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.
 

Upvote 47

Assembler

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You can google him up as easily as me. try scholor.
Thanks for the suggestion and found the Precambrian Geology of Marathon County, Wisconsin by L. Laberge and Paul E. Myers.

Will start looking at this history survey.

Did some reading for 6 minutes and there is some very good descriptions.
Wow.
 

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Thanks for the suggestion and found the Precambrian Geology of Marathon County, Wisconsin by L. Laberge and Paul E. Myers.

Will start looking at this history survey.

Did some reading for 6 minutes and there is some very good descriptions.
Wow.
He is probably part of >100 publications, and cited so many X times.
 

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desertgolddigger

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I went out on New Years Day to a half dozen old timer waste piles to do what was suggested. I ran my detector over the piles, took samples to bring back and examine with better visual equipment, and also took samples from the washes below these waste piles. I found absolutely nothing, not one speck in anything I sampled.

First let me tell you about what these old time mines were. They were of the most part, commercial interests. They paid workers to do the grunt work, and more than likely had specialists who examined the ore, and made decisions on what to keep and throw away.

From my experience examining, and testing these waste piles, they were quite thorough, and basically left so little of value, that examining the whole pile for a possible few pieces of rock they missed, would be a waste of time. That's one reason I made a decision a few months ago not to work these piles any more. They are a waste of time.

There may've been a few mines worked by individuals, but I haven't a clue where they are. It's not like up in northern
California like where southfork has been able to glean missed gold producing ore. These mines for the most part are not quartz mines. They may contain some quartz, but for the most part are just rock with highly mineralized material injected into them by mother nature. Most of the gold is 100 mesh and smaller, with only a few specks now and then, larger. It makes seeing an individual gold speck in a test pain very difficult. I mostly find them only when I bring back what I had panned in the field, but couldn't find color.

My decision is to go back to placer mining on the two club nearby claims, and try to sample hillsides a couple times on each trip in the hope I get lucky and find an actual hard rock source that hasn't been found..

I'm just tired of spending several days a week, and not finding anything for my efforts. At least the club claim gives me at a minimum of 1/20th gram per outing, and sometimes 1/10th or more. Still doesn't pay for my fuel costs, but at least I get something for my efforts, and get some needed exercise, which I'm not getting just walking, stooping, and digging a 1/5 bucket of samples to pan, of which 95 percent have been dry, and the rest ended up leading me to an established old timer dig near the top of the hill.

Next time I will carry binoculars to scour the hillsides for the right kind of drift rocks (float) before I dig, and only after walking to the top of the hill to ensure it's not from an old timer dig.
 

Assembler

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Ok you make the call.
 

Assembler

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I went out on New Years Day to a half dozen old timer waste piles to do what was suggested. I ran my detector over the piles, took samples to bring back and examine with better visual equipment, and also took samples from the washes below these waste piles. I found absolutely nothing, not one speck in anything I sampled.
No one made this suggestion.
 

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desertgolddigger

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I guess I misinterpreted someone saying detecting the rocks was to do that to the waste piles, and other rocks found.

Anyway, hard rock stuff was only a side thing for me to have to supplement what I find placer digging. I enjoy both. Unfortunately, I've not enough geology knowledge to easily locate possible gold sources in hard rocks, Online browsing doesn't seem to match what I see in my local situation.

And yes, the decision is mine. I'd rather do something more physical for keeping my weight down, and muscles stronger. I've slipped on both this past year trying to pursue the hard rock stuff.

In some ways, I almost just want to stop hard rock stuff, sell my equipment, and be happy with placer. I'd save a lot of money in the long run.

Problem is I am not good at selling things, and I doubt there is anyone locally who would invest several thousand dollars to purchase my complete setup.

For now the hard rock stuff is keeping me busy with processing it while I wait for the rains to go away, and the ground to dry out for placer. It rained again today, even stopping my rock processing.
 

Assembler

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Anyway, hard rock stuff was only a side thing for me to have to supplement what I find placer digging. I enjoy both. Unfortunately, I've not enough geology knowledge to easily locate possible gold sources in hard rocks, Online browsing doesn't seem to match what I see in my local situation.

ConceptualizedNetherlandr made some very good research starting points of what to look for.​

Assember pointed out some ideas / methods of what could be looked for out in the field.​

 

Assembler

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With extra time in the winter why not start researching where to look?
 

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desertgolddigger

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I've a new project that I may, or may not, be successful in achieving.

I've been watching videos on shaker tables and various clones. I noticed two videos that used what is called a finishing shaker table. It kind of looks like a Miller Table, but uses a linear actuator gear electric motor to make the shaking motion.

Apparently the motion is in line with the tilt of the table, and it looks like, once you get the correct frequency (# shakes per minute) waterflow and tilt, the gold holds its ground, while the lighter material flows down with the water into the collection waste tube and into the waste bucket.

You then snuffer the gold, which seems to form a line (wavy line) in one video in about the middle of the table.

The hard part will be me figuring out what size hole I need in the PVC pipe, and how many. My table will be 24x24 inches for the table top, with sides on three sides, and that trough at the end with the hole and tube that feeds into a bucket.

One video had the flexure support made of aircraft grade aluminum, which I will use, as I don't know how to Google up spring steel that is two inches wide, 1/16 thick, and 6 inches long. I tried, and got nothing. Still haven't figure how to properly word Google search requests. Guess it takes a certain kind of mind. I don't have a mind. :-)

Anyway, I purchased the plywood tabletop and some JB Weld clear epoxy that is supposed to be nearly indestructible.

Ordered the geared liner electric motor, speed control and power supply, as well as that aircraft grade aluminum strips to get me started.

I'm hoping I can make the table shake properly, and get all the factors tuned in so that I can run properly classified concentrates. My main goal is to be able to get the really super fine gold, so my first test will be 180 minus mesh. The rest (larger sized) gold is easy to pan. It's the really small stuff that drives me whacko.

Right now I am going through a months worth of cleanup sluice concentrate tailings, and all I am finding is hundreds (thousands?) of that gold that is 180 minus mesh that got bullied by the larger material on the first run.

If nothing else, trying to build and get this machine to work will be fun. Maybe it'll teach me enough to be able to build an actual shaker table.
 

southfork

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Jun 15, 2014
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Sounds like a fun project I just typed spring steel into the search bar, and more than a person will ever need popped up. This was AI generated search I think.
 

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desertgolddigger

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N-Lionberger

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I know of the videos you mentioned. I’ve been working on a shaker table for a while and am planning on utilizing the same type of table support and I really do not think aluminum will work that well. Aluminum is not springy it breaks when flexed repeatedly.
 

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desertgolddigger

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Twentynine Palms, California
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I've sent a technical help request concerning the proper strip metal needed for the gold shaker to Online Metals Will let you know if they have an answer, and let you know, so you can at least know that.
 

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