Gold Mining

Ken C
By Ken C on Wed, Dec 12, 2012 - 12:47am

Anyone else here ever done any Placer (or hardrock) mining ?

I have found gold by dredging, sluicing, high-banking, dry washing as well as simple panning stream material. There is nothing like the feeling of finding gold in the bottom of the pan. I don't normally sell the gold that I find but I have had several gifts made for family members with some of the gold that I have found; pendants, earrings - that sort of thing.

Ken C

12 Comments

Adam Taggart's picture
Adam Taggart
Status: Peak Prosperity Co-founder (Offline)
Joined: May 26 2009
Posts: 1930
I haven't, but I'd love to try it

Ken -

I haven't, but would love to give it a try. 

I have a bunch of questions for you:

  • What's the difference between the various methods you described? (dredging, sluicing, etc)
  • Which approach is best for a beginner to start with?
  • What equipment should the beginning 'miner' consider investing in?
  • Where are good places to mine/pan? How much should one expect to find on a typical 'good' day?
  • Are there places that offer instructions and rentals so a newbie can try it out for weekend before investing in purchases?

I live in northern California and have thought often about going out to Placer or El Dorado county for a weekend of panning. If there are others interested in doing the same, I'd be happy to co-ordinate a Peak Prosperity trek out there :)

cheers,

Adam

jasonw's picture
jasonw
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 17 2011
Posts: 848
I'm in - boots on and shovel in hand..

Swing by on your way over and we can car pool.  There is a mining supply company just down the road from me.  They don't call it gold country for nothing. 

earthwise's picture
earthwise
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2009
Posts: 832
Tempting...

...but how does one go about selling any gold that was found? The storefronts with the sign twirlers out front will buy scrap gold for pennies on the dollar. Kind of demotivating. Any insights on this anyone?

Ken C's picture
Ken C
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 13 2009
Posts: 753
placer mining

Adam, Jason, Earthwise  I will try to answer your question as best as I can.

Equipment:

You should always start with a simple gold pan ($6-10) at your local mining store. You must learn how to pan before anything else. Here is a link to Keene where you can find more info on the equipment prices

http://www.keeneeng.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Category_Code...

Once you learn how to pan you can then move up to an in-stream sluice. This is a piece of equipment that lets you process much more material than a pan. That is the key to success - how much gold bearing material you can process in a given amount of time.

A high-banker is simply sluice with a pump driven water source that lets you process material away from the waterway.

A dry washer is a device that is used mostly in desert areas where no water is available. I used to have one but I don't like drywashing so I got rid of it.

A dredge is a device that is used in the river/stream to suck gravels off the bottom  and directly into the floating sluice. A dredge allows you to move much more material and is really the best way to have a profitable venture.  There is currently a moratorium on dredging in Calif. so I sold my dredge and I will buy another when I can dredge again.

Places to go:

this is where you need to do homework. Bottom line is that if there is gold in a place that is accessable it is most certainly already claimed. There are public areas in many places where it is possible to pan, sluice and use simple hand tools. These areas have been "withdrawn from mineral entry" i.e. you can't file a claim on it but can still mine.

I belong to a group called the "New 49ers"

http://www.goldgold.com/

I bought a membership some years ago so I can use all of the claims in Calif and Oregon.

The "New 49ers" offer free one day guest passes to anyone. You may be interested in doing this.

http://www.goldgold.com/the-new-49ers.html

How much can you find?

Most assuredly with diligence and work you can find some gold. However, most people do not find enough to pay for the trip. You are probably not going to get rich. After getting through the learning curve and figuring out how to do it, where to go and all the other preliminaries many people do make a living at it and/or supplement their income.

Where do you sell it if you find it?

You DO NOT SELL it to the cash for gold places.

There are several places that you can sell and many of the mining supply shops can refer you. Here is one that advertises that he will pay between 72.5% and 82.5% of spot. You will be hard pressed to get more than about 80-85% of spot.

http://bb.bbboy.net/thenew49ers-viewthread?forum=5&thread=51

If you are really succesful and have several ounces you may want to go directly to a refiner.

If I can figure out how to upload a pic I will include a pic of a pendant that I had made for my daughter with gold that I mined.

Ken

Ken C's picture
Ken C
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 13 2009
Posts: 753
pendant

Here is a pic of the pendant I gave my daughter for her birthday. It was made from nuggets and fine gold that was melted to form the foundation. It has about 1 troy ounce of gold plus the peridot set in the middle. My daughter loved it. It sort of has special meaning that I personally dug up all of the gold.

Ken C's picture
Ken C
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 13 2009
Posts: 753
additional thoughts for newbys

The best approach for a newby to learn placer mining is to join a prospecting club. There are many available in almost all the gold bearing areas. They will have claims for members to use and most of the members like to share what they know and are usually good people. Exceptions do apply.

Concerning mining claims:

Acquiring a mining claim can be a potential mine field - no pun intended. Basically all one needs to do is find an "unclaimed" area, confirm that it is gold bearing, stake the claim, file the appropriate paper work with Bureau of Land Management (BLM), pay some fees and you have a claim.

However, as I said before almost all gold areas are already claimed. You can buy a claim but one should not do this until he is familiar with how to check out its validity and potential. You will see mining claims for sale on EBAY. Some (many, most ?) are frauds. Some people will overstake an already existing claim file the paper work with BLM and then try to sell the claim rights to an unsuspecting buyer. The BLM does not do any checking for validity they only take the paper work and money. It is up to the claim filer to make sure that the area is available. I only included this part so that some NEWBY does not get burned by buying a fraudulent claim.

Ken

ScottT's picture
ScottT
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 2 2009
Posts: 40
Certificate of Analysis

Curious to get people's thoughts about why precious metal dealers and the mints don't provide a bona fide certificate proving the purity when you buy?  I mean why do we take at face value that just because it says .9999 on the coin that it actually is?

I wonder to myself that in 20 years from now I go to cash in and the buyer says "sorry buddy this coin is nothing but lead - you were duped".

Ken C's picture
Ken C
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 13 2009
Posts: 753
fake coins

Scott,

Here is a thread where this subject is addressed.

http://www.peakprosperity.com/forum/79627/i-am-new-buying-gold-need-help

Adam Taggart's picture
Adam Taggart
Status: Peak Prosperity Co-founder (Offline)
Joined: May 26 2009
Posts: 1930
Affordable coin balance

Scott -

The thread Ken linked to is definetly a great resource for addressing your question. I also recommend starting there.

In addition to the solutions discussed there, here's another one to consider - the Gold Coin Balance. It's similar to the Fisch ($169), but much cheaper. You can get 10 of the them for less than the cost of 1 Fisch.

The company sent me a balance to try out. It was simple to use, and if it indeed works as advertised, my coins thankfully checked out OK.

Ken C's picture
Ken C
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 13 2009
Posts: 753
Gold coin balance

Adam Taggart wrote:

Scott -

The thread Ken linked to is definetly a great resource for addressing your question. I also recommend starting there.

In addition to the solutions discussed there, here's another one to consider - the Gold Coin Balance. It's similar to the Fisch ($169), but much cheaper. You can get 10 of the them for less than the cost of 1 Fisch.

Adam,

Thanks for posting this. I may try it out. I have been using calipers and scale but it would be nice to have a simpler more portable method that does not cost as much as a Fisch.

Ken

ScottT's picture
ScottT
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 2 2009
Posts: 40
CoA

Thank you Ken and Adam.  Good info.  

Ken C's picture
Ken C
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 13 2009
Posts: 753
coin balance
Adam Taggart wrote:

Scott -

The thread Ken linked to is definetly a great resource for addressing your question. I also recommend starting there.

In addition to the solutions discussed there, here's another one to consider - the Gold Coin Balance. It's similar to the Fisch ($169), but much cheaper. You can get 10 of the them for less than the cost of 1 Fisch.

Adam,

Thanks for posting this. I may try it out. I have been using calipers and scale but it would be nice to have a simpler more portable method that does not cost as much as a Fisch.

Ken

they work great

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