Small-Scale Prospecting & Mining (A Little History)
April 2005 by Jim StraightDuring the 49’er gold rush, because of harsh winters and adverse river conditions, the working season could be restricted for a week or more at a time. Moreover, many of the “argonauts” (a term dating back to the adventures of the early Greek gold seekers in seeking the Golden Fleece), were unprepared both mentally and physically to meet the harsh conditions.
…we cheered and high-fived each other as the ore cart slowly crested the top of the headframe, then picked up a bit of speed on the short downhill section and came to an abrupt halt, ejecting its contents of ore…
Only the richest ores could be worked and shipped off for processing at a profit. As a result, early mining in the southern part of the Humboldt Range was short-lived. In the 1880s, placers were discovered in Spring Valley and American Valley on the east side of the range...
The signal I was hearing was coming from a vertical bedrock crack on the bank of the creek. I removed my backpack, took out my crevicing tools and started to clean out the crack when I saw a glint of gold.
The majority of the gold produced in Goldfield has come from ores that are close enough to the surface to be oxidized by the air. This oxidized ore is normally a soft, shattered, earthy material usually stained yellow to brown by oxides of iron.
South Carolina's last operating mine, Kennecott Ridgeway, processed the final gold and silver it had extracted from two pits in southern Fairfield County. But even though the mining and processing is done, the work at Kennecott is far from over...
Q: Can you offer any information on proper mining claim procedures?
The Bawl Mill • Our Readers Say • Progress Report on Washington State Small-Scale Regulations • Pediments • Bill to Allow Mining of Coeur d'Alene Basin • Dredging Below the Homestake • Looking Back • Picks & Pans: The Glory Hole • Enthusiastic Crowds at PDAC • Fraser Institute Survey Results Rank Best (and Worst) Mining Locales • Synclinal Oil • Higher Zinc Price Creates Opportunity • Government Appeals Miner Injury Case to Supreme Court • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices • Melman on Gold & Silver