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.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Placer mining is a lifestyle you have to love. It helped build this country and it represents freedom!!

Placer mining is a lifestyle
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 washplant to meet your budget requirements.
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 it is balanced good, we may add an additional man this year to ease up the load a bit.

My first big stripping job on Grasshopper creek Montana

gold stripping job on Grasshopper creek Montana
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 to 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 1700 ounces of refined gold. Today that would have been a pile of bucks thats 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.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Placer mining in Montana a classic catastrophic debris flow

Bear Creek Montana a classic catastrophic debris flow
Our placer mine in Drummond Montana. Debris flows.  

Sometimes you are in the right place at the right time.

To get a better grasp of a catastrophic  geological event I was at was that right place. I witnessed a terrible geologic landslide event in 1999 100 kilometers north of Caracas Venezuela. I was retrofitting an airlift suction dredge on the Caroni River in central Venezuela when this event occurred. I heard about the great loss of life and the destruction near the international airport of Maiquetia Venezuela. I was on my way to the airport to pick my buddy Dick Simpkins who was coming down to work for me. Nothing could have prepared me for the destruction I witnessed. The landslides completely destroyed the town of Ceaballeda. The loss of life was estimated at 30,000 people. Dick and I clambered about the devastated city, stood 4 stories up inside of the hotels that were destroyed,mud and debris filled.

I immediately  recognized firsthand what a debris flow was all about. The characteristics of landslides initiating on steep tropical weathered sloping hillsides laying on exfoliated rock was what I was about to experience first hand,  it gave me a real blueprint as to what shaped a mining project I worked on in Montana a few years later. Heavy heavy rain falling in a short time triggered mudflows and landslides that quickly transformed into debris flows. Of note was the channel and alluvial width, the steep gradient that carried rocks as big as busses.  This flowed all the way to the ocean. The rock and mud media enabled the jumble of boulders to be swept down the valley floor.
The boulder matrix was unsorted and unstratified.

I have noted a similar event  on the Bear Creek drainage near Drummond Montana. It was in all probably  the same kind of catastrophic debris flow event. A debris flow of this type, suspends the boulders within a matrix of mud and smaller rock that created a  media density.This media came from the headwaters of the valley and happened to be auriferous with gold from the lodes scattered at its headwaters. This is an assessment in general I am making to answer  nearest I can tell about the boulder deposition along the Bear Creek drainage.

A friend was hydraulic mining a small section and you can see without a doubt how the matrix of rocks and boulders was placed so far up the banks along the entire drainage