Caliche Chris

Gold stuck to rocks

16 posts in this topic

Well since my last post was such a huge success I decided to try again. I've been getting dirt from a public claim and taking it to a river near by and using my homemade gutter sluice to go through it. Well, I admit that my interest in prospecting is a recent thing prompted by the fact that I just moved to New Mexico and have yet to find a job. I would rather be out working than sitting around, so even if I'm getting very little gold where I'm at its more than I'd make sitting on my duff.

I've read several sources that said a lot of times when placer gold settles it will be stuck to the larger rocks taken out of the ground because of the amount of dirt clinging to the rocks. Now, out here in NM everybody dry washes. It seems like water recovery methods work better which is why I opted to move the dirt to a stream and sluice it. Initially I was taking all rocks and dirt with me. Then I would classify at the stream. While running the classified dirt through the sluice. I would soak all the large rocks in five gallon buckets and then vigorously agitate them to remove the dirt and hopefully gold stuck to them. It was a pain in the rear but I was seeing some nice pieces of gold in my sluice. Small pieces albeit, but most weren't the flat paper thin flakes, they were actual round chunks. The last run I did I decided to skip the rocks washing part and just run the classified dirt. Well at the end of that run there were maybe two specks of gold in the sluice and not a darn thing in about a cup of black sand I had pulled out. So my question is this, is it likely that 90 percent of the gold is stuck to these rocks and that hardly any is in the actual loose dirt? Also if this is the case, then it seems really counterproductive to classify on site with the drywasher and just sling buckets of unwashed rocks on the ground as if they are useless. This is what the majority of people around here do, judging by the huge piles of rocks scattered all over the claim. Can someone with some experience please weigh in on this? Thanks guys and merry christmas

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Hey King! Merry Christmas!

I will bet a big fat nugget I know exactly where you are prospecting.

The gold there is in reworked gravel and yes, sometimes it seems it follows the large cobbles and boulders. It likes to get stuck in caliche and those big rocks have an eggshell coating of it. Most of those rocks came up out of the caliche layer where the gold is cemented and that is why the gold is with them more than any other reason. When you expose a patch of that white caliche that is holding gold you can just beep the crap out of the little freckle sized flakes or bust it up and have a heyday drywashing it.

P.M. me. Let's get together some weekend. I have a drywasher you can try out and then you will realize why it is a lot better than hauling dirt to the river. I am through Sierra Co. almost weekly nowdays and we can have a cup of coffee and talk about it.

Edited by Bedrock Bob
Caliche Chris and Oakview2 like this

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Yep, gold in loose sand will head downwards. And the clay and caliche holding on to the oversize can be a goodly amount in previously worked dirt.

If you're getting more gold with one method, stick to it until you find a better one.

Another idea to avoid carrying all those large rocks with you would be to wash them off into a bucket onsite, and then run the dirt from the bucket at the stream. A couple jugs with water a mortar tub from the hardware store, and a stiff brush will do wonders.

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During the gold rush, The Chinese meticulously cleaned each and every rock and boulder the processed. Take BB up on that offer and take lots of pictures

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BB also claims that there are more jobs in NM than people to fill them.

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Well, I hope that's the case. I just moved here a few months ago. I'm not really plugged into the social pipeline as of yet. I'd sure like to find a decent paying job (or some good gold bearing ground to work). I got a job riding on the back of a trash truck when I first got here but they wouldn't give me any more than 8/hour. I told them I'd stay for 30 days if they gave me a raise after the first month but when my first month came and went they wouldn't budge so I put in my two weeks. I hate to walk away from a job but 8$ an hour is an insult. Especially for the safety hazards I was working around.

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There are prospectors who use a wire brush to clean the rocks. Clay settles around the sides and down under, rocks stop the gold which gets trapped in the clay. Another thing to do, some locations in NM, I've dug places down 1-2 feet, found about 3/4-1" think pieces of flat white quartz vein with those paper thin flakes you mentioned. Even a couple pieces like that should be better than recovering just only a few particles from gravel.

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I will definitely keep an eye for any quartz, I've been told quartz with gold in it is often worth more than the actual gold in the rock.

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You must be in the south part of NM, otherwise it would be very cold for to be out.

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I see where you are at, there are places along hwy 25, found once a lot of this mineral, thought it looked like some type of copper ore.

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When panning through my concentrates I find lots of little chunks of what I'm assuming is copper. It looks slightly metallic and reddish brown. And it's pretty heavy because its usually buried in the black sand and i don't see much of it until I start looking for the gold at the bottom of the sand. I'm in TorC. Getting dirt from Hillsboro. It's pretty chilly out but when the suns out and your working it warms up real quick even today when it was in the 30s.

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Could be the stuff I'd found, except larger even fist sized. Some of those type ores contain platinum and/or gold in a mineral form. I think one type is nicknamed "Apache gold" a dark heavy mineral.

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I've read about southern NM copper minerals in GPAA magazine, can't remember all the details, there is one type that is different than what you find in most states. If you posted some pics, someone on the forum ought to know what type it is.

Edited by Red_desert

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I have a bunch of classified dirt to run through my gutter sluice tomorrow, I know I'll see more of that stuff so ill get some pics up and see if any one recognizes it.

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