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Thread: The Quest for Maine Gold

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  1. #16
    us
    Jan 2019
    Maine
    371
    338 times
    Prospecting
    I got kind of got carried way with Gold Fever on thoughts of mining even if it was just to pay the taxes here. (They are out of control in Maine, so anything would help). I have always wanted to open a quarry though because a gravel pit seems kind of...well...sissyish in terms of mining. But I hate to see gravel leaving at $2 a cubic yard too if I find out there is gold in it!

    I would be happy just discovering some gold though, even if it was a trace amount like what is under your house Smokeythecat. My daughters would love that, and get into geology more then they already do.

    We get out as a family, even in the winter, and one time I "salted the mine" so to speak, by placing geostones around a big boulder. With hammer in hand we broke them open, and to this day they think they discovered "gems". Silly things cost Katie and I seventy-five dollars, but it was worth it. We would have spent that just going to a restaurant.

    I would be crushed (pun intended) if I did not find gold here, that is why I have spent 3 years trying to increase my odds before I send in a sample to be tested. But if you think the ore looks good, I will send it in.

  2. #17
    us
    Jan 2019
    Maine
    371
    338 times
    Prospecting
    Quote Originally Posted by smokeythecat View Post
    You are going to have to do several things. The first is sample from all the likely spots on your property. If you can handle it you may want to get an all terrain vehicle.
    ATV? I thought all prospectors aspired to have a donkey? I even picked out her name...Pickaxe, as in, "Come on Pickaxe, we have to haul out some ore". Like her namesake striking quartz, it has a nice ring to it. And when she is not hauling a sluice box, or pulling an Ore Cart, she can watch my sheep. (LOL)

    Having a donkey has other benefits though. Since my wife and I are together on everything, people could look at her donkey and say. "Jeesh Ore Cart, your wife has a nice...wait for it,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,burrow!! Why, what did you think I was going to use for a term? :-)

    Myself, I was going to use the username on TreasureNet of Clean Shaven Prospector, but did not want to type that in every time I logged on.

  3. #18
    us
    Jan 2016
    South of Gunnison, Gold Basin
    F2
    1,715
    1889 times
    Prospecting
    Also, its important to only send in the gold bearing because to much gangue will throw off the accuracy of the numbers.
    Once you determine where the gold is you can narrow down the pay vein and concentrate on that material for testing and the test will be more accurate. Make sure you send in the best grade you can get so you have the right numbers to work with.

  4. #19
    us
    Jan 2019
    Maine
    371
    338 times
    Prospecting
    Quote Originally Posted by Johnnybravo300 View Post
    Also, its important to only send in the gold bearing because to much gangue will throw off the accuracy of the numbers.
    Once you determine where the gold is you can narrow down the pay vein and concentrate on that material for testing and the test will be more accurate. Make sure you send in the best grade you can get so you have the right numbers to work with.
    So how much weight comprises of an rock sample? I thought I read it was 8 oz, and yet somewhere else I read it was 4 pounds. Also, where do you recommend sending it? And what will it show. Just gold, or silver, copper, and lead too

    I really know NOTHING about this stuff.

  5. #20
    us
    May 2014
    AZ
    Sweep Jig, Whippet Dry Washer, Lobo ST, 1/2 width 2 tray Gold Cube, numerous pans, rocker box, and /home made fluid bed and stream sluices.
    1,930
    2803 times
    Prospecting
    Quote Originally Posted by OreCart View Post
    Smokey/Johnny:: Your replies are exactly the reason I came on this site, for this kind of advice, so thank you first and foremost

    I did kind of wonder if what I was calling Galena might be silver, but did not want to jump too conclusions.

    As for testing, I wish you two had been agreement because that would have made things easier! (LOL) I had thought about crushing this rock up and sending it to my father-in-law who pans, and knows what he is looking at, but was not sure if there would be enough gold in there for him to see? Or alternatively, if I should send a sample in to have it tested? I would need help with how to do that because I have no idea on how that is done.

