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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southfork

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Seems at least two gold areas were called "Goler Gulch. One near El Paso, Texas, and the other in the Randsburg, California area.

In the old days, even if you had a well paying job, it seemed some would leave that job for the gold. Also seems not many were realistic minded, and thought everyone would strike it rich. The only people who got rich were those selling supplies and foodstuffs to the miners.

I placer mine for my health, and yes, to find gold. I've a goal of two grams a month. Not going to get rich that way. So far I've found a little over six grams of the yellow stuff since March. So I'm not going to get my goal unless I find a nice hole with ooodles of yellow stuff in it. Basically I've paid for the fuel for my truck and leaf blower...., if that much.
I should have said near Randsburg California.
 

Reed Lukens

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Yea, we're at 3100' elevation here.
I rarely use my hoe pick these days, I run an SPS+, fill 22 to 25 unclassified full 5 gallon buckets in an hour, loaded on the truck. Then come home & run maybe 3 to 5 buckets a day thru my mini trommel. I classify everything as it comes out of the trommel. Black sand goes into its own bucket, then the dirt up to -3/16" flows into a large hole or small pond, then the -1/2"gravel and the +1/2" to -1" gravel are piled separate for road and house walkways or neighbors projects. I have a usually dry wash in my backyard that my trommel runs into and the muddy water soaks in and goes underground on its own. There's plenty of neighbors that need a few buckets of fill or gravel here & there so my piles of classified or sized gravels and my reject black sand pile stays pretty small.
 
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desertgolddigger

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Reed, You must have a huge truck to carry that many buckets of material. My 2018 Nissan Frontier was all I could afford, following the accident where a woman didn't stop at the stop light, and rammed two of us at over 50mph. It can only handle 15 half buckets of material.

Like I said, my property is too small to keep bringing material home to process, and the moving of it on a hand trolley to the rear of my property is time consuming. I dislike picking something up 4 times, so I've decided to just run things at the claim.

Do you process the black sands in a furnace to see if there's gold in it? Apparently a few here on the Forum have tried, or are doing that. From some videos I watched, the results are underwhelming for the resources and effort put into the process. I already have 1/3rd five gallon bucket with the stuff (coarse granular), and I will have to throw that out into the desert somewhere.

I thought I might go out this morning, but chickened out, fearing I might get sick from the heat. I guess I'm a cold weather person. I'd rather dig on mid-30 weather than in mid-80's. Can only hope we will get a cooler spell.
 

Reed Lukens

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I haven't used a furnace yet here in Arizona, but I have one and I have used it in the past on rich black sands. Where I was at in California in the hydraulic pits, everything came out coatted in mercury, so it was easy to charge it up and have everything come together into a ball, then retort it, then put it in the furnace and make buttons.

Here's a couple of the ones that I sold on ebay.
 

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desertgolddigger

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Whew It's still hot, but Reed inspired me to go out a few more times. Temps were in the low 80's around 4 AM. I'm still not quite leaving before the Sun peeks over the hill to the East. Seems the temp rises 5 degrees once that happens. But now that the piles of road gravel have been removed, and placed on the access road, maybe that will change. Need to do some pictures for you, so you can see what I've done. Maybe next time out I will remember my camera.

I think I ran out of the good area, as the height of the bedrock has increased. I've gone from averaging 1/8th gram, back below 1/10 gram. Still not getting skunked. But the size of the gold is decreasing. I guess only the smaller stuff made it up that high.

I'm up to 1.3 grams for July. It doesn't look like I will make my 2 grams per month goal, unless I hit another good area.

Am taking some time off this weekend to go to the Gold Show in Pomona. Just going to look. I need two deep classifying screens. Hopefully Keene Engineering will have some, if they attend the show. The screens I have are starting to get tired
 
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desertgolddigger

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Weeellll, I've decided not to go to the gold dhow in Pomona. I finally remembered just how many people attend such things, and how crazy people drive in that neck of the woods. It just scared me. I dislike crowded conditions.

