Prospecting in 2018 - Both good and bad


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Last year was not exactly a banner prospecting year for me. I got out a number of times and did detect some gold and do some dry washing, but it was a year with other problems and obligations. I had two trips to the hospital, one emergency by ambulance, and one for surgery on my heart (not open heart, but the doctor put a probe up through a vein into the inside of my heart). My wife had two stays at the hospital as well. We also spent time moving my elderly mother in law from southern California where she has few remaining relatives, up to a senior home in Reno.

I did get out and find some nice gold in my prospecting, but I made fewer trips and got less gold than I have in many years. I did however, do some serious hard rock prospecting in 2018 and made two deals with mining exploration companies to lease out properties that I own.  One deal was made on a set of claims that I had staked years ago, while the other was on a large set of claims I staked in 2018 (along with two partners which I have in that claim group). We staked over 200 claims in that group and it took some time in getting all of those claims out and posted. The company that leased those claims from us flew a helicopter survey over them and made several exciting finds. The ore bodies likely found there are electrically conductive, and the coil and electronics used to “see” the ore bodies are of a pulse type design – just like the pulse detectors we use, but with a gigantic coil and a bit different electronics.

So I can look back at 2018 in a couple of different ways – for the direct gold I dug, it was a very poor year.  Yet for the total money I made on my prospecting it was a different story.  Counting the money I made on leasing out claims in 2018, if you calculated out the equivalent ounces of gold, that would make it my best year ever, by far. The money was the bullion weight equivalent of several pounds.

So in 2019 I hope to stay out of the hospital, and to take no rides in ambulances. I also pray my wife stays out of the hospital too.  I hope to spend more time in the hills prospecting, and do more detecting and more drywashing as well.  I will stake some more claims and see if I can get those leased out as well, but I really want to do my own prospecting as I enjoy that so much.

For those interested in more details on the story of the claims I staked and how I got them leased off to two different exploration companies, I have a story this month in the ICMJ – called Making a Big Discovery. In the February and March issues I will have a two part article on how these lease contracts are structured and what a small miner might expect in such a deal.

Photos – A few of my detected nuggets; the helicopter surveying my claims.

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