Prospecting for Liberated Gold
November 2015 by Don MadoreSome will doubt its value given the ultra-fine particle size… Some will become encouraged about not having to incur significant time and expense to break rock.
With the high price of gold, there are many new prospectors out in the hills all over the United States, and while we would all prefer to be finding those larger nuggets, it doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes all that is available is nothing more than a few small flakes. The truth is, new prospectors are sprouting up all across the planet—especially in the developing nations.
Plumas has been historically rich in gold because of its favorable geology. The Melones Fault trends north-south through the county and many rich gold-bearing districts lie along its course.
When everything is still dry, one of my favorite methods of prospecting is using a straw to blow out small cracks and crevices that dot the exposed bedrock along a stream.
Maybe we could find a few pieces of ore from that tunnel? It was worth a try. The old timers didn’t have that stamp mill for looks, so we set off to get some samples.
The gold in this area can get quite large. Most of the pieces are about half a pennyweight on average.
Setting up a gravity dredge
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.
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