Wednesday, December 17, 2014

My good friend Col. Shali

Going through my photo's  I found a picture of Col. Shali and myself talking about some procedures on our dredging  project some years back in India.

The good Col. was a very respected former Indian army Colonel.

We developed a strong friendship working together and we always seemed to be on the crazy edge!

How we pulled off some of our projects was amazing.

I loved working with him and miss him a bunch.

Rob Towner offers mineral extraction services around the glob - visit his web site.



Tuesday, December 16, 2014

This property was mined in 1899 and still is producing economic placer gold!

producing economic placer gold!
You can see that we do not have much overburden.
If you look closely  from the roots on up…. the ground has been previously worked by a small bucket line dredge.

The dredge was very small and could not dig very deep or even get through the veneer of basketball sized rocks. On the surface, the property looked totally worked out.

When we tested this, I could not believe that they would leave these kind of values so near to the surface.

They did leave a few islands of unworked ground but not much and it gave me insight to how and why they mined this alluvial flood plane.

The surrounding geology has not changed much in 5,000 years and the wind and the arid climate no doubt reconcentrated  much of the near surface low grade alluvial fan to an enriched surface deposit that fit the economic requirements of one of the first bucket line dredges in the world.

 In 1899 this was cutting edge technology and no doubt this was a success to the group that put this dredge on this little valley deposit.

We came along 110 years later and what they considered low-grade, now meets our economic requirements for the present day mining plan that we have put together.

Learn about our placer mining services - click here.

Panning for grade control

Panning for grade control
Pretty good cleanup on our project.  We have been on a 68 day run and its been very consistent.

 Keeping rock in the box is what will make your operation a success.

We have a panning program that insures we have a good grade control.

Our property is a fine gold deposit and this is a pan from the pay streak.

When you can keep your grade at the stockpile with these good pans, your success is very probable.
Panning for grade control

Learn about placer mining services at our site - click here.

Friday, December 12, 2014

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.

Read this post about ancient diamond mining tools in India.

Learn more about my diamond mining projects - click here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Gold in our sluice box riffles at the end of the day

Gold in our sluicebox riffles 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.

Visit our web site to get more information, click here.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Mining Techniques: my first stripping job

Mining Techniques
This was my first D-8 dozer I had and was stripping my first big pit. This was way back in 1985. We had a lot of overburden but it payed off pretty good even though the price of gold was very low.

You can see how extensive the workings were in the left of the photo. The pay streak was very wide as evident of the shafts all showing the direction of the pay streak.

Towards the back of the cut we were as deep as 90 ft. We had three dozers and it was expensive but at the end of the day we had recovered 1,700 ounces of refined gold. Today that would have been a pile of bucks that's for sure. A lot of the old workings were still accessible and we roamed around the underground workings a lot. The history and how hard the old-timers worked was unbelievable.

Visit my site for more information.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Placer mining is an American lifestyle that represents Freedom

Placer mining
Placer mining is a lifestyle that you really have to love. To keep rock in the box, the weather does not matter and you can't get tired you gotta Go Go Go! You have to be thinking way ahead of the game, be prepared for breakdowns, pay streak anomalies  and have the proper trained help.

Going home a 5 o'clock is not happening on our jobs, there just doesn't seem to be enough time in a day. If you have any hiccups  the lights are on, to make your quota of gravel that has to be run through your wash plant to meet your budget requirements.
Placer mining is an American lifestyle that represents Freedom
Placer mining is a lifestyle.

On our particular job the grade is quite low but with overburden almost nonexistent it fits our company just right. We operate with just three men and most of the time it is balanced good.

Visit my web site for more information - click here.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Sluice box: an essential element of your gold recovery system

The design of your sluice box is essential to the success of your mining operation. Use the right miners moss for your gravel, make sure the length of the box is appropriate to the mineral size you are expecting, and always keep a close eye on the water flow.

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.

I have found that the down time, and maintenance especially in primitive areas need to be addressed constantly or your overall recovery can be compromised.

Learn more - visit my web site - click here.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Placer Mining: Understanding Geological Structure

Placer Mining: Understanding Geological Structure
This is a center cut on a gulch placer we were working here in western Montana years ago. At the time of this photo, we were getting ready to move onto the bench placer in the upper left of the photo.
On the upper right you can see the drain ditch doing its job perfectly.



Understanding the geological structure will enhance your mineral extraction strategy. I was fortunate enough to be trained by the best of the best, old timers who had been mining all their lifetime. What they taught me is pricelss hands-on experience. That is what, I think, every successful miner has to develop - the hands-on experience.

