By Dave McCracken

Suction mining underwater without a “dredge!”

Dave Mack

Let me begin this by informing you that I am not a licensed attorney. Therefore, I am prohibited by law from providing legal advice. So the material here should just be taken as my own opinion based upon the factual material which I will present to you.  You guys are free to form your own opinions and take responsibility for your own actions.  Having said that, I will also inform you that our attorney has reviewed the following explanation and agrees that government officials are bound by the very language that they enforce upon us – and that my reasoning here is sound.

This discussion began on our Internet Forum where I announced that we have recently acquired the richest dredging claim along the Klamath River near Happy Camp, which will also provide some fantastic surface and underwater crevicing opportunities because of the gentle slope of exposed bedrock which is extending off the side of the river where the gold path is located.

We have actually acquired several very rich properties, but I will save that for the coming newsletters.

In my announcement, I pointed out that there is nothing in California’s dredging moratorium that prevents us from crevicing underwater using a motorized hookah air system, or even using a water pressure system to help blow gravel out of cracks.  The question I posed to our forum members is how to get the gold up and into a catch container without using a suction dredge.

It would be one thing if we were just uncovering an occasional gold nugget or two.  We would simply free those up with some hand tools and pick them out with a set of tweezers.  But I have seen crevices on this particular mining claim that were loaded with a zillion pieces of gold, much of it in fines and flakes.  You pretty much have to suck that up, or you will be there all year with a pair of tweezers! The original claim owners were recovering six and seven-ounce days (sometimes more) in places along this claim.  They were only in there a few years before they retired.  Since they operated an 8-inch dredge, they remained on the lower, slower portion of the claim.  There is at least a half-mile stretch of faster, shallower water on the upper portion of the claim that, to my knowledge, has never even been sampled.  This is the area I believe will make for good above and below water crevicing.

In response to my question, one of our more informed members sent me a copy of the California Department of Fish & Game’s (DFG) current suction dredge regulations which clearly state that “A person is suction dredging as defined when all of the following components are working together: (A) a hose which vacuums sediment from a river stream or lake; and (B) A motorized pump; and (C) A sluice box.” The regulations further state, “Every person who operates the suction nozzle of any suction dredge shall have a suction dredge permit in his or her immediate possession.” These regulations are current now, having been formally adopted in California on April 27, 2012.

The existing moratorium in California prevents DFG from issuing suction dredge permits.  We are strenuously challenging the moratorium in several jurisdictions.  Until our challenges are resolved, it is unlikely that we can operate suction dredges as defined by the regulations without being cited.  Since most of us don’t want to be in trouble with the authorities, we have been doing our dredging in southern Oregon for the past few seasons.

Suction Gravel Transfer image 1

But looking closer at the California regulations, there does remain a way for us to go down on the bottom of California’s waterways and suction up the shallower, higher-grade gravels.  This is because, as defined by DFG’s own formal regulations, as long as we remove the sluice box from our motorized suction system, we are not operating a “suction dredge.”  Said another way, there is an opportunity to use a motorized suction system to transfer high-grade gravel from one place in the river or creek to another location where the gravel can be more-easily processed in a separate system.

I am in possession of written communication from a high ranking DFG official, the very person who was in charge of developing the current regulations, which acknowledges that underwater suction-powered gravel transfer would not be considered “suction dredging” as long as the sluice box is removed from the system.  He also cautioned that there are water quality concerns and also streambed alteration considerations.  So there would be some limits involved.  I’ll discuss these more in a minute.

For now, let’s just get back to my original discussion about using a hookah and motorized pumping system to expose and recover gold from very shallow deposits out in the river.  I’m not talking about shallow water. I am talking about shallow material on top of underwater gold deposits.

Here is just one of several ideas:  Please see Figure A above. If I completely remove the sluice box from my 5-inch dredge, I am left with a floatation system which supports twin 6.5 HP Honda motors and pumps with a hookah compressor.  I could use a single motor & pump with compressor to power a 3-inch Hydro-Force nozzle jet.  This special nozzle will allow me the option to blow off lighter gravel to expose cobbles, which I can then move out of the way by hand.  This will allow me to work my way down to the pay-dirt without having to suck up any gravel.  Once I expose the pay-dirt, the Hydro-Force nozzle will allow me to suck it up and transfer it over to a catch container in shallower, slower water which is closer to the bank.  Or for that matter, I could just drop it in a small pile in the shallower water along the edge of the river.

If there is some distance involved between where I am prospecting and my catch container, I can use my second engine & pump to provide power to a booster jet attached to a second 3-inch hose (See Figure B).  Since the whole suction system would be underwater, I’m guessing that would give me a reach of fifty feet or more.

Suction Gravel Transfer System image 2

The catch container would need to be large enough to accumulate the amount of pay-dirt that I would suck up on a single dive. My suggestion would be to fabricate a baffle on the feed into the container so the material would be deposited there neatly.

If you make smart use of the blower function on the Hydro-Force nozzle, you can really minimize the amount of gravel that you transfer by suction to the catch container; perhaps so little that you could work it all down and recover your gold between dives with just a classification screen and gold pan!

If there is more non-gold bearing material present than you can blow off with the Hydro-Force nozzle, you would always have the option of sucking that off separately and depositing it outside of your catch container.

Several experienced prospectors I have spoken to about this had other ideas.  One suggested fabricating the catch container between the pontoons on his floating platform.  Then he could just float it over closer to the bank to pan the material after each dive.  Another who has already experimented with the idea says he successfully attached a 20-foot piece of PVC plastic tubing to direct the discharge into a catch container that was sitting up on the streambank.  This took place in the fall of 2012.  He was visited by local game wardens while doing the activity.  And while they expressed reservations (“sure looks like a dredge”), he was not cited and the wardens did not return.

While I’m sure we will learn more as we gain experience, here are a few of my own thoughts on “underwater suction gravel transfer systems:”

1)      Make certain to not have the sluice box from your original “suction dredge” anywhere in the vicinity of the program.  DFG regulations prevent you from having a “dredge” within 100 yards of any active waterway.  Therefore, that third component (sluice) should not be sitting up on the streambank or even in the back of your pickup truck, even if you are not using it.  Leave it at home!

2)      Do not direct the discharge of your suction system into some other type of recovery system that uses a sluice.  Using any sluice in combination with the suction system, all working at the same time, would likely meet the definition of a “dredge” in the regulations.

3)      There has been some suggestion that even sluicing the recovered gravels at some later time would fulfill the definition of a dredge.  You guys can make your own decisions about this, but I’m not buying the theory.  The language in the regulation defines the three components working together.  So it would seem reasonable that you could shut your underwater suction transfer system down and then separately process the gravel in any normal way that does not violate water quality standards.  Though I would not be using the sluice that I took off my suction dredge, or any sluice which could be attached to the suction system. Be advised, though, that as soon as you have any sluice as part of your program within 100 yards of the suction system, you will be on thinner ground. Personally, I am inclined to be careful about sucking up a lower volume of only the highest-grade material and use a gold pan to work that down between dives (more on this below).

4)      I would not suck a bunch of silty material into a catch container that is sitting in dead water alongside the bank.  That might provoke water quality concerns.  This is why I suggest using the blowing option on the Hydro-Force nozzle to first free up material out under the moving water. Gold is heavy.  It won’t blow away if you pay attention to what you are doing.

5)      I also would not advise using this system to make large excavations out in the creek or river.  That might provoke streambed alteration concerns.  I would use this method to work shallow deposits much the way we do in high-banking.  Having said that, it has also been pointed out that the existing suction dredge regulations clearly state that there would be no requirement for a stream alteration permit, and there would be no deleterious impact upon fish, from the use of 4-inch suction dredges in California’s waterways.  So it would be pretty unreasonable for DFG to make a stream alteration argument if you are careful about not making large excavations.

6)      I would advise the use of riged pressure hose between the pump and nozzle jet on this type of system.  It is difficult enough to keep the kinks out of lay flat pressure hose outside of the waterway.

