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Collected With Your Dirty Hands

Posted by Matt Courville  
Jon Aurich July 12, 2018 09:06PM
Here is what Goldfield Specimens bring in value. These are less than three ounce specimens with maybe $100 of Gold value in them. But they are rare.

Jon Aurich July 12, 2018 09:07PM
Florence Mine.

Jon Aurich July 12, 2018 09:27PM
With the specimen values at 17 and 46 times it’s value in Gold, about a half ton of it will do me fine !!
David K. Joyce July 12, 2018 09:52PM
Sure would be nice if you could give a dimension when posting pics. Hard to know if they are 15mm or 15cm!
Best, David K. Joyce
Bob Harman July 12, 2018 09:58PM
JON, As I have previously noted......really interesting and nice finds and with potential nice rewards.

Like DAVID K J, I also have a question. Most of your postings show slabbed examples. How are these being found? Are they from differing dump sites and then slabbed, slabbed from the same or adjacent boulders, or nearby areas in the mine itself or ????? CHEERS......BOB
Jon Aurich July 12, 2018 10:19PM
David, what would really be nice to know, is how the analysis went on those specimens that I sent you. Jon.
Alfredo Petrov July 12, 2018 10:21PM
"High grade" ore is wonderful stuff for mineral collectors and museums, but of little interest to modern mining companies because of the fact already mentioned, the typically small size of the orebodies. And add to that the problems like irregular distribution, complex chemistry, safety issues of working where there is already a rabbit warren of poorly mapped underground diggings, etc.
David K. Joyce July 12, 2018 10:22PM
Jon, No results yet. I'll let you know as soon as I receive them.
David K. joyce
Jon Aurich July 12, 2018 10:35PM
Alfredo, High Grade Ore is great for me. I don’t understand why people bring up commercial value of the mine, I’m not here to sell it or try to promote it, only as a Mine of historic value. Although, I’m sure that a Mining Company would love to uncover another small mine like the Florence, one that produced over 650 million dollars in today’s prices !! Not a bad haul for a small Mine........
David K. Joyce July 12, 2018 10:36PM
ANY mining company LOVES high grade if there is enough of it to mine profitably. They will find a way to mine it safely and efficiently. I have had many prospectors come to me (in my old mining role), wild-eyed with a piece of high grade. I just ask them how many tons of it are there? What is the potential for tonnage? There are many veins that have a glob of gold here or there that, as grab samples, are "high grade". When the same sample taken in context of the entire vein or veins, the average grade is often low grade or no-grade. Many mining companies have undertaken drill programs on the basis of high grade gold samples only to find out that there are not enough tons to mine profitably. The gold is there, just not profitable enough quantity to undetake the permitting, environmental analyses, bulk analyses, engineering, financing and legal costs. There are more factors but you get the idea.

Goldcorp found one of the highest grade orebodies ever found 20 or so years ago. Many millions of troy ounces in a relatively small volume of an orebody. They started mining at average head grades of 2.5 oz/tonne or so. Locally, the ore ran a thousand ounces Au per ton. That high grade orebody resulted in the grounding for one of the largest gold mining companies in the world.

Don't get me wrong! I love high grade gold and silver samples, especially from historic mining camps. They are usually relics though and not representative of value of the deposits today.
David K. Joyce
Best, David K Joyce
Jon Aurich July 12, 2018 10:46PM
Mr. Harman, the ore is slabbed to show maximum features of the ore. These specimens are found in different areas of many piles. The complex distribution of the Gold and Sulphides is interesting to me, Gold can be found in the Famatinite alone or just with the Quartz, it can be just associated with the Bismuthinite, It could Just be in combination with Goldfieldite. It could be in one Sulphide or all of them together. The ore is in many different associations, and that is only the Florence Property, there are many more different associations of the ores in the other rich mines of this district.
Jon Aurich July 12, 2018 10:54PM
Goldfield was a great mining district. It may still hold the record for the highest average of Gold production, 7.5 million tons of ore with an average value over one half ounce per ton. 97% of that value came from an area of less than 200 acres in size. This Epithermal deposit had an overall maximum depth of 500 feet.
Alfredo Petrov July 12, 2018 11:28PM
Yes, David, I'm sure Sumitomo is happy to have the Hishikari deposit, and I'm sure any mining company would indeed love a giant high-grade deposit, but how often do they find one? Most of the time their accountants would rather they worked a more large-scale low-grade deposit with a predictable cash flow than a small irregular deposit. And it's very lucky for we collectors that the big corporations don't take much interest in the small high-grade deposits, otherwise all our nice specimens would've been crushed before we could get our hands on them. I'm in no way disparaging the specimens, just thankful that no big mining corporation would be interested in them.
David K. Joyce July 12, 2018 11:31PM
Jon, you're saying that there were 3.75 million ounces or so mined there? Didn't realize it was that large of a producer.
David K Joyce
David K. Joyce July 12, 2018 11:37PM
By my figuring, there seemed to be one larger, high grade Au deposit found about every 10 years or so SOMEwhere. Goldstrike, Red Lake, Fruta del Norte. Anyway, mining companies explore and whatever they find, they find. If it is not a big enough deposit for the bigger companies, they sell it off to the mid-tier or smaller mining companies. It is tough to make a mine happen these days no matter what size of deposit or company!
David K Joyce
Jon Aurich July 12, 2018 11:43PM
4.5 million ounces....
Jon Aurich July 12, 2018 11:45PM
Alfredo, much easier when rich, small and close to the surface..
David K. Joyce July 13, 2018 12:04AM
That is pretty cool!
Jon Aurich July 13, 2018 12:19AM
It was quite a place. Some of the ore ran over 2,800 OT !! And a lot of it was 20-60-120 OT ore !!! I just like the history of that district and it should be celebrated !!
Jon Aurich July 13, 2018 12:26AM
It’s amazing to think that the little (non commercial) area could produce 5.4 Billion Dollars at today’s prices !!$$$
Paul Brandes July 13, 2018 12:36AM
I will have to introduce my wife to this thread, who is an avid Goldfield historian and wrote the description for the Goldfield page here on Mindat (https://www.mindat.org/loc-3894.html).

I wonder if there shouldn't be a new, separate thread solely on Goldfield since so many folks seem to be interested in this fascinating place...
David K. Joyce July 13, 2018 12:42AM
Goldfields was a real mining camp with "jewelry stopes" by the sounds of it. On average though it is not what I would call a "high grade" operation, other than the high grade zones. To operate an underground mine you need a few million tons of 0.35-0.45 oz/ton to be modestly profitable, these days. We used to say 0.5 oz/ton was a good grade for an underground mining operation. The "high grade" underground mines that Alfredo and I have been speaking have an average grade measured in ounces per ton. Red Lake was 2.5 oz/ton in the first decade or so. The Hishikari underground mine is about 1.3 oz per ton and has been running at that for many years. Goldfields averaged 0.6 troy ounces per ton. That is "good" average grade ore. No doubt there were high grade pockets/stopes/zones in it. Most mines have those. Open pit mines are a different story and can be profitable at 1-2gm per ton (0.06 oz per ton!) with very high tonnages and economy of scale (60-100,000tons per day operation). There are lots of variables.
Bottom line is, Jon, that the Goldfields district sounds like a good grade mining area with some nice, really high grade zones. Either that or, if 7.5 million tons were mined, I'm missing something.
Keep finding that high grade!
David K. Joyce
Jon Aurich July 13, 2018 01:17AM
7.5 million tons = 5.4 Billion, nothing to miss there ...... also, The Goldfield Consolidated Mines Company stated that over one million dollars alone was stolen (High Graded) at the Mohawk Mine in 1907, and 1.5 million was estimated stolen at the Florence, Red Top, Jumbo and January Mines, that would total at around 125,000 ounces that were stolen, with a value of today at about 170 million dollars !!!!! A lot of Gold...
Jon Aurich July 13, 2018 02:18AM
Goldfield Nevada. Another great find. A High Grade Gold Specimen from the famous Rustler #2 and Florence Mines. This specimens association with Sulphides and Native Gold are different from the last specimens that were posted. Fantastic ore. 1” x 1” x 1/4”.....

Matt Courville July 14, 2018 11:03PM
Jon, perhaps you could post nice photos of the mine and context of where you are finding these - with all of the dirt/mud as you have mentioned previously. I'm confident others will appreciate them;)
Jon Aurich July 14, 2018 11:41PM
Hello Matt, I can post photos of the mines and the colors of the waste piles on where some of the specimens are coming from. Backfills from underground are another area. I have to limit exact locations of certain piles as people will tend to Trespass without asking permission to enter and dig holes in the piles. I myself, do not even dig the piles, only surface harvesting, as I want to keep the dumps in original condition.....
Jon Aurich July 15, 2018 12:03AM
. The historic Florence Mine as it stands today. The huge waste piles are still intact with all the original buildings and equipment..
Jon Aurich July 15, 2018 12:27AM
. The famous Rustler #2 Mine of the Florence group of Mines. As shown Today. All of the original Lease Dumps are still intact.
Jon Aurich July 15, 2018 12:31AM
. Goldfield Nevada. Sulphide Rich ore like Alunite and Famatinite are shown in the large piles.
Jon Aurich July 15, 2018 12:33AM
Sorry about the photos being sideways, when you click on them, they will be correct. I put them on correctly.....
Jon Aurich July 15, 2018 12:35AM
. Sulphide ore in the piles.
Jon Aurich July 15, 2018 12:39AM
. Huge waste piles. 60 feet in height..
Keith Wood July 15, 2018 01:45AM

Underground mining is getting head grades down to as low as 0.15 ounce per ton range these days using modern mining methods and open stope methods. However, this is in bulk tonnage deposits like Carlin deposits. Vein mines generally still need higher grades.

The mines at Goldfield were very high grade, and the district produced about 4 million ounces. ANY company would be delighted to find such a deposit, as higher grades mean lower costs per ounce.

