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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Reed Lukens

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You only want maybe a 10° pitch on the gutter sluice... just enough pitch to slowly move the material thru it. Adjust the water flow to keep the gold up top... pretty slow water with just a slight pitch.
 
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desertgolddigger

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OK, I finally figured out what to use from my various items laying around to make my micro sluice for my concentrates cleanup. The results are in the picture.

I'm wondering what everyone does to prepare those concentrates. Since my area had what I call "fluff" (micro fine dirt), I know I have to pan out as much of this dirty stuff as possible. Otherwise it will end up clogging the system.

Should I classify the material after getting most of the "fluff" out, and run things in size batches, or just run it all together?

Reed said to keep the angle shallow, and adjust the water flow to where the black/white sands move over the riffles, but the gold stays in the upper part of the sluice.

Now all I have to do is wait for the rain to go away, and the ground to dry out. The Claim isn't soaked yet, and is still diggable, but those diggings can't be run through a dry washer. So I'm digging buckets, and carting them home before the sun ever shows its face. Gets too hot otherwise. Managed 11.5 buckets so far, and dumped in the backyard for whenever things dry out. Don't even know if I'm getting anything. Hopefully I will get a good surprise sometime in the future.

EDITED: Here's a good video on how to use a sluice for fine gold recovery
 

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desertgolddigger

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Today I found that my two buckets of panning tailings were dry, so I ran them through the washer.

I consider myself a fairly good at panning gold, but that feeling has been lessened after twice finding good gold in those panning tailings. The first time I extracted another 1/10th gram from those panning tailings. This time wasn't as bad, but there were still 15 pieces between 1/16 and 1/8 inch, plus 10 more I could tweeze, and a few super tiny gold.

So don't throw your panning tailings away. Accumulate them until you can make another run on the dry washer. You'll probably find more gold.

Another lesson learned is, if you use a magnet to extract the magnetic sands out of your pan, there's a chance you're picking up gold of two kinds. The first are the very small ones that will get trapped in that black sand no matter how careful you are. The second type is bright gold that happens to have some magnetic material embedded in it.

Take a magnet to a vial of gold you have, and watch. Some of that gold will move toward the magnet. You'll have to rely on your eyes when you have a pan of coarse black sand. There's the possibility one side is black, and the hidden side, is gold.

Hope this entry helps those just starting out. I'm learning as I go.
 
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russau

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May 29, 2005
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NEVER EVER run cons dry !!! wet them down BEFORE you run them otherwise the fine gold will stick to the gravel's and it will end up in your tailings' pile like you stated . and ALWAYS rerun your fine cons to ensure that you got it ALL like you did !
 
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desertgolddigger

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I did another scouting mission this morning, and things are pretty much finished for me for until the Monsoonal flow ends this year.

What happened out around the Claim can be described as apocalyptic. Apparently it rained so hard in this area, that some bushes, and small trees went missing.

The access road I thought I could improve, laying coarse gravel on was scrubbed clean. 90 percent of that gravel is gone. One road on the claim that goes over a hill that had some soil and gravel laid years ago is now just exposed bedrock. I won't be trying to pave the roads anymore. That's just a waste of time. That will allow me to dig more material, as I will only to one sift, and not be making a separate tip to lay down gravel.

Yes, I did make it to the dig on our claim, but I can no longer carry a heavy load out of the claim. There are too many
severe drop offs on the road where the flood waters scoured grooves in the washes. I just managed the get out because one was a one foot drop off I failed to see going in until the truck dropped. THUNK!! Yes, I managed to get over that when I returned trying to get out of the area. WHEW!!!

When I do return, hopefully someone in off road vehicles will have smoothed out those drop off locations, otherwise it will take rocks and dirt to make them passable.
 
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russau

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I did another scouting mission this morning, and things are pretty much finished for me for until the Monsoonal flow ends this year.

What happened out around the Claim can be described as apocalyptic. Apparently it rained so hard in this area, that some bushes, and small trees went missing.

The access road I thought I could improve, laying coarse gravel on was scrubbed clean. 90 percent of that gravel is gone. One road on the claim that goes over a hill that had some soil and gravel laid years ago is now just exposed bedrock. I won't be trying to pave the roads anymore. That's just a waste of time. That will allow me to dig more material, as I will only to one sift, and not be making a separate tip to lay down gravel.

