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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arizau

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May 2, 2014
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Beach High Banker, Sweep Jig, Whippet Dry Washer, Lobo ST, 1/2 width 2 tray Gold Cube, numerous pans, rocker box, and home made fluid bed and stream sluices.
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I know what everyone is saying. This is the first source of gold inside a rock that I've ever found, and it just excited me. I'd finally found something, even if it isn't all that much.

I'm guessing I got about 1/50th of a gram from 10 pounds of rock, I might get a few grams per ton. But I doubt there's that much good gold bearing rock
If my math is correct then the guesstimated numbers above equate to 4 grams Au per ton. Time to gather and run more samples to see if they better, duplicate or even come close to the results of that sample.
Good luck.
 

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desertgolddigger

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May 31, 2015
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Twentynine Palms, California
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If my math is correct then the guesstimated numbers above equate to 4 grams Au per ton. Time to gather and run more samples to see if they better, duplicate or even come close to the results of that sample.
Good luck.
That's a generous calculation. I'd be happy with between 1 and 2 grams per ton.

But like I said, I need to clean this area down to the rock underneath to see if something better lurks below. Ohhhh! that's scary talk. :-)
 

Assembler

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May 10, 2017
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That's a generous calculation. I'd be happy with between 1 and 2 grams per ton.

But like I said, I need to clean this area down to the rock underneath to see if something better lurks below. Ohhhh! that's scary talk. :-)
Any pockets near by???
 

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desertgolddigger

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May 31, 2015
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Twentynine Palms, California
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Any pockets near by???
Hey, with my physical problems, I'm maybe good for two hours. It'll take me quite some time to scour this hill.

I went out this morning, so I don't have to contend with the weekend warriors in their play toys. I gathered more rocks, and dug more dirt out of the location I figure is the source. Below the dirt, the rock is fractured i n one direction, I'm wondering if there was a flow through these cracks that splattered the surrounding area. Many of the rocks within about 20 feet are covered in the dark mineralization, with the interior just plain rock.

I did take a 20X loupe, and the surface shows gold in this dark material. So I'm not sure the Grabro rock structure actually contains.

The dirt I got this morning was again loaded with the tiny gold. I found the same a couple days ago just 10 feet down slope. I'm guessing this is gold that has moved downslope.

I brought back a basketball sized rock that seems to show this gold on the black surface. I'll try to process this big rock tomorrow to see if it actually contains gold, and how much. If it does, I can then make a guesstimate of how much is in a ton. I hope it's enough to justify hammering into small pieces, and running it through the chain mill.
 

Assembler

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May 10, 2017
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I brought back a basketball sized rock that seems to show this gold on the black surface. I'll try to process this big rock tomorrow to see if it actually contains gold, and how much. If it does, I can then make a guesstimate of how much is in a ton. I hope it's enough to justify hammering into small pieces, and running it through the chain mill.
This could be the start of pocket hunting as a basketball size is a good target.

I went out this morning, so I don't have to contend with the weekend warriors in their play toys. I gathered more rocks, and dug more dirt out of the location I figure is the source. Below the dirt, the rock is fractured i n one direction, I'm wondering if there was a flow through these cracks that splattered the surrounding area. Many of the rocks within about 20 feet are covered in the dark mineralization, with the interior just plain rock.
Are any of the weekend warriors finding any pockets?
If so there could be a reasonable contact mineralized zone in the same area. This could be the start of your metal detecting time out there.
 

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desertgolddigger

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May 31, 2015
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Change that big rock described as big as a basketball to big as a football.

This was a rock without the black coating on it. I ran it this morning, and did find gold, but only about 1/3rd of the six smaller rocks production. They had the black coating. Also, the rock without the black coating was loaded with iron, whereas, the smaller rocks did have iron, but not as much.

These black rocks were situated over the area I think the small eruption of material came from.

So, I doubt there's much gold in any amount from the Grabro, but I haven't broken thos fractured rocks I pulled up, nor have I investigated deeper in that area.

