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Professional Equipment for Serious Detectorists!
Mining Summit


The Two-Day Summit
Featuring 20,000 sq. ft. packed with the latest in mining and prospecting equipment
& expert instruction from our writers and staff
Learn everything from gold panning, basic prospecting, and metal detecting for gold on up to advanced gold recovery and small operations
Dates: Saturday & Sunday, April 5-6, 2014    Parking: The Fairgrounds Association
charges $5 per vehicle per day.
Venue: El Dorado County Fairgrounds
100 Placerville Dr
Placerville, CA 95667
  Admission: $5 at the door per day; children under
12 are free with a paid adult. Food and
drinks will be available for purchase inside.
10am - 5pm Saturday
10am - 4pm Sunday
Kids can participate in a FREE scavenger hunt
to earn prizes.
Lecture Schedule for Saturday, April 5
10:30am How to Locate a Promising Location for Gold Prospecting Don Robinson
11:30am Staking and Holding Mining Claims Chris Ralph
12:30pm Current Regulations & Permitting Charles Watson
1:30pm Consequences of Urbanizing Historic Mining Areas Professor George Wheeldon
2:30pm Gold & Precious Metals Markets Leonard Melman
3:30pm Basic Gold Prospecting Techniques Chris Ralph
4:30pm Raffle  
Lecture Schedule for Sunday, April 6
10:30am Mineral Identification Chris Ralph
11:30am Claim Jumping & How to Protect Your Claims Charles Watson
12:30pm Metal Detecting for Gold Steve Herschbach
1:30pm Setting Up a Placer Operation Chris Ralph
2:30pm JUST ADDED: Priniciples for Gravity Separation Dr. Thom Seal
3:30pm Raffle  

Our team of experts:

Chris Ralph is our Associate Editor. Chris has worked for precious metal mining companies conducting both surface and underground operations, and has a degree in Mining Engineering from Nevada's Mackay School of Mines. He is an individual prospector who has been searching the hills of California and Nevada for many years, finding some nice gold and gems on many occasions. He just returned from his first metal detecting adventure in Australia. Chris is based in Reno, Nevada.
Leonard Melman is our Financial Columnist. Leonard has been reporting on the financial markets for the Journal, with an emphasis on precious metals, since January 1986. Leonard draws on his previous experience as a securities and commodities broker, and he’s reported on mining operations on four continents. He’s also been a frequent speaker at mining investment conferences in Canada. Leonard lives in Nanoose Bay, British Columbia, Canada.
Don Robinson is a Senior Writer for ICMJ's Prospecting and Mining Journal. He has over thirty years of full time mining, including underground and open pit placers, and hardrock under his belt. He has served as a consultant, manager and superintendent of various projects, and he was also an assayer for Goldfields, Nevada. Don co-founded the Mother Lode Goldhounds, a California non-profit minerals education corporation, is a California licensed blaster, and former National Champion in gold panning with over 50 medals won in competitions.
George Wheeldon is a Professor of Geology, teaching at Folsom College in northern California. He has been a resident of northern California's geographically diverse and scenic El Dorado County since the early 1960s. There, he has pursued his boyhood passion for discovering how "stuff works" as he says, and especially for uncovering the secrets of Earth's foundation -- rocks.
Charles Watson is President and Chief Geologist for Advanced Geologic. Charles has over 30 years of academic and professional experience. He is a Qualified Person as per Canadian Instrument 43-101 and a California Professional Geologist.
Steve Herschbach is a Senior Writer for ICMJ's Prospecting and Mining Journal. He is a life-long Alaskan, and an avid prospector and detectorist since 1972. He is a member of the Alaska Treasure Seekers, Chugach Gem & Mineral Society, Alaska Miners Association, Nevada Mining Association, and Northwest Mining Association.

Dr. Thom Seal is a Professor of Mining, Mineral Processing and Metallurgical Engineering and the Director of the Institute for Mineral Resource Studies at the Mackay School of Mines in Reno, Nevada.

Thom is the former manager of metallurgical technology and was senior metallurgist for Newmont Mining. He is a professional engineer and mineral process engineer, and a qualified person as per Canadian Instrument 43-101.

          This exhibitor map will be on display at several locations within the venue so attendees. Warning -- the file is large.

NEAREST MAJOR AIRPORT: Sacramento International Airport (about 45 minutes from the Placerville Fairgrounds)


     Hotels in the Placerville area:      RV Camping at the Fairgrounds:

          Reservations are on a first come, first served basis. You need to call ahead to see if there is availability due to ongoing events.
               Fair Office: (530) 621-5860
               Evening Hours: (530) 919-5869
               Weekends: (530) 919-5860

          Cost is $30 per night, and must be paid to Fair personnel. Check-out time is 1:00pm. Amenities include:


From Sacramento, California: (Approx. 45 minutes.) Take Highway 50 east. Take the Placerville Drive exit. Stay to the right and pass back over the highway.
From Reno, Nevada: (Approx. 2.5 hours.) Take Highway 50 south to South Lake Tahoe, then continue west on Hwy 50 to Placerville. Take the second Placerville Drive exit. Turn right at first stoplight.
From Medford, Oregon: (Approx. 5.5 hours.) Head south on I-5 toward Sacramento. Turn south on CA-99. Merge on to eastbound I-80. Keep left at the fork and merge on to eastbound Hwy 50 to the Placerville Drive exit. Stay to the right and pass back over the highway.
From Auburn, California: (Approx. 1 hour.) Take Hwy 49 south to Placerville. Turn west on Highway 50. Take the second Placerville Drive exit. Turn right at first stoplight.
From Bakersfield, California: (Approx. 5 hours.) Take CA-99 north to Hwy 50 east toward Placerville/South Lake Tahoe. Take the second Placerville Drive exit. Turn right at first stoplight.
From San Jose, California: (Approx. 3 hours.) Head north on 880. Take the Mission Blvd exit to 680 north to Sacramento. (See Sacramento above for last leg.)



