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Ore/rock samples that need your expert opinion

Caliche Chris

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My car has been in the shop for five days waiting on the part for it. I'm at a friends waiting for it to be done. To pass the time I took some pictures of what I thought was ore and vein peices. These were peices I had given my friend because they looked cool, so these were just sitting on their porch. Do any of these look like likely candidates for gold?post-26514-0-82493200-1379956748_thumb.jpost-26514-0-31237600-1379956779_thumb.jpost-26514-0-18053000-1379956810_thumb.jpost-26514-0-13208700-1379956836_thumb.jpost-26514-0-61722300-1379956867_thumb.jpost-26514-0-61507600-1379956896_thumb.jpost-26514-0-81825700-1379956921_thumb.jpost-26514-0-07321300-1379956953_thumb.jpost-26514-0-27223200-1379956994_thumb.jpost-26514-0-04090300-1379957025_thumb.jpost-26514-0-99600300-1379957049_thumb.jpost-26514-0-39833400-1379957081_thumb.jpost-26514-0-41289700-1379957104_thumb.jpost-26514-0-51945000-1379957132_thumb.jpost-26514-0-64908600-1379957157_thumb.jpost-26514-0-12255100-1379957185_thumb.jpost-26514-0-76402500-1379957210_thumb.j

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Turqoise in 3 ? looks pretty

# 6 looks promising

# 12 beside that piece of quartz ?

# 15 has a black star on the front side that the top 3 points resemble a sombrero with a face under the hat.... I think you found a small Bandito

They are all pretty rocks

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put the rocks in a triple burlap sack and beat away with a 3 lb sledge should do it. This will keep chips from flying in your face. Not sure how you will get all the gold out of the burlap though. Maybe water will do it. Not sure.

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Any one of those rocks could have some gold or traces of gold. Your are in the right area for

gold ,silver and copper. Good looking rocks!.

The old crush and pan method only works for free milling gold. Without an acid test you may

be throwing away all of the goodies. There is a lot of gold in your area that can only be got by

leaching,or other processes. Some of the richest ore doesn't contain any visable gold.

My wifes family worked a lot of those old mines,from the first one,discovered right up until they

shut down. Be really careful about entering those places. Those fans were used for a purpose,

a lot of those mines were known for bad air and gas.

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Hey thanks for the input guys. Jim, I know there's some stuff that looks like turquoise on there and on a lot of the rocks in the area as well, I'm really not sure what it is. The last two pics are of the same piece and it's one of my favorite ones. I'll have to try that rimshot, I've been looking for a cheap way to smash some. I have half of what I think is an old truck rim. It weighs about 25 lbs and I found it in the middle of these hills and lugged it home for a base to smash some peices. Hey sawmill, that's awesome! I didn't know you were familiar with the area. I didn't realize I could be missing it that easy. I figured most of it would be fine stuff but I didn't know I could potentially miss it without the acid test. I am fascinated by those mines and sometimes I will go in a few feet if the ceiling is solid and there's no broken chunks that have fallen. But I never go in very far or for more than a minute or two. I guess my best bet is to stay out completely but I do try to be really cautious when I'm around them. Is there any easy way to test the air? Is the canary a reliable method?!

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C.C. I believe the green in your samples may be malachite. It is found with copper over here in AZ. There is place about 25 miles from here, that the wash is loaded with malachite and azurite pieces. Previous miners pulled quite a bit of copper and gold from there...so keep your eyes peeled.

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Don't worry about missing gold that is not free milling. You would never find a market for it. You have to be able to ship tons or reduce it yourself. Almost all ore in the district is free milling and readily visible. You are not going to be shipping any ore or starting any leach processes anyhoo.

Use your loupe. If you can't see visible gold in the ore just hunt until you do. There is plenty to be found and that is how you will fill your vial.

When you crush grab samples off the surface it is hit and miss. No use testing anything as you have no idea where it came from. Just crush em and pan em out. If you test from a sorted pile beside a workings and get color just do the whole pile. If you test a vein or contact and get gold you are going to be digging rock for six feet or so.

Certainly save all your non magnetic concentrates. There is a lot of silver in them and you can market it if it is rich enough, completely dry and you have a few dozen pounds.

Marketing gold ore to a smelter is impossible unless you have tons. Even then you are not going to make money. Leaching will cost up front to get a process started and you willl never develop the ore to justify it. If ore in Hillsboro is worth processing you will be able to see it in roughly crushed material. If it does not give up good visible color and a coarse piece or two in a few pounds of ore why bother? There is no use fiddling with gold you can't see when there is so much good ore laying around that you can see gold in??

Get yourself an axle shaft from the junk yard. We will cut the flange off it. I have the base to crush against in my truck and will bring it to you when this hunt is over!

