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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?

A New Method for Handling Stubborn Gravity Middlings


The solution focused on the relative difference in malleability between gold and waste, rather than the difference in density exploited by gravity circuits.
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The Essence of Gold Prospecting


When doing your initial armchair research and selecting potential areas to explore, consider all the indicators, both natural and man-made.

The Heavy Minerals in Your Concentrates


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.

Pocket Gold


Once a seam is found it can be traced for miles in either direction. While you are tracing a clay line, you are looking for indicators. The indicators that I look for are ironstone, hematite, different color clays intermingled with the clay line, and a very iron-rich, brown gritty soil.
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Care and Lubrication of a Model 13 Laboratory Wilfley Table


A Wilfley table works best when all of the mineral being run across it (the pulp) is about the same size.  For this reason, I took a good look at each of the samples.

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• How small should I crush my hard rock ore?

Dry Washer, Wet System or Metal Detector?


I love to dry wash old nugget patches found by detector operators, and I have found my fair share of gold dry washing those areas. I have also found a few nuggets using a detector on the bedrock exposed by dry washing the patches.
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How to Stake Your Own Mining Claims—Part II


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.

How to Stake Your Own Mining Claims—Part I


Many new prospectors start out prospecting in public areas and club claims, and this is perfectly fine, but the next step in the progression of becoming an experienced prospector is to locate and stake your own mining claims. 

Enrichment of Mineral Deposits by Weathering—Part I


The exact minerals formed in the concentrated supergene deposits depends much on the type of country rock around the deposit and the chemistry of the deposit itself, but if conditions are right, this process will form some rich patches of bonanza ore, in some places valued at thousands of dollars to the ton.
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Designing my own dredge...

Gold in Quartz


Because quartz and gold may be deposited together across a considerable range of temperatures, not all quartz veins are the same, and there are several different types of gold-quartz deposits.

The Fire Assay of Carbon


Carbon, activated charcoal, or “char,” as some old timers refer to it, can be an assayer’s nightmare.
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Determining the Amount of Gold in Rich Ores


This is just the type of specimen that could have been easily ignored by the old-time miners. It felt a little heavier in my hand than a chunk of quartz of that size ought to have been.

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Viewing details on Google Earth

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• How do I separate silver from lead ore?
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Small-Scale Hard Rock Production


So far this year we have recovered over three pounds of gold and the hard rock veins seem to go on forever. We now have three claims that can produce good enough gold to set up a productive operation.

Using Geologic Maps


In order to see what geologic maps can do, we need to think about what we are looking for.

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