Placer Claim Mined Out?

desertgolddigger

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May 31, 2015
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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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southfork

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Jun 15, 2014
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Not much luck today. Just one picker, and 30 some odd smaller ones.

I tried running what I dug up without classifying the material. All it managed to do was clog things up, and create a big mess behind the drywasher. And that method lost a couple little pieces. I went back to my smaller mesh classifier, and things went well, except for the return for my effort. Still had fun, and that's all that really counts.
Sounds like you had a good day you found gold .
 

arizau

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Just in case you are not aware..... If the riffle tray is "clogged"/material is not moving, it is usually due to air gaps caused by too coarse feed. Coarse feed does not settle as tight as finer material does so blown or puffed air seeks the path of least resistance, finds the gaps and the progression of the feed slows or stops. A quick fix is to add some tails or sand to the top of the riffle tray or to the hopper feeder. The gaps on the riffle tray will be fillled in no tme and clear the jam.

Good luck.
 
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desertgolddigger

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arizau, yes, I discovered that thing years ago. I tend not to run anything over 1/4 inch. Anything bigger I classify, and metal detect. I've never found anything above 1/4 inch in size. I guess I either have missed something, or I just never had any luck at finding bigger stuff.
 

Lanny in AB

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Great post D.G.D., glad to see you're still getting some gold, and the reward of finding any is always better than getting skunked.

So, nicely done, and all the best,

Lanny
 
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desertgolddigger

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I've a question about magnetite/black sand. Is it worth keeping around?

I swirl my pan around with a lot of water in it, and dip my magnet in a little to pick this stuff out of the other material.

I did an experiment with this stuff. I classified a load of it with a 30 mesh screen, then ran it on my Miller's Table. I got just a few microscopic pieces of gold from about a cups worth.

What do you do with this magnetite/black sand?
 

arizau

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I've a question about magnetite/black sand. Is it worth keeping around?

I swirl my pan around with a lot of water in it, and dip my magnet in a little to pick this stuff out of the other material.

I did an experiment with this stuff. I classified a load of it with a 30 mesh screen, then ran it on my Miller's Table. I got just a few microscopic pieces of gold from about a cups worth.

What do you do with this magnetite/black sand?
I usually don't use a magnet but always classify black sands/heavies with mesh sizes 30, 50 and 100. That yields 4 batch sizes 3 of which are smaller particle size than plus 30 mesh......Gold is easier to pan and less likely to be lost while panning when it competes with only like sized material. It's relative weight is about 5 or more times as much as all other like sized particles.
 
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desertgolddigger

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arizau, I only use the magnet out at the claim, when I'm wanting to see if I'm getting anything. If I know that where I'm digging produces something, I usually just dig, and then tote the drywashings home for final processing.

At home I use my 8 and 12 mesh screens to do my initial panning. After that, I use my old "Pioneer Mining Supply" 30, 50 and 100 sieves on the smaller stuff, finally using my Miller Table to get that stuff processed.

I kind of do it like you, but probably with differences to suit the equipment I have on hand.

What's odd about using my Miller Table is that I seem to find more little gold no matter how many times I run my concentrates. Probably due to how I feed the table. I'm still trying to get used to this tool.
 

N-Lionberger

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Depends on the location for me, some places it’s pure iron some places it’s a fascinating mix of random materials. I have had interesting results from roasting and crushing black sands for locked in values. Until I build my shaker table I’m not sure if there is any value in it other than my plan to eventually use the bigger pieces to smelt into pig iron.
 
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desertgolddigger

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I figured this black sand/magnetite was something only those equipped could explore for trapped gold. I'll just keep doing what I've been doing. That's classifying things so I can run it on the Miller Table to get the super fine gold that always seems to cling to this stuff.
 

DizzyDigger

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Desertgolddigger..hope you get to visit Herb, as he makes a living off that flypoop.
 
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desertgolddigger

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DizzyDigger, I don't know who Herb is, unless he's the local gentleman who mentioned his extensive home gold works stuff. Can't remember what he named the place. I'm waiting for a PM from him, but he said he was kind of busy. I do hope I can see his setup.
 
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desertgolddigger

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For some reason I decided to go out to the Humbug claim. Oh yes, I guess the reason was to see if the yellow stuff might be found.

