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View Full Version : Whats Up With The Owners of Gold Mines

08-01-2012, 08:54 AM
I am new to gold mining and I have become painfully aware of the fact that greedy people are taking advantage of the DNR sytem for staking claims. Why do these guys stake dozens of claims, some well in to their retirement years, or to fat to bend over, and absolutely never work the claims as required by DNR, and then absolutely refuse to let anyone mine their claims for a percentage. I just dont get it. Most of the claims currently staked will never even have 5% (high estimate) mined even in their life times or ten life times. If it ever comes to vote making it illegal to stake claims and then sell them to the public I will vote in favor of DNR regulations making it illegal. The current requirement to keep a claim is way under-regulated. If you are going to stake a claim, do It for gold mining and not a weekend cabin resort to pass on to the grand kids.:o

08-01-2012, 09:34 AM
If it ever comes to vote making it illegal to stake claims and then sell them to the public I will vote in favor of DNR regulations making it illegal. :o

Here, here. I would too.
California claim holders seeing a growing problem with e-bay claim sellers. They file a paper claim, sometimes with no regard for land status or active claims, and turn around and the sell it to unsuspecting on, of all places, e-bay. One company is notorious, sun valley or something, they are in the midwest and have run this scam for years.

08-01-2012, 10:18 AM
I agree with you on this one!! Off topic but hows your 6" dredge workin for you? Ive ran mine probably 30hrs. this month.

08-01-2012, 10:32 AM
That is the reason I stated "people are 100 years too late" to venture to the gold areas and make a living ... Like so many other things in life, it becomes, Who you know not always What you know .. Life just isn't very Fair is it ??? What isn't already claimed would be so costly to develop, the numbers just wouldn't pan out, unless of course you have millions to play with ... I think the state should recognize this problem , take some of the "Good" gold areas left "inaccessible" or "under closure" and create new areas feasible for small mom/pop and recreational miners only.... They could "lean" on existing claimants to "develop or loose", That is exactly what is /has taken place with Point Thompson oil-field, the oil companies were just "sitting" on those leases... Sure would be better for the economy as I see it .....

08-01-2012, 10:58 AM
"Someone" (?? Brian-Steve ?? ) really needs to "step-up" and advocate for the small guy in gaining access to those "Lands".... That being said , It takes Money / Time / and of course the Masses (people) behind a "Effort" like That ... It is "Possible" to make a "Difference", if only people are willing to "Commit" and "Assemble"... That is the "Beauty" of our Nation .... The "First Step" would be joining your local "AMA Chapter" ....

08-01-2012, 11:42 AM
Steve are you >>> Hearing <<< your Calling ?? In my opinion, You are the "Best Man" for the Task ... You have the "Political Clout" , The "Masses" behind you , the "Funds" (you could "write it off" as a business expense) , with your Store you stand to get the most "Financial Gain" in selling the Mining Products , most importantly , the "Desire" to help the average guy ...... What a great "Legacy" you could leave on Earth and in the Alaska Mining History books ....... No better Feeling than to have helped your fellow Man ....

08-02-2012, 08:39 AM
I think the biggest contradition going on in our State is the Pebble mine. Canada has outlawed recreational suction dredging from what I understand, but yet they can come to our state and do just the opposite at Pebble mine. That is a huge contradiction. I am for Pebble mine but against Canada being the owner.

08-02-2012, 08:42 AM
I agree with you on this one!! Off topic but hows your 6" dredge workin for you? Ive ran mine probably 30hrs. this month.

Probably netted a quarter ounce. Pretty pathetic. I have been working the rec areas only on Sundays. Need a better place and more time.

Steve Herschbach
08-02-2012, 11:48 AM
Hi Guys,

Thanks for offering me an opportunity to "step up" but my life is full enough these days.

08-02-2012, 12:34 PM
Steve, Last night I was going through some older threads and I read one where you in 2010 were involved in 6 or more mining operations and I thought to myself "No way can you do anymore than you are already doing" .... I can't Imagine how you are even holding down all that you are already involved in .. You must have a lot of confidence in the people you are surrounded by.. I know quite a few business owners in Hawaii and Alaska , "Most" can only keep up with 1 venture .. I really hope your stress levels are at a minimum considering all that you are responsible for ... Do you believe it could be a possibility to coerce the state to release some of the "Good" lands to be developed by "Mom and Pop" type operations ?? Or is big business just to powerful to let in the small guy ?? Thanks for taking the time to read and respond to our posts on the forum, nice to know your taking the time to be a part .....

