Placer Claim Mined Out?

desertgolddigger

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I belong to a local club that owns a claim. This club has had this claim for many years, and acquired it after the old timers had mined it previously, and others after they commercial outfits closed up.
I walked quite a bit of the 160 acre claim, and noted that just about every wash had been worked. Most of the surface nuggets has also been detected by those with gold detectors. In other words, this place has been picked over and over and over.
But I m a stubborn type of person, and I figured, just watching how people ram their puffer and blower drywashers, that some gold was just being blown through them. maybe not much, but some small stuff that never got a chance to settle behind the riffles.
I know many of you would never go to the effort of digging for three to four hours through the tailings in these washes. Again, I'm a bit stubborn, and anyway, I just wanted to have some fun locally, instead of driving 300 miles roundtrip to something that gives a little more for less effort.
I've spent the last three weeks, digging a few times a week along about 30 yards of wash, and have recovered just about a gram of gold. That might not seem like much, but I have only dug up 5 grams, not counting this one gram in almost 20 years out here drywashing in the desert of southern California.
As you would know, things always seem to go wrong. My gas powered blower motor decided it was time for the repair shop, and haven't heard from the shop in two weeks. So I purchased a WORX WG521 corded electric leaf blower to use with my Royal Large drywasher. I'm using a portable generator to provide the power. And it actually is working better than with my old gas powered blower. I have to run the blower on the lowest speed, or I just blow everything through the riffles. Results are very good, as I am getting gold specks so small that I will have to use the Blue bowl in order to recover them.
I'm not only getting a little gold, I'm having some fun, and I am getting a good workout. I've lost 10 pounds since I started. So things are going well.
I'm still digging test holes around the old time hard rock mines in the hope I will find where the gold has drifted downhill below these mines. So far just a couple specks here and there. I figure I just have to move laterally one way or the other before I get something better Of course, I' don't really know if the old timers stripped the hillsides. Even if they have, they apparently aren't as thorough as I am. I hope that I may be lucky and find a larger piece of gold that the old timers, previous placer miners, and detectorists have missed.
Hope everyone is having as much fun as I have been having.
 
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desertgolddigger

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Today s visit to the Claim was awesome. I did a little more work on the access road, and It's looking better.

But the shock I received was a 0.210 gram nugget. This is my second ever nugget of this size. Along with the nugget, I got 0.140 more in gold. Very little tiny stuff. It was mostly small chunkies.

As I said, I came to the conclusion, based on how the rocks and gravel were distributed, that is area I'm now working is a pretty old dry washer tailing pile.

I mentioned this past weekend at the club campout that just shoveling all sizes of material on the washer grizzly will cause some gold to be knocked off, and that's exactly what I'm finding. My mention of this dry washing practice didn't keep people from doing exactly that.. I'm thinking very seriously of working the tailing piles three people left this weekend. I'm just curious to see how much gold got bounced off their grizzlies.
 

southfork

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Today s visit to the Claim was awesome. I did a little more work on the access road, and It's looking better.

But the shock I received was a 0.210 gram nugget. This is my second ever nugget of this size. Along with the nugget, I got 0.140 more in gold. Very little tiny stuff. It was mostly small chunkies.

As I said, I came to the conclusion, based on how the rocks and gravel were distributed, that is area I'm now working is a pretty old dry washer tailing pile.

I mentioned this past weekend at the club campout that just shoveling all sizes of material on the washer grizzly will cause some gold to be knocked off, and that's exactly what I'm finding. My mention of this dry washing practice didn't keep people from doing exactly that.. I'm thinking very seriously of working the tailing piles three people left this weekend. I'm just curious to see how much gold got bounced off their grizzlies.
A good place to swing that metal detector many dirty nuggets got tossed also.
 

southfork

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Yeah, The big nugget was dirty, dull. What do you use to brighten them?
Depends on how large sometimes a toothbrush and dish soap are all we use on natural nuggets. Dirty specimen pieces we soak in Whink for a week or more to remove stubborn quartz / and other deposits a lot of iron gets the muriatic acid both products need safety gear. Rubber Gloves Goggles respirator / mask. Open air with a nice breeze is best for me.
 
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desertgolddigger

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Once it's clean, hit it with a butane torch to brighten it.
Don't have one of those. I was cracking away bedrock that had cracked already. I wonder if the real dirty nuggets I've fond are those which fell into those cracks a very long time ago. Most of these cracks were larger than 1/4 inch, and filled with dirt that cemented things together. I've found three recently of this very dirty color. They basically look like a dirty rock.
 
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desertgolddigger

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@southfork. I built my boxy cabinet that supports my Crusher. Unfortunately the whole thing vibrates across the patio, even when I added rubber under the cabinet.

How do you keep yours from walking all over the place?

I have some hardware that goes around 1 3/8 metal fence posts. and bolts onto 2/4s. I think I'm going to have to add these 2x4s to the cabinet, and then bolt the whole thing to the fence post, and hope it doesn't still want to wander.
 

southfork

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@southfork. I built my boxy cabinet that supports my Crusher. Unfortunately the whole thing vibrates across the patio, even when I added rubber under the cabinet.