So I loaded up the truck, and was at the claim this morning. I did the large gravel paving on the access road (picture attached). I am only on the first wheel track. You can see the road, and that in the distance it seems to disappear into some bushes. It goes between them, and bends to the right a little. My paving is about 40 feet beyond those bushes, with another 200 feet to go before I meet up with the other end. Then I can do the other wheel track.

I got .125 grams of the yellow stuff. I'm hoping the next round will be as good. I'll get a picture of the pit I created next outing. I plan on digging out this higher bedrock, then moving down into the main wash, working across it, and into the opposite bank, then work my way back across. I guess you call this strip mining. Remember, never leave the yellow stuff behind. I think I managed to warp the original quote somewhere. ::)

The monsoonal moisture is moving in, so I'm not sure if Mother Nature will put a halt to the dry washing thing. Will just have to watch the weather reports.
 

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desertgolddigger

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Wow I hope you get a free pass to the claim for all the road work. All of us could make a lot more money working at the golden arches for minimum wage lol. But what fun would that be?
Our club dues are only $50 per year. I've dug up enough gold to pay for that. Anyway, I almost pay for my truck fuel each time I do some digging. I look forward to cooler weather, when I can dig longer, maybe tow my trailer out and spend a few days without having to travel 40 miles round trip.

If I hadn't put the gravel down, the road probably would be impassable by now. I look forward to finishing the first wheel track. I told the club president what I have been doing, and he seemed happy. I asked about any club members going to this claim, to tote out a couple buckets to place on the road. Since no one seems to go out and mine here anymore, other when they attend the twice annual campouts, I don't expect a lot of help.

Hey, if no one mines there but me, I should do well with digging the yellow stuff. At least I shouldn't have someone jumping in the hole I've been digging, and then jump out and flash a large nugget in my face, telling me what I missed. Yeah, I had one guy do that twice. I did the digging, and he got the big payday.
 
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desertgolddigger

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I'm finally going to reach my two gram total for a month. Yesterday I thought I was nearly skunked, when I saw a long nugget. It weighed in at .07 grams, the largest piece of gold in 15 years of working this claim. My total was .133 grams, most of which were small, but chunky.

Here's a photo of what I call the pit. I originally started working a large dry washer tailing pile, but the gold never seemed to end, the deeper I dug. I ended up hitting bedrock, and just kept on expanding my dig.

I sift out the pea gravel to use as landscaping material at home. Anything bigger than pea gravel, up to about three inches, I take, and dump on the claim access road. The rest goes into backfilling my hole, along with the dry washer tailings.

So far this hole has produced just shy of 5 grams, and I'm still not done completely opening the hole. It's extremely hard work, as everything has been compacted into nearly a concrete type consistency

I've been working this hole foe a little over two months, and manage just about fifteen 3.5 gallon buckets to run through the washer each day I work. And it really is hard work. It's not the shovel scoopable type of material some people encounter. I barely can get a pickaxe to chip away at things. It usually takes me half an hour on the pickaxe before I ever scoop a shovel full into my classifier.

If you're wondering where the wash is, it is to the left.
 

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southfork

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Do you brush and vacuum the bed rock? and use a digging bar on the cracks? leave no stone unturned lol. I have a huge area I could dry wash, but I'll wait until rain and cool weather and setup a sluice.
 
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desertgolddigger

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southfork, I brush the bottom, as good as I can do. Since I don't have a prybar, I use the pickaxe to loosen cracked rock.

But it has been so hot, even working from two hours before sunrise, I can only clean the bottom so well before I start to wilt. The area where I'm backfilling has gotten the whole treatment. I need to spend one early morning just cleaning up the area of bedrock I've already exposed.

But I've found I rarely get much gold when vacuuming; .usually only a few specks. I believe my brush work gets 99 percent of what's on the bedrock

Some areas are cemented micro stones, I just cannot hack through. I would need a jack hammer which I cannot afford. I would love to discover something like a jack hammer that runs on rechargeable batteries. It would make
my digging easier, and make breaking up that cemented bedrock possible.

