1. Invest time in scouting. There are many important features that you can observe while you are scouting the property. What kinds of rock do you find in the washes? Quartz? Rusty, copper or iron stained quartz floats? You may be able to see small specks of gold in the pieces of rusty quartz. This is a good sign. Another important feature is the alluvial cover, which is the sand, soil and gravel that covers the ground. Take note of how thick it is.
2. Examine the bedrock. Exposed bedrock is an important sign. You may find it in the washes. The best bedrock is ragged and rough. It should have crevices and deep fractures that can trap gold as heavy rainwater washes heavy minerals downstream. The ideal location for bedrock is where the wash gets larger and makes large turns. This will enable the gold traveling downstream to slow down and drop out at that point and be deposited in a curve or turn.
3. Locate more than one spot before you start to test. You will be able to spend your time and resources more efficiently if you locate several promising spots before you test. If you test on the first spot you find, and find any signs of gold, you will likely focus your gold recovery efforts on that spot immediately. However, if you identify a few promising areas, you can determine the best place to focus your recovery efforts. You are more likely to find the area that has nuggets or the best fine gold. However, if you only test one area, you’re likely to focus all your recovery efforts there even if you find only a minimal amount of gold.
4. There are exceptions to every rule. Many successful miners will tell you that you should focus your testing on bedrock to increase your odds of success. However, some large gold nuggets have been found in unusual places. It’s a good idea to test in the areas that are most likely to bring success, like bedrock.
5. Not all bedrock is created equal. There is a phenomenon known as false bedrock that you should keep in mind. It could be caliche, layers of clay, cemented or compacted gravels. Minerals like gold will work their way down until they hit real or false bedrock. Then, the gold should amass into pay streaks.
6. Start simple. If you are working with minimal equipment, like a metal detector, look for bedrock first. This will be your best chance of finding gold quickly. Work your way up the surface, whether that is a slope, hill, ridge or stream.
7. Don’t rely on sight alone. You should always check your pan. The heavy concentrate in your pan may contain indicators of gold. Use a high quality hand lens or magnifying glass to check for iron pyrite cubes. Check also for black sands. These indicate the possible presence of gold. In the best case scenario, you will find both pyrite cubes and black sands, especially if you find rusty quartz in the same region.
8. Rain affects prospecting. Arizona can get intense periods of heavy rain. Sometimes this rain can create small reservoirs within potholes in the bedrock. This creates an ideal area for you to do some test panning. However, it will take a lot of time before the gravel is dry enough for dry washer testing. The heavy rain can expose new areas that were previously covered. It can also uncover pay streaks and nuggets and also change the location of gold. This makes the potential for discoveries different each year.
9. Every effort is different.You may spend several days in a row cleaning out promising bedrock without recovering anything of note. But, on the next try, you might find a significant amount of gold in a few short hours. This has been the experience for many successful prospectors.
10. Your claim is large. Claims are often 20-40 acres. You won’t find gold every place on the claim. Even the best claims won’t yield gold everywhere. Gold will form in pockets or streaks. Look for the clues, like bedrock, and you will be on track to get the most yield for your effort.
This great 20 acre placer claim is located about 300 feet north of the old Carmelita Well (see photos of water tank and windmill).
The Goldfinger Project is currently being developed and when complete will consist of 50 unpatented lode mining claims...