7)      Since initially, DFG wardens may not be aware of their own formal definition of a “dredge,” I suggest you print out at least the first page or two of the regulations which include the formal definition of a “dredge,” and have them available if and when any officials come around to see what you are up to.  Make sure to point out the complete absence of a sluice on your suction system. And whatever you do, never refer to this activity as “dredging.”  Because it is not dredging!  It is an underwater suction system used to direct small volumes of high-grade material into a catch container.  Nothing more.  If you tell the warden you are “dredging without a sluice box,” you will probably provoke a citation, the warden telling you to explain it to the judge!

8)      If any citations are written for this non-dredging underwater form of prospecting, please get in touch with us without delay.  We will likely want to become involved with your defense.

Conclusion:  I can process material through a “suction dredge” about as fast as anyone I know.  Yet, my tailings don’t amount to much at the end of my dives.  This is because most of the underwater work has to do with freeing and moving oversized material out of the way (rocks that are too big to suck up).  Depending upon the size of the suction nozzle, perhaps as much as 95% or more of the volume has to do with rolling rocks behind me.  I would normally suck up the other 5% of material into my sluice box if I were “dredging.”  That volume over my sluice box gives me a substantial amount of heavy concentrates to process – which takes quite a bit of time.

But with this underwater gravel transfer system, I can easily visualize how I can blow the lighter material out of my way and only suck up the pay-dirt.  This would dramatically reduce the amount of material I will need to process out of my catch container.  While the underwater process may not be as fast or efficient as “dredging,” I might make up for it by having fewer concentrates to process.

Please note my words in bold just above.  They are perhaps the most important words I have said here.  This is because if you suck everything into your catch container, it will soon fill up with low-grade material which may not be worth the time to process further!  The whole idea in this new system is to get the low-grade material out of your way, and only suck up the very small volume which is directly associated with the gold deposit.  Gold deposits are nearly always located in a contact zone.  This means either on the bedrock, between storm layers, or on top of the upper layer of hard-pack.  There is an entire education about this in the articles at this link. If you still need help understanding this, you should attend one of our weekend group mining projects and allow us to show you exactly what you are looking for!

Using this system to discriminate carefully about what you suck up will accomplish two important objectives:

A)    You won’t find yourself up on the bank most of the day panning a bunch of gravel that doesn’t have much gold in it.

B)    You will only use the suction system to recover a very small volume of material – only that which contains the gold.  A small volume tool to help with your crevicing program will give our enemies less to complain about.

I thought you guys might be interested in an official position. There has been quite a lot of debate about this “underwater suction gravel transfer” idea on the GPAA forum since I have gone public with it; and finally, someone asked Mark Stopher of DFG for the straight scoop:

Here are the official answers (2 January 2013):
“I carefully read (today) the information that McCracken provides on his website. I believe Dave McCracken’s description of the legal requirements and application of the regulations is accurate. If practiced as he describes, this is not a violation of the moratorium and is not prohibited.

There is no specific permit required and no seasonal restrictions. Since this is not suction dredging, neither the moratorium or our adopted regulations for suction dredging apply. It’s essentially a loophole in existing law. However, as McCracken notes, Fish and Game Code section 1602 could apply if the streambed alteration is substantial, that is, you create a big hole. My guess is that such a system will be less efficient, and less excavation will occur, than if you were using a suction dredge since there is no sluice box and miners will need to use some other system to sort through the material.”

Mark Stopher
Habitat Conservation Program Manager
California Department of Fish and Game
601 Locust Street
Redding, CA 96001

voice 530.225.2275
fax 530.225.2391
cell 530.945.1344

Underwater Mining Seasons on New 49′er Properties:  Underwater suction mining without the use of a “dredge” is allowed  on our Klamath River properties between the Scott and Salmon Rivers on a year-round basis, and up the Klamath from its confluence with the Scott from the 4th Saturday in May through September 30.  Underwater suction mining is permitted along our creek properties and the Scott River from July 1 to September 30. Underwater suction mining is permitted on the Salmon River from July 1 through  September 15.

This new idea will at least allow us access to some of the submerged gold deposits that otherwise would be out of our reach until the “dredge” moratorium is lifted in California.  How’s that for good news?

 

New 49'er Newsletter

SECOND  QUARTER, MAY 2012                                VOLUME 26, NUMBER 5

  Happy smiles Running high-banker

Successful gold mining on any scale must be accomplished in two separate steps.  The first is prospecting. We also call this sampling.”  We sample to try and find a high-grade deposit.  The idea is to not invest very much of your time into any given location until you find something that is going to pay off.  Once we find a good location through sampling, we switch gears into what we like to call “production.”  During the production phase, we try and process as much of the high-grade material as possible given our rather limited resources.

Nearly the entire focus of our Weekend Group Projects is on these two phases.  And it was no different on this particular project.  After reviewing the theory Saturday morning using a backboard demonstration, all 48 of us met after lunch out at our famous K-15A property, otherwise known as the “Mega-hole.”  While the theory is important, nothing can compare to actually doing it out along the river with experienced prospectors.

Once out on the river, the first thing we always do is provide a substantial demonstration on how to take a proper sample.  Sampling is not just about shoveling some streambed material in your pan.  You have to focus on gathering up targeted material.  Since we know that the gold on K-15A is concentrated directly on top of a special brown layer which is about a foot deep in the streambed, the best sample will be from filling our gold pan with that particular material.  We do this by first shoveling aside the material which is on top.  Once we get down to the target area, we carefully gather up the material which is in the contact zone between the two different layers.

Then we pan that material very carefully.  We need to be careful, because the sample is so small.  We cannot afford to lose a single speck of gold if we want to have an accurate look at how much gold is in the contact zone.  Sometimes a sample pan will just turn up a few specks.  Seeing those specks might prompt you to take a few more samples.  Then one of those additional samples might show a better result.  The better result might prompt you to process 25 or 50 buckets of the target material through your high-banker to see how good the area really is.  This is how high-grade deposits are found.

 Sample result Showing gold

After providing this group with a sampling and panning demonstration, we passed the pan around to show how much gold we recovered.  It was better than an average result.  Doing this provides newcomers a baseline in two important ways:

1)      They can compare how much gold they get in their own pan samples to what they saw me recover.  Then they have an idea if they are getting an acceptable result.

2)      They will be able to compare how much gold we get in our single sample pans to the amount of gold we recover when processing the same material in volume on the following day.  Tying the sample result to the production result gives a prospector judgment in what he or she is looking for during prospecting.

After seeing my result, this enthusiastic group spread out across the bar and started doing their own pan samples. Thankfully, I had eight experienced members helping me with this particular project.  While half of them were helping beginners with their panning techniques, the others set up our high-bankers for the following day. A “high-banker” is a gold recovery system which can be set up some distance from the waterway, which will process much more volume than a gold pan. This means pay-dirt does not have to be carried very far, or can actually be shoveled directly into the high-banker.

About half of the participants in this project were beginners.  So my helpers and I stayed out on the bar on Saturday afternoon until everyone out there was panning correctly.  Since many were recovering their first gold, which was theirs to keep, there were still plenty of people going hard at it when we departed.

Saturday night potluck at the Grange Hall in Happy Camp lured in most of the participants, along with plenty of other members who either live in the area or were doing their own mining programs.  There was more food to go around than we needed, and morale was very high – which always makes me happy.  We had a short meeting and ended with a prize drawing.  These weekly potlucks have been a New 49’er tradition during our busy months all the way back to our first season in 1986.

We were shifting over into a production mode on Sunday. So my helpers put their “Team Leader” hats on and split the whole bunch of people down into smaller, more efficient groups.  We started early, about 7 o’clock, so we could get most of the hard work done before the worst heat of the day was upon us.

