Prospecting & Mining For Placer Gold

In a lot of areas where people prospect they will come across places where others have been before them. It mining terms these people were know as "old timers". You will hear that quite often. Some one will say "we are digging where the old timers were drifting" or "the old timers hand mined along that bedrock ridge". In most of these case though "old timers" could be anyone who was there previous. Having to come across an area that has seen some workings is always a good sign. You never know who that someone was or why they started to dig or test where they did, but for some reason they prospected the area. These are always good signs as it show that you could be on the right track.

Now in a lot of cases those so called "old timers" may have been there not all that long ago. You may find that some of those before you were doing more than just prospecting. You maybe fortunate enough to find that they were actually mining. This can be a very good sign as there was a reason why they were mining in that particular spot. The other thing to keep in mind is that a lot of these past miners just high graded the area. That is they only mined out what they felt was the easy stuff or the so called good pay. In a lot of cases the metal price was low so they mined in large volumes and let a lot of the smaller pay get away. This is something that happened to us. We came across an area that had been mined during the 1970's. The methods that were used were not really efficient and a lot of richer concentrates were left behind. This of couse warranted further investigation. We then set out to process maybe 100 yards of this material that was already previously mined. We then then took those concentrates to get assayed. This is a term that some would call "mining tailings" as that is what we were doing. Mining someone else previously mined materials. In the picture below you can an area that has been mined already and you can see the pile of "mined tailings"

When you are testing your claims it is good business practise to get an assay every once in awhile. Whether it be of pay dirt materials sifted down or concentrates. When doing small bulk samples of say 100 yards or so after you have done a clean up of the concentrates it may be benefitial to get an assay done of the black sands etc. With gold prices well into the thousand dollar range you may be surprised to see what you have. When gold prices were low, most miners would just toss out the black sands etc. but now days they could be worth a lot.

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