***Note: to serve as many people as possible, only one training class is allowed per person.***

Hands-on Training at a Placer Operation
  • H-1: Hands-on #1: Friday, April 4, 2014 
  • H-2: Hands-on #2: Monday, April 7, 2014
  1. A full placer operation will be up and running so attendees can see first-hand how the process works.
  2. Attendees will have the opportunity to pan, power sluice (high bank) and metal detect for gold.
  3. Several power sluicing stations will be set up if you would like to team up.
  4. You may bring your own power sluice (high banker) with pump & hose if desired.
  5. Those who wish to try detecting must bring their own equipment.
  6. Instructors will be present to teach panning, power sluicing and metal detecting, and to discuss setting up a placer operation similar to the one on-site.
Venue:  Private mining property near Iowa HIll, approximately 2 hours northeast of Placerville.

Hours:  8:30am - 4:00pm (Caravan leaves Auburn for site at 7:00am.)

Cost:  $10 for subscribers to ICMJ's Prospecting and Mining Journal; $35 for non-subscribers.

Additional Details: 
  • Directions and rendezvous points will be provided to those who register.
  • Bring a sack lunch.
  • Space is limited.

H-3: Hands-on Lode #3: Monday, April 7, 2014
*THIS CLASS IS FULL* Please call (831) 479-1500 from 8am-5pm PST to place your name on the waiting list.

Introduction to Underground Mining. Class will focus on mining methods, explosives, hardrock mining (ore body blocking, assays, mill flow), timbering, exploration, types of gold deposits and processing.

Venue:  Private mining property near Foresthill, approximately 1.5 hours northeast of Placerville.

Hours:  8:30am - 4:00pm (Caravan leaving Auburn for site at 7:00am.)

Cost:  $30 for subscribers to ICMJ's Prospecting and Mining Journal.

Additional Details:  Directions and rendezvous points will be provided to those who register. Bring a sack lunch, notepad and pen. Space is limited.

     Hotels near the rendezvous point for the hands-on training:
  • Best Western Golden Key, 13450 Lincoln Way, Auburn, CA 95603; (530) 885-8611. Mention "Mining Summit" to receive the discounted rate of $71 + tax for a single; $81 + tax for a double.
  • Quality Inn Gold Country, 13490 Lincoln Way, Auburn, CA 95603; (530) 885-7025
  • Super 8 Auburn, 140 E Hillcrest Drive, Auburn, CA 95603; (530) 888-8808

There are plenty of other opportunities while you are in the area...

Gold Bug Park is offering an exclusive tour for Mining Summit attendees.Enjoy a guided tour of the Priest Mine, a hard rock mine from the 1850's located in Old Hangtown.

Located just three miles from the Mining Summit, Hangtown's Gold Bug Park and Mine in Placerville will be open April 4 - 6 to Mining Summit attendees.

The park includes two hard rock mines, a stamp mill, mining museum and blacksmith shop. 

Exclusive to the Mining Summit participants, the park will be offering tours of the rarely seen Priest Mine. Priest Mine tours are only available on Friday, April 4. This 1850 hard rock mine is well-preserved, with thousands of pick marks on the walls and ceiling, giving testament to the grueling, back-breaking life of a hard rock miner.

Priest Mine tours will be limited to 15 people on a first-come, first-served bases, with tours departing every 20 minutes starting at 10am.

The Priest Mine docent-guided tour will be combined with the self-guided audio tours of the Gold Bug mine, and the cost is only $7.00 per person for both mines when you mention the Mining Summit. The price also includes stamp mill presentations, blacksmith demonstrations, access to the mining museum, hiking trails, gift shop and the Liberty picnic pavilion. The park and tours will be available rain or shine.

During the Mining Summit, Gold Bug Park's gates will be open from 8:00am to 5:00pm. The Gold Bug mine, museum, gift shop, stamp mill and blacksmith shop will be open from 10am to 4pm. The last Gold Bug self-guided audio tour will be available at 3:30pm.

Gold Bug Park is located at 2635 Gold Bug Lane, one mile off of Highway 50 at Bedford Avenue in Placerville.

For more information, contact the park at (530) 642-5207 or visit www.goldbugpark.org

El Dorado County Mining Museum open for Mining Summit

The El Dorado County Mining History Museum will be open for the Mining Summit.

The museum houses a large collection of mining artifacts and a wealth of information, including an extensive collection of digitized photographs and historical maps of mining claims.

The museum will be open from 10am - 4pm Friday through Sunday, and it's conveniently located at the Placerville Fairgrounds, 100 Placerville Dr., Placerville. 

The museum requests a donation of $2.00 per visitor.

Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park

If you haven't been there before, no visit to the area would be complete without a stop at the site of Sutter's Mill where James W. Marshall discovered gold in 1848. The day-use areas are open from 8am - 5pm, and the museum is open 10am - 5pm.

The park is located in Coloma, about 18 minutes north of the Placerville Fairgrounds on historic Route 49.

More information is available on the State Parks website.
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