    I can see gold shiny flecks under a loupe in the rock, but I am too dumb at this to determine if they are iron pyrite, copper pyrite or real gold. Some shine in the light, and some shine even when its cloudy out, but a few specks shine like a lighthouse beam going out to sea, but I have no idea what that means? I feel dumb, but I do want to learn too.
    As a first step, I would go ahead and pulverize, to mostly powder, any rock that you think may contain gold particularly ones that have specks that show a distinct yellow or gold color in full and shaded light done by waving your hand over it. That color aspect alone is pretty much fail safe to identify those particles as gold. As a plant operator and farmer you probably have access to some screens to determine sand or soil particle sizes. If not, window screen and mesh kitchen strainers will likely give you two or more size fractions close too or smaller than the specks you observed. Pan the different sizes separately or have your father in law do it for you. Since the specks were visible before pulverization, you or he will see them in the pan too if they are gold....Gold is malleable so it could flatten some but not lose it's original size unless it happens to be divided in the process....it will not shatter like the surrounding rock. Use the same visual method as you did when you scanned the rock initially. I would not bother with getting assay work done until I was sure there is gold in what I am finding.* Sample size is a whole different ball game. Results from a bulk sample of representative material all the way across the face of the mineralized zone or vein will give you an indication of how much per ton the "ore" is worth. An assay obtained by cherry picking prime material only tells you how much that/those particular rocks are worth.... they are usually not representative of the whole ore body. Smaller powder samples are usually cuts from a much larger powder sample in fact that may be/is part of the method that an assayer uses when sent a bulk sample.

    * Microscopic gold is possible but probably not profitable to mine unless there is a significant deposit of silver ore to go along with it.
    Last edited by arizau; Jan 24, 2019 at 04:10 PM.
    If it can't be grown, it must be mined!

  6. #21
    us
    Jan 2016
    South of Gunnison, Gold Basin
    F2
    1,715
    1889 times
    Prospecting
    Most of the basic testing you'd do, figuring out what state the gold is in, free mill or chemically bound in the rock and if that's even feasible. If theres an actual ore body or just a one inch wide seam with some gold in it and surrounded by waste rock. Its how much you want to put into it and you could determine that yourself. And that's assuming it hasn't pinched out just below the surface! Theres too many scenarios to list.
    Even a low grade ore body can erode significant placers worth placer mining yet the ore body isnt worth digging at the source or has eroded completely. Gold downstream doesn't always mean theres a lode upstream worth digging out but it's all worth testing if you can find it.
    I'd try to determine the approximate size and grade of what you've got before anything else. Mining reports from that area might give you some idea from what others have found. Other metals will surely be present but if theres not enough gold it wont pay so I'd just start with that and keep it simple.
    And that's just a few of the headaches and expenses before you make any money!
    One things for sure in mining, if it doesn't cost you cash you'll pay with your body haha.

  7. #22
    us
    Jan 2019
    Maine
    371
    338 times
    Prospecting
    Quote Originally Posted by Johnnybravo300 View Post
    Most of the basic testing you'd do, figuring out what state the gold is in, free mill or chemically bound in the rock and if that's even feasible. If theres an actual ore body or just a one inch wide seam with some gold in it and surrounded by waste rock. Its how much you want to put into it and you could determine that yourself. And that's assuming it hasn't pinched out just below the surface! Theres too many scenarios to list.
    Even a low grade ore body can erode significant placers worth placer mining yet the ore body isnt worth digging at the source or has eroded completely. Gold downstream doesn't always mean theres a lode upstream worth digging out but it's all worth testing if you can find it.
    I'd try to determine the approximate size and grade of what you've got before anything else. Mining reports from that area might give you some idea from what others have found. Other metals will surely be present but if theres not enough gold it wont pay so I'd just start with that and keep it simple.
    And that's just a few of the headaches and expenses before you make any money!
    One things for sure in mining, if it doesn't cost you cash you'll pay with your body haha.
    That is what is strange about this outcropping; there are no veins. The quartz is disseminated throughout the bedrock. It might be a piece of quartz the size of a quarter, or it might be the size of a plate, but it is like this outcropping is a tossed salad of quartz, galena, silver, iron pyrite, copper pyrites, and melanite. I have never seen anything like it.