 Connie People digging

All of the gold we recover on Sunday goes into a common bucket.  Everybody who helps will get an equal share at the end of the day.  The production focus on Sunday switches to volume of the target material.  We want to fill buckets with as much pay-dirt as we can, and process it through the high-bankers.  Having said this, there are three important points that we stress:

1)      Processing volume is most-effectively accomplished by reaching way out and dragging a bunch of material into the hole.  We call this a “top cut.”  Once in the hole, it is easy to remove oversized rocks from the loose material and shovel the remainder into buckets. Then we do the same thing again with a “mid cut.” The wider you are making the top cut, the easier it is to take apart the puzzle of rocks that are wedged together.  This method is much faster than just working one rock loose at a time, a practice we refer to as “nitpicking.” Here are some demonstrations from me of how to use a hand-pick to get optimum results:

 

 Richard, 2 buckets Three guys

2)      It is important to not fill the buckets with low-grade material.  By this, I mean loose sand or gravel on the surface seldom have enough gold to justify being processed through a high-banker.  But because beginners want to feel productive, sometimes we really have to impress upon them to stop filling buckets with non-producing material.  Since we will be feeding the high-bankers at full capacity, every bucket of worthless material will subtract from a bucket of pay-dirt.  This will directly affect how much gold we will recover at the end of the day.  The same principle applies to the material which is below the contact zone.  The amount of gold we will recover is directly related to how much of the target material that we process. Here is Ray Derrick’s explanation of the way we like to do it:

Feeding high-banker

3)      To get the most out of a high-banker recovery system, you must supply it with a steady feed.  Dumping a whole bucket in there at once will overwhelm the system, and some of your gold will wash right out into the tailings.  You can tell where maximum capacity is by watching to make sure the riffles do not get overwhelmed and pack up. Here follows Richard Krimm’s explanation of the proper way to feed a recovery system:

We normally do not break for lunch on Sunday.  It is understood that everyone will take breaks whenever they need them.  Otherwise, we just try to keep the high-bankers running.  When they run out of fuel, it gives us an opportunity to clean out a front portion of the recovery system from one of the high-bankers.  We work this down in a pan and show the gold around to all the participants.  This goes a long way to convince everyone that their effort is adding up to something good.  It also always motivates another 150 or 200 buckets of pay-dirt after we refuel.  The following video segment captured the mid-day look at how we were doing:

Pan of goldIt starts getting pretty hot out on the bar by about noon.  So that’s normally about the time we are shutting things down and going into our final clean-up stages.  By clean-up,” I mean removing the gold and other heavy concentrated material, mostly iron, from the recovery system, and going through a step-by-step process to reduce it all the way down to just the gold.  We begin this process out on the bar; but the final part, and the gold split is completed in Happy Camp.

The main purpose of these Weekend Projects is to expose our members to all of the essential parts of a successful small-scale gold mining program.  It begins with sampling. Then it switches to production. And then we go through the final clean-up, separation, weighing and gold split.  All participants are invited to participate in every step.

In all, we recovered 285.5 grains of beautiful gold. That’s about 6/10ths of an ounce, or about $1000 at today’s gold value.  Not too bad for less than four hours of production work.  There were also 23 natural gold nuggets.  There were a lot of smiling faces as we split the gold evenly amongst the participants.

Final gold

High-banking in California this Season

While Oregon is more user-friendly towards suction dredging; our best high-banking opportunities remain along our extensive properties on the Klamath River in northern California.  Therefore, Our Weekend Group Mining Projects will take place during 2012 near our headquarters in Happy Camp.  They are scheduled as follows: June 2 & 3; June 23 & 24; July 14 & 15; August 4 & 5; August 25 & 26. These events are free to all active Members, and everyone is invited to attend.  Please contact our office in advance to let us know you will be there: (530) 493-2012.

New Legal Fund Prize Drawing

On behalf of The New 49’ers and some individual members, our attorney filed a legal challenge to California’s new dredge regulations last month in concert with a “takings” claim against the State of California. If we cannot overcome the incredibly-restrictive regulations, then we will force the State to buy all of the mining properties which have been rendered valueless. Defending the rights of small-scale miners, this now places us in three separate litigations, in three separate jurisdictions. Since costs are mounting, we greatly appreciate your participation in our legal fund drawings!! 

Gold Eagle Coins

We will be giving away 15 prizes in our new legal-fund raiser:

Grand Prize: 1-ounce American Gold Eagle
Four ¼-ounce American Gold Eagles
Ten 1/10th-ounce American Gold Eagles

The drawing will take place at our weekly potluck in Happy Camp on Saturday, 7 July (2012).

The girls in our office automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution that we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets, etc).  There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win. Contributions can be called in to our office at (530) 493-2012, or they can be mailed to The New 49’ers, P.O. Box47, Happy Camp, CA 96039.  Or you can do it on our web site by going here:  Make a Donation

2012 Group Insurance Policy

All Members are eligible to sign up for $10,000 of accidental medical Insurance which covers you while camping, prospecting for gold, and also during any activities which we sponsor. Dental accidents are included, along with $2,500 for accidental death or dismemberment.  The policy has a $100 deductable.  It is an annual policy which extends through January of 2013.  This insurance is available for $30 per year, per person. More information can be found here.

Sign up for the Free Internet Version of this Newsletter: We strongly encourage you to sign up for the free on line version of this newsletter.  The Internet version is better, because you can immediately click directly to many of the subjects which we discuss; because the on line version is in full color; because we link you directly to locations through GPS and Google Earth technology; and because you can watch the free video segments which we incorporate into our stories.

 

The New 49’ers Prospecting Association, 27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, California 96039 (530) 493-2012
www.goldgold.com

 

New 49'er Newsletter

SECOND  QUARTER, APRIL 2012                                VOLUME 26, NUMBER 4

Clean UpDiggers

I have been managing these weekend group mining projects for the past 26 years. All this experience has taught me that every single group has its own chemistry.  There are probably a lot of different things that contribute to this; the different personalities, the weather, how the bigger world is doing at the moment, and perhaps even how I am feeling.  But every group is different.

We always begin with a morning of theory on Saturday.  This gives me an opportunity to size up the participants and the group-chemistry, organize things with my experienced helpers and provide a presentation of the long-proven procedures that we have developed to find gold.  We call this a  sampling plan.

These days, we do the initial meeting and the morning presentation at the Grange Hall in Happy Camp.  Nearly everyone was already present there when I showed up at about 9 AM.  And I knew even before I got out of my car that this was going to be a lively bunch.  They were already having a lot of fun.  This is all good; because my seasoned helpers and I know how to direct all that enthusiasm into the hard work which would be necessary later in the day, and especially on Sunday.

After going over the weekend plans and covering the theory on sampling, I always take time to answer everyone’s questions before we break for lunch.  But this time, I had to cut it short with this lively group or we would not have had time for lunch!  I know the participants are really into it when they are asking all the right questions.

DiggingRich Krimm

Saturday afternoon found us all up at k-15A, otherwise known as the Mega Hole.  This is one of our more popular high-banking areas.  By high-banking, I am talking about mining up out of the water.  We also have a very popular camping area at K-15A.  This makes it convenient for participants to just walk down to the gravel bar where we are doing the project.  K-15A is quite a long mining property.  Over the many years, we have done plenty of weekend and week-long mining projects there, on both sides of the river.  The property has been very productive for us, and we are lucky to have it.

On this particular project, we were up towards the upper-end of the property.  We have been doing these weekend events there, because boats are not required when we have larger groups, and because there is this very distinct brown layer which is usually only a about a foot deep into the gravel bar.  We get lots of nice gold right off the top of that layer!

I am lucky to have a bunch of experienced members who enjoy coming out and helping me to organize these events.  With their help, we split the larger group into smaller ones, each with one of my helpers as a team leader.  The team leaders went out and did some sampling in advance on Saturday morning, while the rest of us were still busy at the Grange Hall.  So, when we showed up out on the gravel bar on Saturday afternoon, my helpers just pointed to several hot-spots where I could provide a sampling and gold panning demonstration.  It’s always better if I turn up some gold in the sample.  This gets everyone motivated to find more gold!

Participants get to keep any gold they find on Saturday afternoon. So after seeing the gold from my sample, this group went right to work.  It wasn’t long before people started showing me the gold in their pans.  For many, these weekend projects provide the first gold they ever found.  “First gold” is always the most precious!  I still remember my first gold. It didn’t come this easy!  But it was still a very magic moment. So I enjoy this part as it unfolds, sharing the “first gold” moments with others, watching for the sparkle in their eye at the first moment of realization.  I love my job!

