Commercial Placer Mining: Alaska Style
September 2021 by Chris Ralph
There are currently about 170 commercial-scale placer operations in Alaska. Most of these are small operations with just a few people working; they are often family affairs that operate seasonally only during favorable weather.
When you think about the extremes to which a miner will go to get a little gold, it occurred to me beach gold could be "easy pickings."
In our May 2013 issue, we took a look at the mineral quartz, a mineral very commonly associated with gold. However, gold is not the only reason prospectors are interested in quartz. Quartz can also be very valuable as a gemstone
Some experienced panners with the vigor and longevity to spend a full day panning in the small creeks and ravines can possibly find as much as a gram or more on a good day.
The mysteries of this spot were only just starting to develop. There is nothing but very bland granite-type rocks here, meaning no bold, favorable indicators.
The zone of influence of each sample must be carefully considered when deciding how far sample sites should be spaced from each other.
We dug and extracted for two more hours. This time, as I dumped the concentrates, I saw a piece of gold three-fourths of an inch long and as big around as a pencil.
We chatted for a bit and then we had to take off, but I kept what he said in the back of my mind as we rushed out to some other gold-bearing place in the Mother Lode to feed our gold fever.
The Bawl Mill • Ask The Experts - Would a platinum nugget contain all the PGMs? • Ask The Experts - Can you clarify how many minerals I need to identify to be successful? • Ask The Experts - Were there any productive mines where there were no contacts? • Indicators and Hillsides • Surviving the Unexpected • Gold Placers of Southern California • Gold Prospecting for Better or Worse: Throwing Away Thousand-Dollar Hot Rocks • 3D-Printed Tools for Prospecting • Libby, Montana Prospectors Keep Tradition Alive • Colorado Miner Sues EPA Over 2015 Spill • Melman on Gold & Silver • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices