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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desertgolddigger

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Any visible colors / panned colors in the rocks around the reddish mineralization spot area?
These were surface rocks. I looked around and couldn't find their source. I don't plan on going back, as the walls of this valley were quite steep, and covered with small shale like rocks, that, with one misstep, would have sent me to the bottom. That valley is way too dangerous. Not very may flat areas to walk on. Most were, based on a protractor, 30 to 45 degrees of slope.
 

southfork

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Jun 15, 2014
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I went out this morning to the valley I mentioned yesterday, near our club claim. It was a bust. Now that I know, in general, what to look for, the mentioned quartz wasn't from this valley, but near the entrance of it, just above a major wash. I spent 45 minutes traipsing around the hillsides of this valley, and for the most part it is covered in this fractured gray rock. I did find a little magnetite, and reddish mineralization in one spot, but there was nothing else.

I jumped in the truck, and toured around my original area of interest, finding an old area I drywashed some 15 years ago. I only found about 1/2 gram of super fine gold, and then had to quit, as someone posted stakes, and was using a front loader to scrape the whole area, and run it through a huge machine of some kind. Apparently he restored the area, when finished, as it is mostly very smooth. Some kind of commercial interest?

Anyway, I stopped in an area with old timer digs, and scooped a half bucket of the 1/32 mesh and finer material, and also plucked some mineralized rocks. I ran the fine dirt, and got a nice short thin line of the super ultra fine gold. Will run the rocks tomorrow.

I also dropped into a big sandy area that had loads of black sands. It's surrounded by higher, rocky ground. I ran this also, and again found super ultra fine gold. The old old timer digs, I determined are fine for me to glean material from. But I think this area of sand may be a Placer claim, even though it's not poster with any kind of markers or cairns. From what you gents have mentioned in this thread, hard rock mines don't require posting, but placers do. So I may just keep digging a few buckets in the sandy area, each time I'm out there. At least there's gold in that sand.

Still Need to wander around some more to try finding an actual hard rock source, but at least I'll come home with a smidgen of gold each time out from these two locations.

Thanks to southfork's help concerning sluices, I can now catch this barely visible gold.

EDITED: I did crush these reddish rocks from the old timer waste pile. They are the remains of iron or iron pyrites. There were about 30-40 specks of gold in 1/10th bucket.

The white rock that I thought I saw specks of gold in were impossible for me to break with a sledge hammer. They aren't quartz, though maybe something similar. This white stuff was tossed the furthest from this surface mine. I'll try to break a few small pieces, and hopefully the chain mill can pulverize them, so I can examine the remains for possible gold.
That's what I'm doing today breaking big rocks into smaller pieces I can feed into the jaw crusher. It's killing my back and hands I'm thinking off getting a hydraulic bearing press to break the big rocks. Or leave the big rocks where they lay way too much work for small returns. four or five rocks filled a five-gallon bucket with small pieces just testing a seam of quartz hoping for the big strike lol.
 

Assembler

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These were surface rocks. I looked around and couldn't find their source. I don't plan on going back, as the walls of this valley were quite steep, and covered with small shale like rocks, that, with one misstep, would have sent me to the bottom. That valley is way too dangerous. Not very may flat areas to walk on. Most were, based on a protractor, 30 to 45 degrees of slope.
The good news is that due to the steep terrain most likely no one has checked it out. The bad news is you don't plan on going back. If you happened to pack a few of the red rocks home be sure to check them out especially if they look different then any other iron rocks you have come across.

The 45 degree slope likely indicates that they came from a exit / vent perhaps near by as you describe surface float rocks.
 

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desertgolddigger

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May 31, 2015
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The good news is that due to the steep terrain most likely no one has checked it out. The bad news is you don't plan on going back. If you happened to pack a few of the red rocks home be sure to check them out especially if they look different then any other iron rocks you have come across.

The 45 degree slope likely indicates that they came from a exit / vent perhaps near by as you describe surface float rocks.
There were two reddish rocks, and a couple of black ones, which I am guessing were magnetite or iron, as they were heavy.

And no, I'm not going back, and risking my life. I'm 73, and don't have the balance I did when I walked that valley years ago. I'll tell you where that valley is, if you want to check it out, but I doubt there's much there, as there were no signs the old timers even did any sampling/digging. It's basically a very rugged wasteland.
 

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desertgolddigger

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May 31, 2015
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That's what I'm doing today breaking big rocks into smaller pieces I can feed into the jaw crusher. It's killing my back and hands I'm thinking off getting a hydraulic bearing press to break the big rocks. Or leave the big rocks where they lay way too much work for small returns. four or five rocks filled a five-gallon bucket with small pieces just testing a seam of quartz hoping for the big strike lol.
Hope all that effort pays off in some yellow stuff. The red rocks I broke at least gave me a little for my efforts. It all adds up, EVENTUALLY.
 

Assembler

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There were two reddish rocks, and a couple of black ones, which I am guessing were magnetite or iron, as they were heavy.