 RestingUSA Scarf

Really, we were just going through the motions out there on Saturday afternoon.  My helpers had already confirmed where we were going to dig on Sunday.  So we devoted the afternoon assisting beginners to dial in their gold panning techniques. It’s not that panning is difficult.  It just takes a little practice to teach your body the correct motions.  This bunch was catching on fast!

As the afternoon progressed, we set up the high-bankers close to the places where we would dig pay-dirt.  We wanted everything to be ready for an early start on Sunday morning.  This is because we like to get most of the physical work done before the summer heat of the day sets in.

A high-banker is a portable sluicing device, like an aluminum trough with baffles (called riffles) along the bottom edge. Since gold is 5-to-6 times heavier than normal gravel and sand, it gets trapped in the riffles, while the lighter material is washed through by water. Because water is pumped to it, the recovery system of a high-banker can be set up close to the dig-site.  This eliminates the need to pack the pay-dirt closer to water.

After getting everything set up, my helpers and I left to go get set up for the evening meal.  There were a bunch of participants lagging behind out there still panning for gold.  Some of them probably stayed until dark!

Nearly everyone met up back at the Grange Hall that evening to participate in our Saturday evening pot-luck.  These pot-lucks are a tradition that dates all the way back to 1986 when we started The New 49’ers.  Mostly, they are just get-togethers.  Lots of members come.  We have a great meal, enjoy each other’s company, exchange helpful information and do a prize drawing.  Mostly we just have a good time.

Workers High-banker

Almost everyone was out on the bar ahead of me on Sunday morning.  The team leaders had everyone organized, and Rich Krimm informed me that two or three hundred buckets of pay-dirt had already been processed.  This was good!  Man, there was a lot of productive activity going on.  The enthusiasm was infectious. I’m not sure I have ever seen so many people having so much fun playing in the dirt! Here are some explanations of what was going on:

Since most of the work gets done before lunch on Sunday, we just encouraged the flow of material from off the top of that brown layer, into buckets, and through the high-bankers.  The harmonious sound of picks, shovels, rocks being tossed out of the way and material being poured into the high-bankers is like music to my ears.  There was a lot of laughing and joking going around.  Morale was high out there.  This always makes me feel good!

We don’t normally shut things down for lunch on Sunday.  People just take breaks when they are ready.  We usually only stop when the water pumps run out of fuel.  This also gives us an opportunity to clean-up one of the high-grade portions a one of the high-bankers.  A “high-grader” is a smaller portion of the high-banker that recovers perhaps about 50 percent of the gold.  Because it can be cleaned up fast, you can get a good idea how an area is producing when you run production samples.  A few hundred buckets is a pretty substantial sample! 

Nuggets Onlookers3

Rich made quick work of recovering the gold from one of the high-graders. Then he made sure to take it around and show everyone out there on the work site.  You would have thought we were at a sports event the way everyone was cheering.  The hard work was really paying off!  

We actually do this on every project so everyone can see how their physical energy is being converted into Mother Nature’s most-favored treasure – gold!  This always motivates at least another few hundred buckets once the pumps get fueled up.  But on this day, the group never stopped filling buckets even while we were preparing for a second run.  They only stopped digging when they saw that others were cheering over the gold! The following video sequence captured how jacked up this bunch was: 

So that we can be completely finished by dinnertime on Sunday, with everything put away and the gold split up, we like to end off on the dig by about noon.  This was a real struggle with this group, because they just wanted to keep digging.  I imagine some of them would still be out there digging if we didn’t shut the high-bankers down!

Le Trap Onlookers

After cleaning out the high-banker recovery systems, we ran the concentrated material over a special “Le-Trap” sluice that we use to reduce the amount of iron with no loss of gold.  It is always a treat to watch the gold accumulate in the riffles.  Some of the participants were wondering where the ice cold beer was!  But that would have to come later, since we were not yet finished with our day.  Here are two video sequences which captured a Le Trap demonstration, and also the fun we were having during clean-up:

After back-filling the holes we had dug out on the bar, we made plans to meet back up at the Grange Hall where we would finish the clean-up and split the gold.

Let me just say that this is real mining.  The participants get to assist in every step along the way.  In addition to being part of the process, the experience rubs off on all the participants, allowing everyone the knowledge to do it on their own.  I demonstrate the process exactly how I do it in my own mining programs.

Final gold Onlookers2

Once we got it all separated and cleaned up, our work from several hours of hard work that morning produced 290 grains of gold, which is 6/10ths of an ounce.  That’s around a thousand dollars, and it would have bought us plenty of beer.  And pizza, too!  There were also 21 nuggets, the largest being 6 grains.  We split it all up evenly between the 43 participants, and I’m not sure I have ever seen a happier bunch of people!

High-banking in California this Season

While Oregon is more user-friendly towards suction dredging; our best high-banking opportunities remain along our extensive properties on the Klamath River in northern California.  Therefore, Our Weekend Group Mining Projects will take place during 2012 near our headquarters in Happy Camp.  They are scheduled as follows: June 2 & 3; June 23 & 24; July 14 & 15; August 4 & 5; August 25 & 26. These events are free to all active Members, and everyone is invited to attend.  Please contact our office in advance to let us know you will be there: (530) 493-2012.

New Legal Fund Prize Drawing

Gold Eagle Coins

We will be giving away 15 prizes in our new legal-fund raiser:

Grand Prize: 1-ounce American Gold Eagle
Four ¼-ounce American Gold Eagles
Ten 1/10th-ounce American Gold Eagles

The drawing will take place at our weekly potluck in Happy Camp on Saturday, 7 July (2012).

The girls in our office automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution that we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets, etc).  There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win. Contributions can be called in to our office at (530) 493-2012, or they can be mailed to The New 49’ers, P.O. Box47, Happy Camp, CA 96039.  Or you can do it on our web site by going here:  Make a Donation

We greatly appreciate help from you in regenerating our legal fund!

2012 Group Insurance Policy

All Members are eligible to sign up for $10,000 of accidental medical Insurance which covers you while camping, prospecting for gold, and also during any activities which we sponsor. Dental accidents are included, along with $2,500 for accidental death or dismemberment.  The policy has a $100 deductable.  It is an annual policy which extends through January of 2013.  This insurance is available for $30 per year, per person. More information can be found here.

Sign up for the Free Internet Version of this Newsletter: We strongly encourage you to sign up for the free on line version of this newsletter.  The Internet version is better, because you can immediately click directly to many of the subjects which we discuss; because the on line version is in full color; because we link you directly to locations through GPS and Google Earth technology; and because you can watch the free video segments which we incorporate into our stories.

 

The New 49’ers Prospecting Association, 27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, California 96039 (530) 493-2012
www.goldgold.com

 

WEEK-LONG GROUP PROSPECTING PROJECTS: Experienced gold miner and New 49′er founder, Dave McCracken, personally supervises week-long group prospecting projects during the mining season, where each participant shares in the work to be done and the gold that is recovered. While the primary purpose of these projects are to prospect and mine for high-grade gold deposits, these organized prospecting programs are an excellent way for members and guests to gain valuable prospecting experience and have a fantastic outdoor adventure at the same time. No prior experience is necessary. Some group projects are with the use of motorized sluices and vacuum-mining machines (prospecting out of the water). Other mining projects are with dredges.

Dave often uses rubber rafts or boats to carry fellow participants into otherwise inaccessible gold-bearing areas along the Klamath River. These areas are where few prospectors have gone before, so the potential for awesome success is higher than normal.



The New 49′ers provide all of the dredges, motorized sluicing equipment and boats used in these projects. Participants will need to have their own wet-suits (for those who will dredge) or other protective clothing and footwear, a dive mask and transportation. Participants provide their own lodging and nourishment.

