out.

An old Vietnam vet and just a good guy always upbeat and helping us get the Diamonds
He seem's pretty relaxed with the snake I was restin on his hand!!!

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Monday, March 11, 2013

Testing a mining property a few years back in central Montana

Testing a mining property a few years back in central Montana

I was very focused on this test I was panning a few years back. We found a property that we really liked and it had good historical values.

Unfortunately the grade was not quite what we needed for our operations.  We tested the heck out of this property but the pay streak ran under some very deep ground and the value was not what we required.

Testing a mining property a few years back in central Montana
Tony is checking out a sample next to some old dragline dredge tailings. A good sampling program is essential to Gold mining success.
When you get the numbers on your spreadsheet to match up, there is nothing more exciting to get going and get some rock in the box!!!

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My old 54-B Dragline Grasshopper Creek Montana

I was working on my 54-B Bucyrus Erie dragline. This was the first really big piece of equipment I ever bought.

The old timers really pushed this on me and I learned a lot going old school.

While the 3 1/2 yard bucket was really good, I went on to the large excavators with the mobility and the speed of materials handling as the biggest factor. This was about 1988 on my Bon Accord holdings on Grasshopper creek, Montana

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The big sky country Montana, Kickin around with my buddy Pete

 I love Montana you just cannot beat the Big Sky country!
Taking a break from the mining.
My buddy Pete and I made it to the top of the Bitteroot mountains. What a beautiful day.

Pete and I have kicked around together for about 35 years. We mined together on so many places.

Ol Pete is a top shelf buddy and alway's will be!!!!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Weighing a days take of Diamonds

Weighing a days take of Diamonds
Weighing a days take of Diamonds

I was Diamond mining in South America 18 years ago and we were having success in finding some quality Diamonds. The trouble is that the area is not necessarily controlled by the concession owner.

Mr Hillmer was the local Diamond lord. I found some very rich drainages and while we were able to mine some of them, most were given to the local giampero miners.  The politics were very difficult at that time and very dangerous. Mr. Hillmer and Mr. Otero were good to me and I was able to get a lot of Diamonds and gold. I feel very fortunate to have had this great jungle adventure. As you can see I have a very anxious look as he weighs my take of Diamonds. There was a lot of carats in that little film can.

Expenses in the South American jungle were extremely high. Manpower was of very good quality , but it is tough to keep it going in some of these environments. Someday I hope to go back as I am sure some of the places I discovered are still waiting to be mined.

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Friday, March 8, 2013

Did Rob Towner find Henry Plummer's Gold?

This is a pile of gold I mined from my old gold properties at Bannack Montana. At the high point of the gold price two years ago this would have represented almost half a million dollars.

There is well over 250 ounces here. Back then my average price was around $285.00 an ounce.  Only about $70,000 is what this pile netted.

At the end of the year I had mined 1700 ounces. My best year ever.

Some assume that I may have found some of Henry Plummers  gold. The famous sheriff of Bannack Montana.
I owned his patch claim and I spent more time and money than anyone else on the planet, hunting for his legendary lost gold.

This story will be in my book that I am writing on this huge adventure that was a major part of my life years ago.
Vigilantes, and the  Masonic lodge at Bannack Mt. My book will shed some light on the secretive Masons.

 I researched the heck out of it and this is going to be an untold story with a lot of information to add to the history of Montana's first territorial capital. The story is true and you will read about the caches of gold we found and Rob Towner's real story. Some of my old buddys and employee's were there and will have their say also, it will be a really fun and a for real historical read!!!

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Hydraulic Riffles for Gold and Diamond Recovery

Hydraulic Riffles for Gold and Diamond Recovery
Hydraulic Riffles for Gold and Diamond Recovery

These are some hydraulic riffles I built for fine gold recovery and two millimeter Diamond recovery. The jig hutch product was gravity fed to this little system I made. We had a lot heavy blacksand concentrate and it contained some gold. While nobody got rich on this, it did give us a good Idea what we had on bedrock for gold and Diamond indicator minerals. I built a floating recovery barge complete with pumps and electric power. Fully loaded and operational with fuel and men it only drafted 22 inches.

We  were dredging with a 10 inch suction dredge and sreening the material to 3/4 minus and using a 3 inch gravel pump to supply the jig with the Diamond bearing slurry.

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