And no, I'm not going back, and risking my life. I'm 73, and don't have the balance I did when I walked that valley years ago. I'll tell you where that valley is, if you want to check it out, but I doubt there's much there, as there were no signs the old timers even did any sampling/digging. It's basically a very rugged wasteland.
Well you can tell us what you find in the sample rocks you do have.
 

Assembler

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I didn't haul any sample rocks out of the canyon. From the old timer waste pile, I got about 30-40 specks of gold fro1/10th of a bucket.
This appears to be better than the other materials you have been talking about.
 

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desertgolddigger

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Yesterday was quite busy. The reason is I finally decided that a ball mill wasn't necessary for my situation. So I'll accumulate a pile of sand again, and run it through the drywasher.

So I needed to process a very large pile of sands that the chain mill produced, through my drywasher. Results weren't great, but the gold I got from 50 to smaller mesh was really good. There was so much, that it started showing in the pan, almost immediately. There must have been hundreds of those specks.

I also sifted my 8 five gallon buckets of material I picked up on my weekly excursion into the outback. won't know if I got anything until sluiced.

Speaking of sluice, I need to get rid of the extremely heavy black sands, and that means magnetic riffles. Yes, I know that some gold will be trapped i n the black sands, but the majority will find the expanded metal riffles and matting.

Anyway, the sluice is down until I build a framework that allows my plexiglass with magnets to drop away when I need to remove those black sands on each cleanout. Right now the sluice sits on the metal support framework and legs that came with this sluice. I'll be building a wooden support framework and legs. The framework will be wide enough so the plexiglass can drop away for cleanout, releasing those black sands.
 

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desertgolddigger

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I'm toast for the day. I'm in the process of refurbishing, and adding post uprights, and rails to a Japanese style bridge I built some 10-15 years ago for the "Sky's the Limit Observatory and Nature Center", located over a flood wash I dug below the Zen Meditation Garden.

It's taken me almost two weeks of watching videos, and cutting, sanding, and drilling 4x4 posts They're almost ready to be installed. The rails will be a big problem, as the are curved, and need to be made of 1x4 pine. I've gotten some bending done by wetting it, and leaving it outside in the Sun, but I'm thinking I will have to soak them directly in water for several days to get them to bend more. Below is a picture somewhat similar to what I'm working on. Mine won't be as nice, but It'll do the job.

I also came to the conclusion I try to make things too complex. So my sluice will retain its metal frame. All I did to make space so that I can lower the magnetic riffles is to use a 2x4 and 4x4 together to shim under the back end of the sluice. I got rid of the platform I had needed for the legs, and just adjusted the legs so the tilt on the sluice is as it was. It's is working with this fix.

I also know that with these magnetic riffles (MR), I will have to feed the material more slowly, so that the lighter materials and gold can flow over these MR's. I guess some gold might get trapped still, but not like if I did it the way I have been doing. Maybe doing things slower will recover more of the ultra fine gold that's been shooting off the end of the sluice.
 

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southfork

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I'm toast for the day. I'm in the process of refurbishing, and adding post uprights, and rails to a Japanese style bridge I built some 10-15 years ago for the "Sky's the Limit Observatory and Nature Center", located over a flood wash I dug below the Zen Meditation Garden.

It's taken me almost two weeks of watching videos, and cutting, sanding, and drilling 4x4 posts They're almost ready to be installed. The rails will be a big problem, as the are curved, and need to be made of 1x4 pine. I've gotten some bending done by wetting it, and leaving it outside in the Sun, but I'm thinking I will have to soak them directly in water for several days to get them to bend more. Below is a picture somewhat similar to what I'm working on. Mine won't be as nice, but It'll do the job.

I also came to the conclusion I try to make things too complex. So my sluice will retain its metal frame. All I did to make space so that I can lower the magnetic riffles is to use a 2x4 and 4x4 together to shim under the back end of the sluice. I got rid of the platform I had needed for the legs, and just adjusted the legs so the tilt on the sluice is as it was. It's is working with this fix.

I also know that with these magnetic riffles (MR), I will have to feed the material more slowly, so that the lighter materials and gold can flow over these MR's. I guess some gold might get trapped still, but not like if I did it the way I have been doing. Maybe doing things slower will recover more of the ultra fine gold that's been shooting off the end of the sluice.
I would think 1 x 4 pine will bend dry and not take a chance on warping? nice project.
 

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desertgolddigger

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I tested out my new sluice configuration. Feeding it is a very slow process. I think I ran eight cups of material, cleaning up twice.

Results from cleanup was pretty good for such a small amount of material. I got a super thin one inch line of the super ultra fines with a few very flat, and thin larger pieces.

I am hoping this ends my reruns of sluice tailings, and the sludge I scoop from the bottom of my water troughs.

I'd rather run things slowly, than have to do those reruns.

QUESTION: Exactly what do you do with all the black sands? Mine still had some blonds trapped, and I'm guessing a bit of gold.
 

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desertgolddigger

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I've been slowly cleaning up buckets and piles.

I just finished working with what I thought was just junk. It was black sands with some blond sans in it.

