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Thread: Using a mini-excavator on remote claims, legal?

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  1. #16
    us
    Jan 2019
    Maine
    445
    396 times
    Prospecting
    I was thinking about this, and I think the Wallenstein Log Trailer like I have would be perfect for you. Buy the smaller version that is designed to be towed with an ATV and you could haul the trailer into the claim with that. To get it to the claim in the first place, you load the ATV on back of a truck, and then tow the trailer down the road behind the truck. You could either load your sluice into the dump body and haul it to the site, or build dedicated trammel/wash plant for the trailer itself.

    You would then just be running (3) small engines. That ATV to get the trailer to the site, a small engine to power the trammel/wash plant, and then the engine to operate the backhoe on the log loader trailer. You might consume 5 gallons a day.

    Your cost up front would be high, especially if you did not have an ATV, or truck to pull it, but you could use a sluice or something until you got enough gold to justify building a custom trammel/wash plant. But at 1.5 tons per hour, if the gold was there, it would pay for itself quickly. (Roughly a dump truck load of pay gravel per day).


  2. #17
    us
    Jan 2019
    Maine
    445
    396 times
    Prospecting
    Just a quick note to say: It is really easy on a forum to spend other people's money! I know money is hard to come by, but the posts above are just to get people thinking about what is possible. making custom implements is what I love to do. I use my log trailer for just about everything, and it is a rare day when I do not use it for something.
    akflyer likes this.

  3. #18
    us
    Jan 2016
    South of Gunnison, Gold Basin
    F2
    1,745
    1939 times
    Prospecting
    I wouldn't call those a mini ex. Maybe a tiny ex. Good for gardening in black soil. Not for mining or anything too tough.
    Clay Diggins likes this.

  4. #19
    us
    Jan 2016
    South of Gunnison, Gold Basin
    F2
    1,745
    1939 times
    Prospecting
    We have a backhoe and tractor and even they have their limits. Something like that would be almost useless in rocks. Just not enough ass behind it.
    Clay Diggins likes this.

  5. #20
    us
    May 2009
    Sailor Flat, Ca.
    SDC2300, Gold Bug 2 Burlap, fish oil, ACME handbook for TRUE prospectors (unread)
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    Banner Finds (1)
    "Winches for boulders bigger than basketballs" Those are throwing rocks still.

    I would be doing a lot of winching...

    Shoot I don't winch until I think I finally have a rock that might pull a tree out.

    I've used a few different " mini-x" I would love to have one down on the claim they would be usable.

    They were bigger than the ones shown though. One by not so much.

    We did roll some pretty big rocks and dug in some pretty dang hard ground.

    To me getting it where you really wanted to use it would be the biggest problem.

  6. #21
    us
    Mine President, XPBC, GIH

    Dec 2013
    Arcata, California
    Fisher 1212-x Fisher Gold Bug 2 Whites 4900/SP3 Rocker boxes, Keene sluices, Bazooka sluice, 2.5", 4" lowbankers, highbankers. Witch Sticks.
    632
    714 times
    Prospecting
    Kind of like running a dredge on a remote claim in California, don't get caught!
    Bejay and PJV like this.

  7. #22

    Mar 2014
    NorCal
    Fisher GB2, Bazooka Prospector 36", EZ sluice, Blue Bowl..
    965
    2185 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Ive had this idea ive been playing with in my head, a utv base mini excavator, take one of them towable ones and attach it to where the bed would be somehow.

    Then fab up a lil trailer wash plant to tow behind it, not sure if it would work but sounds possible as an idea, and would be very moveable.

    Or fab a small wash plant on the rear of the utv and tow the HF trench digger behind.
    Last edited by Asmbandits; Mar 13, 2019 at 03:34 PM.
    Goldwasher, Bejay and N-Lionberger like this.
    Come check out my California Mother lode Adventures!---->https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4U...aqFXriPUONmEtw

  8. #23
    us
    Brian

    Mar 2014
    Central Oregon Coast
    Whites GMT Garret fully underwater
    952
    2302 times
    Prospecting
    Firebird asked: I just found out that there are mini-excavators that the chinese make for cheap for less than $5k. They're pretty small but they can still dig a hell of a lot more gravel than one man with a shovel could in a day. Would it be legal to use these on a claim on BLM land? I could break them down into smaller parts and then take them to even the most remote claims and put them together there.


    The question pertaining to legality is one that will bring forth a response from the BLM. Many have already answered it based on the reality of the BLM position and I dare not begin to post the "lawful" criteria for doing an NOI or POO. Legally you would only be required to enter into those contractural agreements with the BLM if you did "significant disturbance": The NOI and POO demands per USFS and BLM always base their request on that term:
    "Significant Disturbance"

    The term "significant surface disturbance" was a way for the Secretary of the Interior to try to get around the legal standard "unnecessary or undue degradation" found in the FLPMA. So miners should not be distressed by those three words. The following is the only legal definition on which the BLM or Forest Service can rely.
    Supreme Court wrote:
    "[a] reasonable interpretation of the word 'unnecessary' is that which is not necessary for mining.

    'Undue' is that which is excessive, improper, immoderate or unwarranted."

    Utah v. Andrus, 486 F. Supp.

    995, 1005 n.13 (D. Utah 1979)


    That said I would pose the following for those who answered that the BLM would request/demand you do a POO. I would venture to say that most miners use a quad or their vehicle to perform certain tasks on their claims. An example would be to move big boulders or even stumps etc. Thus you are using motorized equipment. The issue of using a small backhoe to save your back is one that makes sense. One can dig a big hole with a pick and shovel...I have seen some very big ones dug. The use of an excavator simply changes the ease by which you dig. So the issue really becomes one of how much do you dig. The BLM will often bring this issue up.


    But the reality is the BLM will undoubtedly be taking a stand on the use of an excavator. Legally this has a lawful basis and yet the BLM will most likely ignore the law and simply rely on their own interpretations of their policies (CFR applications) I always tell those close to me: "How much grief do you want to bring upon yourself?"


    Bejay
    Last edited by Bejay; Mar 14, 2019 at 12:16 AM.
    firebird and mofugly13 like this.

  9. #24
    us
    Jun 2006
    Out in the hills near wherendaheckarwe
    WHITES, MINELAB, Garrett
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    Quote Originally Posted by firebird View Post
    The chinese stuff have gotten better recently. The cheapest one I've found is a towable backhoe from Harbor Freight for $2899 with good reviews.



    https://www.harborfreight.com/9-hp-t...hoe-62365.html
    Actually talked to a HF guy about these. He bought one for his dad. The first thing the guy said was, "Don't even think you can hook this up & go down the highway!" His dad couldn't go any faster than about 20 or 25. He said it started bounding(??) from side to side & almost went over twice in 5 miles. They're (him & his dad) are looking at upgrading the pump since "everything we have is way under powered so as not to have liability issues & returns." There was an outfit that had similar a few years back, looked more sturdy. They were advertising in all the Popular Science magazines. Wrote to them & the only drawback I could see was it shipped in like 5 or 6 packages & a skid. It'd really suck getting everything except the box with all the hardware. With no weight so to speak I wonder how it'd do trying to push down to get a bucketful of hard clay. Be a fun toy if you've got the bucks!
    Clay Diggins likes this.
    I know it's here, just need a bigger coil!

    I think I know what my last words will be....
    "Hold my beer and watch this!"

  10. #25
    us
    Jan 2019
    Maine
    445
    396 times
    Prospecting
    Quote Originally Posted by boogeyman View Post
    With no weight so to speak I wonder how it'd do trying to push down to get a bucketful of hard clay. Be a fun toy if you've got the bucks!
    This is a common misconception...

    The short answer is, they will do fine because they have outriggers and do not need to rely on weight. As the unit is digging, it forces the outriggers harder into the ground. My log trailer does the same thing with its outriggers, and the pictures showing the mini-excavator by the original poster depicts a blade on the front. As long as the operator was doing the digging with the blade in front, it will have plenty of digging ability.

    This is far different then my stand alone excavator (Hitachi 160) because it has no blade or outriggers. In that case it uses its counterweight on the back to counteract weight transfer while digging, but it is a balancing act.

    Most equipment has this. For instance, a wheel loader has 60% of the weight on the rear tires, and 40% on the front tires, until it gets a bucketful of dirt, when that happens, 60% is transferred to the front, and 40% is in the back. This weight transfer is what sizes the capacity of the bucket. It is why I cannot put a 10 cubic yard bucket on the John Deere 744G; it would be unsafe to operate.

    The same weight transfer takes place on a skidder in terms of operating empty, and with a full twitch of wood behind it. It would not pull well if the front tires were off the ground.

    All this is tractor science, with drawbar pull, tractive effort, and weight transfer all engineered out so that the machine is efficient at what it does.
    Last edited by OreCart; Mar 14, 2019 at 04:55 AM.
    firebird likes this.

  11. #26
    us
    Jan 2019
    Maine
    445
    396 times
    Prospecting
    Another thing to consider with these smaller machines is break out force.

    My log tractor digs really well because its bucket is only a foot wide. Yet, the hydraulic cylinders that power the bucket, have the same PRESURE as my big excavator; 2000 PSI.

    My big excavator has a lot more horsepower and larger hydraulic cylinders to match the bucket that is 27 times bigger (1 cubic yard versus 1 cubic foot), but geometry wise, it is the same digging arrangement, and probably the same break out force.

    The biggest difference is FLOW. My log loader backhoe moves slow because the hydraulic pump is the size of a fist, where as the pumps in my big excavator are the size of a 30 gallon barrel. I am moving a lot more oil, but it is at the same amount of pressure (2000 PSI).

  12. #27
    us
    Jan 2016
    South of Gunnison, Gold Basin
    F2
    1,745
    1939 times
    Prospecting
    Anytime you wonder about Chinese quality just look at the used market. Theres a reason there isnt a market for used Chinese equipment. Cuz its all frail underengineered junk just like those tiny ex's are.
    Looks like John deere farted!
    Bejay and Clay Diggins like this.

  13. #28
    us
    Brian

    Mar 2014
    Central Oregon Coast
    Whites GMT Garret fully underwater
    952
    2302 times
    Prospecting
    Quote Originally Posted by Johnnybravo300 View Post
    Anytime you wonder about Chinese quality just look at the used market. Theres a reason there isnt a market for used Chinese equipment. Cuz its all frail underengineered junk just like those tiny ex's are.
    Looks like John deere farted!
    7 Years ago I bought a Chinese quad and took it down to the AZ desert for the winter snowbird mining. The steel on the frame and the welds constantly broke....no amount of welding would fix the problems of the crappy steel and thin frame tubing.


    There is a backhoe system that fits a quad. It has a Honda Motor and you drive the quad onto the frame and it then attaches to a quad. (I would assume you would want a fairly large quad....not some little thing.


    Bejay
    Asmbandits likes this.

  14. #29
    us
    Apr 2015
    Oshkosh, WI
    942
    1346 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    I just looked at a Cat version. Ran something like 2700 lbs, so it would be air liftable by a UH-1. (UH-1 = 3800 lbs max external load)

 

 
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