    You can actually see this on this particular sample. If you look at the rock at the very top, the bedrock fully entraps a pocket of quartz. The more the face is broken off, the more quartz is found. Not veins of it, just little pockets all through it. I would say about 20% of the outcropping is quartz, with the rest being other minerals and rocks.

    I have no idea if this is a good thing, or bad. Good in some ways because all those layers has the potential to have gold in them, but bad because it could mean separating a lot of waste rock.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  8. #23
    us
    Jul 2014
    Maine
    Equinox 600/AT Pro Garrett AT Pro Pointer
    170
    556 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Honorable Mentions (1)
    Im in the bangor area and got a 2 1/2" dredge/highbanker combo. If you got a water source near the gravel pit it would be real easy to see whats in the pit. Look me up this summer if you want to do it.
    arizau and gold tramp like this.

  9. #24
    us
    Jan 2019
    Maine
    371
    338 times
    Prospecting
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob207 View Post
    Im in the bangor area and got a 2 1/2" dredge/highbanker combo. If you got a water source near the gravel pit it would be real easy to see whats in the pit. Look me up this summer if you want to do it.
    Sounds good if you think their might be gold there. We could look over some exposed bedrock I have in the pit and see if there is anything settled out around the ledge.

    Its good gravel, small in size (2 inch minus bank run), and very "sharp". By that I mean, the State Soil Engineer has me mix overburden into the gravel so that it compacts better for my heavy haul roads. I am not sure if that is a good sign or not in a placer find, but it is what I have.

    I got some mini-equipment we can work with though, like a backhoe and dump trailer so that we do not have to shovel. I HATE shoveling. I am not sure how many tons your system can handle in an hour, but I can move 2 tons an hour MAYBE, so we could get your setup to water and move the gravel to it easily enough; at that rate at least.

  10. #25
    Charter Member
    us
    Nov 2010
    The Great Southwest
    3,458
    10028 times
    Prospecting
    Skip the XRF testing and get a real fire assay. Same price and the fire assay is a lot more accurate.

    XRF readings are disregarded in the mining industry for base metal assays. XRF only samples a very small area and at best only read a few mm deep. A fire assay is the least expensive accurate way you can get a reading on the whole sample.

    Sampling is a learned skill. If you just send in a piece of your best looking ore you will get assays that don't relate to the value of the deposit itself. Probably the best bet in your situation is to take a pound or so of good looking ore from several different locations, crush and pan. If you find gold then you will need to take larger samples from the location that showed gold. Send those for a fire assay to get a general idea of how much gold the best of the ore contains. That will be the number you can hope for on your best mining days.

    I've used this fire assayer for years. They are good, professional, quick and inexpensive. They aren't the only assayers there are others that do just as well.

    For a small miner if you can't crush and pan to recover the gold you probably aren't going to be able to make a profit mining the deposit yourself. Even then you are going to need to see values around 3-4 grams of free milling gold per ton before you break even.

    That's 3-4 grams per ton average for all the material mined and processed, not just the best looking ore. That's why your best assay sample will probably represent your best possible mining day, a lot of what you mine and process will have much lower values. Don't fool yourself into thinking you have a good deposit just because some pretty samples test high. A lot of miners have been ruined by their own optimism. It's better to keep prospecting for a good paying deposit than to fool yourself into mining a deposit that just doesn't have enough gold to be worth the expense of mining.
    Oddjob likes this.

  11. #26
    us
    Jan 2019
    Maine
    371
    338 times
    Prospecting
    Hey thanks; Clay Diggings and everyone else.

    I have started to crush some of the sample rocks up, but I have not got very far. I spread out a tarp, then drove over the rock with my bulldozer, but my grousers are pretty good and keep the rocks from really being crushed between the steel and concrete. I made a hand breaker to get it down the rest of the way, but that broke from all the pounding it was taking. I'll have to build a stamper to operate off my tractor to get it down to dust I guess.

    A couple of other considerations too in all this, is power and access, My gravel pit has a heavy haul road going to it, and is just off a paved road with electricity available (though not three phase). But it is going to take making a heavy haul road 1400 feet back into the woods for the lode mine, and of course no electricity.

    Th gravel pit also has no restrictions because it is grandfathered; we have been digging out of that pit forever, and we have been her for 9 generations (1746). I can chase a deposit as far as I want. But the hard rock quarry would be limited to an acre under Maine law without restriction because it would be a new quarry.




    They sure do not make it easy any more to make your land work to pay for itself.

  12. #27
    us
    Jul 2014
    Maine
    Equinox 600/AT Pro Garrett AT Pro Pointer
    170
    556 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Honorable Mentions (1)
    Quote Originally Posted by OreCart View Post
    Sounds good if you think their might be gold there. We could look over some exposed bedrock I have in the pit and see if there is anything settled out around the ledge.

    Its good gravel, small in size (2 inch minus bank run), and very "sharp". By that I mean, the State Soil Engineer has me mix overburden into the gravel so that it compacts better for my heavy haul roads. I am not sure if that is a good sign or not in a placer find, but it is what I have.

    I got some mini-equipment we can work with though, like a backhoe and dump trailer so that we do not have to shovel. I HATE shoveling. I am not sure how many tons your system can handle in an hour, but I can move 2 tons an hour MAYBE, so we could get your setup to water and move the gravel to it easily enough; at that rate at least.
    Not sure how much dirt it could handle. Bucket every few minutes not sure what yardage would be. I used keene a52 sluice to build my combo around. Here is a quick vid of it running as banker the first time i fired it up....

  13. #28
    us
    Jan 2019
    Maine
    371
    338 times
    Prospecting
    Wow, that is a nice set up!

    You would have to decide where is the best place to set it up (in the gravel pit or in the stream that leads to the gravel pit), but how it was fed would be up to you.

    I can feed it either way, my log trailer has a lot of limitations, but its ability to dig and carry gravel is one thing few backhoes can do. With only a 12 inch wide bucket though, it could dump directly into your high banker so that we do not have to shovel.

    Sadly, I have a picture of it digging, and I have a picture of it with its dump body on it, but not the backhoe and dump body together for some reason. This video by the maker shows how it works with the backhoe and dump body on it. the voice is annoying I know however...


  14. #29
    us
    Jan 2019
    Maine
    371
    338 times
    Prospecting
    The Log Trailer kind of deserves its own thread, but if the right ore was found, could be a cheap way to process it.

    I say that because the above video only shows it using it for its designed use. I voided the warrantee after the second day, but being a welder (retired from BIW), I built my own implements for it like a grader blade for smoothing my heavy haul roads, a feller-buncher, an upside down woodsplitter, etc. It would not be a big deal to put a breaker on it to bust up bedrock either.

    I use it for everything, and with the optional powerpack, I can hook it to my SUV, Bulldozers, Tractor, Skidder, etc...anything with a hitch, so no PTO or hydraulics needed. I got it up to Bangor Tractor a few years ago.


    Click image for larger version. 

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  15. #30
    us
    Oct 2011
    Maine
    White’s Classic ID, SL III, SL II, coinmaster classic III, Treasure Master. Land Ranger Pro, Time Ranger, Tracker IV, Eurotek Pro
    6
    1 times
    Metal Detecting
    Cool story so far. I am also in the Bangor area. I will be following this thread as it unfolds.
    Bodkin likes this.

 

 
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