My next is to break up these fractured rocks to see if there's gold in or attached to them. After that, I'll use my hammer drill to see if there's something below that point.

But processing the non blackened Grabro isn't in the game. I may collect a few more pieces of the blackened Grabro, and see if they, at least produce what the first batch did.

More to come.
 

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desertgolddigger

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May 31, 2015
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The fractured rock I brought home had zilch gold in it. I'll still break up a little more of the bedrock just to check if there's actually anything underneath where this material came to the surface. But I think the fracture it traveled was very small, and probably won't show anything.

The only thing producing good gold is the dirt where it's traveled from the source.

Guess I'll be looking again in the "Anomaly Land".
 

Assembler

Silver Member
May 10, 2017
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The fractured rock I brought home had zilch gold in it. I'll still break up a little more of the bedrock just to check if there's actually anything underneath where this material came to the surface. But I think the fracture it traveled was very small, and probably won't show anything.

The only thing producing good gold is the dirt where it's traveled from the source.

Guess I'll be looking again in the "Anomaly Land".
Are you seeing gold specks in this type of rock?
 

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desertgolddigger

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I finally reached 15 (16 actually) grams of gold/mercury amalgam. It's taken me over a year to do this with the little bits I manage to get each day.

Now I get to learn about my mercury retort, and how to use it. Will do what southfork suggested, and put some water in the metal cap, and see how my seal is on it, and run everything as the instructions suggested. I'll be lining the inside of the cap with aluminum, as suggested by the instructions, and will use the slimy mud I get from the bottom of my cleanup trough, also suggested by the instructions.

Once I'm confident things will work, I'll break out my safety mask, and have to wait until the wind is blowing in a southerly direction.

I've a bunsen burner so I don't have to deal with the flame moving. I've read about how it works, and the hottest part of the flame (middle)
 

southfork

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Jun 15, 2014
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I finally reached 15 (16 actually) grams of gold/mercury amalgam. It's taken me over a year to do this with the little bits I manage to get each day.

Now I get to learn about my mercury retort, and how to use it. Will do what southfork suggested, and put some water in the metal cap, and see how my seal is on it, and run everything as the instructions suggested. I'll be lining the inside of the cap with aluminum, as suggested by the instructions, and will use the slimy mud I get from the bottom of my cleanup trough, also suggested by the instructions.

Once I'm confident things will work, I'll break out my safety mask, and have to wait until the wind is blowing in a southerly direction.

I've a bunsen burner so I don't have to deal with the flame moving. I've read about how it works, and the hottest part of the flame (middle)
I know they say to use mud! But good luck getting a good seal. I use spray graphite inside of cap just turn it upside down and spray a good coat or two let dry just takes a few minutes. The gold sponge will pop right out when done then melt that into a button I've done many. I did grind the inside of cap to get rid of the ridges. one other thing I snug the pipe cap with a pipe wrench just snug. The graphite won't clog the threads once less thing you have to do on the next run. Have fun let's see some Gold!
 

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desertgolddigger

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May 31, 2015
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I know they say to use mud! But good luck getting a good seal. I use spray graphite inside of cap just turn it upside down and spray a good coat or two let dry just takes a few minutes. The gold sponge will pop right out when done then melt that into a button I've done many. I did grind the inside of cap to get rid of the ridges. one other thing I snug the pipe cap with a pipe wrench just snug. The graphite won't clog the threads once less thing you have to do on the next run. Have fun let's see some Gold!
I don't have spray graphite. I do have powdered graphite. I guess if I spritz water on the threads, than sprinkle the powder on the threads, that may work.
 

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desertgolddigger

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May 31, 2015
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I've been working on my electrical systems for all my gadgets. today.

I finished my super shaker sifter, and it seems to be working OK. I've got my battery charging to full voltage before I field test it in my back-backyard.

Tomorrow I'll try to finish the connection links to my shaker table and water pump, and hopefully have a good test.

Unfortunately the shaker table water/dirt catcher basins are giving me the yips. I hope I can solve the problem, so I can do a full test.