Keep in mind, you are always trying to achieve digging dry gravel. In reality, most of the time you will have water issues of one kind or another.


Check out my web site - click here.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Hydraulic mining in Venezuela for Diamonds

Hydraulic mining in Venezuela for DiamondsI have found a few extraction operations using 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.
Hydraulic mining in Venezuela for Diamonds
The photos here are a hydraulic Diamond operation I stumbled upon deep in the central part of Venezuela. We heard of a La bullia (a shout) meaning a new Diamond discovery has been found, several miles away from our camp. We embarked on a stiff hike, navigating the spiderweb of jungle trails heading deep into the jungle.

Still a couple of miles from the area we could hear the unmistakable rumble of a Venezuelan water pump. These water pumps are usually an old air cooled engine and a home made pump coupled together with strips of carefully cut tires to attach these incredibly reliable machines together.

If you want to truly understand hydraulic mining, this is the place. I  worked the nozzle and the little gravel pumps they had for hours and hours to get hands on experience. It was pretty cool.   Visit the web site to get more information - click here.







Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Gold in the sluice box

Gold in the sluice box, riffles and miner mossAlluvial engineering at is best,  when you see the results like this at the end of a 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.

Hydraulic riffles are another strategy for placer mining which I have had success with.

The right miners moss is an essential ingredient in making your placer mining formula a success.

Check out my web site to learn more - click here.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The close of another mining season ..... (video)

Well, I am back in town now and working to get the office under control. I get a kick outta this video, it's pretty much sums up what it's like to be back "at work" ....


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Getting some ice around our gold washplant in Montana

Getting some ice around our gold washplant in Montana
We had 20 degree's yesterday and are still at it. We reached our goal today and plan to shut down Thursday night. We had a good solid year and look forward to next years season.

We have identified a new possible resource  and look forward to testing in the spring.

This property could yield for a few more years! Our equipment will need a bit of maintenance  this winter and we look forward to good gold prices and shallow ground!

We had a very competent team this year and this was one of the most enjoyable mining seasons I ever had. My brother Les was unbelievable in keeping production on track. Ben kept the plant feed exactly on track and Paul took over the rock truck duties as well as panning and maintenance.  We will have a new mining plan for next year and I can't wait to get started on it!!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The exoskeleton of a placer mining tunnel.


My buddy Pete texted me and I could tell he uncovered something pretty cool! Pete is managing the stripping program for a a Canadian company and has done a great job for these folks.

Pete is a good steady hand and we have worked together for many years he knows placer mining and is neat and very efficient.

I beat it up to his site to check it out! He had the brilliance to recognize and dig up and over the main 1860's pay streak  exoskeleton  of a tunnel that extends for miles up this gulch.
By being able to look at this kind of history is amazing.

The best part is the ability to see where the meandering pay streak is going and being able to plan your next stripping set. The bedrock here is very fractured and altered and appears to be a very capable bedrock gold trap. I wish Pete and the company the best of luck.

Friday, August 29, 2014

A good panner will help your placer mining endeavors

A good panner  will help your placer mining endeavors
This year we changed things up a bit and added Paul to our team this year.

Paul pans each level of our pay gravel seam.  Top to bottom everyday and its the toughest job on the project. His efforts have really assisted me in determining what I send to the plant. Our grades are fairly low and I have been able to keep our mining plan on track.

A jack of all trades from driving the rock truck to feeding the plant we are lucky to have him.

Accurate panning is essential to keep your pay gravel grade in your economic margins.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Lost Treasure Hunters: Animal Planet Starts Monday, 28 July, For Three Days

Lost Treasure Hunters: Animal Planet Starts Monday, 28 July, For Three Days
We are excited to let you know that the Animal Planet is doing a marathon of the Lost Treasure Hunter episodes (six total) for three days starting Monday the 28th of July.

Click here to check the schedule of Animal Planet ...
http://www.animalplanet.com/tv-shows/tv-schedule.htm
.... look under Monday the 28, Tuesday the 29th, and Wednesday the 30th.

Unless it changes, right now it looks like they start at 6 PM and runs to Midnight.

Check out Rob and his fellow treasure hunters as they search for diamonds in India.  They're real-life Indiana Joneses -- but for profit rather than posterity. In this series, prospector Sam Speerstra and his team of treasure hunters investigate the clues left by ancient civilizations, then go in search of long-lost riches. Their work begins in an ancient Indian city believed to have been the source of some of the world's most valuable diamonds, including the Hope diamond. Legend has it that the diamond mines of Golconda were depleted 250 years ago, but Speerstra believes the area is still rich with gems. He has dedicated his life to finding them, and this is his final chance, for the impending construction of a dam will soon erase the mines from the Indian landscape

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Big Sky Gold Mining

Big Sky Gold mining
We are saddled up and washing gold again. We finished up some reclamation; have a good stockpile of pay gravel,  and a new mining plan; its 16 hrs a day mining in Montana.

I do have internet but its painfully slow as we are very remote. Blogs will be a bit sparse.

Check out the July issue of Rock and Gem. I wrote an article about gold mining in Montana.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Montana Placer Mining (Rock & Gem Magazine article)

Montana Placer Mining

Rob has a great article in the July, 2014 issue of the Rock & Gem magazine. Here is the link to read it and view the pictures too - click here.

Reclamation at our placer mine

Reclamation at our placer mine
Just finishing up our reclamation on the ground we mined last year and it looks good.
Reclamation at our placer mine
My grandson comes over for a visit with grampa every chance he gets!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A good little trommel wash plant going to recover some Montana gold

trommel wash plant going to recover some  Montana gold
We finished up a wash plant that we refurbished and it worked very well. The startup today went well and our clients should like this trommel plant as its work will be for sure busy this summer.

They have an eager crew and I anticipate that they will recover a lot of gold this summer. We wish them all the best.

We will get on the rest of the summer on our gold mining placer project and wish all my fellow gold miners best of luck!
trommel wash plant going to recover some  Montana gold

trommel wash plant going to recover some  Montana gold

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A good gold wash plant ready to ship out

gold wash plant
My brother Les after our day of finishing up some details that always pop up as you are commissioning a plant. Les is a tireless craftsman and the best can do guy I ever met.

We spent the day loading up the conveyor and getting tools ready for the setup of the wash plant for our clients. We will spend a few days making sure everything is on track and hand over the plant to the new gold miners

We wish them the best of luck and hope they get a thousand ounces this year!!!  I like this plant and wish they would trade it for mine on our project.

With a few weeks of reclamation and repairs to our plant we hope to be running gravel in a couple of weeks on our mining project.
gold wash plant


gold wash plant

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Gold mining buddies

gold mining buddies
My brother Les my good buddy Sam and myself had a great day visiting while washing gold on our project in Montana

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A good finished wash plant in Montana

gold wash plant
We just finished up a gold wash plant  for  our client. A few loose odds and ends and the required guarding of the plant and she will be making Montana gold soon.

This plant will be a good fit for our clients and another Montana gold mine will soon be underway!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Another Trommel ready to get some gold

Trommel wash plant ready to get some gold
We just finished up a scrubbing trommel wash plant. We are installing the last of the electrical panels and this plant will be getting gold in two weeks for sure.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Diamonds of India

Diamonds of India
This was a real nice diamond we found in India. The Diamonds were far and few as we were working a low grade deposit. This is a really nice diamond but it had some Illmanite inclusions. These are also clues to the origin of this particular Diamond.

Uncle Bill is holding this fine specimen. He was a team player on our quest for Diamonds on an Indian Diamond project.

More images of minerals - click here.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Always be studying your bedrock for any anomalies!

studying your bedrock for any anomalies!
I was down on the bottom of a trench checking the bedrock a few years back.

It always very important to keep a close watch of the ever-changing bedrock conditions. Subtle clues of the geology and geomorphology and recognizing these changes increases your odds of being a successful  placer miner.

Anytime their is a geological structure change, chances are you are going into a gold drop zone.
The structural change may basalt, sandstone or other geological  anomaly, always pay close attention, you may be in a good paying section of pay gravel!!

Friday, May 9, 2014

A good 8x8 choke feed style hopper ready to go!!!

choke feed style hopper
The hopper is fully installed and well trussed. The grizzly is completed and ready to set on top.

A day or two of plumbing the water and I am about ready to try it out here at the shop.  We should have it painted by the weekend next.

I am liking this little plant, can't wait to what she will do.

View more wash plant images and info - click here.
choke feed style hopper

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Trommel scrubbing washplant under construction

washplant under construction
The wash plant we are constructing, is coming along to schedule.

The scrubbing section will enhance our clients expectations as ordered.
The sluices are done, miners moss is on the way and we will be working on the stacking conveyor thru the weekend. This is going to be a nice little plant.


Saturday, May 3, 2014

Steve and I checking for Diamonds

My buddy Steve Newberry and I were using the Surucas checking for some Diamonds a couple of years ago in India.

Steve is a gifted geologist and great consultant, with his worldwide exposure to many different geological situations he is one of my first choices to consult with on difficult projects thats for sure!!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Younger days we were still placer mining!!!

My brother and mining partner Les. Well it was several years back…he is holding a good days cleanup on Ruby creek. That project had very spotty gold and it varied a lot.

Mostly fine gold with no lodes anywhere near. Once again it was glacial debris flows.  The narrow lenses were very hard to keep track of. 

Les is the can do  guy of our operation. He can fix anything and is one of the best alluvial miners I have ever met.

Visit our web site and leaner more about what we are doing - click here.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Moving our 10" Diamond dredge with 10 ft tall elephant!!!

My buddy Dave Mcracken and I are…. i'm pretty sure, the first underwater dredgers in the world to have a 10" suction dredge pulled to a new site by a 10ft tall elephant.

What an amazing experience to do this. We hooked on to this very large pachyderm and he easily pulled us along the Krishna river in India to our new dive site.

Dave is an amazing and powerful underwater diver and world class Dredger. I like working with Dave and hope drum up another exciting project one of these days. Life changing events like these are what we live for.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Besides gold mining I love Brook trout fishing!!

Besides gold mining I love Brook trout fishing. Its looking like we are going to have a heck of a high water this year and that event will drive the big ones out of the main Big hole channels out into the side channels.

These beautiful fish are starting to get  my mind to wandering almost every night and I can't wait to catch a few of these powerful fish!!!

Now this is a handful Montana Gold!!!

Now there is a handful of Gold! We were mining a couple of years ago near Drummond Mt and we melted down our daily cleanups.

We have a small induction  furnace and we used it right on the property to consolidate our gold intake for the day and make it easier to send to the refiner. This eliminates loose placer gold from being handled and possibly taken during the multiple handling processes on a placer mine.

Good looking stuff, but it takes a lot of yellow Caterpillar Iron, diesel fuel and hard work  to get this commodity thats for sure!!!!

Washplant hopper progress on the trommel scrubbing section

We have the hopper welded up and ready for installation. The framework starts tomorrow and by weeks end should be looking pretty good.

Sluices are coming along well and the gravel pump should be here mid week. Its a hell for stout wash plant!

With plenty of scrubbing section it should be well up to washing the clays on the property its going to.


Friday, April 25, 2014

Getting the hopper ready for installation.

We are getting ready to install the choke feed style hopper this weekend. Progress on the trommel retrofit is moving along at a good steady pace.

The sluice boxes are being manufactured in the shop and are just about ready for the distribution header box to be installed.

The hopper to  trommel delivery ring should be installed tomorrow and the hopper framework should be about roughed in by Monday or Tuesday. Lots of welding around here for the next few days thats for sure!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Gold Mining: Retrofitting a Montana Trommel

Gold Mining: Retrofitting a Montana Trommel
We are retrofitting  a Trommel for a client  and it is coming along nicely.

We are rolling a pitcher style hopper for it and hope its ready by wed.  If all goes well, she will start looking like a wash plant by weeks end. The sluices are on site and we will start assembling these later in the week. With the addition of the 36" stacker next week it should be looking pretty good.

This should be a dandy little wash plant when we get it assembled. I can't wait to get some rock in the box with this trommel.
Gold Mining: Retrofitting a Montana Trommel

Friday, April 18, 2014

Gold mining and fishing is a good way to start the spring!!!

gold mining flyfishing
Besides gold mining I like to flyfish! Caught this beauty right out my backdoor where I live what a piece of paradise!!!

I hope to catch him again this summer!!! I think my grandson Aidan or Dominic is going to beat me to it though. They both are learning to flyfish this year and I can't wait for that super fun day when they catch their first big one!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Placer Mining: Sweat, muscle and perseverance, won the day!!

Placer Mining: Sweat, muscle and perseverance, won the day
We were working a placer mine near Drummond Mt a few years back and we kept uncovering old 1860's drift mines. The state of preservation was amazing and you are always at a marvel  how sweat, muscle and perseverance  won the day on this old placer mine.

 I love the hand worked timbers and the tremendous effort it took, all by hand.  lowering all this wood to the depths of their  drifts in the dark with candles as their only light and the hopes of striking it rich. There is miles of this going all the way up the gulch!

These pioneers, miners,explorers just tough…. gutsy, what an experience  to glimpse into their past, and what they accomplished. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sapphires now this is serious treasure!! Wow

Now this is a handful of serious treasure!!! I was mining for gold up in the mountains of Montana a few years ago and my buddy Sam showed up one afternoon and showed me these beauties!

He was cleaning out an old storage shed and stumbled upon these beautiful stones he had mined years ago. I don't think I have ever seen as beautiful of a cache of Sapphires as these.