The Half-Mile Claim
December 2019 by William Hepler
We dug and extracted for two more hours. This time, as I dumped the concentrates, I saw a piece of gold three-fourths of an inch long and as big around as a pencil.
A large, 8-pennyweight piece popped out of a very small crevice where the water had been extremely swift in the winter, leaving no visible gravel.
I opted for the underwater portion of the river. All I have to do is float down the river and pick large flakes and small nuggets out of cracks and crevices while staying cool in the summer heat.
My wife Fran and I were brushing and repairing the road to our claim when we were interrupted by a fellow in a pretty yellow Jeep heading out to the local town of Quincy, California.
The burning question I needed answered was why didn’t the deposit ever get mined of at least one of the valuable minerals? A couple of reasons have come to light.
The area was mined intermittently from around 1900 to 1915, but was also mined in the late 1800s, with a total output valued at about $100,000, which is around $9.5 million at the current gold price.
Federal and state regulatory agencies often cite mercury and methyl mercury in our waterways as a major factor for further restrictions on placer mining, and on suction gold dredge mining, in particular. However, these regulatory agencies are minimizing selenium and its neutralizing effects.
The Bawl Mill • Ask The Experts - How do I obtain a map of Montana gold & sapphire gravel bars? • Ask The Experts - How do I process this white quartz with black striations? • Ask The Experts - Does gravel + bedrock = gold? • Back to Green Valley--With A Sluice • A Lesson In Underwater Sniping • More Fiddling While Forests Burn • Achieving Accurate Metal Detector Discrimination • My New Passion--Crystal Hunting • Melman on Gold & Silver • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices • Gold Prospecting for Better or Worse: White Knuckle Mining