Brian Berkhahn
08-02-2012, 02:11 PM
Do you believe it could be a possibility to coerce the state to release some of the "Good" lands to be developed by "Mom and Pop" type operations ?? Or is big business just to powerful to let in the small guy ??

You can thank the Obama administration and the rest of the Sierra Club for locking up the "Good" land. The absolute best land is locked up in State Parks. When I went back to DC for the AMA I brought up the question of when they'll allow mining in State Parks and just got laughed at. There's alot of ground out there waiting to be staked.. it may take a helicopter or boat to get to but it's there.

I have to admit asking Steve to "step up" is pretty hilarious. Please don't take this the wrong way but you must be new. Steve Herschbach has done so much for so many years to help out in the small scale mining community it's not even funny. Steve is the last person that needs to step up.. he's already there. It's all the other miners out that just piss and moan about everything but don't ever want to do anything when given the chance that need to step up. Just a week ago was the ending for comments on the Small Scale Suction dredging permit for DEC, how many people pissed and moaned about the regulations but didn't even take time to write a single comment.. I can easily find out the handful of people who took the time. I took it one step further and invited the DEC to my claims to show them how stupid some of the regulations are and they took me up on it and ended up agreeing with me. I'm not expecting people to take things to that extreme but they seriously need to step up or shut up.. yelling at walls doesn't do you any good, contact your senators or congressman.

Sorry.. I'll get off my soapbox now. Please don't take this directed at you, you probably didn't know.. it just pushed one of my buttons. :-)

Bill Bohan
08-02-2012, 02:37 PM
Hey Brian,
Back in town for about a week. Got alot of neat rocks but gold to this date is marginal. We hit a mineralized quartz vein trend on the last two dives though. I have located a grey slate marker unit between the qtz. vein and mineralized zone. We will be pulling up slate and dredging the Au bearing mineralized zone beneath it. Remember I told you about my slate problem? What a twist of fate that the gold would be beneath the slate. Hopefully the trend will continue and my divers can high grade a trench out along the vein. Ps. We are running out of marine tex for the mitts for the newby divers. I had one diver blow out a set of mitts in his first 45 min. dive.

Bill Bohan
08-02-2012, 02:47 PM
Crazy lil Guitarman,

Do not step on my blue suede shoes.

08-02-2012, 04:19 PM
I must "ADMIT" when I used the phrase "step-up" , I knew That wasn't the correct use of words when directed towards Steve ("Sorry" for that).... I feel like you Brian, there are so many people who just "Whine" to others or "Wish" for something to happen, but show "0" initiative to resolving the problem at-hand . I do "RESPECT" all that Steve and Brian are "Doing" and "Have Done" for the small /rec. miner ;" I THANK YOU BOTH FOR THAT"... It is "Time" the rest of us should follow suit or our opportunities/rights will become fewer, if not nonexistent , just look at Cali. for example .. Alaska is typically 3 years behind in almost all trends .. The day will come SOON if we don't "Assemble", just to Protect what we already have .. I want to see it move in the direction for the Small miner to have "More" opportunity to Succeed , but, with out the "Masses" Contributing (TIME and MONEY) to the Effort I know there is "NO CHANCE" .. I really hope that ALL of you reading this post will take this to Heart and do "Something" even if your "TIRED" , "BUSY" , or it just seems "Uncomfortable" ... IT would make your Fathers and Grandfathers "Proud" , Your Children as well .... The Strongest/Tuffest "Men" I have met in my 46 yrs on Earth were "ALASKANS".... I believe all of you have what it takes to make a Difference so "STEP-UP" and let's Get some "CHANGES" made .. STEVE / BRIAN , "WHAT CAN WE DO" at this point to make things Better for the Small Miner ??? I would even call in favors from my friends' parents I grew up with , One was the Pres. of Doyon years ago, I know he was instrumental in making many things happen for the Indians..... Please let us "Know" how we can "HELP" Each-Other in Pursuing our Dreams and way of Life......Wes

08-02-2012, 04:34 PM
BILL , it sounds to me like you are doing everything possible (given your cash-flow) to develop your Claims , I respect you for that ... I hope for you , "The Best"..... Wes

Steve Herschbach
08-02-2012, 05:06 PM
Hi Wes,

Join the mining organization of your choice (in Alaska that is the Alaska Miners Association), go to meetings, get educated, and donate your time and money. Get involved!

