Prospecting & Detecting
There are currently about 170 commercial-scale placer operations in Alaska. Most of these are small operations with just a few people working; they are often family affairs that operate seasonally only during favorable weather.
The placer gold shows up in ground sluice areas, hydraulic pits, secondary channels and hillside diggings. It is coming down the hillsides from an ancient channel left high and dry millions of years ago.
I grew up in Southern California, and found my first nugget there, so I know my way around. Because there is good gold there, I thought it might be helpful to take a look at the many placer gold opportunities found in the southern part of the state.
…these two guys are part of the new hi-tech generation who review new technologies and are always looking for new ways to apply them in innovative fields!
The question I had, and likely you have too, is when an old channel is cut, how far does the placer gold in the cut channel move down in a river or creek that continues to erode deeper and deeper?
My friend came walking in from the garage with what looked to me like a stick of dynamite. Chuckling, he said, “Have you ever been gold mining?”
In my head I was thinking, “Not at 3 am in the morning with dynamite.”
Prospectors who specialize in nugget detecting are especially interested in this special desert type, as it produces nuggets that are close to the surface of the ground and therefore more suitable to be found with a detector.
As a gold prospector for the past ten years, I thought that I had a fair understanding of the steps necessary to find gemstones.
My mining partner Keith McBride and I spent a week in May working on a twenty-nine man crew split up into six teams at a couple of “pay to mine” mining camps.
There were many small gold placers found and worked in the deserts in the old days, which had then been pretty much forgotten about. We all tried to be the first to re-discover these spots.
It rained over four inches that night and the creek flooded both my backyard and my workshop. When I opened the door to my workshop Christmas morning, an unwelcome sight greeted me.
Then I came to a section of recently exposed gravel that looked unworked. Water seeped out all around, making the ground beneath a sea of slick mud.
The lesson of keeping one’s eyes open to other possibilities is one of the great secrets of successful prospecting. Prospectors need to always be on the lookout for opportunities.
This rock had been with a family for many years and they were cleaning up an old workshop that had lots of minerals and miscellaneous “ore” samples.