Please contact our office or click here for more details, rates and the schedule of any upcoming group prospecting projects.
A schedule of this year’s Group Projects and participation costs can be found at this Schedule link, and is also freely available by contacting our office. Please phone us at 530-493-2012 to request a copy.Week-long group projects are limited to a certain number of paying participants. Scheduling in advance is strongly advised to ensure a position on any specific week-long project. A nonrefundable deposit is necessary to secure your position in advance for a project.

 

“…Our Group Mining Programs offer something you can’t get anywhere else, and these are some of the most important services we make available to members and our guests.”

 

LEARNING BY EXPERIENCE: Hands-on experience is a very important part of The New 49′er program. It is our ongoing group mining programs (along with our abundant property reserves) which distinguish us from other prospecting organizations. We believe that the future of small-scale prospecting could largely depend upon how effectively we as an industry pull together in a responsible way to meet the challenges which we will face together. Much of this effectiveness and dedication is contingent upon gaining exposure to existing operations which are already effective. This is because, generally, the more skilled you are as a gold prospector, the better your chances of realizing your expectations, ambitions, and goals. Moreover, it is generally true that if you are successful, you radiate your success to others and our entire industry flourishes and grows.

Certainly, proven mining property is also an important key. But gaining exposure to effective mining and prospecting techniques by actually doing it with others who are more experienced is vital since a less-inexperienced person can do poorly even on very good mining property. Most of our programs consist of direct hands-on experience in the field, where you can gain direct exposure on how to do it right through group mining projects where all the gold is split amongst all of the participants.

Yearly, we are proving that our group mining ventures help create successful, invigorated prospectors who are excellent examples to others. Others then become interested, participate in group projects, become successful, and our organization and our industry prospers and expands.

ORGANIZED GROUP PROSPECTING PROJECTS OUT OF THE WATER: We sponsor weekend group prospecting projects for members on a continual basis between June and October. These valuable projects allow participants direct exposure to prospecting for gold through panning, motorized sluicing, vacuum-mining, sampling techniques, and important information about how and where to find gold on our properties. These projects consist of an exciting, fun-filled, and information-packed outing along the Klamath or Salmon Rivers. This is a interesting and (always) exciting group surface prospecting operation (out of the water) where participants each receive an equal share of the gold recovered.

WEEK-LONG GROUP PROSPECTING PROJECTS: Experienced gold miner and New 49′er founder, Dave McCracken, personally supervises week-long group prospecting projects during the mining season, where each participant shares in the work to be done and the gold that is recovered. While the primary purpose of these projects are to prospect and mine for high-grade gold deposits, these organized prospecting programs are an excellent way for members and guests to gain valuable prospecting experience and have a fantastic outdoor adventure at the same time. No prior experience is necessary. Some group projects are with the use of motorized sluices and vacuum-mining machines (prospecting out of the water). Other mining projects are with dredges.

Dave often uses rubber rafts or boats to carry fellow participants into otherwise inaccessible gold-bearing areas along the Klamath River. These areas are where few prospectors have gone before, so the potential for awesome success is higher than normal.



The New 49′ers provide all of the dredges, motorized sluicing equipment and boats used in these projects. Participants will need to have their own wet-suits (for those who will dredge) or other protective clothing and footwear, a dive mask and transportation. Participants provide their own lodging and nourishment.

Please contact our office or click here for more details, rates and the schedule of any upcoming group prospecting projects.

Week-long group projects are limited to a certain number of paying participants. Scheduling in advance is strongly advised to ensure a position on any specific week-long project. A nonrefundable deposit is necessary to secure your position in advance for a project.

A schedule of this year’s Group Projects and participation costs can be found at this Schedule link, and is also freely available by contacting our office. Please phone us at 530-493-2012 to request a copy.

 
This story first appeared in Gold & Treasure Hunter Magazine Mar/Apr, 1993 on Page 13. This issue is still available! Click here.

By Dave McCracken

“Covering the Basics of Suction Gold Dredging”

Most gold mining today is done in small operations — one or two persons working at a time — often with the use of suction dredges. A suction dredge is a powerful underwater-type of vacuum cleaner. It sucks up streambed material (rocks, sand, gravel, silt, gold and other minerals), passes it up through a suction hose, and runs it across a recovery system floating at the surface. Pieces of gold, which are very heavy, are separated from the other streambed materials and trapped, as the gravel and other material wash through the recovery system and are then washed back into the stream to fill in the hole as the dredge moves forward in the waterway.

Most intermediate and larger-sized gold dredges come with built-in hookah-air systems. These attach to the same engine that powers the water pump. As demonstrated in the following video segment, air for breathing underwater is generated by an air compressor, passes down through an air line, and provides air to a diver through a regulator, similar to what is used by SCUBA divers:

Dredging is usually done in ten feet of water or less, but some work is done at greater depths. The following video segment demonstrates how modern suction dredges are constructed with the use of venturi jet systems. These allow gravel and streambed material to be directed into a gold recovery system without having to pass through the pump:

Using a dredge, an (experienced) operator is able to process a much larger volume of streambed material than with any other small-scale hand-mining apparatus. Most of the gold-bearing river-bottom streambed material is sucked up as quickly as the operator is able to feed it into the suction nozzle. Rocks that are too large to pass through the suction nozzle are moved out of the way by hand.

The early miners who came to California (and elsewhere) during the 1849 gold rush (and later) did find and recover many of the easy-to-find gold nuggets and rich deposits. During those early days, the deposits had to be easy to find and recover; because recovery methods and processing capabilities were very limited. Suction dredge technology allows modern-day gold and gemstone miners to prospect and mine for mineral deposits in places where earlier miners were not able to go. This is true in the deeper rivers (3-meters or more of water depth) all over the world. It is especially true in remote locations and/or within developing countries where modern technology is generally not available to village-miners.

Because a modern (experienced) dredger is able to process substantially more volume of streambed material with better gold recovery, the gravel deposits of today do not need to be as rich in gold as was necessary during the past.

One of the main advantages of having the capability to process more streambed material is that an area can be more-effectively sampled. Therefore, the success-rate in modern underwater mining is much greater than it has ever been using other technologies. This has caused a lot of interest in suction dredging equipment, which has resulted in a competitive market. At present, very good equipment for suction dredgingcan be obtained at relatively low cost. Just to give you some idea, a top-of-the-line five-inch gold dredge and the miscellaneous gear needed to run a small dredging operation can be obtained for less than $6,000.

The size of a gold dredge is determined by the inside-diameter of its suction hose–usually anywhere from two to ten inches. A single person customarily can operate a four, five or perhaps even a six-inch dredge. Two men commonly operate six, eight or ten-inch units. Sometimes, when streambed material is deep, and there is a lot of oversized material (large rocks and boulders) that needs to be moved out of the way, as many as four or five persons can be utilized underwater to operate a production gold dredge.

A single, experienced operator who is sampling with a four-inch dredge can process multiple times more streambed material than could be processed at the surface using conventional pick & shovel methods. A six-inch dredge in experienced hands can process about four times as much material as can be accomplished with a 4-inch dredge — and can also dredge several feet deeper into the streambed material while remaining efficiently-productive. An 8-inch dredge can about double the production over a 6-inch dredge and excavate even deeper into the streambed material. And a 10-inch dredge can double production over an 8-inch dredge and excavate even deeper holes.

The other side of this equation is that each larger dredge-size about doubles the bulk and weight of the equipment that must be moved around and managed. Because of this, some locations may be too remote to support a larger-sized dredge. The limiting-factor on a suction dredge is not the horsepower or the size of the suction hose. It is the size of the suction nozzle opening. Please trust me on this one: It is all about the size of rock that will go up the suction nozzle. Once again, I invite you to closely watch the underwater video segments on my videos and see what is happening underwater. It is almost all about moving the oversized material out of the way. The size of the nozzle-opening determines what can be sucked up, and what must be otherwise moved out of the way by hand.


A cutter-head will just get bogged down (and damaged) in a normal hard-packed streambed.