08-02-2012, 07:16 PM
I would like to share with all of you a little about myself and the fulfillment you get out of donating your time and money to a worthy cause ... In 2001 I opened a very prospering Tile and Marble business in Maui, I sold and Installed products for some of the very affluent from all over the country, I did stars homes like Jim Neighbors, Kelsi Grammer, Willie Nelson, Robin Leech, The list goes on to the point of Manele Bay Resort on the Island of Lanai (where Bill Gates Married).. I made a few bucks up to the point of 2007, the economy crashed in Hawaii, My store not far behind as I had invested most profits into inventory ... Moved to Oahu and ran a friends construction Co. dealing with insurance losses, He and his partner quit seeing eye to eye and decided to dissolve . For this last year I have been donating all of my time to a non-profit christian organization called "SURFING THE NATIONS", you should check them out on line.. They do all kinds of Humanitarian efforts both locally and Internationally. Those of you with teen-agers and young adults I strongly recommend checking out the program .... I have never been a part of anything that has felt as fulfilling as donating myself completely to the young people of the next generation .. I haven't earned 1 dollar for the last year and I feel better than the best years in business ..... The point I want to make is Donating your time for yourself and fellow miner by being active in mining organizations to keep the mining spirit alive would not only be fulfilling, but could be rewarding(monetarily) a great combination............ >>>>"Do it" <<<< I'll guarantee you won't regret it .... Wes

Brian Berkhahn
08-02-2012, 09:37 PM
Hi Wes,

Join the mining organization of your choice (in Alaska that is the Alaska Miners Association), go to meetings, get educated, and donate your time and money. Get involved!

Once again excellent advice.

A friend of mine that I work with at AMDS (when I work there) tried to pull a trick on me one day just to see if he could piss me off.. after a little bit he found he couldn't and asked me.. Brian, after all these years I've never seen you get upset about anything. I told him that I thought it was stupid to scream and yell about something that I can't control BUT when it comes to mining I get up on my soapbox real fast so I appologize if I "lost my cool". The advice Steve offered is the best I can think of. When it comes to mining.. my passion.. I'll be the first to admit that the filter between my brain and mouth fails to work. Good thing I have friends like Steve and my co-chairman Bob Hoekzema to pull me down off my soap box when I get to riled up. Our Small Scale Mining meetings at the AMA will start back up in the fall after everyone is done mining but if you'd like to join give Megan a call at 563-9229 or stop by and see her at the office.

Hey Bill.. great for you! Glad to hear you are finally hitting the pay. Not sure what your using to coat your mitts but the Fast Cure 5200 (in the RED package) works the best. Back when I used to use neoprene mitts it would take me about 3 months to work through it but I know how hard that shale is on anything. That slate is a killer on hose.. might want to let Steve know to preorder you a 20ft. section :-). Will be looking forward to your pics. By the way, you need to get Allan away from all that working he's doing and get him out in the field.. I don't want to hear from him at the next conference that he didn't have any time to do any mining this season..lol. You hear that Allan.. take some time out for yourself bud!

Wes.. you sound like a good guy with a good heart. I know about donating time as that's what I do with the AMA and you're right.. it does feel good to know your making a difference. I wish you luck.

For those of you that want to stake a claim.. stick with the rec area's. It's a lot less headace and easier on the pocketbook.

08-03-2012, 07:43 AM
In reply to the original point; DNR doesn't discriminate between, fat & skinny, short & tall, smart & stupid. The system is open to everyone. Fat people, retired people; it doesn't matter. Maybe they should give an english literacy test first. Anyway, the system of claiming mining claims is open to everyone and probably won't be narrowed down to exclude certain groups.

As far as selling a mining claim or any other real estate is concerned. It is perfectly legal and always will be. Many small mining companies "develop" mining properties and sell to larger mining companies.

