Ask the Experts
November 2012 by Chris RalphHow do I set up a small placer operation?
So far this year we have recovered over three pounds of gold and the hard rock veins seem to go on forever. We now have three claims that can produce good enough gold to set up a productive operation.
While recovery rates are important, they must necessarily be secondary to the volume of material processed. Running more material at lower recovery rates is generally preferable to increasing the efficiency of the system.
The whole purpose of sampling mineralized ground is to measure the values in a small volume of material that would be representative of a much larger volume of similar material. The key word is representative. Chemical and fire assaying will not accurately represent placer deposits by themselves.
Solar energy can be used for any size placer or hard rock mining operation. It is most practical for small and longer-term operations provided your mine is not located in a dense forest.
During the initial assessment year (the year of location), the claim maintenance fee must be paid at the time the notice of location is filed with the Bureau of Land Management. Failure to pay the claim maintenance fee will void the claim.
The technique I will describe is a much safer alternative and it works. It’s a fine-gold panning technique that eliminates the need for mercury amalgamation of most placer samples.
Of course, I know a bit about crevicing, but Steve seems to really have a knack for it, and I’m all about continual learning. I can always learn a few tricks from the pros.
The Bawl Mill • Ask the Experts • Ask the Experts • Ask the Experts • The Portable XRF Gun • Gold Dredging on Oregon's South Umpqua • The Struggle to Reopen Alaska's Largest Gold Mine • Prospecting With a Detector: Lessons Learned • The Rush to Treasure Hill • Tips on Crevicing for Gold • Using Google Earth and Other Maps • Proper Assaying of Placer Samples • Mining, Health Care & Taxes • Melman on Gold & Silver • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices