Moore Creek Update 7/21/06


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Hi,

I've been back from the mine for about a week, but been busy playing catch up at work. But finally have a few minutes to post an update on Moore Creek.

A couple trends have developed. First off, we have achieved our goal of trying to attract people more for the highbanking and gold dredging than for the metal detecting. The advantage to this more traditional gold finding methods is that we can pretty much promise gold highbanking and dredging, something we can never really do with metal detecting. And in the long run nugget detecting does tend to deplete out, whereas with the huge yardages at Moore Creek we'd never run out of highbanker/dredging ground.

So that said Week 1 got about 20 ounces of gold, almost all with metal detectors. Week 2 got about 15 ounces of gold, again, almost all with detectors.

By the third week things started to shift, however. First off, we had 8 people instead of 10, and the number of hours the group used detectors dropped off dramatically. Far more time was spent dredging and highbanking... or just hanging out relaxing! 4.7 ounces were found detecting, and 1.6 ounces dredging/highbanking.

By Week 4 we again had 8 people, and probably less than 10 hours detecting total the whole week. The people just were not into it. It takes more hard work than people think and lots of patience to detect for gold. Total for the week was about 4 ounces of gold, all found with dredges and highbankers.

Week 5 was 8 people again, and they got rained on for 4 days to boot. Not counting a .91 ounce nugget I found and gave away there was about 3 ounces found dredging/highbanking.

There are 7 people in the current Week 6 group, and I expect similar results.

So here are some conclusions. First, is the nugget detecting done at Moore Creek? Well, no, I do not think so, but the easy pickings are gone and so a person has to know their detector and work hard at it. Novices are going to have a tough time detecting nuggets at Moore Creek going forward as they simply do not have the expertise and the patience.

But if you know what you are doing... my brother came out with me during the break. I told him about the 2 oz nugget Dennis found across the gut next to the runway. He went over and hit the top of the tallest pile there, where you'd swear everyone must have detected, and pulled a real nice 2.1 oz nugget right off the top of the hill. I'll post a picture next week. It is one of the nicer Moore Creek nuggets. Then he found a 1 ouncer on the same hill lower down! I went down later to the same area slightly upstream, and found a 1/2 ouncer, which I gave to my brother.

The start of week 5 we have a guy named Bob who was only able to visit for two days. So my last morning I took him out and down the creek near the old townsite. We hunted several hours and right when he was ready to quit and head back to camp I pulled a very solid .91 ounce nugget up. Which I gave to him, since he had paid for the whole week but was headed out next day.

So I still feel confident I can go find the nuggets at Moore Creek with a detector, but I would not expect personally to find more than a few nuggets in a week. Novices will be lucky just to find a nugget at all in a weeks detecting.

Kind of the same old deal. Send me to Ganes Creek still after five years of people detecting and I'm pretty sure I'll come home with at least one nugget weighing over an ounce given a week of detecting. And I can honestly say the same thing about Moore Creek. But plenty of people who do nothing but detect will also risk getting skunked at either location.

In some ways Moore Creek is less comparable to Ganes Creek than it is to the GPAA operation at Nome. At Moore Creek we are providing people with dredges or highbankers and they can keep all they find.

So what are they finding? Well, we have enough results in now to get some averages. And on the average people seem to be getting 1-2 pennyweight a day either dredging or highbanking. In other words, from about 1/4 ounce to 1/2 ounce per person on average in the week. It does of course vary with some getting less than a 1/4 oz in the week, and some over an ounce. In some ways this is lower than I expected but one thing I did not take into account is that people simply are not out to kill themselves working! Go figure. They seem to think they also want to relax, take it easy, and enjoy the trip. Physical condition of course also plays a part, and so the 1-2 pennyweight a day figure is real world results for normal people, not die-hard crazed human excavators.

Now, from my perspective as a long-time dredger who has been around a couple pennyweight a day is no big deal. I am having a tough time getting used to the fact that for many this is more and better gold than they have ever found before, and so people are all in all not only happy with the results but most are saying they do want us to open Moore Creek up again next year so they can go back. I've never been to the GPAA Nome operation, but I have heard similar results of less than mind-blowing amounts of gold being found. And yet people are having a good time, finding gold, and going back year after year. So I guess it all depends on your perspective.

So how happy a person is going to a place like Moore Creek depends largely on perpective. Those who have their own mining gear and places to go will no doubt be just as well off doing their own thing. But for people who do not have the gear, have no place in particular to go, do not want to worry about permitting, and maybe get a little guidance to boot, Moore Creek seem to be doing the trick. There are still going to be some great nugget finds for the experienced detectorists but finds by novices will be few and far between.