Some dredges are available that are operated from the surface with hydraulic-powered cutter-heads at the nozzle. Cutter-heads are mechanical devices that help feed material evenly into the nozzle. They are most-productive in doing channel-work in harbors or making navigation-channels deeper or wider (where the material mostly consists of sand or silt). Cutter-heads cannot replace the need for divers when mining in hard-packed streambeds which are made up mainly of oversized rocks and boulders which must be broken free with pry bars and moved out of the excavation by hand.

If you want to do serious excavations with a suction dredge, you must leave the opening of the suction-nozzle as large in diameter as possible, while still reducing it enough to eliminate un-necessary plug-ups inside of the suction hose or power jet.

Streams, rivers and creeks in gold-bearing areas are constantly being replenished with fresh gold. During the last 150 years, natural erosion has caused a substantial amount of new gold to become deposited in today’s waterways. Some rivers and streams that were once thoroughly mined by the old-timers are presently paying gold dredgers in very handsome deposits. Rivers that ran too deep for local miners to gain access to the bottom during the past are also producing rich, virgin gold deposits for suction dredgers.

Gold found in streambeds is called “placer gold.” Placer gold is most commonly found in flake form, usually about the size of flattened grains of rice and smaller. Some deposits carry a larger amount of such flakes and fine-gold. Other deposits carry substantial amounts of larger pieces and nuggets. Gold nuggets can be worth more than actual weight-value, because of their uniqueness as jewelry or specimens.

Gold is one of the heaviest metals. It has a specific gravity of 19.6, meaning that it weighs 19.6 times more than an equal volume of pure water. It is about six times heavier than the average sand, gravel, rocks and other materials which normally make up a streambed. So it takes a substantially-greater force to move gold, than it does to move the other streambed materials. This principle is used in gold recovery systems. The same principle is also used to predictwhere high-grade gold deposits are most likely to be found in a streambed.

Because of its enormous weight, gold tends to follow a certain path of its own when being washed down a waterway, and it will concentrate in common locations where the water force lets up enough to drop gold. One example is the inside of a bend where a stream makes a turn. Another example is at the lower-end of a section of white water. Gold will form “pay-streaks” in areas such as this–where the water slows down on a large scale during large flood storms.

The nice thing about gold dredging is that you can actually see the gold as it is uncovered when you are looking for it. This means that you should pay close attention when you reach the locations where gold is most likely to be, like in the contact zone between different flood layers and on bedrock. Because they are also heavy, lead and iron objects also commonly follow the very same path inside of the waterway as gold, and they deposit inside the same places.

As demonstrated in the following video sequence, with just a little practice, you can learn to look for these positive signs and can follow them right into the high-grade gold deposits:

Once a rich gold deposit is located, as long as there is time, the best thing to do is continue the sampling process long enough to establish the downstream boundary of the deposit. As demonstrated in the following video segment, if the deposit is developed from the lower-end, cobbles and tailings can be deposited further downstream without worry of dropping them directly on top of the rich deposit where they will just have to be moved again at some later time:

A gold-dredger has an advantage, in that he or she is able to float equipment where he or she wants it to go, sucking up gravel (sampling) from various strategic areas. This is much easier than having to carry equipment around and set it up in each new area, as is required in conventional mining.

Most gold dredgers use just two types of knots to secure their dredges in the waterway: (1) several half-hitches, or: (2) a bowline knot. The bowline knot is used where a non-slipping loop is needed at the end of a line. Here follows a demonstration of how to tie a bowline:

There is some amount of gold to be found just about anywhere in a gold-bearing waterway. The important key is to find it in paying quantities. Most commonly, experienced dredgers locate rich pay-streaks by systematically sampling various locations where it seems that gold should have been deposited. Sometimes it takes numerous sample holes to locate a pay-streak, and sometimes it only takes a few. This often depends upon an individual’s understanding of where gold gets hung up in a stream, and upon his or her familiarity with the area that is being sampled.

To accomplish the most from your effort, usually the best way to dredge a sample hole is to move it forward and downward at the same time. This way, you can move steadily away from your growing pile of cobbles (rocks that must be moved out of the hole by hand). Since you usually do not know which way the positive signswill lead you when you begin a sample hole, if possible, it is best to toss your cobbles downstream from the excavation, rather than off to either side or to the front. The idea is to move the same cobbles as few times as possible. The following video segments demonstrate how to obtain optimum production for your effort:

In fact, most of the work associated with suction dredging involves the organization and movement of cobbles and (sometimes) boulders.How well a person can organize and move the oversized material out of the way will determine how deep and fast the samples can be dredged efficiently. Consequently, this will also determine how quickly your sampling activity will lead you into high-grade pay-streaks. The following video segment further demonstrates this very important principle:

For the most part, you want to avoid dredging sample holes straight down into the streambed material. This is because dredging straight down will soon have you off balance. It is much more difficult to remove cobbles from the excavation when you are upside down in the hole.  As demonstrated in the following video sequence, if you cannot toss the cobbles far enough out of the excavation, they will just keep rolling back in on you.

Depending upon how deep into the streambed your sample goes, it can sometimes be difficult to get cobbles far enough out of your sample hole on a single toss. In this case, as shown in the following video segment, it can be sometimes be more efficient to relay them out with 2 tosses, rather than try and carry each rock all the way out of the hole. Each situation is different and requires independent judgment on the part of the dredge operator(s).

Dredging can be an exciting and remunerative activity if you are willing to work hard at it. It takes a bit of study and persistence in the beginning–just like any other activity. Anyone contemplating suction dredging as a commercial activity should be aware that there is a learning curve involved, and they should plan on it.

 

 

By Dave McCracken

When the gold starts being trapped further down the length of the box, it is definitely time to clean up your box!

Dave Mack

 

Some miners like to clean up their sluice boxes after every hour of operation. Some prefer to do clean up at the end of the day. Others will go for days at a time before cleaning up. This is a matter of preference and seldom has much to do with the actual needs of the sluice box. Some of the large-scale operations, which ran during the early 1900′s used to allow the lower two-thirds of their boxes to run for months at a stretch without cleaning them up, and without very much concern about losing gold. However, it is true that sluice boxes were longer in those days.

There is a method of determining when a sluice box needs to be cleaned up to keep it operating at its utmost efficiency. If the majority of gold is catching in the upper third section of the sluice box, then the recovery system is working well.

After a sluice box has been run for an extended period of time without being cleaned, the riffles will have concentrated a large amount of heavy materials behind them. Sometimes a lot of heavy concentrated material in a sluice box will affect the efficiency of the riffles’ gold recovery. This is not always the case; it depends on a number of different factors, like the size and shape of the gold, the size and type of riffles being used and how they are set up in the box.

The true test of when a set of riffles is losing its efficiency because of being loaded down with heavy concentrates is when the gold starts being trapped further down the length of the box than where you are comfortable seeing it. When this occurs, it is definitely time to clean up your box.

Otherwise, clean them whenever you like.

Expanded metal riffles, being short, will tend to load up with heavy black sands faster than the larger types of riffles. But shorter riffles generally concentrate fine gold better than deeper riffles.

A large, visible amount of black sand being present is not necessarily a sign that you are losing gold. Gold is four times heavier than black sand. In some cases, the black sand will have little effect on gold recovery. Again, it depends on how the system is set up, the type of material being run, the purity (and therefore weight) and shape of the gold, as well as other factors.

The best way to evaluate your recovery system is by direct observation of where the gold is being trapped.

 

By JIMMY SIERRA

In the metal detecting industry, there is a term which has recently been
misused a great deal. This term is:“discrimination.”

 

Metal detectingSome have said that the pen is mightier than the sword, and I am sure that on occasions this has truly been the case. Throughout the ages, man has used words to explain, convince and cajole his fellows about one thing or another. Advertising executives are no exception to the rule; and in their deft hands, a word can become downright dangerous or at least costly to some of us. I am, of course, speaking about the use of the language without explaining the meaning of the terms used.

Every special interest has built into it numerous buzz words. Golfers, tennis fans and fishermen all have special terms familiar to the insider, and metal detector users are no exception. We all get to know these terms as we read articles and talk with the cadre of users. However, there is one term which had been used correctly for a long time, but which has more-recently been misused a great deal. This term is “discrimination.”