On the way in on Gold Crown Road, I passed a beat up pickup truck, but figured it was abandoned.

On the way back I saw a gentleman standing next to that truck, looking a bit helpless. I haven't got a clue how he ran the truck into the deep sand along side the road, but I figured I would make his day. Seems he had been stuck there over 24 hours without water.

Anyway, I gave his truck a jump start, pulled him out of the sand, and gave him the 3.5 gallons of drinking water I tend to carry out here in the desert. He asked me for gas, but I said I couldn't just give it away. He got 2 gallons from me.

Apparently he was on his way out to prospect for gold. I believe that is how he makes money to live on. I also think he's homeless, as I have seen his truck parked outside a falling down house. He said he was trying to fix one room up, and currently is without electric or water. I can only wish him the best. Hopefully he will find some gold, though, hopefully not on some else's claim.

Oh yes, the yellow stuff. I managed 80 some odd tiny pieces, probably .050 grams. And of course, I got more muscles from all that hard work. :-)
 

stoneshirt

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Hi.
You just better hope it was'nt the Chinese,that were the last Ones to come through there.Jaja...I think your on the right Track,working on building something super efficient, ,that's your Edge.If there is a way to study which Claims/spots were worked first,If they were getting good Gold,they would over look the super Fines,and that's what's left for you. Good luck.

stoneshirt.
 
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desertgolddigger

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stoneshirt, based on the website, "Land Matters", the whole area, where gold was found early last century, hss now got a current claim attached, or has been withdrawn by the Feds or State for mining. I doubt there is anywhere that the early prospectors would've missed. And I am not smart enough to look at the geology, and say that place might have gold.

So I just continue working the old drywasher tailing piles, and hope one might be a big producer like the two adjacent ones that produced a little over two grams. I'm finding that most of the gold I find is very flat, tiny, or wire type, which just floated over the drywasher riffles because the worker ran things too fast, or had the drywasher set too steep, or both. Not found anything really chunky. Those are heavier, and probably settled regardless of how the drywasher operator had things set.
 
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southfork

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For some reason I decided to go out to the Humbug claim. Oh yes, I guess the reason was to see if the yellow stuff might be found.

On the way in on Gold Crown Road, I passed a beat up pickup truck, but figured it was abandoned.

On the way back I saw a gentleman standing next to that truck, looking a bit helpless. I haven't got a clue how he ran the truck into the deep sand along side the road, but I figured I would make his day. Seems he had been stuck there over 24 hours without water.

Anyway, I gave his truck a jump start, pulled him out of the sand, and gave him the 3.5 gallons of drinking water I tend to carry out here in the desert. He asked me for gas, but I said I couldn't just give it away. He got 2 gallons from me.

Apparently he was on his way out to prospect for gold. I believe that is how he makes money to live on. I also think he's homeless, as I have seen his truck parked outside a falling down house. He said he was trying to fix one room up, and currently is without electric or water. I can only wish him the best. Hopefully he will find some gold, though, hopefully not on some else's claim.

Oh yes, the yellow stuff. I managed 80 some odd tiny pieces, probably .050 grams. And of course, I got more muscles from all that hard work. :-)
You might have saved his life no water no gas out in the desert.
 
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desertgolddigger

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southfork, I forgot to mention that the guy in the beat up pickup didn't turn around and go home, but just drove deeper into the mining area. There are some fairly well kept structures way out there. I'm beginning to think he stays out there, and prospects. Haven't seen his truck since that incident. Sure hope he's OK.
 
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desertgolddigger

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I was back at thigs this morning. Two more loads of large gravel placed on the first wheel track. I've only gotten about 75 feet done of that 200 yard stretch. But where the gravel has been laid, and driven into the dirt, things have firmed up considerably.

After that I got 10 1/3rd buckets of material to drywash here at home. Almost a near skunk. Only got one chunky flake, just under 12 mesh size. Good workout though.
 
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desertgolddigger

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Traveller777, out here patience is the word, especially places like our claim, that has been mined either hard rock or placer for the past 100+ years. More than likely, the larger gold is almost mined out, but there is still a lot of fine gold that previous miners have missed. The largest nugget I've found there is 4/10th of a gram. That was the only gold I found that day.
 

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