Yes, I did make it to the dig on our claim, but I can no longer carry a heavy load out of the claim. There are too many
severe drop offs on the road where the flood waters scoured grooves in the washes. I just managed the get out because one was a one foot drop off I failed to see going in until the truck dropped. THUNK!! Yes, I managed to get over that when I returned trying to get out of the area. WHEW!!!

When I do return, hopefully someone in off road vehicles will have smoothed out those drop off locations, otherwise it will take rocks and dirt to make them passable.
It sounds like it's metal detector time at your claim !
 
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desertgolddigger

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It sounds like it's metal detector time at your claim !
Nope, First, I was lucky to get out of the flood area. Second, I own the original Time Ranger detector. Even though it came with a coil for gold detecting, it isn't up to the task. It doesn't even sound off to a 1/5 gram nugget lying on top of the ground.

I'd do better digging in the old timers hard rock debris piles, if I only knew what to look for. I haven't a clue what gold bearing rock would look like when it comes to the white quartz type material.

Anyway, the next two weeks are forecast to have heavy rains. I'm not going to take a chance of getting trapped due to poor roads. I'll just sit at home, and learn how to process my fine concentrates.
 
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desertgolddigger

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I try to be really careful with weather in general when off the beaten path. And let someone know where and when.
Oh, I've learned my lesson. Summer isn't the mining season for my area because of the monsoonal flow we get. Nor is the December/January timeframe friendly with the Pineapple Express weather we occasionally suffer with. I'll just stay home, maybe finish pouring my sidewalk to the rear of my property.
 
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desertgolddigger

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Guess I'm sort of stubborn. I wanted to look at things going into our claim once more, and at the same time, level out the two worst drop offs in the roads going to it. The leveling was very easy, as there had been activity (vehicles) in those bad areas.

A second look at the claim access road in daylight showed my thoughts of all my paving work gone, was in error. The washed away portion was only about 25 percent, as some had gotten just a dusting of sand, and was not visible at night.

Oh, the food was very bad in the lower wash areas. But that area, except for the drop offs, was scoured of sand, leaving firm ground. Only the raised areas where some water deposited the sand, was the road a bit more difficult to drive on.

The claim is still wet, but not bad enough to waste a trip. I only got two buckets of material before the heat was on, but its something.

Next two weeks are forecast for pop-up thunderstorms, so who knows. Sometimes the area never gets hit. Just have to look at the radar record for that area, before deciding if going out there is OK.

EDITED: Going nowhere tomorrow because the claim is getting plastered again. One thing we can't say anymore is that it hasn't rained in that area.
 
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desertgolddigger

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I've been working with my Miller's Table for the past few days. I'm in the process, of cleaning up about a half dozen containers that had little amounts of processed panning tailings. I finally finished today, thinking I'm finally done.

Weeellll! Yes, I was almost done, except for removing the gold from the Table's surface. It seems this Table (Royal brand) definitely has a sticky surface for retaining gold.

I was in the process of preparing dinner, and glanced at the Table, it was bathed in evening sunlight. Something looked strange. I was seeing, from eight feet, hundreds of little yellow glowing dots on it. I took a magnifying glass to it, and it was all micro pieces of gold.

I got the plastic scraper card, and cleaned the surface. I was curious as to the weight with so many specks of gold. Weight was miniscule, at 11/1000ths of a gram. But gold is gold. I now know to check the surface in bright light once its dry, as carding it when wet doesn't seem to remove all the gold from the surface
 

NVNutcase

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I've been working with my Miller's Table for the past few days. I'm in the process, of cleaning up about a half dozen containers that had little amounts of processed panning tailings. I finally finished today, thinking I'm finally done.

Weeellll! Yes, I was almost done, except for removing the gold from the Table's surface. It seems this Table (Royal brand) definitely has a sticky surface for retaining gold.

I was in the process of preparing dinner, and glanced at the Table, it was bathed in evening sunlight. Something looked strange. I was seeing, from eight feet, hundreds of little yellow glowing dots on it. I took a magnifying glass to it, and it was all micro pieces of gold.