Discrimination was originally conceived by metal detector engineers as a means of operating a detector in junky areas; and, by some electronic magic, eliminate or alter the sound of a target which consists of unwanted material and thus increase the amount of good targets for the treasure hunter. This whole experiment was intended to benefit the coin hunters, who were in fact the majority of treasure hunters. When I first started detecting, metal detectors had no such ability and we dug everything. We found a lot of good items, of course; but spent a lot of time doing it. Then along came ground-cancelling, which is a form of discrimination; and our detectors starting detecting deeper and deeper. Along with the added depth came the attraction of these new GEB or VLF units for nails. Not to be outsmarted, the electronic engineers came out with a discriminator for iron trash, then one for other junk items such as pull tabs and foil.

All of these so-called discriminators worked in the same way, by eliminating or altering the sound of an undesirable target. All had the same weakness: The more mineralized the ground, the less they were able to penetrate compared to the al- metal or non-discriminate mode of the detector. Even with the so-called motion discriminator, this still holds true. A GEB or VLF discriminator goes deeper than the old TR discriminators, but not as deep as the all-metal mode when there is increased mineralization in the ground that you are searching.

Ladies metal detectingBut with the advent of meter identification on many detectors, the user was no-longer locked into searching in a discriminate mode with limited depth. He or she could finally search in an all-metal mode if desired and check the meter for probability of target identification. This is where the definition of terms is becoming important and what I have been leading up to. I have recently heard it said that this or that detector is better for prospecting because it doesn’t discriminate, and many a treasure hunter has set aside his or her perfectly good multipurpose unit and bought another unit just for prospecting. I am not suggesting that these new units are not worthy of the task; but in many instances, it was costly and unnecessary to buy two units. First of all, the original unit should be able to cancel the ground effectively; and secondly, the owner must learn the skills necessary to operate it in a prospecting environment. Every company makes such units, and all are capable of finding the elusive gold nugget. The meter should work independently of the all-metal audio signal. That is, you should be able to operate the detector in the all-metal mode and hear every target that the loop passes over. The meter should respond to these targets in some sort of predictable fashion.

Thus the meter really ceases to be a discriminator, but functions in reality as a target analyzer. This is the term I feel is more appropriate. Even though this is visual discrimination, nothing is being eliminated as is the inference when the term “discriminate” is used. Of course, there are limitations to this ability, namely the extent of the mineralization in the ground. The meter is, of course, still working in the discriminate circuit of the detector and has depth capability depending upon the amount of ground mineralization. But it is there when you can use it, and it is a valuable tool indeed.

On a recent trip into the El Paso mountains in southern California with my White’s Eagle, I spent the better part of three days fighting the intense heat and struggling with the enormous amount of metal trash in an old mining area. The two fellows prospecting with me were digging all targets and collected between them enough nails to build a small shed. In about the same period of time and number of targets later, I had accumulated only a hand full of nails, but enough lead and brass for a small arsenal. My point is, there are only so many targets a day a human body can dig. The more probable gold nuggets there are (lead, copper and brass are all probable nuggets), the more gold will be dug. The more nails and iron trash you must dig up, the less the odds of digging a nugget. It is an odds-game from the start. I ended up with a single 2.7 pennyweight. nugget on the third day, not from skill, but from better odds and some luck.

One of my good friends has used a Whites 6000Di/pro during the past two years, gleaning gold nuggets from the tailings and gullies of north-central California. The area he works was heavily populated with miners, and the iron trash is extensive. He works with a smaller loop to get in-between the trash, and has told me he never digs a target unless his meter indicates the possibility of a desirable target.

On the other hand, you must always consider that tiny nuggets can drop into the iron range (meter reading), and thus I do recommend digging any dubious signal. When in doubt…DIG.

Just so you don’t think all is peaches and cream, there is a minus side to every method. Because of the extreme mineralization in some locations, there will be times when you will not be able to rely upon your meter or display screen. You will know this because your meter will respond to the ground with readings or numbers whether or not a target is there at all. At these times, you will have to dig all targets just as if you didn’t have a target analyzer meter at all.

I learned this the hard way a while back on a trip into the Pinto Mountains near 29 Palms. A group of us with an assortment of units started out early one morning and headed about two hours into the desert for a dry-wash known to produce nuggets. I headed down the wash with my trusty Eagle in tow which had just come from a successful trip to the Sierra’s where my meter ID worked beautifully. In fact, a ¼-grain nugget had registered with a positive dig signal on the eighth or ninth pass. I was a bit cocky, and I broke my cardinal rule: Put down a nugget or two of varying sizes and cover them with some of the local terra firma. Check the sound and the meter to see the response. In other words, know what you are getting into. My friend of the El Pasos came down the gully behind me. I stopped at a number of signals, checked the meter and walked on. A few moments later, my friend beckoned me back. “Check this one,” he said. I did, and it sounded good. But the meter said iron. It was a small nugget of a few grains. I checked my sample nuggets and got the same response. In fact, I had to progress to a half-pennyweight nugget before the reading would not be overridden by the heavy ground mineralization! The gully was full, as should be expected, with much black sand; and it was overriding the nugget response on the meter. The sound was loud and clear, but the meter reading was unreliable. This was one of those instances where you dig everything if you want small targets, or you just settle for the less-frequent larger nugget.

The incessant hot rock can also be easily identified with a meter and not be the bother that some make of it. All this takes skill and practice. Learn to use your detector, whichever one you buy.

Remember, you have to be standing over a nugget to find it!

 

By Dave McCracken

Showing people how to find high-grade gold has as much to do with developing the proper focus as it does with passing along helpful information.

Dave Mack

 

Running a successful mining operation is one thing. Helping someone else to be able to run a successful operation is something else altogether. During the past several years, we have worked with hundreds of people in basic gold mining techniques and dozens of men and women in commercial underwater mining procedures. We have also had the opportunity to observe many others conduct their own mining operations in Africa, South and Central America, Alaska, Canada, Indonesia, Cambodia, Viet Nam, Madagascar and along the rivers of Northern California. Working with the theories and procedures, you are also working with the person’s ability, or lack of ability, to apply the principles.

A number of years ago, it became apparent that future growth and success of my own commercial activities in this field would depend, in part, on our ability to guide others in successful gold mining procedures–not just in theory, but in actual application. As part of our effort to improve our capabilities, I have personally devoted quite a lot of effort trying to understand why some people (a healthy percentage, actually) cannot seem to acquire the ability of practical application of successful mining and sampling procedures–even though they apparently understand all of the theory behind them.

I personally know a fair number of successful gold miners; some who we worked with and some who learned on their own. Some are successful on a smaller-scale. Some mine gold to support themselves and their families.

I also know a fair number of rather unsuccessful miners, some who we have given some help to and others who would not accept help if their lives depended upon it.

Unquestionably, there is a distinct difference between successful miners, partially successful miners, and those who are completely unsuccessful. A fundamental way to explain the differences is with the concept of wavelengths.

Consider the idea that each person is similar to an electronic frequency radio tuner, and that the universe consists of an infinity of possible frequencies which can be tuned in. I propose a theory that successful gold miners have themselves more finely tuned on a particular frequency than those who are not so successful.

Why is it that sometimes you try and tell a person how to do something better, when the person obviously does not know how to do it properly–but the person won’t listen, won’t understand, wants to disagree, becomes suspicious of you, won’t accept help or rejects your information? Helpful information is coming the person’s way, but the person is not tuned to the frequency to receive and utilize the signal. In fact, he may be tuned to a rejection-frequency.

One of the primary common denominators I recognize being present in successful miners alike is a never-ending drive, or hunger, or urge to get on and stay on the pay-streak during their mining activities. You can actually SEE this drive or hunger as part of their beingness. This urge is similar to an entrepreneur looking for a good investment opportunity, or a businessman wanting to close a profitable deal, or a musician trying to create an exceptional melody, or the drive an athlete has to win a race.

