Prospecting a New Claim

Well here we are a month and a half into a new prospecting season.  I picked up a new claim on the Willow River just outside Wells and Barkerville BC to prospect this summer and have a few trips planned for the end of July and the end of August.  A new Highbanker was ordered from Greywolf Highbankers that I cant wait to fire up, and with 8 days to go until the trip the anticipation is killing me.

the weather is looking great and it turns out a number of the members from The Gold Prospectors Forum are going to be in the area at the same time.  I think its time for a Members meetup!

More info to come in the next few days

Panning my Gold Concentrates

Well last night the bug hit me pretty hard while I was thinking about this up coming prospecting season.  So I did what any responsible home owner would do.  I grabbed the 8 gallon bucket of gold concentrates from last season that have been sitting frozen solid in the garage and brought them into the house.  They’re sitting next to the furnace in the basement thawing out and as soon as their defrosted I’ll be grabbing a large bucket and my pans.  I’ve been meaning to get to them since last August but haven’t had the time until now to go through them.  It’ll be interesting to see what comes out of them.  Both Andre and I removed the large pieces of gold and left the smaller stuff behind for later on.  I’m thinking I’ll be a bit surprised with what I come up with as we didn’t spend a whole lot of time panning them out initially.  We were a bit tight on time when out on Eric’s Blue Lake claim.

I’m going to try and make a video out of the whole process and I’ll keep you all updated along the way.  now all I have to do is try and convince the girlfriend I’m not going to make a mess!   And we all know that inst true!

How to Use the BC MTO Website

BC MTO Tutorial

One of the most difficult things for a new prospector to learn is how to use the BC MTO Website.  It can be rather confusing and has a steep learning curve.  Regardless, a few moths back I put together a video to teach people how to use the BC MTO.  Its a great tutorial that goes into everything from how to find claims, locations and grid references, right down to how to read contour lines.  Hopefully its of use to others.  I’ve been meaning to put together a second video going into more detailed topics on BC MTO usage, and hopefully I’ll get the time sometime soon to do it.  I’m planning out a more advanced video on how to read maps here as well so look for that video in the near future.  If you have any questions, ask away!

Check and Re Check your Concentrates and Tailings!

Well I still have a bucket of concentrates left over from the trip to Greywolfs claim on Blue Lake that I’ve been meaning to classify down and pan out.  I recently read a post on the Gold Prospectors Forums that has made me think about tailings and what’s left behind after all visible gold has been removed.  The post in questions surrounds a prospector with a small scale mechanical operation in BC who knew he wasn’t removing all the gold from his concentrates / tailings.  He knew there was still some micro gold left behind that he couldn’t see or recover, so he decided to send a few samples to a lab to be assayed to see what was left behind.  The results were startling.  For every ton of concentrates he’s processed, after all visible gold has been removed the assay showed an astounding 84 OUNCES of micron gold left behind.  24.5 grams per 20 pound bag.

The prospector produces 200 tons of concentrates per season.  Doing the math on this shows at $1650 per ounce, there is a total of $26,400,000 in gold that’s being left behind.  The problem he’s facing now is removing that gold.  Anyone who has been gold panning knows how difficult it is to get the fines out.

This was a huge wakeup call.  Reality hits hard when you realize just what’s being wasted.  I’m pretty sure he isn’t pulling out anywhere near this amount in visible gold, and I’m sure he’s now going to be going through everything with a fine toothed comb!  I can only imaging the look on his face when he saw the lab results showing 2449 grams per ton gold.

BC Gold Prospecting Resources

Trying to find forms, info packages, BC gold prospecting resources such as forms and info packages can be a daunting task.  I’ve created a list of resources below that are extremely helpful when it comes to finding what you need.  There have been many times I’ve gone through the BC Mineral Titles website, as well as the BC Ministry of Energy and Mines site and spent hours looking for something  I need (the search feature on any government site is about as useful as a cinder block in an emergency rubber life raft).  If you notice anything I’m missing, feel free to send me a quick email and I’ll get it up!).  While this isnt a 100% complete in terms of BC gold prospecting resources, it is more than enough for even the seasoned prospector.

