Platinum Alley—The South American Zone of Wealth and Adventure
June 2008 by George H. Hamilton Jr.California and Alaska have their reputation for gold mining wealth but they just don’t begin to compare with the huge wealth of gold and platinum found in the past and today in Colombia, Panama and Ecuador in western South America.
There is a surprising amount of detectable gold under the water’s surface. The right tools make it much easier to find, and with a little patience and practice you can take advantage of this underappreciated bonanza.
When my field assistant Jay Roberts and I entered the mine, it appeared as if someone just walked out of the mine, turned off the lights and never returned.
My mother stands in the desert, a hot wind kicking up puffs in the sand around her feet. She’s staring hard at the rusted buckets, weathered boards and mine shafts scattered throughout the sagebrush, concentrating, and I can tell she’s not really here. Not here now, at least. She is here 65 years ago. And this is not a long-abandoned ghost town at the end of a dirt road in one of Nevada’s endless stretches of nowhere.
The agency said managers “showed a disregard for the miners’ welfare” and acted with “more than ordinary negligence” before the victim fell through a sinkhole while operating a large loader about 200 feet below the entrance of the mine.
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I regularly get inquiries along the line of: “Hey, I found this rock, and I think it might be gold ore. How can I tell?” Prospectors are always on the lookout for gold-bearing rocks that may be the source of any nearby placer gold.
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