- Geowizard

Steve Herschbach
08-03-2012, 09:28 AM
Do you believe it could be a possibility to coerce the state to release some of the "Good" lands to be developed by "Mom and Pop" type operations ?? Or is big business just to powerful to let in the small guy ?? Thanks for taking the time to read and respond to our posts on the forum, nice to know your taking the time to be a part .....

You seem to think the state has an interest in keeping lands off limits to mining. That is not the case. They need no "coercing". The federal government placed large segments of Alaska lands into park and wilderness areas. There is no chance of those lands opening up.

There are lots of areas open to mineral development in Alaska, and "big business" is not trying to shut you out. Any more than I am. Is my owning of claims preventing you from getting your own? There is a limit to land worth claiming, and you are well into a period of high claim and mining activity. If more land were released tomorrow, it would be picked over and claimed up in weeks, and nothing would change. It is unreasonable to expect it to be easy or free.

I have no problem getting ground. Claims are available for purchase. Buy one. Claims are being staked this very day. Go stake one yourself. Nobody, the state or big business is stopping you or anyone else.

08-03-2012, 01:34 PM
How's it going Brian & All, I've been off for about 5 days now and have to disagree about the big business and Gov. creating problems for the small operator. I've spent all 5 days trying to understand and talk to someone that can help with my access issues that are being denied through State/Borough Land on existing trails that were there before statehood. The FNSB is currently trying to sell land to a private group without reserving the motorized trails access to thousands of Acres of State/Public land. Funny part is I'm denied ATV access but surveyor's and borough personel are using ATV's on these same trails? Enough rant, anyone wants to hear more or look at 4 buckets of paperwork, please PM.

08-03-2012, 01:48 PM
Hey Bill,

Could you elaborate on your post?


Bill Bohan
08-03-2012, 01:50 PM
Hey Alan,
When is the borough assembly suppose to vote on Bernie's purchase of the upper lands?

08-03-2012, 02:10 PM
I do understand there are claims available out there in a lot of different areas, the problem being access to them as you all know .. a lot of average folks don't own airplanes , river boats, or even a 4-wheeler .. A lot of you out there who own productive areas have a pocketbook so to speak .. I would like to see the state appropriate lands that would be viable for lets say a man with a family who just lost his job, supports a family , and doesn't have much in savings, yet would like to be a productive member in the community doing what his roots did 50 or 100 years ago .. Gold mining is a much larger business than a few of you are willing to admit ... Let's take the Canadian co. Pure nickle , They went in above Tangle Lakes and "Blanket Claimed" the the whole area for I would guess 10's of miles. For over 10 years they have spent millions a year and still haven't extracted 1 ounce of anything, The average man supporting a family could never dream of sitting on claims that long with out producing an income for his family... Big difference when you have the cash capital to gamble/ play with .... I'm just saying I would like to see (geographical) access and or openings into lands the "average" man or even the "below" average could attain and be productive supporting his family ...I feel a lot of men with-out the high paying jobs or large savings accounts would love to work for themselves and give mining a go ... I don't know if you all know, but the final diving of lands in Alaska is still not complete over 50 years after becoming a State, I believe the Indians still haven't completed their final land choices either, I could be wrong ... One thing for sure is the State should set aside more "productive" areas for the recreational guy than what is now appropriated ... Again this is just my opinion ... Wes

08-03-2012, 03:04 PM
Steve , I have had what you have (to some degree) and looking from that vantage point it makes you feel everything is so easy if only people would apply themselves; I understand where your coming from .... Now that the economy change has stripped everything I worked hard for in the last 20 years, no credit, no major cash reserves, I'm running scared to spend even 10,000 or 20,000 to try and produce an income to feed, clothe, and shelter my self ; with-out a family to try and provide for.. I promise you, if you were looking from my eyes ( I Pray Not) you would feel a little more compassion/understanding for what I'm trying to say ... If you would like a real "rush" in life, donate every asset you have and try starting over at our age, "I promise you", you would feel very alive in a very different way ...... Wes

08-03-2012, 03:24 PM
We all wish it was easier to mine. There is a reason that gold is as high in price that it is. It is a rare metal. It is hard to find and just because the state has land doesn't mean there is gold on it. Most of the "good" gold is in areas that is harder to access. It was thast way 100 years ago too. If you need to make a living, get a job. You can't depend on finding gold to pay for your lifestyle. There is just too much risk involved. Now once you have a job that is paying your way, use your spare time to look for gold. You might find a rich enough strike to mine full time, but the odds are against it. Most miners are part time. Just the facts of life in the mining field.

