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wjbell

Metal detecting old dredge tailing piles

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I was recently reading about metal detecting in old dredge tailing piles.

People say that a good amount of gold got past the classifiers and ended up in

the waste piles. There's a number of people that find decent nuggets in these

piles.

So there's a place I know where there are some huge tailing piles. Some are 30

feet tall and pile after pile grouped together. Just tons and tons of rock.

After I got out there with my $100 metal detector and saw the size of these

piles it I realized I was trying to find a needle in a haystack.

So do people really find gold in tailing piles? Any tips for that kind of gold

hunting? I'm sure a better detector would be a good start, but any detector

will only detect down a few feet at most right? So you can really only hunt on

the top layer of tailings, right?

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Answers to your questions:

I am not an expert, I have did my share and sometimes did well so:

Yes, from my research directly with the son of a dredge master who was born on a dredge it was our consenous that the screen size was 1/4 inch in that particular area, other areas may have been different but in this case the vast majority of the gold was fine and messing around with the bigger stuff was not practial.

The major problem I have with them is the amount of trash. you have to realize that these things operated 24 -7 and people lived on them, cooked on them and repaired them , you didn't take them to a shop and there was no EPA, FS,BLM or anything, tin cans and welding/cutting scraps last for ever!

Techneique: I use a rock rake, it a 4 pronged rake with bars welded across the tines, moves bigger rock, let fines go through.

look at the piles, there will be fine and corse piles, I concentrate on the finer stuff, detect, rake down, use a super magnet on your rake cuts the wasted time for trash, in this particular area the ones on FS land were protected and no knocking them down, on my friends patented ground a bull dozer and back hoe is the thing, but you run in to problems with the stream people then.

Dredge piles tend to be in cresent shape as thats how the talings stacker desposits them as the dredge swings on its winches and anchor piles, my theory is the middle of these cresents are from the middle of the stream , therefore richer (Un proven).

I won't get into detectors, plenty of info on the forums about them, but I just got my first one that costs less than $900 new, I have owned plenty of them , all of them will find gold if you get the loop over it.

The biggest nugget from a dredge pile that I have personaly saw and held and know the finder and spot was 21 OZ, my dredge tender this summer found his first ever in the first 30 minutes of hunting, it was .785 of gold/quartz specie, it was too tough hunting for him and he wouldt go back!

Go to it and good luck!

Max

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OK, thank you for the reply!

A couple of questions. How far do you rake down when you're working a dredge pile? Or do you only rake when you pick up a signal?

You detector is a better quality detector. Mine is a "Bounty Hunter Tracker IV" LOL I'm sure it's a piece of crap. Am I completely wasting my time hunting gold with this detector? I'm sure it only goes down a few inches. I'd rather spend $400-500 used on something I can work with that will find gold rather than waste my time. What's your opinion there with the equipment I have now and a good beginner detector with some depth and the ability to identify targets?

Answers to your questions:

I am not an expert, I have did my share and sometimes did well so:

Yes, from my research directly with the son of a dredge master who was born on a dredge it was our consenous that the screen size was 1/4 inch in that particular area, other areas may have been different but in this case the vast majority of the gold was fine and messing around with the bigger stuff was not practial.

The major problem I have with them is the amount of trash. you have to realize that these things operated 24 -7 and people lived on them, cooked on them and repaired them , you didn't take them to a shop and there was no EPA, FS,BLM or anything, tin cans and welding/cutting scraps last for ever!

Techneique: I use a rock rake, it a 4 pronged rake with bars welded across the tines, moves bigger rock, let fines go through.

look at the piles, there will be fine and corse piles, I concentrate on the finer stuff, detect, rake down, use a super magnet on your rake cuts the wasted time for trash, in this particular area the ones on FS land were protected and no knocking them down, on my friends patented ground a bull dozer and back hoe is the thing, but you run in to problems with the stream people then.

Dredge piles tend to be in cresent shape as thats how the talings stacker desposits them as the dredge swings on its winches and anchor piles, my theory is the middle of these cresents are from the middle of the stream , therefore richer (Un proven).

I won't get into detectors, plenty of info on the forums about them, but I just got my first one that costs less than $900 new, I have owned plenty of them , all of them will find gold if you get the loop over it.

The biggest nugget from a dredge pile that I have personaly saw and held and know the finder and spot was 21 OZ, my dredge tender this summer found his first ever in the first 30 minutes of hunting, it was .785 of gold/quartz specie, it was too tough hunting for him and he wouldt go back!

Go to it and good luck!

Max

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Well I start at the bottom and rake/dig in and let it slide down if it will keeping in mind your detectors range.

At the risk of starting one of those hellious arguments on here I would say that if thats the amount you can afford then go for a Tesoro Lobo ST or a Goldbug II keeping in mind they are VLF detectors, at slightly more money you can get a good high model # Minelab, good buys are out there.

Fill out your profile and people will answer, I usely don't answer either, must be slipping in my old age banged.gif

Picture is a dredge pile specimen, .785 OZ

My twocents[1].gif

Max

post-7251-125941340027_thumb.jpg

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:thumbsupanim Great post as usual G--I try to attack with a backhoe/ tractor to half the mound first and work the layers to achive the lesson of where the paylayer is. Any detector is only as good as the man behing it-I run the TLST & GB2 with righteous results BUT there are many MANY good used but not abused out there now for el cheapo-tons a au 2 u 2 -John

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OK thanks guys. I filled out my profile a little.

As far as my cheap detector, I guess if the nugget is big enough it will detect it. If it's all I can afford right now would you say it's worth it to go out with this machine working the tailing piles? Working from the bottom makes more sense.

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thumbsupsmileyanim.gif OK, Now I know where you are hunting and its a very good place, I don't know the land status there and its been heavily hit but if you can get in to an area and work hard it good stuff'

They had clay balls that went off the stacker that was loaded with gold, if you get in to the side of the pile like John said pay attention to the layers, if you see clay make sure to detect it.

Get aquainted with the people in the area and check out the land ownership, if you can find some private or patented ground and get in on it you will have a better chance a a biggie !

Look at these link if you are not familar with the different places, the Oakland mesum is great.

http://museumca.org/goldrush/fever19-dr.html

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Guest bedrock bob

In my area ther eare thousands of big "dredge piles" from a dry land dredge operation. Yes, they screened to 1/2" and anyhtign bigger that 1/2" is in those piles. Many smaller ones that were stuck to bigger rocks and clods too. I have knocked down dozens of these with a backhoe and spread them out 4-6" deep for detectin. In every case we have found good gold and it has always been worth the equipment rental + diesel fuel to do it.

The old timers knew that by screening to 1/2" they were eliminating 90% of the material but only loosing 15% of the gold. they had a shortage of water and had to make the cut somewhere. The screens were the best way to insure profitability even though they were loosing some. If they had have screened to 3/4" their production would have only increased 5% and their volume increased 100%. The engineers determined the screen size based on real profits, not on total loss. SO, a big loss was acceptable because it allowed running at a profit.

A backhoe and a detector is killer in these piles. Without a backhoe I detect the surface and then shovel off a foot of rock and detect again. It is a short lived operation with a shovel because soon the flanks of the piles get so deep you cant handle them, but I have never spent a day doing this without finding nice big gold.

The deeper your detector will go the better it is for the piles. Yoy have to make up for the cheap detector with elbow grease. A good PI or a GMT will make it a hell of a lot easier. Otherwise use the shovel to get close.

Bedrock Bob

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OK thank everyone! any other info is appreciated.

I don't know if this is where you thought I was hunting, but it's a place on the lower American where I think they found a good amout of gold. Here is the satellite view and you can see the dredge piles. Is this where you were thinking?

Satellite view dredge piles

You can zoom in or out.

thumbsupsmileyanim.gif OK, Now I know where you are hunting and its a very good place, I don't know the land status there and its been heavily hit but if you can get in to an area and work hard it good stuff'

They had clay balls that went off the stacker that was loaded with gold, if you get in to the side of the pile like John said pay attention to the layers, if you see clay make sure to detect it.

Get aquainted with the people in the area and check out the land ownership, if you can find some private or patented ground and get in on it you will have a better chance a a biggie !

Look at these link if you are not familar with the different places, the Oakland mesum is great.

http://museumca.org/goldrush/fever19-dr.html

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I think you will have better luck here Folsom Dredge piles

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Thanks El Dorado! Didn't even know about those. I think I'll check those out tomorrow.

I think you will have better luck here Folsom Dredge piles

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Folsom would have been my guess too, When i was still working in '08 I had a lot of layovers in Sac and had an old friend who lived there, I never made a trip with out my MD.Check out Rattlesnake road. Some of it may be closed, they where talking about it.

Good Luck

Max

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Having owned a Tracker IV I can tell you that it probably won't pick up anything smaller than 1/4 oz as far as gold is concerned. You don't need to spend a fortune to own a machine that will find gold in all its various sizes. My advice would be to sell the Tracker IV, save a little more money, and try to pick up a whites goldmaster V/Sat or a GM3. If you have a little patience you can pick one up in the range of $150-$225.

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:eee: EDUCATE AND PROSPER. All weatern states have a mines/mineral/geology dept that have many 10's a 1,000's of books and pamplets on the geology and what EQUIPMENT WAS USED( size of screens,depth to bedrock, years worked,recovery systems and karat of finds). I NEVER detect,dredge or highbank anywhere without proven prior knowledge of what,who and how that transpired in the good ol'dayz. B) then it's cool to use your tool to the absolute best advantage of your time and expenses. :D tons a au 2 u 2-John

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Do you or anyone have an opinion on the whites xlt for finding gold nuggets? I don't think it's a "gold" machine. I might have a chance to get one with the snooper coil for about $375.

Having owned a Tracker IV I can tell you that it probably won't pick up anything smaller than 1/4 oz as far as gold is concerned. You don't need to spend a fortune to own a machine that will find gold in all its various sizes. My advice would be to sell the Tracker IV, save a little more money, and try to pick up a whites goldmaster V/Sat or a GM3. If you have a little patience you can pick one up in the range of $150-$225.

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Guest bedrock bob

If'n you want to find gold nuggets get a machine that is designed to do that. It is hard enough to find a gold nugget with a machine that is designed to do that. It is darn near impossible to find one with anything else. Lots of good suggestions here and they are all right on. Jayray had a GM2 for sale in the classifieds. Dont know if it is sold yet. darn good machine. I found a hell of a lot of gold with one of those and he only wants a pittance.

Lots of good gold machines that are low buck. All of 'em will find good gold if you apply the right technique. Lots of dandy treasure hunting machines out there too. From my experience there arent any that will find gold well. Prospecting is a very specialized application. If they are they will certainly cost a lot more than a GM2 or GM3.

If you have never found a nugget and you are trying to use anything else besides a gold machine then you better pack a lunch because it will take you a while.

Bob

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Ok, thanks. As far as gold machines and the two that were mentioned, how does the Fisher Gold bug 2 or Whites GMT compare?

I noticed that the GB2 operated at a higher frequency 71KHz.

If'n you want to find gold nuggets get a machine that is designed to do that. It is hard enough to find a gold nugget with a machine that is designed to do that. It is darn near impossible to find one with anything else. Lots of good suggestions here and they are all right on. Jayray had a GM2 for sale in the classifieds. Dont know if it is sold yet. darn good machine. I found a hell of a lot of gold with one of those and he only wants a pittance.

Lots of good gold machines that are low buck. All of 'em will find good gold if you apply the right technique. Lots of dandy treasure hunting machines out there too. From my experience there arent any that will find gold well. Prospecting is a very specialized application. If they are they will certainly cost a lot more than a GM2 or GM3.

If you have never found a nugget and you are trying to use anything else besides a gold machine then you better pack a lunch because it will take you a while.

Bob

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Guest bedrock bob

Ok, thanks. As far as gold machines and the two that were mentioned, how does the Fisher Gold bug 2 or Whites GMT compare?

I noticed that the GB2 operated at a higher frequency 71KHz.

I feel that the GBII is better on very tiny particles but lacks depth in general. Either machine is a good gold getter. For what it is worth I have used a GBII for many years and I plan on trading it in on a GMT. Simply because the area I am in has larger gold deeper. I like the size and portability of the GBII though. I STILL use an old GM2 machine and it will get 'em almost as small as the GBII and deeper on a big piece.

I use 2 detectors that compliment each other... A Minelab SD2100v2 and a GBII... One for the big deep stuff and one for the small stuff. Seems to work peaches. If I was to choose one "best" detector I would say it would be the GMT. That is just my personal opinion though. I dont have experience with a lot of the other machines and they may be better.

The type of machine you are using makes less difference that the way that you use it anyway. If you are swinging ANY good gold machine over gold it will beep. The tough thing is to get it over gold.

Bob

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Thanks, Bob. This seems to be my biggest problem :shrug:

The type of machine you are using makes less difference that the way that you use it anyway. If you are swinging ANY good gold machine over gold it will beep. The tough thing is to get it over gold.

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One other thing, when going to a place with tailings over a larger area does it make any difference where to start? For instance, you might want to start closer to the river that was dredged because those were some of the first piles where they were getting the most gold. In other words, is there any kind of probability that you will have a chance to find gold in some piles because of their position rather than others?

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I think you will have better luck here Folsom Dredge piles

Trying to find out how the dredges worked in these areas, like in the satellite view I quoted... The way I understand it the dredges spit the tailings out the back as they moved along. So did they dredge the spots where the tailings sit, or did they transport and pile the tailings from a dredge working in the river? I always see the tailing piles way away from the river.

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Trying to find out how the dredges worked in these areas, like in the satellite view I quoted... The way I understand it the dredges spit the tailings out the back as they moved along. So did they dredge the spots where the tailings sit, or did they transport and pile the tailings from a dredge working in the river? I always see the tailing piles way away from the river.

A better example are these piles very far from the river

Dredge Piles

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Anyone?

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Hi Bill,

Sorry, there wasn't much reponse as they didn't do much land dredging here in Arizona. What little I do know about the dredges, I learned while up in Alaska. Evidently, any nuggets larger than the three-quarter to one inch screens, just walked right off the end of the dredge. Up there, I found two schools of thought - 1) use a small coil to work around and under all the cobbles/boulders in the tailings. 2) use a huge coil to find targets THROUGH the cobbles, etc.

Ben

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