How do you keep yours from walking all over the place?

I have some hardware that goes around 1 3/8 metal fence posts. and bolts onto 2/4s. I think I'm going to have to add these 2x4s to the cabinet, and then bolt the whole thing to the fence post, and hope it doesn't still want to wander.
We have it sitting on a stack of cement building blocks wired and strapped. The crusher is bolted to a piece of plywood everything is vibrating and moving around. Thinking of pouring some concrete to make a base and bolting most likely I will use the block to make a pedestal about 3 feet high. I will use the plywood for a template to locate the bolt holes place the anchor bolts and shove into the wet concrete. Maybe some rubber mat to help with the vibration. Now I need to watch to make sure everything ends up in the tubs. I have heavy duty steel post also could cut to length pound into the earth form and pour around them and weld a steel plate to the top mark and drill add the rubber mat and it might still vibrate. Let us know how it works out. Now you have me thinking I also have some 6''inch steel channel about 30 feet long I could cut and weld and cement It needs to be solid. Happy Mining
 
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desertgolddigger

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We have it sitting on a stack of cement building blocks wired and strapped. The crusher is bolted to a piece of plywood everything is vibrating and moving around. Thinking of pouring some concrete to make a base and bolting most likely I will use the block to make a pedestal about 3 feet high. I will use the plywood for a template to locate the bolt holes place the anchor bolts and shove into the wet concrete. Maybe some rubber mat to help with the vibration. Now I need to watch to make sure everything ends up in the tubs. I have heavy duty steel post also could cut to length pound into the earth form and pour around them and weld a steel plate to the top mark and drill add the rubber mat and it might still vibrate. Let us know how it works out. Now you have me thinking I also have some 6''inch steel channel about 30 feet long I could cut and weld and cement It needs to be solid. Happy Mining
This is what I'll use to attach the box my Crusher is fix to, to the metal fence post.

 

southfork

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This is what I'll use to attach the box my Crusher is fix to, to the metal fence post.

Let us know how they work out I don't have time right now to build anything. I have a big project going.
 
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desertgolddigger

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Southfork, won't get to the restraining of the Crusher until Saturday. Going digging tomorrow, and taking the detector to check the bedrock cracks and the gravel I've spread on the access road Detecting the road won't take much time; just walk up one wheel track, and back on the other.

Panned some of the crushed material from the Crusher (mesh 76-100), and got skunked. Possibly noting in the rest of same material. I have, in the past, seen some very tiny motes of gold in my test panning, bur I believe it had to be 100 mesh and much smaller.

I did take a look through some rock I busted with a sledge hammer, and saw two that had a few specks of gold when I looked through a 10X loupe. At least that's promising.
 
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desertgolddigger

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@southfork, I attached the Crusher to the fence post using three of those pipe grip ties. You will also need the screws that hold the ties to the 2x4s. I had most of what I needed from previous work I've done.

I only ran a few pieces through the Crusher as a test, but the thing didn't move. But the real proof will be with longer use. I'll report when I use the Crusher more..

Mining yesterday got me over one gram. Took only three days, with a little cleanup of what I had on hand at home. Got another picker 0.071 gram. This one was shiny, so I'm thinking that, yes, a few pieces of gold that looked extremely tarnished, were from bedrock cracks I finished cracking.

Too tired to metal detect yesterday. Maybe on my next outing.

EDITED: Ran Crusher for 15 minutes just a while ago. Even though it says you can run 2 1/2 inch rocks, I follow the suggestion I saw on one YouTube video to not to, but break those into smaller pieces. The Crusher didn't move one millimeter during the session, so I think these straps are doing the job. If for some reason it does start to move, I can always add L brackets on the front sides, and secure those to the concrete with screws. At least I'm not being chased by the Crusher anymore. :walk:
 
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southfork

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@southfork, I attached the Crusher to the fence post using three of those pipe grip ties. You will also need the screws that hold the ties to the 2x4s. I had most of what I needed from previous work I've done.

I only ran a few pieces through the Crusher as a test, but the thing didn't move. But the real proof will be with longer use. I'll report when I use the Crusher more..

Mining yesterday got me over one gram. Took only three days, with a little cleanup of what I had on hand at home. Got another picker 0.071 gram. This one was shiny, so I'm thinking that, yes, a few pieces of gold that looked extremely tarnished, were from bedrock cracks I finished cracking.

Too tired to metal detect yesterday. Maybe on my next outing.

EDITED: Ran Crusher for 15 minutes just a while ago. Even though it says you can run 2 1/2 inch rocks, I follow the suggestion I saw on one YouTube video to not to, but break those into smaller pieces. The Crusher didn't move one millimeter during the session, so I think these straps are doing the job. If for some reason it does start to move, I can always add L brackets on the front sides, and secure those to the concrete with screws. At least I'm not being chased by the Crusher anymore. :walk:
That's great now the fun starts we break the rocks down to under 2" or it starts jamming.
 
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desertgolddigger

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Today I was at the claim. I decided not to continue digging where I had been. Last results were basically .07 grams.

I went back to an old area I had worked above the wash, and dropped down into the wash. I had to dig up a lot of fluff dirt; the kind that flies away on the smallest wisp of a breeze.

I was thinking this is going to be a near skunk,

I dug down to bedrock, and found that a lot was disintegrated. So, my Paleo Pick got a good workout breaking things up, and scraping down as far as I could. I need some kind of crevice tool to get all the pebbles and dirt loosened.

I panned the micro pea gravel, and was totally floored when I got a dull gleam in the pan. It was another picker, the third largest I've ever found, weighing 0.171 grams. It was also very dirty, so I am guessing it was in that disintegrated bedrock area. Total results were 0.29 grams, with two more chunky nuggets being very dirty. More crevice gold I imagine.

I guess it might be worthwhile pursuing this area. Seems people don't bother to check things like crevices, and disintegrated bedrock.

Of course, I did work on the road system leading to our claim. A lot of the club members have come up to me, thanking me for the road work. The one road I call the access road is where people with 2 wheel drive would get stuck. That isn't a problem anymore, As long as they keep one set of wheels on the graveled area.
 
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desertgolddigger

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It's been a while for this thread, as I was delving into crushing rocks to see if I could find some gold that way. I did, but the stuff was very tiny. A least I've had some success.

But my minimum monthly goal for placer mining was a big fat zero until two days ago. I went out this morning for the same routine I always do. Dig, classify material fir the dry washer, fill buckets with gravel, and do some more work on the roads leading into the claim.

I no longer have a big fat zero. The past two days got me 0.170 grams, and today got me 0,509 grams. So I'm 2/3rds the way to that goal. I got two small pickers today.

One thing seems to be a given. If the digging is easy, I get very little gold. But, if the diggings is almost an impossible task, I seem to get good return for my efforts. The area I'm working is unbelievably difficult to break up, and dig down to bedrock.
 

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It's been a while for this thread, as I was delving into crushing rocks to see if I could find some gold that way. I did, but the stuff was very tiny. A least I've had some success.

But my minimum monthly goal for placer mining was a big fat zero until two days ago. I went out this morning for the same routine I always do. Dig, classify material fir the dry washer, fill buckets with gravel, and do some more work on the roads leading into the claim.

I no longer have a big fat zero. The past two days got me 0.170 grams, and today got me 0,509 grams. So I'm 2/3rds the way to that goal. I got two small pickers today.

One thing seems to be a given. If the digging is easy, I get very little gold. But, if the diggings is almost an impossible task, I seem to get good return for my efforts. The area I'm working is unbelievably difficult to break up, and dig down to bedrock.
True about the hard digging. I tried moving a short distance on a claim, from the loose sides of a small wash. I was told someone got nice nuggets there in the past. Didn't go very far up wash as it narrowed. Amazing how quartz boulders where in spots like nobody had ever moved them. Some I couldn't lift so rolled them to side of wash. Once all wash cleared the bottom turned out to be hard enough you needed to drill or use explosives. Tried a hammer pick and could not even work loose the smallest stone. The large quartz chunks looked like might have been good for crushing. Last of my batteries were too weak to get the Gold Bug-2 to run. Left it all there (ore) for my trip was over, time to leave next morning.
 
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desertgolddigger

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Got back at it this morning, and the digging was just as difficult as before. And like I said, the rewards seem to come when the going is difficult. Today's haul was 0.310 grams.

But it looks like dry washing will not be happening for a while. The rain hit just after I got home, and is forecast the same for the next two days. If it gets soaked at the claim, then I will have to hope my panning tailing pile will produce a few pieces I missed. I'm so close to my one gram goal.

Guess I'll set up my Miller Table, and run all the material I've collected that's mesh 70 and smaller. I know there's a lot of that small stuff there.
 
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desertgolddigger

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Finally had a day to run the panning tailings through the chain mill.

Before that happened, I had triple checked the tailings for gold by panning, and running through the mini sluice. As far as I could tell there wasn't any gold in the material, but that is not definitive.

Results of panning the crushed panning tailings was 1 piece larger than 50 mesh, 1 piece from between 50 and 69 mesh mesh, 2 pieces between 70 and 99 mesh, and 1 piece smaller than 100 mesh.

The reason for my doing this test was to determine if there was gold inside any of this material.

I'll have to do this one more time to see if I can get similar results.

Right now I'm fairly satisfied there is gold lurking inside some of these tiny pebbles, or attached to them that I didn't notice.
 
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desertgolddigger

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Back at digging at the claim this morning. Since I'm only hauling 5-6 buckets in the back of the truck on my way out from the claim, I got done an hour earlier than normal. Never knew that sorting, and then driving to the site to lay the gravel/rocks added several hours. I'm still sorting, just not hauling in order to save my trucks brakes.

Today I went over one gram for the month. I got fortunate, and found a 0.176 gram picker, and dug a total of 0.376 grams of the pretty stuff.

I think it was a great day, and will be heading out tomorrow morning to do the same, and to watch for what we think is a claim jumper, I saw one guy this morning, and talked. He said a lot ot times that he wasn't a miner, but liked rocks. Strange to repeat he liked rocks half a dozen times. He did seem to know the color indicators in rocks for gold though.
He did say he didn't like digging.
 

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