Government Agency Resources

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Mining Glossary

There are a number of terms used in prospecting, many of which you may be unfamiliar with.  I know when I first started prospecting I had one hell of a time trying to figure everything out.  So, I’ve put together this list of terms to help those new to the industry / hobby along the way.  Bookmark this page!  Trust me, your going to want to know what something means eventually.

ACCRETION BAR A low-level deposit of sand and gravel formed in a stream by gradual addition of new material. Accretion bars are typically formed along the short, or inside radius of curves. See – Skim bar.

ADJUSTED VALUE A sample value that has been increased or decreased by an amount deemed necessary to offset known variables or other factors that may cause discrepancies in the initially indicated value. In placer drilling, the adjusted value is also known as a CORRECTED VALUE. To be valid, such adjustments must be based on careful diagnosis of sampling problems, and must reflect sound judgement  See – Indicated value.

AINLAY BOWL A wet, gravity concentrator used for the recovery of gold and other heavy minerals from alluvial materials. It consists essentially of a bowl-shaped vessel, rotated about its vertical axis and provided with circular riffles. Feed entering at the center is carried upward and outward by the flow of water and centrifugal force. Tailings overflow the rim while gold and other heavy minerals are retained by the riffles. A somewhat similar bowl-shaped concentrator is known as the KNUDSEN BOWL.

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New Gear for Next Year

Well Christmas has come and gone, and Santa has dropped me a nice little gift for the up coming prospecting season. The Girlfriend got me a new Stihl MS180-C 16 inch Chainsaw which will be perfect for clearing brush, cutting nuisance fallen trees that are in my way and cutting firewood.  This is something I honestly didn’t expect and the only down side to it is, now I have to wait until May / June to fire it up!


More from Greywolf’s Blue Lake Claim

RogueSaintsMining over at The Gold Prospectors Forum has sent me a few photos from his trip to work on Greywolf’s Blue Lake claim.  They had a few days of digging for that elusive gold.  If the landscape looks familiar its because they continued working on the hold Andre and I dug in July.  Thanks for sending the shots over RougeSaintsMining!

How to Fill Out a Report of Physical Exploration and Development

Need Help with the BC Report of Physical Exploration and Development?

Well the end of the year for my Lawless Creek Claim has come.  The claim expires tomorrow so yesterday I filed all the paperwork required to extend it.  I have to admit it was a rather tedious and confusing task as I’ve never done this before.  Over the past few months, there have been a number of forms that have come and gone.  Updates have been made to them, and now PDF forms have been created by the Mineral Titles Branch that can be filled out and saved.  For those of you who have never filed reports at the end of the year, here’s the skinny on it.

First things first – Download the Report of Physical Exploration and Development PDF file from the MTO website. Fill out the form, make sure anything that applies to you is answered.  Make sure when you finish prospecting for the season  that you mark the GPS coordinates of your test pits and trenches because the form asks for them.

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Are New Regulations About to be Announced?

Well it’s been around 6 months since the new regulations have come into effect for all those who have claims or are looking to acquire claims in the province. Just the other day, talk of new regulations being proposed by the BC Ministry of Environment have emerged surrounding the Riparian Zone. At present, no work is allowed to be conducted within 10 meters of the high water mark (known as the Riparian Zone) without a permit from the province. The odds of that permit being given out to prospectors and miners are slim to none. The rumoured changes push this 10 meter buffer zone back to 30 meters which is almost 100 feet. To put these changes into perspective, it will make virtually all claims along the Fraser river unworkable, and leave 30 – 70% of all other placer claims within the province in an “off limits” area. A 20 hectare claim that has a river running right through the centre would make 30 meters on either side of the river a dead zone for prospecting.

The question that I keep asking myself when it comes to these changes is why? Is this the work of some government bureaucrat? Are the big mining companies pushing for this? Are they trying to squeeze out the small / Jr Miner? Has the Ministry of Environment been infiltrated by a bunch of Green Peace Activists who are now in control? Whatever the answer may be, it’s not going to be a popular one amongst Jr Miners who are already feeling the pinch from large mining companies who are trying the squeeze them out. Should these rumours of new regulations come into effect, be prepared to buy a lot of hose and a descent pump to prospect your claim. I for one, will be fighting these changes and will even volunteer to put up a petition to the Ministry of Environment.