Is there such a thing as an electric (battery powered) jack hammer? I haven't found anything of reasonable cost.
 

southfork

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The rotary hammer drills are almost useless on cemented gravel or hard rock unless your just drilling holes. You need a jack hammer to break rock they come in all sizes of electric models, but you need a power source / generator for remote areas. There are some small 2 cycle gasoline driven models that might work. We have battery powered roto hammers they are slow for drilling holes to wedge the rock apart. A Demolition Hammer is another option, but I haven't found a battery powered unit, but they might be out there. Of course, this is only my opinion. Found one New in box large cordless Lithium Jackhammer by Milwaukee model MX Fuel MXF368-1XC with one battery / charger / rolling cart / 3 large 1-1/8" concrete breaking bits, $1800. ouch
 
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desertgolddigger

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The rotary hammer drills are almost useless on cemented gravel or hard rock unless your just drilling holes. You need a jack hammer to break rock they come in all sizes of electric models, but you need a power source / generator for remote areas. There are some small 2 cycle gasoline driven models that might work. We have battery powered roto hammers they are slow for drilling holes to wedge the rock apart. A Demolition Hammer is another option, but I haven't found a battery powered unit, but they might be out there. Of course, this is only my opinion. Found one New in box large cordless Lithium Jackhammer by Milwaukee model MX Fuel MXF368-1XC with one battery / charger / rolling cart / 3 large 1-1/8" concrete breaking bits, $1800. ouch
Yeah, I couldn't find anything. Most of the corded electric draw at least 15 amps. My generator barely handles 12 amps. I've used my generator to power my corded Worx leaf blower. Occasionally it trips the circuit breaker.
 

Clay Diggins

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No portable battery powered tool is going to do the job. You could get an air compressor and a hammer but on your budget I would suggest a single jack. There is not much that can stop a determined man with a single jack and some good steels.


Fun...

Heavy Pans
 

Reed Lukens

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I do a lot of rock breaking. The SDS-plus works great.
But Home Depot has the exclusive rights to selling the new Ryobi tools. You can buy used or reconditioned elsewhere but home depot has the best deals anyway.

The SDS is an actual jack hammer, the SDS-plus is a smaller version. We have both, but I just use the SDS-plus, as a mini jack hammer. And then I can drill rock with it also for planting the Sierra Blaster charges.
 

arizau

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No portable battery powered tool is going to do the job. You could get an air compressor and a hammer but on your budget I would suggest a single jack. There is not much that can stop a determined man with a single jack and some good steels.


Fun...

Heavy Pans
Wow. It would take me a week of Sundays to swing a sledge that many times.
 

Clay Diggins

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Wow. It would take me a week of Sundays to swing a sledge that many times.
Yeah and he did it in 5 minutes! The Colorado contest is 5 minutes the Nevada single jack contest is 10 minutes per round. The guy in the video has won both contests.

I'm wondering if Reed's battery powered SDS could do the job as fast? 8-)

I learned to do this and feather/wedge/pin work many many years ago just after they figured out how to make dirt. Today I doubt I could put in 30 strokes without taking a break but back in the day I might have given this guy some competition in the 5 minute contest.

p.s this is not a sledge. Single jacks usually weigh 4 pounds or less and are a one handed hammer. A sledge is a two handed hammer with a 3 foot handle and usually has a 10 to 20 pound head. A single jack is used for precision steel work, a sledge is used for power.

Heavy Pans
 
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desertgolddigger

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Hey Guys, this old lady just can't do that kind of stuff anymore. In my military days I could throw 200 pounds over my shoulder, and move it 100 yards. Of course, after that, I was toast for about a week. 8-)
I wasn't going to go to the claim this morning, but I woke up just before 2 AM, and couldn't get back to sleep. So I decided to do an easy day out there.

I only dug and sifted five half buckets. I also vacuumed out the entire bottom of the "PIT". Results were 120 tiny pieces of gold. Not too bad for not working up a sweat. As I vacuumed up the material, that loosened a lot of small rock, which allowed me to get even more material. I ended up with four half buckets of material to dry wash.

But that didn't get me 12 buckets of access road paving gravel. So I scooted down to a pile someone had left. I sifted out all the pea gravel and smaller, ending up with just a half bucket for the dry washer. That half bucket produced five small bits of gold. So I know another place to dig now.

Reed, thanks for the link on the Ryobi.
 

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