08-03-2012, 04:35 PM
David, you are wrong (sorry), there are many "Known" and "Accessible" gold bearing lands tied up in whatever kind of bureaucracy (Refer to Brian's prior post) that could be appropriated to lets say for welfare recipients or lesser fortunate peoples . Of all states in the union, I feel Alaska could and should have concessions for those peoples wanting to live a productive, yet, more "subsistence" type lifestyle (minerals/animals/land/ect...) and should be given the opportunity and accessibility to/in their pursuit of happiness ... Not "everyone" wants to live a life of servicing BP/Exxon/Conoco (now here I go on my "SOAP BOX" >>> p- l -e -a- s -e <<< stop me Brian ).. I'm sure, I could get a job tomorrow with about any whom I've listed, but for me, that is not the Pursuit of my Dreams or Happiness -- Guaranteed to me by the "Constitution" of the United States of America..... I'm sure there are plenty men out there with-out the skills I have and have absolutely no "choice" and I really feel "Sorry" for them, some may even be completely illiterate, yet, could provide for their families "Well" in a "subsistence" type lifestyle/setting ..... Not every one wants to live by the standards of the "Norm"... This Life is about "Living" not "Servicing" , I Hope and Pray you all would agree ...... Wes

Steve Herschbach
08-03-2012, 05:22 PM
I promise you, if you were looking from my eyes ( I Pray Not) you would feel a little more compassion/understanding for what I'm trying to say ...

You ask my opinion then tell me I lack compasssion for not telling you what you want to hear. No wonder I feel less and less like taking my time to respond to posts these days.

08-03-2012, 06:44 PM
If gold mining was easy everyone would do it. You want access and don't have transportation "WALK". That's what I do. Most of the "Known and Accessible" areas are under 10 to 100's of feet of overburden or encased in hard rock. Some are in the form of sulfides. How do you plan to mine these areas? Should the state strip the overburden and reclaim the ground for you to? Maybe the state should buy you the equipment necessary to make these areas pay. Who is going to clean up the mess when you leave because the work is too hard for what you get in gold?(I believe Brian can speak on cleaning up after others) You need to do what most of us have done. We work our "day" jobs, go prospecting when we can, get to know other miners and if you are lucky you might get invited to someones claim or maybe get a tip on an open area or abandoned claim. Or better yet get a job at a remote mine to get a taste of a "subsistence" life style. Remember many more miners fail than make it. The Constitution only guarantees the pursuit of happiness. It does not guarantee happiness. I've got the cheese and cracker to go with your whine. dave

Brian Berkhahn
08-03-2012, 06:59 PM
Well Wes,
I understand what your saying but your not listening to all of us that have been there.. Allan, Bill, David, Steve & myself are not new to this.. a few of them have to travel way out to BFE to get to their claims. Sure.. it would be nice if the state would open up more land but that's not going to happen.. end of story. So you can either go to the recreational mining area's like Petersville, Hatchers or Crow Creek or buy one of your own like we all did.

Mining is NOT an easy way to make money.. as you know it takes money to make money and in this game you also need lots of smarts, knowledge and expertise. Mining is like going to Vegas.. if you don't have it to blow on a gamble then DONT DO IT!

08-03-2012, 07:01 PM
In a "nutshell", I feel the state should initiate a program designed to help some of the lesser fortunate (financially/socially) make the transition to becoming independent/small scale miners, whether it through educational or financial assistance or a combination there-of , possibly even promoting Land Grants .... I feel your having a problem understanding the "Ideals" I'm trying to convey ... The federal government even recognizes the problem in the contracting realm, they have instituted a program in which it is referred to as 8a, which is based on Minority... I would like to see a similar program based on "financial" criteria for those of "lesser" financial ability in gaining access to mineral bearing lands/leases... Does that make sense to anyone or am I just way out there ???? Again you take a company like Pure Nickle who have the ability to "Blanket" lands with-out batting an eye ; how can a Small or Financially lesser person/entity compete for lands available given the financial resources available to those types of companies/corporations ( not to mention their not even an American or Alaskan Co.) ... Those types of companies in my opinion should "Support" the program I speak of .... Steve I believe you are a compassionate man or you wouldn't be here sharing with us ........ Wes

