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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Brownish or dark brown rock. Once I pulled one of them out of a dry wash pile. Piles were old below the surface, found it with the old manual adjust Gold Bug-2 using a padded small oval coil. Yes, it sounded off quite loud in hot rock mode. Rubbed edges with my fingers and a bright metal looking spot showed brilliant in the sun. I had to sit down and catch my breath. Forgot to pick up the half dollar size brownish rock then walked away several steps. Lost my gold, never did find it again. It was hot, me thirsty had just sipped a cold one.
In our area, from my experience, gold bearing rock color varies from pale yellow (low grade ore) to brownish colors (higher grade ore). The deeper color brown seems to be the central vein, with lighter colors surrounding it. I also found that the surrounding rock got cracked/fractured from the intense heat of the flow through it, and the cracks got filled with gold bearing material. Of course, these rocks don't contain a whole lot of gold, but I've been cracking them, and if there's a wide streak of brown, I crush, and keep it. It's been giving me my recent good gold reported in my past few posts. Most of the old timers disregarded these thinly filled cracked rocks, and I keep looking for some that will pay off.

I guess you could call me a gleaner, not a miner. I've found hard rock mining very hard work, especially when starting a new cut.

Oh yes, the only gold that sounds off in our area are those in a quartz gold bearing zone. The rest of the gold is too small to sound off. 99 percent is 100 mesh and smaller, and rarely do you find anything larger than 30 mesh.
 

Red_desert

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What I found, nothing visible on surface. Every couple steps, had to adjust the manual ground balance. When I finally dug a few spots in this highly mineralized zone, discovered the reason was old dry wash piles. I found a small cone hill to steep to climb. Looked like chunks of dark brownish rock ready to drop off from a layer near top.
 

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desertgolddigger

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What I found, nothing visible on surface. Every couple steps, had to adjust the manual ground balance. When I finally dug a few spots in this highly mineralized zone, discovered the reason was old dry wash piles. I found a small cone hill to steep to climb. Looked like chunks of dark brownish rock ready to drop off from a layer near top.
RD, If you're getting hits, maybe you should tote a few samples home for closer examination. A lot of these old timer piles do have gold that they tossed, thinking there was nothing in a particular rock. And drywasher people don't always run their drywasher properly, sometimes blowing a lot of gold through the machine. I know, as a few times I was running an old drywasher plie, I ended up with half a gram in one day.
 

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desertgolddigger

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I guess the rock I have is fairly good stuff. I had my third day in a row with similar results

I also turned down the water flow again, in my big sluice. I think that over time the flow had increased. Before I wasn't getting much of anything from the material I gleaned from old timer waste piles on our club claim. I'm now getting very nice results with super ultra fine gold in the size of about 1/4 inch circle. It's not heavy, but fills that circle.

Funny how increase in water pressure blows this really fine stuff out the end of the sluice. I'm wondering if that's what I'm getting when I reprocess the sludge from the bottom of my two water troughs, I get that super ultra fine gold. I'd much prefer not to run material twice.
 

southfork

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I guess the rock I have is fairly good stuff. I had my third day in a row with similar results

I also turned down the water flow again, in my big sluice. I think that over time the flow had increased. Before I wasn't getting much of anything from the material I gleaned from old timer waste piles on our club claim. I'm now getting very nice results with super ultra fine gold in the size of about 1/4 inch circle. It's not heavy, but fills that circle.

Funny how increase in water pressure blows this really fine stuff out the end of the sluice. I'm wondering if that's what I'm getting when I reprocess the sludge from the bottom of my two water troughs, I get that super ultra fine gold. I'd much prefer not to run material twice.
I run my sluice real slow with plenty of soap if anything gets by and ends up in the sludge it stays there. I've rerun the sludge with poor results which is a good thing too much work for nothing.
 

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desertgolddigger

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I run my sluice real slow with plenty of soap if anything gets by and ends up in the sludge it stays there. I've rerun the sludge with poor results which is a good thing too much work for nothing.
I wish I could use Jet Dry in my big sluice, but because of the dual water troughs, it doesn't work very well. I can put about 4 ounces in each, but it never lasts. The two troughs are because I need to protect my water pump from getting sludge in it.

My tiny gutter cleanup sluice works fine because the material I put through it is basically 99 percent free of the super micro particles of dirt.

I've found that I need to limit how much I put through each sluice to prevent buildup of material in the riffles, and loss because of the buildup. Took me a year to figure this out. I now put in only 30 percent of what I had been doing, and it seems to be working.
 

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desertgolddigger

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You might remember that yesterday I said my electric sifter died. Today I completely tore the machine apart to see if I could fix it. I can get the motor turning only if I give it a shove with my finger. Not possible when it is screwed down to the foundation to prevent it from walking across the pavers.

I'm guessing that the brushes are worn, but I haven't a clue where they are, as I looked, and couldn't find them.

