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Smaller operations

Commercial Placer Mining: Alaska Style


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.

Surviving the Unexpected


In this article, we will talk about how emergency response works in back country areas and go over some different ways to improve your chances of obtaining a good outcome should you get into trouble.

Libby, Montana Prospectors Keep Tradition Alive


Located 23 miles south of Libby, the land surrounding the Libby Creek area has been of interest to prospectors since the early 1860s, when it was home to up to 600 miners working at a camp known as Libbysville.

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All About Hard Rock Drills


There are three basic power sources for rock drills—electricity, gasoline and compressed air. Before we go into big pneumatic drills, we’ll start with a quick rundown of each.

Fire Assay Finish by Silver Nitrate Fusion for PGMs


…my intent is to distribute this information in layman’s language so that even the “backyard/shade tree/mom & pop” fire assayers can benefit.

Commercial Blaster Training


Since last year’s articles on explosives for mining, several people have asked for more information about becoming a licensed blaster.

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How Rich Must My Ore Be?


How rich does a hard rock ore have to be for it to be worthwhile to process and extract the gold?

The ABCs of XRF


Fast forward to present day and the XRF has come of age. Pull the trigger on the hand-held device and you get a nearly instant assay of the surface of a rock.

The 10-Ton Boulder: Expanding Grout Demolition


Imagine you have located a source of virgin placer ore containing immense gold value. Now imagine that there is a 10-ton monolith of extremely hard gneiss in between you and payday.

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Simple Mine Surveying With Basic Hand Tools


…there is an easy way to create a reasonably accurate map without any fancy instruments.

Dredging Do's and Don'ts


I’d start the day by crawling out of my dome tent, cooking up some Spam and eggs, and heating water for instant coffee on the Coleman stove.

Placer Gold Deposits in the Western States


…to see the huge differences between the gold production amounts of the Western States, let’s look at the gold production—both hard rock and placer—of these 13 states up to the present.

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Evaluating Gold Recovery with Mass Balance Calculations


Whether you are placer or hard rock gold mining, maximizing the efficiency of your recovery process is very important to success, and accurate testing is necessary to do so.

What Is Your Grade?


After paying for the mine fleet, mill capital, supplies, fuel, power and labor, at today’s metal prices, does this mine make a profit?

Gold Geochemistry: Where Does Gold Come From?


Prospectors often wonder why gold deposits in veins like it does. Why is one vein rich while another is barren, even though they are only a few hundred feet apart?

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Principles of Designing Your Mill Production System, Part II: Mill Design


Starting small with quick profitability gives you a lot of financial elbow room plus real-world experience that can be used for final mill design.

Tips and Tricks: How to Make Your Own Gold Bars Without Burning the Place Down


You find yourself with a bucketful of concentrates that you have accumulated over the season and consider the logical next step: to reduce the bucket of cons to a gold bar. Where do you begin?

Understanding Rock Formations: Petrology for Prospectors


There are times when being able to recognize a type of rock can make you a much more successful prospector.

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Principles of Designing Your Mill Production System, Part I: Starting Up


One of the issues that prospectors run into when working to upscale from micro-scale hard rock testing to a greater production output, is that they often confuse individual devices or machines with systems.

Specialized Equipment Available for Hire


Since we’ve already covered the basics of permitting a “Notice Level” mining operation, it’s time to talk actual mining.

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