08-03-2012, 07:17 PM
I agree with Brian, Steve and boilerdude. I'f it was that easy everyone in the world would be here and soon all the easy spots you think are out there will be gone too. I've only been doing the rec gold for 4 years and yes, it is a challenge, but it should be. I had a chance at 3 claims for $2500 2 years ago and went in on wheelers to check them out. At 61 years old, ain't no gold in the world killing or drowning myself in a mudhole over. I'll play in the Hatcher rec spots and just have fun saying I did it and actually staying alive long enough to say it....LOL

08-03-2012, 07:35 PM
Boiler-Dave , I am fortunate enough to have been raised in Fbks. and grew up with a "few" mining families , Worked at a placer near Healy that has been in the family for 3 generations (100 years) and fortunate enough to be able return and work either dredging on my own or operating equipment on wages/ %basis .... I am only one of the few that is afforded that kind of opportunity , and Very "Grateful" for it ..... I just feel bad for the rest that don't have that kind of option . Gold mining has been some of the "Greatest" times in my life and I wish everyone (including the youth) would have access to those "opportunities" if they wanted to pursue .... It's not just about You and I , it's not just about the Gold , It's about the people, relationships, and Way of Life ------ Kinda like Fishing..... Wes

08-03-2012, 07:40 PM
Back during the Depression, the subsistence placer miners were figured to average 50 a day. At the prevailing gold price this works out to 35 yard gravel. In today's market about $35 a day.

There is plenty of 35 yard gravel still around. The problem then, as even more now, the deposits are small. Too small for equipment much larger than a #2 shovel fed operation.

Then with them being small, another hard reality is they are spaced far apart and need a keen eye, vivid imagination when it comes to time and erosion/deposition as well as the willingness to shake hundreds of sample pans between stringers.

There is a lot of gold-bearing area not under claim. With fee changes, even more will become available. Most anywhere in south-central AK, there is gold to be won. Can a person get rich? Define rich. Define minimum acceptable standard of living.

Pounding on Pure Nickel isn't productive and when you consider the ground they have under claim, it wouldn't do any small miner any good for PN to transfer the claims to a small miner. It just isn't rich enough hard-rock to mine on a small scale.

All of us are in the same boat. Costs versus profits. If a claim is real profitable, the purchase cost will be high. However the same boat has us on a level playing field. Each of us has equal chances if we pursue them. To find economic ground takes boots on the ground. Either you sample pan a claim to purchase or you sample pan a piece of ground to claim. There is far more ground available for high-banking than dredging. Never limit your options. Typically, wealth is proportional to productivity.

Perhaps I'm a bit cynical but I would argue that asking for special consideration is tantamount to stating that "I can't win on a level playing field."

I work some of the lousiest ground and can stay in beans. The river isn't even listed as gold-bearing for a good reason (most is worse than 200 yard gravel). But I can stay in beans. Perhaps it is my willingness to shake hundreds of pans. Maybe it is just shear determination. Mayhaps it is my willingness to take the mediocre with the just okay.

Perhaps you want more than is practical. I understand "want" just fine. It just isn't practical to expect hundred+ dollar days every day. $20-50 days is more probable and do-able. You can still count on $5-10 days fairly often.

I get the idea that you desire to make a tolerable living placer mining. Perhaps you idea of tolerable runs a higher cost than mine. But them beans taste might good after a hard days work. Pleas for compassion doesn't shovel any gravel. Been my observation that hand-mining is the hardest work I've ever really enjoyed.

If you want to earn good money, take a 9-5. This gig is for those who are half a bubble out of plumb. But that is a good starting slope for a sluice box, so it all works out.

I would ask, "What would you do with a claim you no longer wanted or needed?" What if there was still gold to be found on it? Sell it, turn it back, maybe lease it? Is it realistic to expect others to turn it back or give it away? You wouldn't suggest that the state take it away and gives it to those unwilling to expend the effort to claim it for themselves.

There is gold to be had by those few willing to expend the effort to find it, develop it and recover it. I'm quite happy with this level playing field. Now if the river would drop just another 8-12 inches, I'd be a happy camper. It might only be beans, but I've probably become the foremost expert on gold in this river. Maybe I'm the only one foolish enough to become one by outlasting those wise enough to have moved on. Those who can - do. Everything else is commentary.

I'm running scared to spend even 10,000 or 20,000 to try and produce an income to feed, clothe, and shelter my self ... Do nothing and the end is nothing; just how long will the money last? Will you accept defeat without trying? How many days of prospecting have you lost since you started this thread? See first question after quote. As Yoda would say, "Do or do not. There is no try."

The first step to putting boots on the ground is putting on your boots. If you live frugal, $10-20K can last a couple years. That is the rest of this season and next year's. Financial security? There ain't no sich animal. We play a probabilities game and try to set a few shekels aside for when we get 'er wrong. I decided several years ago to live the grand adventure. Like I said, "... no sich animal." I wouldn't have it any other way. It just wouldn't be an adventure.

08-03-2012, 09:22 PM
half bubble out of plumb? Damn I am improving!!!

08-05-2012, 09:16 AM

There needs to be a distinction made between small recreational mining and commercial enterprise mining when the question is asked; "What's up with owners of gold mines?"

The objectives are different.

In fact, everyone that owns a "gold mine" has his or her own objective.

Recreational mining is more directed at the "sport" of going out or getting out alone or with friends or family and searching for gold. It really doesn't have a financial profit motive - rather it does have profit in the form of fun and sometimes adventure.

Commercial Enterprise is different. The objectives are related to profit and profitability. Geophysics are on a large scale. Core drilling and sampling programs are large scale and the costs are large scale.

Feeding your family is an "intermediate" scale of mining. The objective is simply that you want to feed your family. In order to do that, you need a mining claim. The mining claim has to meet the test of "grade" in order to provide revenue that exceeds the cost of mining with sufficient "margin" that the "net profit" pays the cost of living. The tools must be sufficient that "capacity" is possible. The third factor is "recovery". The washplant, sluice box, high banker, suction dredge must "recover" gold.

Do the math... Grade x Capacity x Recovery = Gold in hand

If your family needs $50,000 per year to meet the cost of living, then the "net profit" after taxes must meet or exceed that criteria.

There needs to be a distinction made between "mining claims" and "gold mines". Mining claims are not always gold mines.

Gold mines are not always profitable. Really? Yes, Really! The reality is that a profitable gold mine is not easy to find. Production of gold on the scale required to feed your family requires substantial investment.

Do the math again... to Net $50,000 per year (before taxes), you will need to produce 50 ounces of gold. I use $1,000 per ounce because raw gold has impurities and refiners charge fees.

To produce 50 troy ounces of gold from 100 cubic yard material (one ounce per 100 cubic yards) requires processing 50 x 100 = 5000 cubic yards of gravel. If you have seen a 5 or 10 yard dump truck, just imagine 500 to 1000 dump trucks full of gravel.

An intermediate scale washplant will process 25 to 50 cubic yards per hour. Two Bobcats will feed it if the gravel is close to the washplant and you have plenty of water. If... If... If...

One Bobcat is $20,000. A washplant is $20,000 and water pump(s) another $5000. Operating cost can run $200 per day for diesel and Unleaded. You will run 10 to 20 days to process 5000 cubic yards. If recovery is only 50 percent, you will get half of the gold.

There's more, but you get the idea.

It takes $100,000 minimum to get into the intermediate "Feed your family" operation (up front money).

So, what about those greedy people taking advantage of DNR...?

- Geowizard

Hole puncher
08-05-2012, 12:45 PM
You will only get out what you put in. Time+effort+planing=opertunity. It is earned not given. The occupy mentality is unamerican and has no place here......... My opinion