Edited by Bedrock Bob
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My wifes Grandfather was a real miner/prospector,and made some serious money doing it.

He checked a piece of ground that had been prospected by the eyeball,loupe types. They

crushed and panned with no luck and walked away,because there was no visable gold.

He started testing the float ,with an acid test,and it showed gold. He followed the float and

the tests kept getting better,right up to an outcrop. The outcrop showed no visable gold ,but

his chemical tests kept getting better. His tests lead him into a high grade free milling vein,

several feet into the outcrop. He lived pretty darn good off that vein for quite some time,then

sold just that one claim for over $40,000.00 during the 1930,s. He paid for two ranches with

that little rock pile ,that no one else bothered to do a real test on. This was not too far from

where you are working. Don't bother looking for his claim. During the 1940's after the

government shut down the gold mining,the new owner let the claim go back without patenting

it. Dear old Grandpa refiled it and patented the land. It is now private ground and part of the

family ranch. It is currently leased to a mining company. Yeah they have a leach plant and

crusher! That old rock pile just keeps on giving.

There is still lots of gold that the eyeball guys missed. Also if you do locate a high grade

lode of non visable gold,you don't need to fool with a smelter. Stake it and sell it to some

one that knows how to mine. A crusher and leach plant is not a big deal to a real miner. I

would rather use a few simple tests and find the source,than work for a week digging holes

for a quarter ounce of placer crumbs.

A good prospector uses his head,and every means that is available to locate a real paying

operation. Remember that the crush and pan ,eyeball thing has been used forever,and lots

of good ground has been missed too. It still works for the free milling stuff, but it is just one

tool . I can test a rock in just a matter of minutes,and find everything that an assayer can. It

is easy,cheap,and you don't have to wonder what you missed.

The old miners at Cripple Creek were throwing some of the most high grade ore on the planet,

until one fellow decided to actually test it.

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Dave, I looked up some pics of malachite and azurite and I think you are correct. Both of those are really neat looking minerals and the azurite is really wild, some of those dark,vivid blue azurite pieces are gorgeous! I know a spot next to a dirt road out there where there is a big pile of stuff that has both malachite and azurite all over it. Hey Bob, I hope your having a blast up there, can't wait to hear about it! Man I am still waiting on my car.......now he's saying it will be ready today. I should be able to get out tomorrow and grab a few samples and swing the detector. It's good to hear that free milling gold is the rule rather than the exception out here and I will keep that loupe handy and keep hunting! Sawmill, that is fascinating, I love hearing about the old timers and how they did stuff. Sounds like your wife's grand dad did real well and I love hearing mining success stories! I hope to be a character in one myself someday. I would like to learn how to do the acid test for sure, it sounds like it will help me better understand some of these amazing rocks that are such a mystery to me.

Thanks again for the replies everyone. Being able to get advice from guys who've been there and done it is so great.

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Going to Hillsboro and looking for gold you can't see is like going to a gentleman's club and staring at the dancer with breasts you can't see.

Just my humble opinion.

No one is going to the district and developing ANY vein for very obvious reasons. The best you can do is learn what ore looks like and go home with some gold for your hard work. It makes no sense to look for ore that needs leaching if there is no possibility of ever producing the volume to justify that. No doubt there are thousands of tons of that type of ore stacked in those mines that run several ounces per ton associated with sulphide. They left it in the hole and used it for blocking because it simply was not worth dressing it.

It is cool to know gold comes like that but is of little importance to a prospector. Since no one can develop those veins the best you can expect is to learn to recognize good float and hematite gossan ore and recover what you can with simple methods. There is zero possibility of seeing any profit from low grade ore for the prospector. Anyone familiar with the area acknowledges this.

Edited by Bedrock Bob
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Bob, that's really all I'm looking for is a place where I can see some decent color on a regular basis. I'm always interested in learning about different methods and potentially adding another tool to my arsenal but I really like being able to bring home color with primitive methods. I love working outdoors and even though it's hard work, I love swinging that pick and shovel. It's the best exercise I've ever done and I'm proud of every hole I've dug no matter what it produced. I'm confident the first time I get to go out there with you I'll come home with some hard rock gold! I'm always open to new methods too, any thing that will give me a better shot at getting gold I'm all for. But, my system is I have to have gold to make money, I don't have any money to spend to make gold. Does that make sense? At this stage all I've got is my hands and some rudimentary tools. I've got to use what I've got and get a leg up before I get too complicated.

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Obviously you should look in known gold districts,past producers that that threw free gold and high grade ore if there was such a spot where your prospecting.Look into getting state mining reports from public.university libraries old U.S. mining Bureau and geological reports.,historical associations etc.Talk with real old timers.Access to properties and endless sampling are keys to getting the yellow.Hand tools work just fine with the know how and lots of grit and no quit on your part.I can P.M. you a sampling paper.For some reason I can never post links on this site.

