Friday, May 31, 2013

Big Sluice boxes on the Caroni River in Venezuela, something to be learned on every corner of this mining world.

Sluice boxes on the Caroni River in Venezuela
This is a big sluice box that was on a big turbine dredge in Venezuela on the Caroni river. It was working near where I was testing with an 8" airlift dredge.

The sluice box was 30 ft wide and 26 ft long and then came back under as what I call a Z sluice. The riffles were expanded metal and the matting was a conglomeration of carpet matting even torn up pieces of clothing.

When they cleaned up once a week the amount of fine gold was amazing. Four or five men spent the better part of the day with this endeavor and were usually absent for a couple of days after their split.

For most of these jungle miners, they took their work very seriously and had very strong family obligations that they took care of. I was invited into their homes many times. I really had a great respect for these Gold and Diamond miners of the Venezuelan rainforest. What a privilege  and wonderful experience this was.


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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The snow is going out of the high country and your biggest fan will be cheering you on Mr Jones!!!


The picture above is a really good picture of how a properly working riffle is working. I did a bit of consulting with Mr. Jack Jones a mining man here in Montana.

He put together a little testing program, acquired a property and with a bit of direction had a very successful testing program. We had a lot of fun doing this and you see him bending over taking a picture of the riffles.... that wasn't because there was no gold there.

I was very proud of him and also made a very good friend in the course of my job with him.

I drove by his lay down yard a few days back and when the snow is out of the high country it will not be a little testing program! He is going mining!!!!!!

I know I will be up there with him as he is setting up a first class gold mining operation all on his own and hope to help him in any way I can cause this guy is going to make it!!!


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Gold Chunk: This gold surprised the hell out of me!!!

Gold Chunk: This gold surprised the hell out of me
Gold Chunk

I just returned back from a consulting job a few weeks ago south of the border. While I was there I was introduced to big nugget country.

Surprised the hell out of me!! If I was a bit younger I would sure as hell head south instead of the frozen tundra of Montana!!!

A very ambitious group is going to do well in the coming future, go get em boys, your hard work and tenacity  is an inspiration for sure.





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Fine Gold Recovery: good example of fine gold being recovered in a sluice box

Fine Gold Recovery: good example of fine gold being recovered in a sluice box
Fine Gold Recovery: good example of fine gold being recovered in a sluice box

I was testing a fine gold property, 60 mesh  and finer last fall. Lots of blacksand, hematite and other heavy minerals.  When you can see good fine gold recovery like this you are doing something right.

When your boxes start loading up with gold like this it is a good idea to cleanup a bit more often as the gold may start to migrate over several hours of continuous washing.  Each property will dictate that and every one is different. What dials in on one property may not be the same for another. You just have to stay on top of it and experience helps a bunch.


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Gold Prospecting: Couple of ounces an hour sure kicks up the gold tally.

Gold Prospecting: Couple of ounces an hour
My brother Les is weighing up our cleanup. Tony our partner is pretty fired up. You can see the straw around our cleanup tent, that it was winter in the Montana mountains.

When you are getting gold like this there is no shutting down.
Gold Prospecting: Couple of ounces an hour
We were enjoying another day of a couple of ounces an hour last year.

The gold tally book looks pretty good when your recovery system is paying off.











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Cleaning up your gold, keeping it in house and simple.

Cleaning up your gold
This is a pretty good cleanup from one of our projects a few years ago here in Montana.

Most of the gold was flat and flakey.
The property was a debris flow and was very uniform in value and recovery.

Most of our placer gold, we melt down on site and ship to our refiner.

We use a tidy cleanup building we take from job to job. The tail end of the day, picking through the oversize for any coarse gold. There has been plenty of gold bars poured from that little furnace.


Cleaning up your gold
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Saturday, May 25, 2013

This is my favorite design of a vibrating screen washplant.

My favorite design of a vibrating screen wash plant
My favorite design of a vibrating screen wash plant

Of all the plants that I have built, this was probably the best one I ever had. This design is so simple to use. As you can see I was washing glacial til with fine flat flakey gold. The clay content was quite high, as you can see it in the sluice water, but it did a great job

You can screen a lot of gravel though this plant I designed back in the 80's.

They are super easy to move, set up and are really low maintenance.  Typically I can move onto a property and be set up in one day.

As soon as I complete my new trommel, I will probably set the keel of a new washplant exactly like this one.

The gravel pump configuration, I use all the time to get rid of sand tails or pump to a jig if necessary.

How do you beat this for simplicity and reliability?