The dozer repairs took a lot longer and a lot more money than anticipated... which I pretty much anticipated! But it finally got going the beginning of this week, and we now have 3000 feet of airstrip. Not to mention over 1500 feet of newly flattened tailing piles. So probably at least a few nuggets will turn up as a result. The material had ice lenses in it and so will have to settle and dry before it can get trimmed up for use. I figure next summer before we will be able to make full use of the extra length.

Everything now depends on the results of the Full Metal sampling program. Three geologists and a helicopter took a full months worth of stream and sediment samples over a huge area. I hope we will have preliminary results sometime in the next couple weeks. Those results may lead at a minimum to some dozer trenching later this fall. Or possibly even drilling, although I would expect that to be more likely next season than this.

We are holding off on any "pay-to-mine" plans for next season pending the results of the sampling. It is always a long-shot thing, this hardrock prospecting, but a small chance exists that results could come back so positive that our entire operation gets turned on its ear next summer to accomodate a large hardrock exploration program.

But I'm anticipating we will give the pay-to-mine a go next year, although it is likely we will cut back to 6 or maybe even 4 weeks total. Look for an annoucement for 2007 sometime in September.

Other good news is that with all the highbanking and dredging going on it is looking more and more like we have huge amounts of 1/2 dwt per yard material at Moore Creek. That is no big deal dredging or highbanking, but at $600/oz gold it is $15 per yard material and that means maybe it's time to start moving some major yardage!

I plan on heading out to the mine August 6th for about 5 days to put the camp away and so will be around until then.

I just posted a bunch of new pictures and links to the Moore Creek website at http://www.moorecreek.com/moore_creek_photo_album.htm so check it out.

Steve Herschbach

Moore Creek Mining LLC

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Hi,

Just wanted to say thanks to the Arizona guys - Rob, Glenn, Carl, Dennis, Laszlo and Jim for visiting Moore Creek. And of course Gaine from Hawaii! You guys were a real pleasure to have at the mine. Could not ask for a nicer bunch of people. Next time I see any of you I hope it is as a fellow hunter, however. Hosting you was fun, but hunting with you would be a lot more fun!

Steve Herschbach

Moore Creek Mining LLC

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Hi Chris,

It was nice to finally get you up to the mine! You got much better weather than you would have last fall. I'm looking forward to reading your article. And I do think I'll be taking you up on some prospecting somewhere around Reno. I've always wanted to do the desert detecting thing. What is the best time of year weather-wise? As in not too hot for an Alaskan!!

Steve Herschbach

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Hi Steve, the pleasure was all ours. Traveling to Moore's Creek and being in Alaska was the proverbial dream come true for most of us. Hunting together someday would be great and something to look forward to. Thanks for being a great host. Hope to see you soon. Aloha, Gaine

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Steve:

Generally, the best times out there are late September, October and November in the fall, and late March, April and May in the spring. You can go out there in winter if the weather is decent and there is not significant snow on the ground. Summer can be fine too if the temps are cooler than average. We do not have the super hot Arizona temps - the average highs out there even in mid-July is only about 95. Besides, its a dry heat! ;)

Chris

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Steve;

your Moore Creek adventure is a great opportunity and a good deal for anyone that wants to experience Alaska without the worries of organizing all the details of such a trip. Your tents and padded beds are comfy. You have good food. You provide much of the equipment. WE know there is gold for the finding. In fact, a person could probably show up with just their clothes and your operation could furnish the rest of what they need, if they consulted with you first.

If the little story I wrote is of any use to you I could send it to you, or you could link it from your site to Bill's...it would be interesting and exciting to spend a few days prospecting the hills that are not covered in those damn alders...

Best wishes

Fred

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Hi Fred,

Thanks. As a matter of fact I added a link to your story at http://www.moorecreek.com/pay_to_mine.htm in conjunction with updated the site to announce bookings for 2007.

And Chris, I have to tell you your article coming out helped make us decide early to go ahead with 2007. We were planning on waiting until December, but the fact that 2006 has gone so well plus all the interest the article is sure to get made me decide to move ahead for 2007, although on a more limited basis. I have made a separate post with the annoucement.

Steve Herschbach

Moore Creek Mining LLC

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Hey Chris;

that is a most excellent article...the part about going right and the other guy went left is so true, I had a similar experience on my trip... $3000 isn't all that much for all the goodies you get for that price...in my humble opinion.

Fred

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Chris,

Great story, brings back memories even though it was only a month and a half ago. I'm sure it will bring Steve and the group a lot of interest.

Mugsy

Gaine,

You're a celebrity!!!

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