Paul Brandes July 15, 2018 02:27AM
Doesn't seem like much has changed since the last time we were out there a couple years ago. I'm hoping to get back out that way around the first of the year....
Jon Aurich July 15, 2018 06:28AM
Hi Keith, I was hoping that others like you would realize the wealth that was generated from this district. Over 4.5 million ounces were recovered , but even more was produced but stolen through High Grading, estimates range well over 125,000 ounces were stolen during the boom era. Others on this thread have said that the ore was hard to recover the Gold, the right Mill was built and its recovery was between 94% - 96%, a pretty high yield I think...
Jon Aurich July 15, 2018 06:51AM
Paul, the only thing that has changed is the the buildings of the Rustler #2 have been totally restored.......
Jon Aurich July 15, 2018 06:55AM
Goldfield Nevada. Florence Mine waste piles, with a depth of about 60 feet.

Jon Aurich July 17, 2018 03:24AM
. Goldfield Nevada. This High Grade Epithermal Gold Specimen is from the famous Rustler #2 and Florence Mines. The Native Gold is associated with Famatinite, Cryptocrystalline Quartz, Bismuthinite and Quartz. The specimen also contains Dacite Alunite and Milltown Andesite. Found on July 15th, 2018. 5/8” x 5/8” x 3/16”..

Chris Rayburn July 17, 2018 01:46PM
I took a rare summer trip to New Mexico last weekend (usually a winter destination for me) and collected at the Blanchard Mine in Socorro County. We chose an outcrop of silicified limestone just outside the main adits. After a half-hour of sledge and chisel work, I opened a crack and was able to lift a large slab off of the top of the outcrop. Underneath was a wide seam of fluorite and baryte with numerous vugs. Bingo! We recovered dozens of nice fluorite plates, baryte clusters and combos. Photos show:
IMG_1550: The fluorite/baryte seam, just after I uncovered it
IMG_1551: The underside of the slab that covered the seam
IMG_1553: Freshly dug fluorite and barite waiting to be wrapped. The large baryte on the lower left is roughly 15 cm long.

Chris Rayburn July 17, 2018 01:47PM
One more for posterity. My friend Rex works on extracting specimens while yours truly strikes a pose.

Greg Simmons July 18, 2018 06:33PM
Matt Courville July 19, 2018 12:54PM
Great shots Chris! I love the context of collecting with the specimens. For all that is good with museums, you don't often get these real-life photos with the 99.9% of what can be actually collected at a locality. I should start a 'Collecting with your Injured Hands' thread with all of the collecting issues people experience for kicks - just got a bizzare spider bite out collecting that never hurt, but made a quarter-sized bruise with a bump at the centre on my forearm the next day....;)
Chris Rayburn July 19, 2018 01:14PM
Thanks Matt. As others have noted, it can be very hard to pause and take photos when you're in the middle of a good find. I don't always manage to, but it's fun to share with others when I do.

If you zoom in on the photo of the seam above, you'll see spider webs. Each of the vugs was thick with web...obviously there was an opening that allowed spiders in. It's black widow country, and I was half expecting to roust a nest of them, but the webs were all abandoned. Keeps you on your toes!
Andrew Debnam July 19, 2018 01:22PM
I agree with Matt Chris. Nice to see some variety in posts as well.
Jon Aurich July 19, 2018 07:50PM
. Goldfield Nevada. My 11 year old son found a nice specimen of High Grade Epithermal Gold ore at the Florence Mine. James has found many specimens at the Rustler #2 and Florence Mines. He also gives tours of these Mines... Found on July 19th, 2018.
Jon Aurich July 19, 2018 07:55PM

. Goldfield Nevada. The Gold specimen that James found today at the Rustler #2 and Florence Mines. Also, a look at it through a 10x lense. 1 1/2” x 1 1/2” x 1 1/4”.
Jon Aurich July 19, 2018 08:00PM
. Goldfield Nevada. James is shown with the famous Little Florence Lease shaft. In the background is the Rustler #2 Mine. He is not far from where he found a nice Gold specimen on July 19th, 2018. James will be having his Mine tours at Goldfield Days on August 3-5, 2018.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/19/2018 08:06PM by Jon Aurich.
Paul Brandes July 21, 2018 03:58AM
Good stuff Chris!

It has been many years since I was at Blanchard, but I remember having an encounter with said Black Widow spider in one of those cracks. Had I not seen it when I did, I surely would have felt her bite! I'm currently in the Keweenaw for over 3 weeks so while collecting, I'll try to get some "action" shots to post...
Jon Aurich July 21, 2018 04:55AM
. Goldfield Nevada. Another great High Grade Gold Specimen found on July 20th, 2018 at the famous Rustler #2 and Florence Mines. 1 1/4 x 1 x 1/4”.. Thanks for the PMs of my son doing the tours of the Mines, he thanks you all !!
Chris Rayburn July 21, 2018 12:21PM
Hi Paul--my turn to be jealous. Three weeks in Keweenaw! I look forward to seeing your action shots and finds.
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