I got the plastic scraper card, and cleaned the surface. I was curious as to the weight with so many specks of gold. Weight was miniscule, at 11/1000ths of a gram. But gold is gold. I now know to check the surface in bright light once its dry, as carding it when wet doesn't seem to remove all the gold from the surface
Maybe I should check the want-ads for a well used Miller table. Probably be the only gold I ever find. Lol
 
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desertgolddigger

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Maybe I should check the want-ads for a well used Miller table. Probably be the only gold I ever find. Lol
As far as I know, the Royal Miller's Table is the only one with some kind of synthetic material. This thing has a kind of hard rubbery surface that makes gold stick to it.

So a chalkboard Miller's Table probably won't act like mine did.
 
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desertgolddigger

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YIPPIE!!!! No rain for over 24 hours. So I formed up an expedition of one, and headed to our claim.

I'm a lot more cautious now that I've experienced the dreaded "THUNK", as my Nissan drops 6 to 12 inches due to erosion.

I stopped prior to the big one, and took my pick axe and shovel to make ramps down into the wash. I had to make three, and I probably should work on two more. But the ramps worked fairly well to get me safely into the wash area.

Lots of sand has been moved around. Where no sand was, there's now a good layer, and where there was thick sand, has now been scoured to bedrock. Mother Nature does weird work. My access road work saw more debris washed over it. I've finally quit dumping rock, as half of it has been washed away.

I dug out fourteen 3/4 full buckets of classified material of 1/4 inch and less. No reason to do 1/2 inch, as I've never found anything larger than 1/4 inch. I think the Old Timers got most of the large stuff.

I've been piling up this material in my backyard, and some of it was dry enough to run. I used a shovel that basically scoops a double handful at a time. Put 100 scoops through the washer, and managed 30 tiny pieces.. To me that's pretty darn good for such a small amount.

It was nice to get out and get some exercise, and of course, the yellow stuff.

Weather forecast for next two weeks is more of the same, the monsoonal flow,, and pop up thunderstorms, and spotty flooding. At least if I can get to the claim, I can dig material to bring home, and run whenever it gets dry enough.
 
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arizau

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"Lots of sand has been moved around. Where no sand was, there's now a good layer, and where there was thick sand, has now been scoured to bedrock. Mother Nature does weird work. My access road work saw more debris washed over it. I've finally quit dumping rock, as half of it has been washed away."
Have you thought about checking the newly "scoured" bedrock for cracks? Could be some of Mother Nature's natural riffles have some gold hanging out in them.

Good luck
 
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desertgolddigger

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Have you thought about checking the newly "scoured" bedrock for cracks? Could be some of Mother Nature's natural riffles have some gold hanging out in them.

Good luck
No point, as the areas I mentioned are no where near a source of gold. Years ago I tried several areas outide of the claim, and found absolutely noting. Gold might very well be very deep in the major washes, but not in these secondary ones.

One reason I'm digging along side one of the washes on the claim is that for the most part, this wash has been dug down to bedrock. But no one thought of checking higher up like I've done. Today I ran another 100 scoops of material, and got .08 grams, which is a lot for such a small amount of material.
 
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desertgolddigger

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Finally, the Claim is dried out. This morning I dug up 10 five gallon buckets of material, and ran it through the Washer on the claim. Took it home to see what I got.

I panned out the 1/4 inch to 1/8 inch material, and got a big surprise. My first large picker in over 10 years. It weighed in at .16 grams. The remaining material 1/16 and under gave me another .11 grams. This is really a good day.

Looks like it will remain dry, and somewhat cooler than it has been. Might go again this coming morning to try my luck again.
 
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desertgolddigger

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I didn't go to the Claim today. I stayed home, and ran all my piles of dry washer material. I ended up with 52 half buckets, so it took a couple hours to get it all done, and do the cleanup of the backyard.

I got another surprise when panning the 1/4 to 1/8 inch micro pea gravel. I found another little picker weighing just 6/100 gram. The remaining material netted me .295 grams, which brought my August total to just over one gram.

I don't expect to reach my 2 gram monthly goal, unless I hit some really rich spots. I'm happy because the weather has not been friendly to my type of mining.
 

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