Ask The Experts
December 2014 by Chris Ralph• Determining the amount of gold in a specimen
His brother’s friend showed him a vial of gold that originated from his family’s mine in Honduras. Within two weeks Ernie had flown to Honduras to get a first-hand tour of the historic mine and the primitive operation underway to recover the gold.
The solution focused on the relative difference in malleability between gold and waste, rather than the difference in density exploited by gravity circuits.
If you are interested in researching mining claims for any purpose, you will first have to decipher the BLM’s LR2000, a Rube Goldberg database seemingly designed by a 1980s Soviet-era computer hacker.
For simplicity, I will assume that you wish to make enough profit so that you can comfortably pay your bills using just the profits from the mine.
All these decisions and more depend on the richness of a claim—something that is determined by sampling. But sampling isn’t cheap, and even collecting the samples can be more difficult than it appears on the surface.
Once a seam is found it can be traced for miles in either direction. While you are tracing a clay line, you are looking for indicators. The indicators that I look for are ironstone, hematite, different color clays intermingled with the clay line, and a very iron-rich, brown gritty soil.
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.
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