"DEBATE ON BIG GOLD NUGGETS"


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Hello All,

I just got off the phone with a customer that is very interested in heading to Alaska next year since it's so easy to find big gold nuggets. Also the fact that "One Ounce" nuggets aren't really that big over there and kind of common.

Ok, lets back up here a bit. In my opinion, and I know I will be challenged a bit, but hunting tailing piles requires less skill than hunting for undisturbed gold nuggets. Hunting tailings you just stay on the tailings and you have a chance. Also the fact that huge dredge(s) has done all the work for you. All the big gold that was once very deep, probably on bedrock is now laying in these rows of tailings piles fairly close to the surface.

My partner Glenn found over 12 ounces at Moore Creek this year. He said it was the easiest nugget hunting of his life. He stated, "I just hunt hard, stay on the piles, look for fragments of bedrock and dig the trash and gold!" :o He even said he wished Arizona hunting was just as easy.

Not taking any credit for the guys in Alaska that have had good success, but if I dropped you off in the middle of the Bradshaw Mountains and said go find a nugget, many would say, "Where should I start?" I don't know, you tell me ... When you're hunting for undisturbed gold nuggets you have to know where to start. This could be anywhere, the washes, the benches, the hillsides ....

When I find old placer areas here in Arizona where the old-timers drywashed or screened the oversized off, the nuggets (if available) are easy pickings. Kind of like Alaska, but on a much smaller scale.

Finding virgin gold nugget patches is a hell of a lot harder than finding gold in any tailings (wet or dry). Also, one ounce nuggets are very hard to find when you have to find them in the nature ground, undisturbed. However, you probably have the best shot at finding a big nugget in a tailing pile.

Tell me your opinions…

Rob Allison

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Rob,

Of coarse virg patches are harder to find than predug,pre-found tailing material...but its also VERY challenging to find a 88 oz piece of quartz gold...tailings or not.Actually he(T.Howard)just got tired of going up to Gaines without finding THE MONSTER 4 times in a row.Now he saw a oppertunity .......and jumped on it!The sun was still shining on the 4th of July....around MIDNIGHT......mostly everyone was crashed out....except him.He was watching the operators move the dragline chain to the barge dredge.......he wanted to hit that ground underneath all that heavy iron that had been sitin there all those years.He out smarted the rest.......and beat them to it!Congrats again T!NOW ya gotta go out and beat your old record!

BIGFOOT

t.h._88oz_er.bmp

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Hi Rob, talk about a guy that makes it look easy. Bernie P from Alaska recently returned from two weeks at Ganes 26.5 oz richer. He went four days with nothing, then got hot. No argument from me on tails or desert, never been to the desert, Bob(AK)

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Hi Rob,

What's to debate? That it is easier to find gold where it has been found before than to go find it where it has never been found? You'll surely get no arguement from me. That has always been a basic tenet I've tried to impart to people who want to look for gold. Go where it has been found before.

And more to the point, if you want to find big gold nuggets, go where they have been found before!

But lest anyone think it is easy to find gold in tailing piles, take it from me that 10% of the people are finding 90% of the gold. Anyone that has never found gold with a detector before who comes to Alaska looking to find that first nugget is going to be lucky on average to find just a nugget or two in a weeks hunting. Many get skunked entirely. For every person that finds a pound of gold in a week, there are many dozens who find less than an ounce of gold total. I hate to see people get disappointed, and it happens often when expectations are too high. The skill set may be different, but it does take skill and not an inconsiderable amount of luck to hunt tailing piles.

Steve Herschbach

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Yep, not much of a debate; but I'll try, the gold is more easily found in Alaska from what I've observed from the finds this summer, and it's huge! However, at least at Moore Creek, some will say there's rock in those nuggets and some are specimens. We all realize the ounces quoted are for specimens, and I don't fault anyone on it; just trying to debate since that is the title of this topic. Debating myself, I will say even with any quartz attached there still appears to be more actual ounces of gold there than you'll recover in most any other scant square miles on planet earth. (excuse the sentance construction, written quickly). PS I don't want to begin a debate on specific gravity tests for gold, I suppose it wouldn't hurt to add that small disclaimer as a second thought since there is a spat somewhere else in nugget cyberland to that effect.

Rex

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Hi Rex,

Well, one thing for sure. I have sold a lot of Moore Creek "nuggets with rock in them" or "rocks with gold in them" or even "specimens". Whatever you want to call them, I get just as much for the rock as the gold! Check them out at http://www.akmining.com/mine/aknuggets.htm Most of them are on the "sold" page instead of the "for sale" page so I guess I'd better get some more listed soon.

Sometimes a solid gold nugget is worth more than a specimen, and sometimes it is the other way around. But from my own personal sales it has been close enough to not be of huge consequence. If you could ever really pin this sort of thing down it would make more sense to talk about finding a $500 nugget or a $1000 nugget rather than going by weight. But the bottom line is as long I can sell not only the gold but the silver and the rock and still get market price or higher then that's good enough for me! So since the silver and rock is not worthless but does indeed get included in the sale, I think quoting total weights is a valid way to go. I can sure promist you that an ugly rock with gold in it looks a lot prettier when you find it yourself!!

I do get some people question the gold content. As soon as I hear that I advise them to go buy gold coins. They ask why, and I tell them that's the way you go buy gold. You want to buy nuggets and specimens, the price of gold has far less to do with it than the overall look and rarity.

