Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Sluice box: an essential element of your gold recovery system

Sluice box: an essential element of your gold recovery system
 Sluices have been the mainstay of most mining operations worldwide.

I strongly recommend using them wherever possible using P.E. Randy Clarkstons recommendations that he conducted in the Klondike placers in the late 1980's

While sophisticated systems can and do increase recovery rates on some projects you need to keep close track of diminishing returns on your project.

This is a photo of Les working on a sluice box order for one of our clients.

Sluice box: an element of your gold recovery system I have found that the down time, and maintenance  especially in primitive areas need to be addressed constantly or your overall recovery can be compromised.

My buddy Pete and I are building some 8 ft wide sluices for one of my projects a couple of years ago.  Panels like these are quick and economical to build.

We learned a whole new chapter in keeping a sluice box tuned during our mining sessions over this last summer here in Montana.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Grasshopper Creek: My Bon Accord Placer Operations

Grasshopper Creek:
This was one of my operations I had on the Bon Accord on Grasshopper Creek about 1991.

I had Both of my trommels working on the North side. This was some very low grade ground but it was enough to keep us going. There was a nice bench here that lasted a few weeks. The gold was very fine flat and flakey.

Most of it passed a 60 mesh screen. These trommels were workhorses for sure. I had just setup a vibrating screen wash plant down below here and we took out over 500 ounces in 6 weeks from a pocket on a perched tertiary channel. The price of gold was pretty low back then.

The secret here has always been.......... stay obsessed with rock in the box. Production is a key, for sure. I sure would like that kind of ground again at todays prices!!!!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Wash plant design - adaptable to most placer mining situations


This is a wash plant design that I started using back in the 1980'S. I drew this up years ago and I thought it would be a good diagram to explain the way we have mined for many years successfully.

This design is very simple and delivers a lot of yardage to the recovery system at a low cost.
The choke feed system is a full positive system to introduce pay gravels to the screening system quickly and efficiently. Excavators can regulate gravel to the plant in the most challenging of conditions, wet or dry.

This plant can be quickly adapted to a floating wash plant with minimal engineering and costs. Best of all you can see it running day and night and that means Rock in the box = $  I have operated my signature style wash plant in the severest of conditions and our equipment has proven its ability to get the maximum values from the placer gravels irrespective of conditions at a low cost.

Secondary recovery equipment is also available to suit most properties and their challenges.
This system is user friendly and is a good mechanical servant.

This is a general specification that is adaptable to many applications. This stationary system of placer gold mining is a method of operation that is adaptable.  I like it because it is adequate for most alluvial operations and economical.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Placer Gold Mining Techniques: sorting out the boulders

Placer Gold Mining Techniques
These are boulders that we had to sort out on a daily basis on a placer mine we worked several years ago. That is our 345 excavator  to compare the size and some of the boulders were 8 ft to 10 ft across.

Something that over the years I have seen quite a bit on limestone boulder placer properties  and I really don't have a good definitive answer for this yet........Gold flakes really jammed in some of the cracks.

Every boulder is not like this but a percentage is and it varies throughout the deposit as you work your way through it.

Flat flakey gold tends to really get jammed into some of the cracks on the limestone boulders. Every boulder is not like this but a percentage is and it varies throughout the deposit as you work your way through it. The part that is hard to get your head wrapped around..... is on some of these boulders 3 to 10 flakes are visible really jammed into some of the boulder cracks so tight that you have to pry them out with a knife blade.

Forget about washing these to get it, just a real interesting anomaly that I have observed on limestone boulder properties over the years. Remember to keep a grasp on the diminishing returns trying to get the last flake.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Reclaiming One of Our Placer Gold Mining Projects in Montana

reclamation phase
The reclamation phase of any project requires precise planning.

Overburden pays nothing when you stack it on the sides and it pays nothing when you put it back. We were in the process of putting it back.

As you can see we were at about 51 ft in depth and managing your overburden in tight confines is an art in itself. We still managed to make a profit from this ground but the depth certainly is a factor to consider on any placer project.

I consider 50 ft plus to about be the maximum depth you can shuttle around your material in five acres.

Five acres is the limit of disturbance under a small miners exclusion in Montana. A full blown operating permit is prohibitively expensive and renders most gold placer projects in Montana with little chance of success. While there may be some properties that will warrant this, it is in my opinion that not many will support the timeline to complete the permit or the massive bonding that it will require,  this will be of course, depend on the acreage. However many projects are flourishing under the five acre cap and I hope it will stay on track status quo. I am very concerned about the extinction  of all of us, as modern day placer miners.

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Friday, May 8, 2015

Sapphire Mining: What in the heck is a surucas? The best tool you'll ever find.

My mining buddy Dan Yankee and I out exploring for Sapphires in the mountains of Montana. We have had some extraordinary finds and I hope to be posting some pictures here real soon.

The majority of sapphires I have located over the years, are usually associate with known deposits. 

My Venezuela diamond surucas are the most valuable and fastest tool to prospect for both diamonds and sapphires I have ever found. Yes, I will get a photo of that here too very soon.


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