Small Mining Operations
We descended hunched over, down a long, steep, wooden staircase to the 1,000-level.
The burning question I needed answered was why didn’t the deposit ever get mined of at least one of the valuable minerals? A couple of reasons have come to light.
Palladium may well be an underexplored element and therefore an opportunity for prospectors and geologists. This is because they are often less than obvious and other than the native metals, a chemical analysis of samples is required to identify PGM-enriched rocks.
I had a chance to visit the operation in person and talk with Neal. I was very impressed and I think our readers could learn a lot about building up a commercial placer operation from scratch…
When it was all setup and running, you had everything coming off the dredge riffles into the boil box. At the hole section, some of the water got sucked down and pulled a lot of black sand and over heavies…
This was no ordinary nugget. It had not traveled very far from its nearby source, and that did mean a lot, as we were searching for the source of several such nuggets found during a gold rush that occurred in 1859.
All 28 groups listed agree that Section 402 of the Clean Water Act does not apply and no dredge miner should be asking a state or federal agency for such a permit.
Silver recovery from low-level solutions is frequently done in a cell that has a cathode with 2 to 5 or more times the surface area as the anode.
On my weekends off I spent many hours dredging the Second Broad River from Cane Creek Road up to the headwaters. I used a three-inch dredge with air and graduated to a five-inch with air.
Silver refining has been used from ancient times to change the characteristics of the metal. Early metallurgists refined silver by heating it a couple hundred degrees above its melting point and holding the metal at an elevated temperature for a period of time.
It was time to prime the pump and start the engine! Dan’s priming method is to use a small, submersible, 12-volt pump. My priming method is to use a hand-operated diaphragm pump.
“The evidence is clear—mineral deposits alone are not enough to attract precious commodity investment dollars...”
Another little gem of equipment he built was a nifty sample splitter. In order to get accurate assays, you need to have really good, representative samples for the assayer to process.
Not long after this, I was camped out with the geologist beside the Similkameen River where he showed me the evidence that an ancient channel existed on our claim.