Find of a Lifetime
May 2013 by David ObesterMy metal detecting hobby began about ten years ago when I bought a used metal detector for about $300. I got it specifically to look for meteorites. It was pretty much worthless, not user friendly, and I did not find anything with it.
Here's the kicker—for every lost flake there was a five minute penalty added to the time. Lost gold generally meant you didn't make it past the preliminaries.
My first personal experience with placer diamonds was on a gold prospecting trip in Indiana about 8 years ago, when a fellow prospector was cleaning his gold concentrates.
For the last two years we’ve held a hands-on prospectors training session in the Iowa Hill district of California’s Mother Lode country as a part of our Gold Prospecting and Mining Summit event. Because of this, I thought it might be good to take a look at the history, geology and opportunities that the Iowa Hill district still offers to the individual prospector.
An online video gave me some ideas, and with a lot of trial and error I developed a reliable method of panning free gold particles down below 35 microns quickly and easily.
There are currently three controlling agencies or entities over suction dredging in California—and you can make that four if the state legislature decides to further muddy the waters with additional legislation to block suction gold dredging in the state.
We continue to seek out a patented mining property with an owner who is willing to host such an event with a water supply and enough remaining gold to make it worthwhile for the students.
The one undeniable truth in prospecting is that the more time you spend in the field, the more gold you will find. Here are a few keys I use to help build my confidence.
The Bawl Mill • Gold Rush in the Congo • All About Quartz—Part I • Over the Divide • Your Guide to Prospecting in Alaska • Shallow Water Crevicing Can Bring Big Rewards • A Father and Son Prospecting Adventure • Home Office Deductions • Advantages of Modern Prospectors • Searchers' Dreams • Gold in Unlikely Places • Melman on Gold & Silver • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices