It's spring and thoughts turn to getting out in the high country and prospecting for that elusive yellow metal - GOLD.
I have nine claims at different elevations; all with merit.
A couple, ideal for the recreational prospector and the others are ready for commercial development or aggressive recreational recovery. Approximately 500 acres (six claims) are in a contiguous block, ideal for a commercial mining venture. All claims are for sale individually or as a package to suit your mining objectives.
Send me an e-mail with your questions to marneaffeld.com and I will respond or you may call 509-389-2606 - I love to talk mining. I am working on a FQA's about the claims and will post here soon.
Do you want a claim worth owning that you and your family will enjoy for generations to come - Make your gold prospecting dreams a reality!
Do you want to spend next summer doing something exciting? Camp on your very own mining claim and prospect for gold flake and nuggets! Two of the claims are on the site of the old gold rush mining camp; a great place to metal detect.
You must be 21 years old and a United States citizen to purchase a claim.
Read and Research
Expand your knowledge of prospecting. During the winter months, when snow lays heavy on the mountain, research the history of the area and study local. Learn the location of roads, trails, and open clearings.
Plan your adventure and organize supplies, survival kit, camping and mining gear and equipment. Be sure to take extra batteries, plenty of food and water as well as bug-spray and bear repellent. If you are woods wise and trained in firearm safety, it is prudent to carry a sidearm. Weather conditions can change rapidly. Be sure to carry warm, water repellent clothing and insect repellent.
Getting To Know Your Claim
In northwest Montana, our mining season is short. Spend as much time as possible getting to know your claim. Carry survival gear, emergency food supplies and a compass or GPS. The forest is dense and it is easy to get turned around and lost. As you explore your claim, always know the way back to your base location. Cell phones do not always work in the area of the claims.
Obtain a detailed topo map of the area. Have the section where you are located, enlarged and printed. Grid off the area on the map. Number the grids. Carry a pocket notebook. As you prospect and explore, make detailed notes of your findings in each numbered grid. Sketch out a map of the localized area to provide future references points when you are ready to commence explorational testing. (It is a good idea to set up a permanent file system or journal. Transfer your field notes into a permanent mining journal, making note of the time of year, the water level in the stream, weather conditions and personal observations. Your records will prove invaluable in evaluating the claim and developing it to its full potential.)
Make note of important topography features including areas of exposed bedrock, quartz outcroppings, water falls, gravel or sand bar and dramatic changes in the streambed. Exposed bedrock with deep creavices or fractures can trap gold washed downstream by spring flooding. (Moss that in embedded in the cracks of bedrock often contains fine gold trapped within its roots. Plan to wash pieces of the moss carefully in your gold pan. Manipulate the moss until all sediment is released. Drop the moss back in the stream. It will float downstream and attach to a fallen log or rock. The moss will grow again and your test has not harmed the fragile eco-system. Pan out the material. Note if you found color and the percentage of black sand and quartz particles.)
Take note of the thickness of the alluvial cover (gravel, sand and soil) and the types of float rock and quartz. Look for rusty, stained pieces of quartz, they may contain visible specks of gold.
Look for locations where the streambed makes a sharp turn and widens. (Gold moving downstream will slow down at that point and will be deposited on the inside curve of the streambed. Bedrock outcrops or large boulders will also break the flow of the water, allowing gold to settle on the downstream side of the obstacle.)
Do not limit your prospecting to the current streambed. (Over the centuries the stream may have changed course many times. Fallen trees, erosion, landslides, avalances and heavy spring flooding change the course of the stream. Examine points higher up the bank, some of your best color may be many yards from the present stream bed.)
Hold Your Horses!
Do not start your testing in the first good looking spot you find. Locate several potential areas before deciding where to begin. If you test the first spot that looks promising and you locate some gold, what happens? You will likely remain right there and work the area. Doing so, you may find some gold flake or gold dust. With the same effort, and a little more testing you could be recovering nuggets, fifty feet away.
Gold Is Where You Find It
Old time prospector’s alway say, “Gold is where your find it!” Truer words were never spoken. Gold may hide in heavy or compacted gravels or impervious layers of clay or heavy sediment. Gold and other heavy minerals eventually work their way down until settling on false bedrock (cemented or compacted layers) or bedrock. Given perfect conditions, they form the “golden yellow paystreaks” you are looking for. Increase your changes of sucess. Test bedrock locations first. Work out crevices in the bedrock and pan out the material. Crevices trap nuggets and flake.
Use Your Metal Detector
Use your metal detector to examine areas of exposed bedrock. Detect upslope from the bedrock as well. Test the tops of ridges or outcroppings. The soil in Mineral County is highly mineralized and has a rich history of gold production. During the Cedar Creek Gold Rush, hundreds of men worked the drainages. You may find lots of rusty nails, mining artifacts or old coins and brass buttons. Make sure your detector is ground balanced, but do not discriminate. Dig every target. You may find a nugget or a valuable piece of mining history. Keep careful notes regarding detecting sites. Record finds if you feel the location justifies further exploration.
Save Your Concentrates
Always keep your concentrates. Store concentrates from different areas in seperate containers, clearly marked with the location. Double check the heavy concentrates in your pan, even if gold is not visible. A small, high quality magnifiying glass is a handy tool. Pyrite cubes, garnets and black sand are indicators of gold. Not all gold is visible and may be coated with other materials. Your gold may contain a heavy concentration of fine gold or other valuable minerals including silver and platinum. A helpful hint - purchase a box of geologist sample bags from a oilfield supply store. Geologist sample bags have a waterproof label for location and notes, are strong, and made of a material that will allow your samples to dry but not sift through the sample bag.
During the winter months, carefully fine pan or use a micro-concentrator to evaluate your samples. You may be quite surprised by the amount of gold recovered that is not visible to the naked eye.
Many mineral dealers will purchase black sand concentrates.
Prospecting, Patience & Perserverance
Claims are from 20 to 160 acres. 160 acres equals almost 7,000,000 square feet. That is a lot of land to prospect. You will not find gold in every spot you dig, no matter how mineralized the claim. Placer gold is deposited erratically. Remember the old prospector adage "Gold is where you find it.' Don't dismiss a spot because it doesn't look like a textbook pocket. The contour of the land changes, the rocks roll, the mountain rumbles. During spring melt, gold moves. Read the signs. A successful prospector is a patient and persistent treasure hunter. Learn how to read nature’s clues and you may be finely rewarded for your labors.