Following Man-Made Ditches to Recover More Gold
February 2020 by Ray Mills
Because of multiple take-out points along a ditch line, the ditches themselves become a wealth of knowledge to us present-day miners.
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.
The problem is that extracting gold from hard rock is often a lot more difficult than processing placer gravels. Still, there is some very high-grade ore out there in many old mining areas.
Down around 10 or 12 inches I hit a large cobble that appeared to be one type of hot rock for this area. I thought bad things about the new technology until I checked the rock.
We had been picking away at it, but the going was mightly slow. Why not use some explosives to advance a little quicker?
After burning more than 350 square miles, the Carr Fire near Redding, California, was finally out. Luckily our home was spared, and I had the opportunity to go metal detecting in burned areas previously too overgrown to access.
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.
As a plaintiff in one of the lawsuits, I’m not allowed to talk about specifics in the court-ordered negotiations currently underway in San Bernardino. However, I do want to let you know we are making progress…
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