top of page

Finding Gold

ATTENTION, Guys & Gals

Are you finding GOLD on your placer or lode mining claim or are you going home empty handed after each visit to your claim(s)? If that is the case we will give you a few tips that we use that should increase your GOLD recovery considerably.


1. We suggest you walk your claim over and become familiar with the location of desert washes, gulches, high points like ridges & hills, claim corners, etc.

2. Locate the lowest point on your claim as a starting point. Most GPS units will give you the elevation or use a good topo map.

3. Dig down to bedrock or false bedrock (caliche) and take a sample, minus .25 inch material screened. Three to five pounds should do. (Note) If you have to dig deeper then say 3 feet, abandon that location (you’re not digging a grave or trying to reach China) and look for a spot where bedrock slopes into the sandy wash as close to your original sample site as possible. Mark the site or enter the GPS coordinates in a note book. Mark your sample bag as #1

4. Move up the drainage or dry desert wash no more than 100 feet and take sample #2. Mark the location as above.

5. Continue up the drainage, sampling as close as possible to the 100-foot intervals as you can. Eventually you will reach the end of your claim or a ridge or hill top. (STOP) Do not proceed further at this time if you are on high ground or at the end of your claim. The ornery old codger who has the adjacent claim might give you a load of buckshot for trespassing.

6. Process your samples in the order you took them starting with #1. You can do this with a gold pan or say a spiral gold wheel. If you are using a Gold Wheel feed it slowly, do not overfeed. Examine your concentrates with a hand lenses or loop (magnifier).

Now say #1 has little or no visible gold, #2 has a few tiny specks, #3 has numerous fines and 1 picker, #4 has 3 pickers and many fines, #5 has just a few fines, #6 the same or less. Your next step is take a sample say 50 feet below and another 50 feet above sample site #4. I would suggest numbering these #3.5 and #4.5. Depending on the results, your efforts have probably located the hottest spot on that drainage.

Often you will see smaller side drainage's or gulches in this HOT area. Do not ignore these as generally you will not need to dig as deep to hit bedrock. Check all on both sides of the main drainage in that #4 area, say on 25 or 50-foot intervals. Remember to mark all locations and sample sacks. For example, let’s say your main drainage was running east-west and you have a nice gulch at site #4, draining from south to north. Your first sample site might be numbered #S-1 or #S-25 if on 25-foot intervals. Your next might be #S-2 or #S-50. Repeat if you have another gulch on the opposite side of the main drainage or near site #4. If the gulch or small wash forks, sample both forks. The same applies for your main drainage that might fork.

Process all samples taken from these feeder gulches or smaller washes. Once this work is completed you should have identified your hottest spot be it the main drainage or a feeder gulch. Now is the time to get serious with a large dry-washer or a high banker if you have a nearby water source and a water recovery system.

I use a dry-washer for testing a large volume of dry material and a Desert Fox Spiral Gold Wheel that I can run for several days on 5 gallons of water to process the few pounds of gold bearing concentrates. I also use a shop vacuum to suck up the material from bedrock cracks, crevices and fractures. (NOTE) This is where much of your gold should be.

TIP#1 You might consider cutting up say 10 very, very small pieces of lead and flatten them with a hammer slightly, much like the size and shape of your pickers. Throw all 10 into each sample bag and if you recover 9 or 10 your system is set up properly and your gold recovery will be higher than 90%. If you recover 6 or less something is very wrong with your system. Check your tailings for lead and gold you may have lost. Usually the problem is water pressure, too much (cut back) or to little due to a clogged spray bar in your gold wheel or to steep an angle on your dry-washer or high banker.

TIP#2 Look for streaks of black sands on the surface of your claim area drainage. Black sand or magnetite has a specific gravity of 4.9 - 5.2,

gold at 19.3 will generally drop out first. Common sand runs about 2.6 and lead (from bullets, fishing sinkers, tire weights, BB's, etc) runs over 11 specific gravity.

TIP#3 If you recover tiny pieces of quartz, rusty fragments of rock attached to your gold you may be very close to the source. "THE MOTHER LODE".

Good Luck and remember Quitters never Win and Winners never Quit.

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page