08-05-2012, 03:01 PM
I would rather see the state grant/loan 100,000 to the guitar man ; educate him on current mining techniques and proper business procedure , send out consultants to confirm his effectiveness of operations , and maybe institute a payback over a certain time frame.. "Personally I don't care if he pays it back at all" ; possibly take it from his % of the Permanent Fund that he as an "ALASKAN" resident should be entitled to .... I would like to see the state Support a "LOCAL RESIDENT" than have some investor from Arizona/Lower 48 invest the same 100,000 and Siphon profits to the Lower 48 .... The state of Alaska has an incredible amount of Land and Financial reserves ; they should support any local RESIDENT wanting/willing to develop the mineral resources as a "Local" business / entity .... I believe the state should Support any Resident wanting to establish any Local Alaskan business whether it be fishing, tourism, retail, restaurant, hospitality, etc... In so , keeping the Revenue -- "In State" ..... I would T-A-X the out-of-state businesses/corporations to the point, they would pack it up and leave .... I know this is a very Biased opinion , >>>" So-Be-It " <<< ... This Ideal/Issue has been tossed around and debated for decades , maybe some day Alaskans will come together and act , probably when it's too late (wake-up Alaskans) ..... "Just ask the Hawaiians" ; they are only able to afford to live by 3 generations sharing a home , out-of-state business has all but run them out of their own Homeland , it's Terribly sad to see the "Effects" of Revenues taken "out-of-state" .......... Wes

08-05-2012, 05:06 PM
Yep, like a student loan. Don't worry about paying it back. Well... that's someones hard earned money that went into the State coffers to hand out to guitar man.

So, I'm "from" Arizona. :)

I spend $3,000 on Alaska Airlines, four times a year. I spend $2,000 on PenAir. $20,000 on Northern Air Cargo to haul Freight and $4500 to Barge equipment 8 miles down river. Not to mention, $8,000 on wages and $16,000 on room and board.

Then I start mining.

I order thousands of dollars worth of fuel, oils and lubricants from Wasilla. Pay an Alaskan pilot to fly the fuel for an additional couple of thousand dollars and dole out another couple of thousand for 30 minute charter flights at $495. an hour. Food and wages get added on to the rest.

All of the money came from OUTSIDE of Alaska.

I paid $30,000 to DNR for Rental fees on mining claims in the last year. I'll pay that again this year.

An outsider's view; I fly 3000 miles each way. Yet, Alaskans living on State welfare 35 miles from the mine spend nothing on mining, don't own a claim and bitch about "those damned outsiders". The revenue produced by mining provides income for the State of Alaska to pay welfare cases that want to lay around and snivel about getting more free handouts.

Buy a $30 shovel. Spend $55 on a mining claim. Go over to Steve's and get a gold pan and a 20x loupe.

- Geowizard

08-05-2012, 06:56 PM
In reply to post #7 above denigrating the Canadian investment in Pebble;

Why Canada matters to Alaska:


click on: "Canada's Impact on Alaska" (Booklet)

- Geowizard

08-05-2012, 08:59 PM
Wes, asking the governemt for money will just cause another surge in the size of big governemt. Big government is not the answer, it is the problem. Who took the land and locked it up? Who charges all the "fees"? Asking the government for help is the worst thing you can do. They screw up everything they touch. It would make mining worse not better.

08-05-2012, 11:10 PM
Quite honestly Geo a local Resident, say "David Ramey" , had your claims and the cash/backing from the permanent fund , he would spend as much or more into the local economy as you in mining expenses .... The real "Humdinger" is he would put a Majority of the "Net Profits" back into "Local" housing, utilities, food, transportation, etc..., Not to mention, if enough profits were made possibly then investing into other local business ventures.... All of which add up to the money/profits staying in state and not taken out to the lower 48 ... That is my point ; the state standing behind it's local people would increase the overall state economy -- Not just in mineral development -- but in fishing, hospitality, construction, development, every facet of local business ... There is PLENTY of money in the Permanent Fund Account to help any and all who could meet a structured criteria with a solid business plan ..... I'm sorry Geo , but you should just move permanently (9 months a year by state standard) and become an Alaskan Resident spending/investing your profits each year back into the state economy instead of the lower 48 or another Country for that matter . If that weren't only "Right" , then please explain "out-of state tuition" vs. "resident" tuition ; there is a MAJOR difference in any college --- across the country --- Not just in Alaska ... I like you Geo and I am "Sorry" I feel this way, nothing personal toward you in any way, shape, or form.... I Hope you understand .... Wes

08-05-2012, 11:54 PM
David I feel if more Alaskans were working/becoming entrepreneurs, there would be less leaning on the state for assistance ... therefore, transitioning state workers to the business development side instead of welfare and so many other programs .... "Give a man a fish and he can eat for a day -- Teach a man to fish and he can eat for a lifetime" ... I believe there is some truth to this expression ..... There are many changes in Government (the sooner the better ) need to be Seriously dealt with ...