History & Geology
Because tungsten minerals are heavy, exploration can be done using stream sediment samples. Prospectors looking for gold have found scheelite or wolframite in their placer concentrates, and in some cases this has led them to make important tungsten finds.
An example of some of this extraordinary ore was a lot of about four tons from the Florence mine during the last days of a lease that averaged over 300 ounces of gold per ton.
I couldn’t wait to get started. With no field budget, an assay budget of $100/year, a 1975-Ford Bronco that was a road hazard, a gas card, a topo map and full support of the director, I headed to the State Line district near Tie Siding along US Highway 287 to begin mapping kimberlite.
Epithermal deposits form in the ground at shallow depths. They are popular with prospectors because can yield very rich deposits and they are widespread in the Western US.
In 1983, some of the ore yielded more than 2,500 ounces of gold within 30 feet of the surface. The shoot pinched to a narrow vein.
When prospecting for lithium, after confirming for macro attributes through research and field work, including examination of surface geology, the main tool is an accurate lithium assay.
There are a large number of different kinds of gangue minerals, and each of them has its own tale to contribute to the story of the chemistry and geology of a deposit.
The holes were overloaded with explosives, but I didn’t know it. I was just a green mining engineer fresh out of school and told to watch as the experienced miners set the charge.
The favorable geology of the northeastern and central parts of the Seven Troughs Range are the parts most interesting to prospectors. They are underlain by a thick sequence of Tertiary volcanic rocks, mostly rhyolites and andesites.
The process of recognizing ores all starts with being able to recognize some basic minerals and knowing what hard rock ore looks like in the districts where you prospect.
The fact that mineral deposits can contribute specific types of heavy minerals is why the analysis of the heavy mineral concentrates in the streams of an area can be an important prospecting technique for finding undiscovered mineral deposits.
I’ve been taking a look at the mining and uses of a number of critical metals in series of articles, and it’s time to take a look at antimony.
In 1877, a prospector named Ed Schieffelin discovered silver in “the middle of nowhere” and staked two claims: “Tumbstone” and “Graveyard.” Soon a town and mining district were organized and acquired the name “Tombstone” after making a spelling correction.
While both zinc and lead deposits also are enriched by the surface weathering process, in part two we will look at the enrichment process for copper and also gold deposits, and at the interpretation of leached outcrops to figure how rich the concentrated deposits below them may be.