Friday, September 25, 2015

Coarse nugget gold from Montana

coarse nugget gold from Montana
This is  50 ounce of gold in a two day cleanup we had on our last project a couple of years ago. That was two 10 hr shifts.

The mining property had almost no fines and was comprised of almost all glacial coarse gold. Every cleanup was fun and very satisfying. The gold price was up and we did pretty good that year.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Placer mining is an American lifestyle that represents Freedom

Placer mining is an American 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 wash plant to meet your budget requirements.
Placer mining is a lifestyle.

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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.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Sluice box: an essential element of your gold recovery system

Sluice box: an essential element of your gold recovery system
Sluice box: an essential element of your gold recovery systemThe 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.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Placer Mining - an 1860 drift mine

Placer Mining - an 1860 drift mine
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.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Mining remote, what happens when your engine blows up?


Mining 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!!!

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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Hydraulic riffles for fine gold

Hydraulic riffles were first developed in New Zealand as far as I know. I first encountered them on a floating wash plant when I was doing a job there in 1989. Hydraulic riffles are a system of riffles that have a built in manifold that injects water into the gold recovery mats, and fluidizes the gravel that is retained in a specially designed deep riffle system for a fluidized bed that greatly enhances fine gold recovery.

Sizing the material prior to introducing it to this system is very critical for these to work properly.

I have found that 1/8 inch minus feed generally works the most efficiently. They handle a pretty substantial feed rate with surprisingly good recoveries. The larger size gravels will tend to clog up the riffles and impact your fine gold recoveries. These riffle systems are sensitive to feed rate and feed size but when you balance them out, they enhance many operations that are plagued by black-sand and other heavy alluvial minerals. The system above is one I did on a test of a property in western Montana.

We did not increase our recovery with these,on this particular test. Angle iron and expanded metal was satisfactory in this case. The downside of hydraulic riffles is the tremendous amount of cleanup concentrate. If the values are sufficient then your cleanup circuit will be a bit more complicated with a cleanup jig and or a concentrating table.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Grade control of your gravel

Another satisfying gold prospecting experience - tallying the gold

My brother Les is tallying up our days gold take on one of our projects in Montana. We always keep a clean and organized cleanup area. The metal topped table is always imperative for easy cleanup of spills   or mishaps. We always pour gold bars from the accumulated fines right on site. Usually within one hour, we know exactly what the value per cubic yard of material we washed from the previous shift.

Keeping grade control of your gravel along with the associated yardage count will keep a handle on what values you are recovering every shift. Remember to keep samples of the associated minerals on the property you are mining and pay close attention to these for any changes in number or morphology as these could help you in discovering a rich pay streak. Remember gold is usually deposited intermittently across the floodplain and keeping a close eye on any anomalies could help you find richer portions of the deposit.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Always be studying your bedrock for any anomalies!

bedrock pay gravel
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!! #mining