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Prospecting & Detecting

Swing and a Miss

A very good baseball hitter might get a hit roughly one time out of every three at-bats, but for prospectors often the results are much sparser and it may take many trips before the prospector hits a home run.

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Commercial Placer Mining: Alaska Style


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.

Good Assays and Bad


The high prices for gold and silver are exciting and certainly have revolutionized the prospecting and mining scene. New interest in gold and silver mining is springing up from every corner, from individual prospectors armed with gold pans to exploration and mining companies working to set up multimillion dollar commercial operations producing hundreds of thousands of ounces per year. The idea of getting riches from rocks is one that motivates a lot of folks all over the globe. It’s an exciting time, but this excitement brings out another side...

The World of the Simple Gold Pan


There are so many, many different types of gold pans on the market that I thought it would be worthwhile to take a look at the world of the simple gold pan.

Cold Alaskan Gold—Part I


Crowds may be great for football games or the Fourth of July, but not for prospecting. So, this summer, while thousands of gold seekers were heading to the coast of Alaska, I headed to a remote part of the Interior.

Libby, Montana Prospectors Keep Tradition Alive


Located 23 miles south of Libby, the land surrounding the Libby Creek area has been of interest to prospectors since the early 1860s, when it was home to up to 600 miners working at a camp known as Libbysville.

Detectors: Past, Present and Future


Detectors were invented long before I was born, but it was in the 1960s when they started to become an item popular enough to power a fledgling industry. The key development was miniature transistor technology replacing the old fashioned tube technology of the 1950s, making lightweight, affordable detectors possible.

Paperwork Guy—A Cautionary Tale


I recently grew complacent, and it caused me to make a mistake that resulted in the loss of a mining claim. It brought my mining plans for the summer to a complete halt.

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