The Fire Assay of Fly Eyes
July 2002 by Dr. Ralph E. PrayColorado-Utah-Wyoming oil shale was first reliably discovered to contain gold and silver by the U.S. Bureau of Mines in the 1920s. Although most of this vast shale resource, up to 1,000 feet in thickness, contained nil or barely detectable values, many brown shale samples fire assayed here over the past thirty years have yielded up to 0.02 ounces per ton (opt) Au and 2.0 opt Ag.
There is no question metal detectors can be used to find paystreaks, but the method I am going to describe may not be exactly the procedure some prospectors would expect.
The discovery of gold in the Klondike in August 1896 brought a rush that became a bonanza for a few, and hardship and disaster for many. The remoteness of the discovery site, and the extremely harsh climate made the effort to recover gold foolhardy for all but the most prepared.
The prospects I found are known to carry heavy chunks of gold, sometimes in quartz, ironstone, or many times a rusty-looking type of shale covering.
I’d like to offer some practical comments about staking and maintaining mining claims. Owning your own claim is the dream of many prospectors. I’ve made good money off my mining claims, both from the minerals I have found on them as well as from leasing out some of my claims to larger mining and exploration companies.
I hit bedrock at two feet and followed it down as it appeared that I was on the edge of a rib that ran with the river. This was beginning to look very promising and I was seeing some small gold—pieces and flakes—in the header of my sluice box.
The solo prospector in his canvas field clothes and skin-thick skiff is still king of the rain forest in southeastern Alaska. Even with all the highly trained field people and their helicopters, it is he who ventures forth across ocean water and in the bush to search for new wealth hidden beneath the green carpet of the vast Tongass Forest.
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