The "Madonna Nugget"—A Weekend Hunt to Remember
July 2017 by Tom Reyes
I worked my way to a flat area along a ridge where I could see a quartz blowout. As I got within 100 feet of it, I started seeing rock that I knew to be associated with gold.
It’s accepted knowledge that wet methods will recover more fine gold than dry methods and processing the gravel as a whole will get more gold than only using a metal detector. The question is how much more?
One of the first minerals most prospectors learn to recognize is quartz, because, in the right circumstances, it can be an excellent indicator mineral for prospectors. Quartz is common, easy to identify, and is often associated with gold and other valuable metal deposits.
Down around 10 or 12 inches I hit a large cobble that appeared to be one type of hot rock for this area. I thought bad things about the new technology until I checked the rock.
This year was a test. We had never done anything like this before, yet we grossed $30,000 in the short time we had to mine.
The technique I will describe is a much safer alternative and it works. It’s a fine-gold panning technique that eliminates the need for mercury amalgamation of most placer samples.
I had a chance to visit the operation in person and talk with Neal. I was very impressed and I think our readers could learn a lot about building up a commercial placer operation from scratch…
Normally we do not cover gem and mineral shows, but this one is a little different. The Tucson (Arizona) Gem and Mineral show is the sales source for so many small mining operations, I felt I had to address this show and its possibilities for the small miner.
The Bawl Mill • Ask The Experts: What is a Spanish needle? • Ask The Experts: Sulfides and fluxes • Legislative and Regulatory Update • Simple Rules of Gold Geology: Comparing Epithermal and Mesothermal Deposits • The Goldfield Mining District, Nevada—Part II • Sunset Sunbaker • A Prospecting Adventure in Mexico • Critical Minerals: Tungsten • Police Urge Author to End Treasure Hunt • Melman on Gold & Silver • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices