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Deep Lead Mullock Heaps

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Is it worth while detecting old deep lead mullock heaps?

The heap I have in mind comprises of granite and ironstone rocks and kaolin clay. 

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Clay and ironstone sounds ok. 

Granite not so much but maybe. 

Any quartz?  

Although if there are mullock heaps there must have been gold so forget the particulars of what rocks are there and just go beep on them  :laugh:.   You'll never never know if you never never go. :wink:

Welcome to the forum and we'd love to see pictures if you find some yellow stuff!!  

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Deep lead mines usually  only processed the pay dirt that was considered  profitable a certain distance above bedrock ( in Australia that was 6-12 feet and the rest was discarded onto the mullock . So whilst there is the odd chance there could be a unknown middle or upper level streak the miners discarded , that chance would be fairly low . There are miles of large deep lead mullock heaps in Creswick near Ballarat and they are mostly sticky yellow clay .The Australasian mine in creswick was Australia’s worst mine disaster  . If you can find small scale deep lead shafts the pay dirt was usually loaded on horse carts next to the shaft for transportation to the puddling mills and there was always some spillage . so these areas have some potential for detector prospectors.

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1 hour ago, ophirboy said:

Deep lead mines usually  only processed the pay dirt that was considered  profitable a certain distance above bedrock ( in Australia that was 6-12 feet and the rest was discarded onto the mullock . So whilst there is the odd chance there could be a unknown middle or upper level streak the miners discarded , that chance would be fairly low . There are miles of large deep lead mullock heaps in Creswick near Ballarat and they are mostly sticky yellow clay .The Australasian mine in creswick was Australia’s worst mine disaster  . If you can find small scale deep lead shafts the pay dirt was usually loaded on horse carts next to the shaft for transportation to the puddling mills and there was always some spillage . so these areas have some potential for detector prospectors.

These are the type of mullock piles I generally detect. Not deep leads as such but shallower pot hole digs & turned over gully floors & there discard piles. Same principle though. There was no water so the miners had to cart what they prospected as being a payable layer to the nearest water to work it. They would have of course have a bit of water for washing samples. When on to gold they of course threw out gold in their throw out piles as they dug down. The bonus for us detectorists is that their last & deepest shovel fulls chucked out ( & getting on to the gold layer) are now on top of the piles for our coils to hit on. So they have effectively reversed the natural ground deposits. In my situations if the piles are very fine clay or glacial silt they are usually barren of detectable gold. If there is a mixture of clay/dirt & gravels there is a much better chance of detectable gold being present. If the piles are very rocky & stoney with no clay & gravels, again not a good chance of gold being present. Some throw out piles just have that good look of the right kind of material that has the greatest chance of gold being with it. It is funny how you can walk up a turned over gully detecting  the throw out piles & see the change in the material & know the look of the better stuff.  It is worth waving a detector over all dumps as I guess the reason they are there is because gold was present.

Good luck out there

JW :smile: 

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Do I understand then, that the kaolin clay washed away from the mine entrance, is not worth detecting?

 

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I think the condensed answer is this , if it’s a small scale deep lead mine ( worked by a small group or syndicate there’s a chance of dropped or missed gold around the mullock and loading piles , on the other hand if the heaps are very large and extended you can put this down to large company deep lead mining and the chance of finding gold on these processed heaps is slim.

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For me it just comes down to time and whether or not there are better options. Detecting anything is always going to be a gamble so all you can do is take your best shots with whatever time you have. Nobody can say with certainty that any given pile of dirt contains no gold. The nice thing about detecting is that it’s fairly easy and so when in doubt, detect anything that looks interesting and see what happens. Remember that many a nugget has been found by novices who were successful because they put their coil where an expert would not because “there can’t be any gold there”!

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