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Friday, May 24, 2013

My old school trommel, going to extract a lot of gold by fall!

gold wash plant trommel
We finally got our drive gear sprockets cut and the ring extension installed.

This is an old school trommel and we expect to have very good success. My old trommel which was exactly like this one netted me 1700 ounces of gold. We  operated 24 hrs a day for five months and our operating time was 87%.
Trommels like this one have exceptional continuous operating results. Although they are big and heavy, this robust design in the right place will pay out handsomely.


gold wash plant trommel

The 5 ft barrel is good for 100+ cubic yards per hr
on most placer gravels.




The young fellow below is me back in 1987 and this was one of my good cleanups. I used an old pitcher style plant that year and treated 100,000 yards of paygravel and it was my best personal year ever. Over 1700 ounces of Montana placer gold


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Monday, May 20, 2013

One of my sluice box designs that will handle 100 yards per hour of placer gravels

sluice box designs that will handle 100 yards  per hour of
Sluice box designs that will handle 100 yards  per hour 

This is my sluice design that is pretty basic and straight forward. This will work well with any side delivery system be it a trommel or a vibrating screen.

This configuration  will handle roughly 80 yards per hr of 3/4 inch minus with a section on the back of the screening section being sized for the known or anticipated course gold.

 The first section of recovery is set at approximately 1.5 to 2.5 inches to the foot these vary depending on blacksands or other heavy mineral, this being said is a general setting that works on most placer properties I have mined.

The coarse gold section is for anticipated nugget gold that some properties may have. This sluice runs at a steeper gradient of 2 inches or greater if necessary to keep the high volume of oversize in the slipstream. This configuration is based on typical screen analisis of 45% to 55% of the placer gravel, passing a 1 inch or 3/4 inch screen so you can be looking at an overall capacity well in  excess of 100 yds per hour bcy at the stockpile.

Our water requirements need to be in excess of 150 gallons per minute per foot of sluicebox width.

Almost double that in the coarse gold section per ft of sluicebox width.



Placer Mining Resources

Kindly let me know if you have any items to add to the Placer Mining Resources page of my web site ...http://goldtowner.com/Placer-Mining/index.html

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sluice Box Dynamics: Teaching how to prospect in a foreign country

I am teaching a class on the dynamics of a sluice box and how to prospect and pan for gold in a foreign county.

I love to teach prospecting to other people and share the adventures I have experienced over the years.



















Thursday, May 16, 2013

Prospecting for Diamonds

Prospecting for Diamonds
Prospecting for Diamonds

We found a really nice 2.5 ct Diamond on this island with hand sampling. I decided to bring the 10" dredge to a channel just offshore. The river currents on big rivers is stronger than you would guess.

To keep the recovery barge and the dredge secure we sunk concrete barrels for anchors and they worked perfectly.

We spent a month offshore here while we prospected for Diamonds. Working in remote reaches of the world always has its challenges.






Rebuilding the gold trommel - step by step

Rebuilding the gold trommel
Rebuilding the new hopper. This will be a choke feed style hopper. Gotta go go go!!!
Rebuilding the gold trommel
Grinding the plates for the caterpillar roller trunions. We stripped her down to bare bones.
Rebuilding the gold trommel
Installing a Holroyd gearbox for the chain drive system. This is ready to install.















Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Rebuilding a Pitcher style gold mining wash plant here in Montana

Rebuilding a Pitcher style gold mining wash plant here in Montana
Rebuilding a Pitcher style gold mining wash plant here in Montana

We are rebuilding this pitcher style washplant and should have it ready to go in about two weeks. I elected to rebuild the hopper to a more robust style and larger to accommodate feeding it with our 345 cat excavator.

I will be replacing the old splash guards with a better design. We just ordered the new drive sprocket and barrel extension.

The trommel barrel has a 5 foot scrubbing section and the 16 foot screening section is 3/8 x 2 inch slotted high tensile screen.

Rebuilding a Pitcher style gold mining wash plant here in Montana
The barrel will sit on new cat roller trunions  a new Holrod gear reduction transmission and a 30 horsepower electric motor with a frequency modulator vari drive will make this plant as good as they get.

A 30" or 36" stacking conveyor will hang from a gantry and I  have not made up my mind yet. The rebuild is going very well and I can't wait to get some rock in the box!!!








Signature wash plant and sluice design - robust, effective, and easy to use

Signature wash plant and sluice design - robust, effective, and easy to use
Signature wash plant and sluice design - robust, effective, and easy to use

On this photo of my wash plant, you can see the raceway sluice coming out from underneath the screening plant.