All gold miners WANT to be successful and find lots of gold. The difference is that successful miners CREATE success by learning how to do it, by hustling around to find the best opportunities, and by actually making success happen. The best simply have themselves more finely tuned and focused on the desired wavelength!

Unsuccessful people often allow themselves to be diverted off the wavelength by little losses, or unknowns, along the way–or by little decisions: “I can’t do it,” “I don’t know,” “I’m not good enough,” “It’s too hard, etc.”

As an example, I can look back to my own involvement with gymnastics in high school. I was moderately successful–enough to become co-captain of our team during my senior year. But there were others we competed against who were far better than me.

I look at these kids today who are near perfection and realize that I was never really even in the league. Why? At the time I felt that those who were better had more inherent gymnastics ability than I did. But the truth is that they were more focused into advanced-gymnastics perfection than I was. This made them better gymnasts. There is no rightness or wrongness in this; you end up receiving exactly what you focus upon.

Someone more sympathetic might say that I lacked the proper coaching. And I’m sure thaey are right that exteriour environmental factors play a part in this. But even the best coach cannot help a person who insists upon setting fixed personal limitations.

My ex wife’s son, Derek Parra, wanted to be the world’s fastest speed roller-skater. He finished high school a half year early with honors; and with no money or financial support, moved to Florida where he could be near a world-class coach. He made the world skating team in his first year and took a gold medal at the World Games. When he realized that roller skating would not make it into the Olympic games during his time, he made the very difficult move of switching from the top of the roller world to the lower-end of ice skating. But within several years, he worked his way up to take gold and silver metals in the Olympics. Now that is focus far beyond coaching!!

I’m focused on being the world’s best underwater mining specialist–and on helping others, also, to be very good at it.

In working at this, I am finding that showing people how to do it only partially has to do with passing along helpful information. It actually seems more to do with developing the proper focus. This is why hands-on experience is so enormously valuable in any field.

If I wanted to be an expert at computer programming, I would spend the necessary time learning the basics and then devote myself, at any cost, for a year or two working under the guidance of a proven master. Why? Because the Master is riding directly on the frequency of success in this endeavor. His tuner is locked onto the precise channel I am searching for. My time is valuable. Why spend ten years trying to attain the successful frequency when I can learn it from a master in one tenth the time?

There is a big difference between having an understanding of the theory of mining, and having the ability to apply knowledge perfectly to obtain the optimum result.

The following is a short list of some of the differences I have noticed between successful and unsuccessful people — both inside and outside of the field of gold mining:

Receiving Help: Successful people willingly and gladly accept help wherever it is needed. They also tend to be freely willing to extend a helping hand to others who are in need. Unsuccessful people have a perverted idea of help, sometimes expecting others to do the job for them— and then being suspicious of the helpers, wondering what their malicious intent might be. They might refuse help to others altogether–or help somebody so they can gain leverage over them. Some refuse help from others, feeling they don’t deserve it–or sometimes feel that to accept help would be admitting failure. Such people are almost impossible to help.

Handling Data and Knowledge: Successful people, and those on their way towards success, tend to be hungry for new and more information which they can utilize to boost themselves towards accomplishment. Each piece of useful information is learned with care, sorted properly as to its importance and usefulness, and held in standby as another tool in a never-ending drive for success.

Unsuccessful people often can be spotted trying to be “experts,” trying to “remember” bits and pieces of information to prove to others they know what they are talking about.

Most often, because of lack of true focus on accomplishing a goal, the unsuccessful person also has an inability to evaluate the different degrees of importance of information. For example, such a person might not understand (as far as his ability to apply knowledge in the gold-finding field), that the datum “Gold is six times heavier than gravel” is substantially-more important than “Gold is an excellent conductor of electricity.” An electrician would see the second datum as more important. A successful miner knows the first datum is more important to him, because it is a far more useful tool, by today’s methods, in finding where gold deposits are located.

Focus and Intention: You cannot be an expert at everything. Successful people choose the areas in which they want to do well and focus their attention and intention (getting on the frequency) at becoming good in those areas.

Such people are a breeze to train. If you are not telling them how to do it, they are figuring it out for themselves. Unsuccessful people tend to focus either too narrowly–where they cannot evaluate importance, or too broadly — where they don’t have the necessary attention or intention to follow through. Often, unsuccessful people tend to focus on failure, problems, barriers, or resentments, rather than focus on what needs to be done to get on with progress.

Handling setbacks: There is no one who hates a failure more than a predominantly-successful person! However, many very valuable lessons are learned the hard way by doing things less than perfect the first few attempts–especially when treading on new territory. Successful people generally have enough personal drive to learn from mistakes and keep pushing forward even though there may be some pain and discomfort during the process.

Unsuccessful people tend to collapse because of setbacks, resulting in the primary focus staying on the problems, rather than achievement of the goal of success. After a time, small setbacks add up to a major failure – which eventually results in the person giving up altogether on the endeavor. We see this quite regularly in gold mining, when a person is in the prospecting phase and doesn’t find a pay-streak right away.

The successful person, even while hurt during setbacks, recovers from the loss, re-focuses on the goal, throws off the negative energy, feeds on the gains, and keeps moving forward as best he or she can.

Dealing With Success: Many unsuccessful people don’t do well because they do not feel they deserve to. But most often you will find them consciously blaming others for their problems and failures. Lack of responsibility for one’s self and one’s actions goes hand in hand with failure. Along with this, you will find unsuccessful people constantly upset and resentful at the success of others who are working more energetically towards accomplishment of life’s goals.

I can often tell who my true friends are not; those who are disappointed every time I get into an excellent pay-streak!

Generally, successful miners are happy to see others do well–unless the other happens to be someone who is first to a person’s secret hot spot. A successful miner might be a bit envious of another’s gold find–but probably not resentful. And if anything, he is most likely to spur himself on to work harder to find a better hot spot of his own.

Personal Integrity: This is most important, so I left it for last. What kind of person am I? Certainly there will not be much personal improvement if we are not willing to look at what we are, and be honest with ourselves about what we see.

Don’t like what you see? Change it–don’t bury it! Everyone is somewhere on the scale from heaven to hell. The direction upward is through personal honesty, integrity and willingness to improve those things you see in yourself which you are not pleased with. The way downward is to not look, to hide from yourself, and to be ruled by those things inside yourself that you don’t like…

Cheaters never really win! Because, by definition, a person who feels he must cheat to win is below the level of actually playing the game in the first place. Therefore, cheaters are really living in a game of their own–not truly in communication with those around them. Giving up your true self, your real happiness and your personal well-being, is a huge price to pay for having some temporary material belongings.

There are a lot of unhappy people around who act like they are happy. Look around. What do you think their problem is? However, even their game is not over. Wherever a person finds him or herself, the road continues in two directions.

Successful people win their games by focusing themselves towards accomplishment within the rules of the game. Don’t like the rules? Do something effective to bring about agreement to have the rules changed. Winning the game by the rules brings great satisfaction, and successful people are willing to put out the necessary effort to gain each step along the way. Sure, it’s always a bit more difficult to not take the unethical short cuts which present themselves. But real progress is built upon a solid foundation of the ability to accomplish.

Unsuccessful people can often be found looking for the short cuts, the get-rich-quick schemes, or are willing to bend the rules–or cheat outright to win the game the easy way. Ultimately, such gains are only temporary because they are not built upon a foundation of the ability to create or perform–only the ability to take advantage of shortcuts.

Personal integrity is most important, because a person’s ultimate success in life, or mining, or any other endeavor, starts from his or her own source-point, wherever that may be. A person low in personal integrity may not allow himself to succeed, regardless of how hard we try and train him! The desire to be a successful gold miner, computer programmer, athlete, or good husband, is an impulse that begins and ends with the individual. And if the person isn’t being honest with himself, who he is, what he is, what he is doing, what principle he stands for, and where he truly wants to go, then it’s more than likely the person will not have the necessary drive to become truly successful at mining.

So you can see, there is more to helping a person to become successful than just showing him or her how to do it right. Sometimes, you also have to help get the person onto the success-frequency. And when you have accomplished this, then you have struck real pay-dirt.