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Cyanide Tailing Piles


MontAmmie

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Hi Ya'll!  I'm planning my Big Montana Adventure this summer and looking at Montana Cadastral and Google Earth for potential detecting spots.  I'm seeing lots of interesting tailing and dredge piles on Google Earth in some of the former placer and pit mining areas (now BLM land).  But then when I read the history of the particular mining operation I see that most of them have been gone over twice-once with a rock crusher/arastra type outfit, then again with cyanide or mercury extraction.  So is tailing pile material still worth going over with a detector if it's already been worked over with the chemical extraction methods like cyanide?  Or, as I suspect, would there be nothing left big enough to be found by a detector?  Would it even be safe to detect in these areas, or has the cyanide/mercury leached away decades ago?  Please excuse my ignorance as I am a newbie to this gold mining stuff. Thanks guys!

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Better states for detecting IMO--if you are going there and are detecting as a side venture then that's different.

I would pick other states such as CA, AZ, NV if Montana isn't proprietary.

It is a beautiful state tho--i used to have a home in Ennis---south of Bozeman near Alder...

But I was addicted to ETOH back then instead of AU :wink:

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Strange.  I would not expect there to be much cyanide treatment with dredge tailings.   But what do I know.  Definitely check to see if the mines nearby had "FreeMilling" gold and you should be good.  Also look for "High Grade Ore".  Or just look at the tailings to spy free gold.  I have a recent post where I ran across an old hard rock mine with quartz tailings and there was some obvious gold visible.  Later we crushed pieces and there was gold inside.  (and a good amount of it)  You need a good detector for the really small stuff.  Sounds like you're going big :)  

Also, in case you haven't already done so, do a search on detecting mine tailings.  You will get some very good articles that detail how to attack those dredge piles.  

Other than that ...  what Paul said :tongue:

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Tailings from a heap leaching/cyanide recovery operation should not have any detectable gold if any at all.  A mine dump may have some gold as Andyy suggests.  Dredge tailings maybe have nuggets if the area they dredged was known for nuggets rather than fine gold.  Most of the dredge piles in Montana are now sitting on private land because the original claims were patented.  I am not sure where one could get access to dredge piles.

If you don't already have this book get it.  It shows all the places in Montana that were placer mined:

http://www.mbmg.mtech.edu/mbmgcat/public/ListCitation.asp?pub_id=11597&

I would think your best bet would be to check for open land on the streams indicated in the book.  Also check our the Libby Creek free panning area south of Libby.  The Northeast Montana Prospecting Club has claims in that area.  Cost to join $50 or $75.

http://www.nwmtgoldprospectors.com

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On 2/6/2018 at 7:23 PM, vanursepaul said:

Better states for detecting IMO--if you are going there and are detecting as a side venture then that's different.

I would pick other states such as CA, AZ, NV if Montana isn't proprietary.

It is a beautiful state tho--i used to have a home in Ennis---south of Bozeman near Alder...

But I was addicted to ETOH back then instead of AU :wink:

Sorry, I haven't replied to ya'll.  I didn't get any notifications that anyone had responded.  So anyway, yes, Van, Montana has something more precious than gold....my 5 year old grandson in Bozeman.  The prospecting is just something to do after he gets bored with us.  And it looks like Montana does still have a few good areas left that are not locked up with placer claims.

Hawkeye-From looking at Montana Cadastral, it seems that most of the original mine areas are still owned, but a lot of the tailing piles are not.  It looks like they had to put their mills wherever they could find a flat spot, and often that was quite a few hundred yards from the mine itself.

Andy-From reading the mining reports it looks like they used cyanide on anything that was accessible and suspected to have had a speck of gold left in it.  The mining interests controlled everything and did pretty much whatever they pleased.

JW- Looking at an old mining report from 1950-something,  I have found a huge pile of hand-sorted material just sitting there on public land!  It looks like it was abandoned at the beginning of WW1 and then forgotten.  Now, granted, it is on the side of a remote mountain, but I'm going to see if we can get the ATV up there.

The main areas that I'm looking at are valleys near gold-producing areas, which might have some detectable nuggets, but weren't worked back in the day due to lack of water.  Do ya'll think this is a good strategy?

I'll be sure and let you guys know how it goes.  When I can.  We won't have internet (getting an emergency satellite beacon) for most of the summer.  I'm going to print out all this info.  I'll probably have tons more questions when I actually get back up there and see it.  Thanks so much, y'all!

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Just come on out and ENJOY the area like you planned.  Do your research and I'm sure you'll find some areas to scratch around in?  I'm new and a rookie so can't recommend any areas near Bozeman but you'll find some. Might learn to use the claim maps here to help locate area claims?   Good luck!!!    http://www.mylandmatters.org/Maps/Mining.html 

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On 2/13/2018 at 12:43 PM, oneguy said:

Just come on out and ENJOY the area like you planned.  Do your research and I'm sure you'll find some areas to scratch around in?  I'm new and a rookie so can't recommend any areas near Bozeman but you'll find some. Might learn to use the claim maps here to help locate area claims?   Good luck!!!    http://www.mylandmatters.org/Maps/Mining.html 

Oh, I will!  We love Montana.  My husband spent about 20 years there (Choteau and Bozeman), so he knows the area well.  I've been keeping the Landmatters and Cadastral maps open all the time while I read old mining reports. Thanks!

I have another question for you guys.  Does placer gold replenish itself?  I know it washes down from the quartz veins in and on the mountains after water erodes it out.  My guess is yes, it does, but probably would take hundreds of years to accumulate in any appreciable amounts.  Thanks ya'll!

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1 hour ago, MontAmmie said:

Oh, I will!  We love Montana.  My husband spent about 20 years there (Choteau and Bozeman), so he knows the area well.  I've been keeping the Landmatters and Cadastral maps open all the time while I read old mining reports. Thanks!

I have another question for you guys.  Does placer gold replenish itself?  I know it washes down from the quartz veins in and on the mountains after water erodes it out.  My guess is yes, it does, but probably would take hundreds of years to accumulate in any appreciable amounts.  Thanks ya'll!

Not familiar with gold "on the other side of the hill" (continental divide), I'm on the west side of the hill.  There's been lots of gold scratching all over the west side like around Helena area, south to Butte, Dillon, and also further west.  I'm sure your hubby knows of some spots or someone that does.  Last spring we had quite the runoff so most the waterways got stirred up with new gold, some old buried with over burden, etc. but definitely things got re-arranged?  Could be good or bad depending.  You guys enjoy..........

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Part of this problem is that a lot of different things get called "tailings" by prospectors and some are worth detecting and others not.

True tailings from a cyanide plant are crushed to be like fine beach sand, usually tan colored and will have no gold that can be found with a detector.

Mine "tailings" such as broken rock that is the waste from the workings of an underground hard rock mine (normally dumped out near portals and shafts) are not crushed, they will have all sizes of rock from small sand to boulders. These can be very worthwhile, I've found some nice gold in them, it just depends on the mine and the type of gold they found. Some mines only produce very fine dust sized gold, while others can produce coarser, chunkier gold that is easily detected.

Placer "tailings" are the materials that have been run through the sluice of a gravel mine. They may or may not have some nice gold depending on the type of sluice they ran and how much gold-quartz was in the gravel.

I made my first trip to Montana this last fall.......

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MontAmmie I live in Montana and there are many many good places to detect for gold that have not been pounded to death with a detector for such as az and nv. If you are going to be in Bozeman look at joining the go as so you can drive up to Raidersburg just south of Canyon Ferry reservoir. There is good gold found there with detectors. The gold is shallow. Surface down to about 8 or 9 inches. Gram size nuggets. A Gold Monster 1000 would work amazingly well in this area. It isn't all that far from Bozeman. I have a couple friends from Bozeman that hunt this area every year with success. I can help you out with other areas as well. You have to find the right kind of tailing piles here in Montana for the nuggets. It is time consuming and a lot of the time can your efforts can come up empty. Stick to bedrock or areas near bedrock. Also areas known to produce nuggets. If you can get up around Helena or between Helena and Butts that would be good. Basin Creek is good with a detector. Order a good pair of snake guards from Chris Ghoulson at Arizona Outback. You will need them as these areas are prime rattlesnake country. Just don't stick your hands down to start digging until you investigate for any hidden snakes. Even small baby rattlesnakes. Just keep a lookout and be cautious and you will be fine. Any other questions feel free to ask.

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