2 posts in this topic
By Reno Chris
Prospecting can be profitable, but there is more than one way to make money in the prospecting game beyond just finding gold. Leasing out prospective claims to mining companies is a subject I have written about several times in the ICMJ and also in my book on prospecting. I know people who have made big money doing this - a lot more than this check. Its a serious effort to find claims mining companies want. Right now, the market to lease them off is not good.
I am publishing this check with critical areas blanked out for security reasons - it would be a waste try to copy it. I also greatly altered the colors of the check, the company who issued it is out of business and I am guessing there is no significant money that is left in their account. So all things considered, I figure its safe to show. As one can see from the date, the issue was two years ago in 2015. I'll get my 2017 payment in a few weeks from a different company.
By Steve Herschbach
I was really heavy into very late fall and very early spring dredging in the late 90's time frame. This photo is from 1996 and was taken by my friend Rich Lampright. I worked a lot at Crow Creek Mine, which is glacial fed. It runs very high and fast in the summer when the glacier is melting. The best time to dredge is in the winter months when freezing temps bring the water levels down by over 50% and the water starts running crystal clear. It also made for some very cold dredging at times, but properly outfitted with a good drysuit you can stay surprisingly comfortable. Usually.
Funny how some days I really was cozy and others it was just plain cold. I could operate well down to about 15 degrees. Below that, and the water literally froze in the sluice box while it was running. I resorted to subsurface dredges for the coldest spells as the box being underwater did not freeze up. But even then you see weird stuff. Ice crystals floating in the water build like snow drifts of slush behind rocks on the bottom, and giant balls of slush form on the pump intakes, eventually plugging them. Why suffer this you ask? I was seeing multi-ounce days working by myself. I took a lot of gold out of Crow Creek; even after paying a percentage to the owners it was good. In fact the best dredging I ever did. My best day in there working a 6" by myself was over 8 ounces of gold.
This was my favorite dredge, my old Keene 6" with twin Honda 6HP pumps. This model was made with a molded marlex powerjet in two pieces - the jet and the flare. The jet and flare assembled was about six feet long but I could just toss it over my shoulder and carry it in one piece it was so light. The dredge had a stout frame with a lever handle leveling system, far superior to the later slide the box back and forth nonsense. The box was a well built single run sluice that I preferred over later double-decker designs. I never should have sold it. I did however, to Brian Berkhahn, and he also got a lot of gold with it. And I know he now also regrets selling it. It was the best Keene dredge I ever owned.
Mark Keene told me they stopped making the marlex jets due to a high failure rate with the process but they should have either fixed the process or just charged more to make up for the failures. It was an incredible advance in the technology, and amazingly after all the years of use the inside of that jet never showed more than light scuffing. I think it was actually more durable than steel jets.
This photo is first thing in the morning, breaking away all the ice that has formed around the dredge overnight.
By Steve Herschbach
This one sure brings back nice memories! My old Keene 5" dredge parked on lower Stetson Creek on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska in 1979. The first of many years dredging on this creek and on Cooper Creek, which Stetson feeds into. This was one of my more pleasant summers of dredging. The weather was nice, the water was low, the gold was good. This location was giving up about an ounce a day, better than the average on Stetson Creek. Mainly because of plentiful shallow bedrock. The gold is almost all on bedrock in Stetson Creek with little or nothing in the overburden. The more overburden you process, the less gold you get overall as a rule. This is because Stetson Creek is a classic gulch deposit, a very steep creek with waterfall after waterfall. Mother nature's giant sluice box, and the gold has been well settled and concentrated. The paystreaks were small and very well defined, move over just a foot and it was like crossing a line, you were in the gold and now you are out. There were large stretches of creek with smooth bedrock and so little gold you would think there was none in the creek if you got into one of those sections.
The gold was nice - lots of jewelry gold buy nothing really big. The two pennyweight nugget in the photo was about as large as I ever found in years of mining, though the records report a three ounce nugget having been found on the creek. Must of been a fluke from what I saw, if it even happened at all.
By Steve Herschbach
I visited Ganes Creek, Alaska many times over the years. This was always to metal detect for gold in my case. However, there were others who wanted to suction dredge while at Ganes Creek. My friend Brian Berkhahn was one of them. Brian just loves dredging. Detecting he is good at but has less patience for. So in 2002 while we were at Ganes on a nugget hunt Brian talked Doug into letting him use a 5" Keene dredge they had at the mine. There was a drainage ditch upstream where several large nuggets had been found in the pile of material dug out of the ditch. I was a bit skeptical as the nuggets in the tailings are few and far between, but Brian wanted to give it a go. As I recall he did not find much here, but he does have the distinction of being one of the few guys who have done some dredging at Ganes Creek. He is on the forum so maybe he will chime in with his recollections on this photo.
By Steve Herschbach
My first gold dredge! After seeing a guy running a suction dredge at Crow Creek Mine south of Anchorage, Alaska I ordered my first dredge in early 1973. I had never seen a dredge before, and this guy was wearing a wetsuit running a 4" dredge about chest deep in the water. He saw my interest and shut the dredge down, pointed at the first riffle, and there was more chunky gold than I had ever found. I was hooked!
I got the dredge direct from Keene, only way I could get one back then. Knowing nothing about dredges I saw no reason why I should spend extra money to get floats. I figured 2.5" was too small and 4" too big so a 3" must be just right.
I learned a lot with that dredge. The first thing I learned is when you put it on bank with powerjet way above water it is nearly impossible to prime. And that when you finally get it primed, the entire hose will fill with gravel, then everything stops. Once I took the 15 feet of hose off to shake all the gravel out, and did this maybe three times in a row, I realized the dredge cannot be operated more than a couple feet above water. In fact, keep the place where hose and jet meet at or below water level for best results.
Which made finding a place to use it quite a challenge. You need something like in this photo - a nice rock or pile of rocks or sawhorses next to water. This basically eliminated almost all the places I wanted to use the dredge, so this photo was the last time I ever dredged without floats, way back in 1973. You pretty much have to have them as a suction dredge that does not float is very limited.
I did not find a lot of gold here but found my biggest nugget to that date. I think it was only like a pennyweight but it seemed huge at the time.
Photo taken in Wrangell Mountains, Alaska on Skookum Gulch.
By Clay Diggins
The Nevada BLM closed 8,195 claims between January 15th and February 1st. That's nearly 194,000 acres opened to location in two weeks. Most of those claims were held by the big mining companies - Kinross, Barrick. Some of these claims go back to 1893.
Of course you would already know that and have an individual map of each of those 8,195 claims section areas if you are a Claims Advantage Member.
This is an unusual number of closures in such a short period of time even for Nevada, the biggest mining State by far. Annual turnover in Nevada mining claims is about 20,000 claims so this could be just an unusually productive period for the Nevada BLM in updating their case files.
Why the big mining companies are dumping so many claims is a matter of speculation since I don't sit in on their board or management meetings. This may just be a blip in reporting. In any case I'll leave the speculation to others. Probably more important is where these closed claims are. That answer will probably produce a flurry of prospecting as soon as the weather permits.
Go get u sum