I went back to the MBMMLLC shaker table, and discovered I made my spray bar setup incorrectly. So I need to remove the goof, and make them as the example shaker table is set up.

After I get all my created mining gadgets working, then I can try to make and post a few videos on YouTube. I have an account, but never posted anything. That, hopefully, will be my last hurdle, and I can start tweaking everything to work optimally.
 

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desertgolddigger

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May 31, 2015
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Along with my morning ritual of milling a little ore, sift and sluicing it, I did my super shaker sifter test.

The test was OK, but disappointing. I think I know the problem, which is that when I installed the shaker motor, I centered it under the shaker platform. I get the feeling it needs to be offset an inch or two.

I sifted through 4 mesh classifier, and that worked great. The 16 mesh screen wouldn't allow any more than a scoop of material at a time, or it compacted. And 100 mest needed stirring to get the material to go through the screen, which again leads me to the thought, the motor needs to be offset a little.

I repurposed my old battery and battery box that over 10 years ago I had it powering my telescope before putting in hardwired electrical.. It seems to be doing just fine

The shaker consists of 2X4's in a framework setup, with 4x4 legs on the inside corners.

I drilled 1 1/4 inch holes so I could slip the springs in those. The holes have fender washers in the bottom, and one inch I.D. steel pipe. The spring slips in that setup.

The shaker top consists of a 3/4 sheet of plywood, with four 1x4's in each corner. The same was done to these as I did with the base 4x4's.

I used 2x4's again in a framework setup and glued/screwed it to the top center of the plywood. the bucket and classifier sits inside this framework.

As Jim in Idaho said in his video on his shaker, "It's not rocket science". It's about as basic a thing as I could build. Just need to get the motor moved for better performance.

I used a speed controller, the second of two I purchased. It has a speed control knob that actually clicks off to stop the motor. It also has a three position switch, the center being an off, with the two outer positions allowing for motor reversing and of course, they turn on the motor.

I again repurposed some items, four velcro straps, so that I can hold the whole thing together during transport out into the desert. It's amazing how much stuff I have squirreled away from 20 years of being a pack rat. At least I'm finding uses for some of the items. Just need to do a yard sale this summer to clear out my property of so much stuff I'll never use.
 

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desertgolddigger

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May 31, 2015
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Twentynine Palms, California
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it's been a while since I posted. The weather is better, though getting hotter. So I've been working at things that I've put off due to rain, but mostly the incessant winds.

I'm finally working on the shaker table catch basin. The thing is built, but the hard work is filling in all the cracks (done), and sealing it with Marine Spar Varnish. But that's just getting the wood weatherproof. I still need to install the slanted ramps, seal those cracks, and then varnish those. And drill the holes for the drain hardware. Hopefully it'll be just a few more weeks to finish the catch basin Then I can fulfill my promise of a couple more pictures, and maybe a short YouTube video, if I can figure out how to do that.

I sure will be happy to turn on the power, have the water flow, and the table move back and forth, just to see if it's all ready to tune up, and finally use.

Meanwhile, I've been cleaning up the buckets of material I've gathered over the past few months, breaking rock so that I can mill it. and see just how much of the yellow stuff is in it. I know there's some, as the magnifying glass shows those tiny specks.

Besides puttering around, I've still been sluicing those rows of buckets of material I accumulated, and am now up to 17 grams on my mercury/gold amalgam ball. But I haven't bothered with the 300 mesh and smaller material, as I feel I need to gather a significant amount of those super concentrates before I try panning, and running the mercury through it. I'm kind of hoping that'll push my amalgam total closer to 20 grams.

I keep tapping the container with this amalgam to squeeze out the liquid mercury, so that it's mostly a crumbly ball. I use a plastic bulb pipette to suck the mercury up, and reuse it, before I go to my bottle of clean mercury, though that'll soon run out, at the rate I'm processing my low grade ore.

But I did get lucky one day after crushing what I thought was low grade ore. Ended up with about half a gram from a couple of softball sized rocks I gleaned from an old timer tailing pile. Sometimes we get lucky.
 

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