Crushing Quartz in Calaveras County: A Placer Miner Learns New Tricks
June 2014 by Greg MastI had never run an impact mill before, but anything involving rocks, water and a big electric motor sounded great.
I knew the nuggets got into the nugget patch somehow, I just had to figure out how and from what direction they came.
The old timers typically washed these areas down to bedrock, and some areas appear terraced. I would imagine this is because these hydraulic mines were generally where the miners found old Tertiary river channels on the sides of mountains that were gold-bearing.
In underground placer work, the contact point of the bedrock tunnel and the gravel is a very weak point and always has to be timbered. The bedrock here is thin, fractured, and the gravels loose from many years of oxidizing.
What today appears to be a “road to nowhere” was once a road to somewhere. At today’s precious metal prices that somewhere can be of great importance to you.
I opted for the underwater portion of the river. All I have to do is float down the river and pick large flakes and small nuggets out of cracks and crevices while staying cool in the summer heat.
There is a material processing principle widely used in large milling operations to improve recovery that is poorly understood by most of the micro-mining and prospecting community...
Old mine workings and tailing piles can represent opportunities on many levels, from the chance to simply find a nugget on up to the commercial reworking of the old tailings for profit.
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