Steve Herschbach

Moore Creek Mining LLC

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I totally agree with you Steve, the nuggets I find, I put a price on them, I think is fare. They either sell or I don't sell them. Some I come out better trading for stuff, that way we each get a good deal. Problem is if I trade. I come out better. I'm married, wife don't detect. But if I sell a nugget, she wants Half the money! Benifit of being married I guess. Has anyone ever tried a minelab Sovine up there? seems that would be the way to go for bigger gold, without having to dig a lot of Iron trash. Mine will pick up a 1 gram nugget fairly deep. So it should be a killer on the big ones you guys have up there. Grubstake

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Steve,

I agree, specimens can go for "mucho dinero" if you will, that means big bucks to the rest of us. I can't stand the thought of most any specimen being dollied down to extract the gold. Especially, when the little stuff is so much more prevalent in nature to begin with.

Rex

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Hello All,

By any means I'm not trying to take any credit from the Alaska nugget hunters. The gold is probably easier to find since it's been processed and stacked for you, but you still have to get over the gold. Great to see someone like Bernie find 2+ pounds of gold at Ganes Creek. Been watching their website and seems like the finds were slow for a while and then Bernie hits big time! I'm sure he's a great hunter and deserves every ounce he found.

I really love Alaska and hope to return again this year. This year was probably my worst, but then again it gives me a reason to return. I think places like Ganes Creek, Moore Creek and a few other operations are your best shot at finding that "One Plus Ounce" gold nugget. I have yet to find a one-ouncer up there in the last three trips, but then again I know my time is coming. It's just a matter of hunting hard and digging everything you can.

I highly encourage anyone that hasn't experienced the Alaska outback to give Moore or Ganes Creek a try. You won't be disappointed and you will find at least some gold (if you go to Moore's). :D

Take care,

Rob Allison

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I suspect finding "wild gold nuggets" and patches is difficult everywhere, and takes a very different set of skills than those required to work a known nugget area. Going where the gold is known to have been found is one of the first pieces of advise we get and that is why those areas get pounded every gold season. I love to find wild nuggets but the time and risk involved usually means I choose an area where I can explore and also work previously worked areas...I think Moore Creek offers the best chance for a novice to find a Big Nugget and that was proven the week I was there and the week after...the biggest pieces were found by guys with little or no detecting experience...the most gold was found by Rich L who knows his machine and worked hard every day. I would encourage anyone to give Moore Creek a try for the chance at multi-oz gold, a great wilderness experience and a very well ran camp...I donot mention Ganes Creek because I have no personal knowledge of the place, also I have no stake in recommending Moore Creek...I may give it a go next year myself...

Fred

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Hello Hammer,

That a good thought, but some believe that they took several foot of bedrock out to make sure. I know when I talked with the owner of Ganes Creek, Doug Clark, he said he was removing up to 3-4 foot of bedrock to make sure they were getting all the gold. Just makes you wonder when they were running those old dredges if they did the same. I would think they would take a foot or so, and that might be enough to get most of the nuggets unless there was a deep crack/crevice.

However, I'm sure some gold is still in the hole.

Take care,

Rob Allison

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I agree that there is definitly skill involved but there is much more luck involved in the AK tailings hunts than anywhere else. I hunted within 20 feet of where Glen found his 3 ouncer a day or two before he found it - but he got his coil over the nugget - not me. I hunted within 20 feet of where Dennis found his 2.5 ouncer - but again, he got his coil over the nugget, not me. Who knows what other nuggets I might have been within 20 feet of? You have to put in the hours and really know the territory, but in the end, you have to be lucky on top of that.

Chris

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Hi Grubstake,

Well, there has been over 300 people visit Ganes Creek. I've heard of darn near everything being tried in the way of brands and models. Including the Explorer, Sovereign, Excalibur, and of course XT units, Eureka Gold, and SD/GP units.

In general the Minelab detectors have not fared well at Ganes Creek. Sure, they have found gold. But Ganes favors macines that are 1. Light in weight 2. Can be moved relatively quickly and 3. Have good iron discrimination. Minelab units tend to be heavier, usually favor a slower sweep speed, and in the case of the SD/GP units simply hit too much junk.

I have not seen a VLF unit yet that will not call some large iron stuff, especially things with holes in the middle like 3" diameter washers, nuts weighing 2 pounds each, or two foot square steel punch plate, as good when buried at depth. I know the Sov is an excellent unit, but I am not aware of it having the ability to 100% reject all iron junk.

Frankly, out of current Minelab units, I think the X-Terra 70 would have the best shot at Ganes Creek. It is too bad the 10.5 inch coil they just released is so heavy. I'd probably go with the 9.5 concentric at Ganes.

Machines that have long proven to be winners at Ganes Creek are the White's MXT, White's Goldmaster/GMT, Fisher Gold Bug 2, and Tesoro Lobo, all Dave Johnson designs. I also like the Troy X-5 (Dave Johnson again) and Tesoro Vaquero designs as they are hot on gold and very light in weight but they have not seen as much use at Ganes.

I'm convinced I could use my Minelab GP 3500 effectively at Ganes. The secret would be in having detected the area before, as I have, and then going to those areas that are relatively trash free... by Ganes standards anyway. If I ever get back there that is my plan, but I'll have an MXT along just in case.

At Moore Creek, just 30 miles away, conditions are completely different. The Minelab SD/GP units reign supreme, followed by the much maligned Garrett Infinium. VLF units have a tough time, but the Fisher Gold Bug 2 and Tesoro Lobo have seen some success, as has the X-Terra 70.

Luck is surely involved in hunting tailing piles. The skill comes in maximizing your luck!

Steve Herschbach

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