Tag Archives: mining

Just the two of us


The leaves are starting to turn, and thus begins the bittersweet chapter of mining season.  With the kid back in school, and most of the rest of our crew gone, its up to just my husband and I to save what’s left of the season.  Thanks to grandma for getting the kid to school during the week, we are able to work as long as we have daylight, skip lunch, and get up early.

Mining in the fall is not so bad; less bugs, more bears.  Though we haven’t seen a bear yet this season (knocking on wood).

little dump truck

The backhoe is still in pieces at the mechanic’s shop, but we simply couldn’t wait anymore.  Time to try out the little dump truck that we’ve had for a while but never taken up to the mine.

It takes a little longer because we  first have to use the excavator to load the truck from the dig site. Second, stockpile the stuff at the washplant. Then third, drive the excavator back over to load the washplant. But it worked pretty well.  In fact, we might make this truck part of the process for next season and save the miles on the backhoe.

Also, thankfully, we finally got the report from the geologist on the magnetometer survey.  There are a lot of very promising prospects including possible some bedrock source gold.  I think I’m going to work on the permits to expand the place we were testing last time, as the report agreed with our test results.  We really can’t tell anymore about this spot until I get permission to clear some trees and make some road improvements.  In the meantime, there’s a couple of small hotspots we’re headed towards at in our current digsite that we hope to break through too soon.


I’ve been fighting with this dang rock for days with the excavator, but I bet it’s where the gold is coming from.  I’ll get it soon.

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Pretty good results, less than usual because the process is a little slower, but better some gold than none.

Also more of the crystaline gold in this cleanout.

The Work


What a week this has been!  We couldn’t have asked for better weather, 80+ degrees in Alaska means we have to watch each other for signs of heat exhaustion.

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First off, a little trommel maintenance, we had to replace a few casters and the motor that turns the barrel.

For sometime, we’ve been aware that we are not getting enough water in the trommel.  It’s frustrating to be in good dirt and have to load it a tiny bit at a time in order to not overload the sluice.  We did look into getting a bigger trommel, but this time in Alaska there are none for sale (at least that we can afford); so we had to look at a cheap way of working with what we had.

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One thing we do have a lot of is pumps.  We decided it was worth the extra gasoline to drop another pump in the settling pond to add more water to the trommel.  It may look a little silly to just bungee an extra hose into the hopper, but it worked like an absolute champ.  We’re now moving dirt like crazy! The loader operator can barely keep up.

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The digsite is looking good, we’re running into a lot of large boulders.  Those of you who do any prospecting know that the large rocks in a river are a great place to look for gold, it works the same in ancient stream beds.





Though with the amount of dirt we’re moving now, its going to take a while to figure out the new “normal” so we know if we’re in the best ground or not.



We got a request from one of our fans to see more of the “work” involved in the mining process.  To our friend in Belgium, this one is for you.

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Let’s get some SCIENCE up in here!

Here’s hoping all of you had a great Independence Day or Canada Day!

Big stuff happening at the mine.  I may have mentioned that we were looking into getting a magnetometer survey done.  We just finished it up and are looking forward to the results.

Just in case you don’t know, basically a magnetometer survey will show us where there are concentrations of black sand, and where there’s black sand, there is usually…..GOLD.

We have 160 acres of claims, we realized that we could spend the next 30 years digging test holes and never find the best stuff.  Also because of the terrain and the Forest Service regulations we can’t have a drilling program.  The magnetometer was our best bet.  Now, to find someone to do it!

Turned out that most companies were not really interested in a small job like ours, they would either not answer me at all or set the price so high that it was unrealistic.  Then, I ran across an article about Pioneer Exploration out of Canada being the first outfit to do a Magnetometer Survey with a Drone system that they designed themselves.  I figured a place like that wouldn’t give me the time of day; but their founder, Micheal Burns, wrote me right back, and on a Sunday no-less. They gave us a reasonable quote, and we set a date.

It was decided that the best way to do the survey was on foot with a backpack magnetometer.

Michael Burns getting geared up

Michael Burns getting geared up












These guys walked a 20 meter spaced grid over the entire 160 acres through some of the of the most unforgiving terrain imaginable.   They got stung by hornets, had to repel across the creek, walked straight up and down in some places, and had no bear protection whatsoever.  They were supposed to take seven days to do it. They did it in four.

As you can tell, we are thrilled to have found these guys!  I can’t wait to see the data they come up with.



The Test

Hey Everyone!

Thought I’d give you all a quick update on the operation.  Spring has finally sprung and we’ve started staging to start the season.  I was pretty nervous about the test run as we had the trommel completely re-worked this winter and had never field tested it.  I’m happy to say that with some tweaking, everything ran pretty flawlessly.

Ran a few hours, mostly overburden, just to test, and was happy to find about an 1/8 ounce of gold.  I was really surprised, maybe its because the trommel is running so much better?

We’re still in the set up phase and not really operational, but I’ll keep you posted!

That’s all folks

I hate to say it, but we have called it for the 2015 season.  Its hard to do when the gold has been so good, but we’ve worn out some pulleys on our trommel  and its not something we can fix in the field.  Although I must admit the cold and the rain haven’t been that fun to work in anyway.  All that’s left is to move out all our stuff and get a big pile of the “good stuff” stocked up for you guys to order.  It wasn’t the best season we ever had, but we are all healthy and happy and we get to look forward to next year, so I can’t really complain.