I like this configuration  of a four foot wide sluice elevated  a bit for easy cleanup. The majority of our gold is always found here. I have found that the ten foot length works pretty well for us.

The distribution box at the end of the raceway evenly spreads the discharge to additional eight foot wide by twenty foot long sluices with expanded metal riffles and miners moss underneath. The raceway sluicebox can use either expanded metal riffles or angle iron riffles. Sometimes I use a combination of both it just depends on the type of deposit I am mining.

On projects that need additional recovery I like the gravel pump at the end of the bank of sluices for additional scrubbing of fugitive clay that resists attrition. Gravel pumps have a lot of violence in the impeller and this action really breaks down most clays. The gravel pump easily transports the fines to jigs or centrifugal recovery systems depending on the requirements. With Diamonds and sapphires  rubber lined pumps and sweeps reduces fractures in both minerals.



Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A simple cleanup sluice puts your gold in the bank quickly.

simple cleanup sluice
My brother Les is finishing up a very nice cleanup of 30 ounces or so on an old project we did several years ago.

This was a fine gold project we mined and had pretty good luck.

We often use this type of cleanup sluice to  get the concentrate ready for the gold wheel.

It is quite simple and you have your gold in hand very quickly.


















Sunday, May 12, 2013

Building sluice boxes for gold recovery

Building sluice boxes for gold recovery
Building sluice boxes for gold recovery

My buddy Pete and I are building some 8 ft wide sluices for one of my projects a couple of years ago.  Panels like these are quick and economical to build.

Sluices have been the mainstay of most mining operations worldwide.
I strongly recommend using them wherever possible using P.E. Randy Clarkstons recommendations that he conducted in the Klondike placers in the late 1980's


While sophisticated systems can and do increase recovery rates on some projects you need to keep close track of diminishing returns on your project.

Building sluice boxes for gold recoveryI have found that the down time, and maintenance  especially in primitive areas need to be addressed constantly or your overall recovery can be compromised.

















Thursday, May 9, 2013

Searching for Jungle Diamonds......One of my prospecting trips deep in the Venezuelan Jungle

Searching for Jungle Diamonds
Searching for Jungle Diamonds

I was prospecting a very remote area of central Venezuela years back. The local miners told me of some new discoveries down this river deep in the jungle.

I built a raft using old 55 gallon drums and did some long recon runs up and down this river system.

When you first are examining these types of areas you wonder how could I ever find Diamonds here. Once you understand the geology of tropical weathering, little clues with the gravel types and best of all, prospects of very ambitious regional miners. Even this impenetrable jungle has little trails that the indians travel at different times. Hanging vines that are cut for their pure cold water, you actually encounter these subtile clues on many of your forays into the jungle. We floated and carried these barrels for a long ways at time in our search for jungle diamonds. It just does not even seem real as I write this blog.





Wednesday, May 8, 2013

I like these old gold trommels they turn and burn!!!!

old gold trommels
We are getting a gross weight for the old washplant. This old plant has recovered a lot of ounces.

We have cut away the old worn out parts and are retrofitting a new drive system , hopper and sluice boxes.

By monday a 40ft conveyor stacker will be hanging off the back end.

Can't wait to see this baby run!!!!!


Sunday, May 5, 2013

A new Montana wash plant in the making, an old gold mining veteran getting ready to produce gold again

Montana wash plant
gold wash plant
I recently purchased this old 1938 pitcher style washplant. It has the base for a good trommel scrubbing plant.

We just started cutting off the old worn out parts and are going to retrofit it hopefully rock ready in two weeks.

We will be moving it to our new property here in montana. It will be offered for sale and should be a good one.

I am just figuring out the new retrofit and recovery system. A new drive system and trunions will be in order.

A good 35 or 40 ft stacking system and she will be ready to go.

We are replacing the old sluiceboxes
and going with strictly a gravity recovery system. I hope to be on the property by the end of the month.

We have lots of work to do in the next three weeks.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Suction dredging in India. This is tough and dangerous work!!

Suction dredging in India
Suction dredging in India

I am just coming back up from a deepwater diving session. As you can see in the background I was winching large boulders out of my dredging hole.

The Diamonds we were seeking, were at the bottom horizon of boulders. Diving and dredging in these conditions can be difficult at best due to visibility challenges.

You always ease into these situations and  keep a heads up on your surrounding conditions.

Your equipment needs constant tending to, as any failure at these depths and your toast. The challenges the of deep water dredging and hoisting boulders is dangerous and is a discipline in itself.

Your team is always important and they need to be able to convey deckside problems to you immediately and without failure.

Your life depends on this!!