Edited by David Wiseman
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Look into getting state mining reports from public university libraries old U.S. mining Bureau and geological reports.,historical associations etc.

Here’s a research site for Arizona


About the AZGS Document Repository

The Arizona Geological Survey (AZGS) Document Repository serves the Arizona public, mining and aggregate industry, environmental groups, water managers, and local, state and federal government by providing geologic information on the nature and geologic setting of Arizona.

This repository comprises a suite of 15 collections hosting geologic bulletins, reports and maps published by the Arizona Geological Survey and its predecessor agencies: Arizona Bureau of Geology and Mineral Technology (1977-1988), Arizona Bureau of Mines (1915-1977), and The University of Arizona Bureau of Mines (1893-1915).

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I will bring you lots of data but Dave is correct, you need to research. For New Mexico your best resource is the New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources. Hit the website and order Bulletin Ten. It is the best first step into the ore in Sierra Co.

The New Mexico Tech in Soccorro is home base for all of this info. You will even get one free assay per year and the best darn bunch of mining experts in the west.

Abe Guntlier is the guy that will tell you all about the chemistry and metallurgy of an ore and what processes are appropriate to get your goodies. This fellow is a jewel and has a head on him I am telling you...

Virginia Mcelmore has been to every single outcrop in this state (no kidding!). She is one of the most published geologist in the west. She knows her stuff big time. You can answer every question you could ask by reading her papers on the area. She writes science in laymans terms and her work is an education. You can easily order any paper you need for just a few bucks. If you have a burning intelligent question that her papers do not address she is available by phone or email. She is an invaluable source.

And those real miners in the district...whoever they may be...

You will be hard pressed to talk to anyone who has found more lode gold than Will. And George (Wishbone) is a consumate metal detectorist that has found a double handfull of ounce plus sized gold there. His input is very valuable if you can get it...I hope you meet him someday. He has really put in the hours and years out there and knows his stuff. Chet Carrerra has found more gold than us all and is the last of the old timers along with Embree Hale (the Ascended Master).

George Lotspeitch is the supreme being out there and is a tough player. His grandfather was one of the originals and owned Slapjack and the Luxenboug. He claimed and patented a huge swath of prime placer and hardrock interests. He has had huge mining interests all over the globe. He has leased the Copper Flat Porphyry deposit and the associated workings to an outfit trying to reopen the open pit mine. This makes the third time in 20 years he has attemted to dig it all up.

So you need to meet this guy too. He is in town often and eats dinner with a good friend of mine. Maybe I can get an invitation and he can spin a few stories.

There are a. few other folks that have good experience at both hard rock and placer in the area. Most are long gone but some come around once in a while. Funny how there were hundreds of prospectors digging all over. when gold was $250 an ounce and the S BAR X. saloon was still open. Now gold is five times that high but they closed the bar. Now there are just a few prospectors left.

Man that place is like a second home to me. Almost thirty years of digging up the canyons and beating a chisel against that rock. After all those years the people that you meet are the key to success. Often they become way more precious than the gold.

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Both Dave's, thanks for the info. I've found a lot of good info searching for old geological reports for my area. Bob, thanks for the list of serious players in the area. I make it a point to talk with anyone I see who is also prospecting and I will have my ears open for any of those names in case I run into them. I'd love to meet any of them and learn more about the area. I look forward to checking out some different gold areas in other states, but I swear you could spend a lifetime between Hillsboro and caballos and not even scratch the surface. Sierra county is a great place for a prospector.

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  • 4 weeks later...

out of curiosity what would you use to smash up material that is clumpy. Besides the obvious of hitting it with my sledge....I'm thinking maybe finding something like a piece of an ibeam to pu the small clods on then break them up to put in my bucket...

Lots of the dirt i dig is almost a sandstone clump....

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There are many way to crush small rock samples.

A big hammer is the hardest way to make dust out of rock. but it works, a cast iron mortar and pestle works for small rocks.

No matter which way you choose, use gloves, safety glasses and a dust mask.

A little easier than a hammer or mortar and pestle is too build yourself one of these, or you can buy one already for use on Ebay (Sore Thumb Rock Crusher) and at many other prospecting supplies stores/websites, I have used a fence post driver and a piece of an old truck axle as the ram for a similar rock crusher.


Or even an easier route is too use a bushing bit in a rotary hammer drill as in this video, I have also seen a guy that a made similar bit to use in an air hammer.

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I can make a large gold pan full of -20 mesh sand in 8 hours with a one quart mortar and pestle, so I'd really think of getting something mechanical like a crazy crusher or a gas powered Keene Rock Crusher.

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