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From reading the land to setting up your equipment

How to Recognize Hard Rock Gold Ores


I regularly get inquiries along the line of: “Hey, I found this rock, and I think it might be gold ore. How can I tell?” Prospectors are always on the lookout for gold-bearing rocks that may be the source of any nearby placer gold.

How to Make a Rock Sled for Dredging


When my “anonymous” friend told me the rock tub was probably a hundred miles from where he safely stashed it, I decided to build another sled and improve on my old design.

How to Stake Your Own Claim—Researching Mining Claims


Once you have determined that the land is locatable, the next step in the claim research process is to determine if the land has already been claimed by a previous locator.

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Volume is the Key to Success


While recovery rates are important, they must necessarily be secondary to the volume of material processed. Running more material at lower recovery rates is generally preferable to increasing the efficiency of the system.

Shaker Tables for Processing Hard Rock Ores


Most placer equipment is really made with gold in the 30 and larger mesh sizes in mind, though if carefully used can often get reasonable recovery down to the 50 mesh size.

Hand Panning Micro-Fine Gold


Once you get down to the black sands or a few tablespoons of material, the technique changes dramatically.

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Sampling, Hydro-Shocking & Cleaning Quartz-Gold Specimens


Many specimens have a small amount of gold and are not pretty to look at. There is a nifty way to give them a makeover and make them much prettier than they were when you found them. 

The PIGMI—a DIY Crevice Tool


I’ve had great success using it to gather gold from crevices. I’d like to share the design with all of you gold miners reading this article and hope that you get as much satisfaction building and using it as I did.

Detecting Basics: Lose the Bad Habits Not the Gold


I will make the assumption that when any of you take a detector in your hand and head out prospecting for gold you are probably anticipating finding some gold. That’s the general idea, right?
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Underground Mining: Getting the Ore Out


Choosing the right method to move your ore and waste is all about making the right choices. Sometimes more than one method may be used during the life of a mine as an operation expands and grows.

Ask The Experts: Equipment to break up heavy clay


Q: I am looking for a “trommel machine” that doesn’t separate anything but clay slurry from rock hard clay.

What Have You Got to Lose?


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?
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How to Upgrade Your Pocket Plunger


These three simple upgrades, when taken together, will considerably increase a pocket plunger’s magnetic pull and make it less susceptible to breakage.

Ask The Experts: Should I remove someone else’s claim post from my claim?


Q: Can and should you remove their poles and notice right then and there or should you wait until you have convinced them of their trespass?

Ask The Experts: Question about resolving a quitclaim error


Q: I am in the process of filing an appeal with my lawyer, but am seeking more “expert” advice in the arenas of “mining claims” and BLM jurisdiction.

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Moving The Big Rocks


The anticipation of finding out if the system of snatch blocks, shackles, chokers, anchor points, and the strap binding the massive slab of rock in the bottom of the river would even budge an inch was weighing on me. 

Attention to Detail - Part II


Ditches almost always started in the high country and contoured the mountainsides, making a long drop, usually many miles away, to the goldfields. There are ditches in Trinity County that originate at seven and eight thousand feet in the Trinity Alps that carried water almost thirty miles.

Ask The Experts: How do I identify gold in hard rock that may be mixed with other metals?


Q: Aside from the softness scratch test and other methods of identification, what feedback would you have on identifying gold in hard rock that may be mixed with other metals that affect its color?

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Ask The Experts: Is there a safe DIY alternative to cyanide or mercury for extraction?


Q: With safety as a given, what can the average miner, or Joe-blow greenhorn do to identify and extract some metals or minerals with off-the-shelf products or natural ingredients?

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Which comes first, claim filing or staking?

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