I found a replacement machine at at significantly reduced price from the one I purchased last year. So I ordered it, and hopefully it'll be here next week. That'll allow me to do two things at once; usually milling ore, and running the sifter, or sifting, while I sluice inside the tent.

Hopefully this new one will last longer. I'm going to start putting in only half the material I have been doing. The weight might have worked the motor into an early grave.
 

Red_desert

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RD, If you're getting hits, maybe you should tote a few samples home for closer examination. A lot of these old timer piles do have gold that they tossed, thinking there was nothing in a particular rock. And drywasher people don't always run their drywasher properly, sometimes blowing a lot of gold through the machine. I know, as a few times I was running an old drywasher plie, I ended up with half a gram in one day.


I have not been back ever since and at the time it wasn't under claim. Remember seeing a guy walking up on top of a low gravel ridge which comes about half or 2 third of the way, on the one side of cone shaped hill. He quickly filled a couple buckets from on top, ran back down throwing them in his pickup truck, took off not to be seen again. Other side of cone much lower than ridge area. Hardly even a ridge but for lack of a better description (called it that).From there the ground sloped gradually away, then sloped a little of an angle the adjacent open area with old wash piles. After that I think GPAA got claim there for a while. Don't know how long they kept the claim or if anyone has the claim now. Most people prospecting probably never would realize the piles are there walking right over everything. It takes (for me) a manual adjust for ground balance with a VCO audio. I padded my small coil so hop it along by lifting each time then back down. When directly over a pile the VCO screams out as coil is lifted. Dig up all the black chunks sometimes the brown or dark brownish. I was running sensitivity all the way to 10. On the standard size coil you turn down to 7 sensitivity smooth out the threshold. But if you want the hidden old wash piles, need a detector can talk back to you.
 

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desertgolddigger

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I have not been back ever since and at the time it wasn't under claim. Remember seeing a guy walking up on top of a low gravel ridge which comes about half or 2 third of the way, on the one side of cone shaped hill. He quickly filled a couple buckets from on top, ran back down throwing them in his pickup truck, took off not to be seen again. Other side of cone much lower than ridge area. Hardly even a ridge but for lack of a better description (called it that).From there the ground sloped gradually away, then sloped a little of an angle the adjacent open area with old wash piles. After that I think GPAA got claim there for a while. Don't know how long they kept the claim or if anyone has the claim now. Most people prospecting probably never would realize the piles are there walking right over everything. It takes (for me) a manual adjust for ground balance with a VCO audio. I padded my small coil so hop it along by lifting each time then back down. When directly over a pile the VCO screams out as coil is lifted. Dig up all the black chunks sometimes the brown or dark brownish. I was running sensitivity all the way to 10. On the standard size coil you turn down to 7 sensitivity smooth out the threshold. But if you want the hidden old wash piles, need a detector can talk back to you.
You're talking to someone who basically only detected for coins and relics back in the early/middle 70's. My White's detector was really basic, but was very good for what I used it for.

All I can tell you is that whenever you do go out into an area like that, take samples to see if those rocks actually contain gold, or are just hot rocks. You'll need a hammer, and magnifying glass. If you find gold, do what that guy did. Fill buckets to take home.
 

Red_desert

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Some places like Laguna placers down at Yuma, you can find all kinds of hot rocks which sound off. Down there found something looked like a pyrite rock. Back to the old wash piles again at Quartzsite area. I bought a book or maybe like a textbook (less than 1 inch thick) from University of Arizona, placer history for the state. Back then they had a Bureau of Mines you could purchase mining books. According to the reports in book, the place where I found the old piles had been turned over all the way to bedrock for gold. The average size only about 1/8 " which is small if metal detecting. Not known for large gold, reason for small coil. The brown rock side looked like metal (rather than a cubic mineral. I realize you can have really convincing yellow color in rock, but I think the spot was too bright for mineral, about 1/8 " on side not the whole rock). There are quartz veins nearby the float chunks look white quartz some with either lead or silver mineral visible.

Fun for anyone living in another state, take a trip there look around. I found an old mine shaft had collapsed, end of a wood timber showing under edge of rock rubble. Asked about at a prospecting shop in Quartzsite. They said once a person saw it but nobody at this shop really knew where. Problem with a long trip to prospect for gold, you can't just haul material home to test out samples or not too much of it. I did fill bags with quartz flaot samples. If I lived out there probably would do like you not use a metal detector.
 

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southfork

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You might remember that yesterday I said my electric sifter died. Today I completely tore the machine apart to see if I could fix it. I can get the motor turning only if I give it a shove with my finger. Not possible when it is screwed down to the foundation to prevent it from walking across the pavers.

I'm guessing that the brushes are worn, but I haven't a clue where they are, as I looked, and couldn't find them.

I found a replacement machine at at significantly reduced price from the one I purchased last year. So I ordered it, and hopefully it'll be here next week. That'll allow me to do two things at once; usually milling ore, and running the sifter, or sifting, while I sluice inside the tent.

Hopefully this new one will last longer. I'm going to start putting in only half the material I have been doing. The weight might have worked the motor into an early grave.
I use stacked micro sieves on a bucket and wash with a hose helps to wet all the material and classify at the same time. A little dish soap in the bucket while washing and the slurry is ready to sluice. Sometimes we get lucky and the first screen will have pickers/gold balls fresh out of the chain mill. We pan the material from the first screen anything that's not gold gets dried and run through the mill again. Your motor was most likely brushless, and a bearing / bushing was starting to seize. I don't know what size bucket screens that were using they were unmarked plastic rimed from a gold shop.
 

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desertgolddigger

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Been out several times this week doing some placer mining at the club claim, that looks like a huge drywasher pile.

Most people only metal detect now for the gold that comes down the slopes after a heavy rain. Very few actually dig to see if there's gold left. I fall into that category.

My main goal is to get back into shape after a year of pursuing hard rock mining, and not doing all that great at it. I'm still looking for a hard rock deposit I can call my own, but I just haven't figured out what to look for yet.

Anyway, back to placer mining in a place supposedly mined out. My first day got me 1/10th of a gram. My second day was so bad, I didn't even weigh it; probably 2/100th of a gram (about 30 some odd specks, with one somewhat larger piece).

Today I did the same routine, and only managed 20 some odd specks with nothing larger than 50 mesh.

But I had one more chance to get better gold, and that is from the bottom of my equipment box, where I store the drywasher box with the riffles and fan. Yup!! As usual I hit gold small time. Lots of the tiny stuff; over 200 specks. I've got it all drying right now, so I can weigh today's take, and the previous day. Will edit this post with the results.

And to EVERYONE, wishing you a very Happy Holiday Season. Maybe Santa will stuff your stocking with a gold button, coin or bar. :-)

EDITED: My final weigh of what I processed today from the weeks placer mining was another 1/10th gram. So in three days I managed 1/5th gram total. It took about 300 specks to achieve that.
 

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Red_desert

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How is the weather holding out? This afternoon reached 41 degrees which is way above normal for here.
 

Red_desert

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Just noticed a weather-related news headline for southern Cal.

There can be a lot of gold left on a placer claim. Remember a mining operation during the mid 1990s in upper Nevada. A guy bladed down with a bulldozer, as 2 hired men walked around with original Gold Bug machines. Fisher used them in a magazine ad showing a pound of gold nuggets from a month of work. The men were paid in recovered gold for wages. Far as I know the operation never did any processing of the gravel by sluicing or dry washer. Think how much gold might be left, easy gold is gone but could be worth a try dry washing on other claims as well.

I'm sure on any claim deeper in the right location should be better if working material by sluicing or dry washer. If I lived out there, probably would be out doing it right now. Then there is hard ground can't get a hammer pick to penetrate. What about the bottom area of old wash piles? I would think over time fine gold can collect there.
 

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desertgolddigger

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Just noticed a weather-related news headline for southern Cal.

There can be a lot of gold left on a placer claim. Remember a mining operation during the mid 1990s in upper Nevada. A guy bladed down with a bulldozer, as 2 hired men walked around with original Gold Bug machines. Fisher used them in a magazine ad showing a pound of gold nuggets from a month of work. The men were paid in recovered gold for wages. Far as I know the operation never did any processing of the gravel by sluicing or dry washer. Think how much gold might be left, easy gold is gone but could be worth a try dry washing on other claims as well.

I'm sure on any claim deeper in the right location should be better if working material by sluicing or dry washer. If I lived out there, probably would be out doing it right now. Then there is hard ground can't get a hammer pick to penetrate. What about the bottom area of old wash piles? I would think over time fine gold can collect there.
Finally, SCE has finished their equipment upgrades, and restored my power.

Oh, there's probably lots of ounces of gold still on the 640 acres of the club claim. You just have to find out where on a slope it is residing.
 

Red_desert

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Good to hear the power is back on. 8:23 PM here and still 41 degrees outside. :coffee2:
 

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desertgolddigger

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I'm going out if it doesn't rain tomorrow, and dig on the hillsides below known newer hard rock (quartz) digs, not old timer ones.. Just going to dig one foot deep holes about every three to five feet to see if I can either find placer, or possibly another small buried quartz location that is still leaching gold. Got my bucket sluice and pan to help, as well as lots of water.
 

Red_desert

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Rained some today but not very hard. The old timers did sometimes stop before all the ground was broken up. The larger quartz boulders kind of collected in spots, in the narrows of the upper wash on a claim. Easy to see where they stopped, wash they worked was wide loose with rocks piled along edges. Upper narrow end of wash you roll the quartz rocks out of channel center. Looked really good under where quartz had been except you needed to drill/blast with explosives. Tried to see if hammer pick could work loose a smaller stone or even a pebble. I would call that cemented gravel, hard pan wash bottom in the center. Belonged to the club at the time so it was ok for me to be there, never got back to finish checking it out. Not far away did look as if holes had been drilled and blasted.
 

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