I normally separate the black sands from the blonds and whatever by using a rare earth magnet by running it through the material until only blonds are left.

I was curious what would happen if I ran the magnet on the underside of the pan. I was surprised to see the back sands pushed up through the blonds. That allowed me to just hover the magnet over those black sands to have them jump to the magnet. I kept repeating this process until I couldn't get the black sands to stand up or jump.

I then resorted to dragging the magnet through the remaining material, and then dumping the blonds on one pan and the black sands in another.

I repeated this process until I had all the material finished, then did the black sands pan one more time using my newly discovered method. I probably managed to remove 95 percent of the black sands without pulling the blonds with it.

I then panned it freed material, and got another surprise. What I thought was void of gold actually had what I call the super ultra fine gold. The stuff that's individually invisible, but grouped, shows under 10X.

This new magnet trick, which I'm sure all of you already know, probably saved me half the processing time with the magnet.

Just thought I'd pass this along for those like me, that struggle with black sands.
 

russau

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May 29, 2005
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On my 4 inch dredge I made a set of 3/4 inch PVC tubes that ran across the headend of my dredge sluice that was stuffed with Rare Earth magnets, and then capped off their ends.. . I had 3 stringers of them about 1 inch or so apart and the tubes were mounted on a 3/4 inch electrical mini strap so that I could (while running ) remove them 1 at a time and NOT interrupt my flow of material. Just pull it out while running and wipe it off with your hand and replace it and then do the other ones ! It worked good for me ! I saved that B.S. collection fo further inspection /cleanup in the Winter months ! This sure helped stopping eliminating any build up behind the riffles and at my clean up! :coffee2: :icon_thumleft:
 

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desertgolddigger

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On my 4 inch dredge I made a set of 3/4 inch PVC tubes that ran across the headend of my dredge sluice that was stuffed with Rare Earth magnets, and then capped off their ends.. . I had 3 stringers of them about 1 inch or so apart and the tubes were mounted on a 3/4 inch electrical mini strap so that I could (while running ) remove them 1 at a time and NOT interrupt my flow of material. Just pull it out while running and wipe it off with your hand and replace it and then do the other ones ! It worked good for me ! I saved that B.S. collection fo further inspection /cleanup in the Winter months ! This sure helped stopping eliminating any build up behind the riffles and at my clean up! :coffee2: :icon_thumleft:
How high above the sluice header bed did you place these tubes. I gather the water and material ran beneath your tubes
 

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desertgolddigger

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This week has been busy, thinking about my setup, and finding the way I had things was just foolish.

I had my big sluice in the back backyard, and cleanup sluice on the patio next to my house. Yeah, DUH! I moved the cleanup sluice into the tent with my big sluice.

I'm also only going to keep my tools and equipment that is related to the equipment in my back backyard in the tent, and moving everything else into a niche closet I'm creating inside the enclosure of my observatory. I figured why waste that spec, so I started my build this morning by installing the two side walls, and tomorrow, weather permitting, will add the roof. Will have to engineer a door to finish the enclosure.

I'll move half my tent shelves into the little niche closet, with the rest of my stuff related to gold prospecting.

My furnace and retort will be in my backyard, in an open area. That'll be stored in the niche closet when not in use.

Anyway, with my cleanup sluice in the same tent with the big sluice, things are a bit easier, not having to tote a bucket of concentrates halfway across my property. I ran two sessions today of what was basically junk material, but I did get a smidgen of gold. The magnetic riffles are working great, eliminating around n90 percent of the black sands. When I ran the concentrates from the big sluice in the cleanup sluice, what I processed was basically 90 percent dirt/blond sands. Talk about easy to pan material from the cleanup sluice. It's probably why I'm finding that little bit of gold in what I call junk material.

The only drawback to making all this change is I can only run about 15 cups of material per session, before I get tired. The positive is I'm now, pretty much, capturing all the gold in my material.

Now, if Russau can tell me how far above the header bed he located his tube magnets, I can make hopefully the last modification to my big sluice. I have all the stuff I need to do that, but need that height figure.
 

Foreverteachable

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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.
Right on desertgoldigger! I don't have any gold or washes nearby, but there are plenty of parks that have been pounded with detectors, and you can always find some treasure if you gold slow and put the time in.
 

russau

Gold Member
May 29, 2005
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DGD I mounted my Rare Earth Magnets on the upper edge of my sluice. It was about 4 inch's above my sluice floor. I wish I still had my pictures of it BUT I stored the pic's on my old computer and it got hit by somebody that liked being a jerk ! All gone or all locked up inside my old computer and I can't get to it! :BangHead:
 

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desertgolddigger

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DGD I mounted my Rare Earth Magnets on the upper edge of my sluice. It was about 4 inch's above my sluice floor. I wish I still had my pictures of it BUT I stored the pic's on my old computer and it got hit by somebody that liked being a jerk ! All gone or all locked up inside my old computer and I can't get to it! :BangHead:
Thanks. I run my water fairly slow so I can pick up those really tiny gold particles. I'll probably have to have things pretty low. I'll have to experiment to find the optimal height.
 

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