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mcbainFisser

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Author Topic: "thaw and dig"  (Read 3953 times)

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Offline Seeker

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"thaw and dig"
« on: November 10, 2006, 07:44:58 PM »
Does anyone still do the old "thaw and dig" winter placer mining like they did in the early days? Can anyone knowledgeable of that part of history tell what they know of that amazing method of getting at the gold?

Offline Steppegold

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Re: "thaw and dig"
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2006, 01:49:27 PM »
About thaw and dig, we use that in Mongolia in SUMMER, in areas that have permanently frozen ground (permafrost). When we dig prospect pits by hand about 5-10 metres deep and hit frozen ground, then our guys throw down the frozen hole the er 'solids' from the rear end of horses, an we got lots of horses so er lots of 'solids'. Using cardboard dosed in fuel makes this stuff burn like no tomorrow. It heats up the ground and defrosts it nicely. The only problem is that the water from the defrosting then puts out the fire and we have billowing clouds of steamy er whatever. Our guys then dig it all out! Having baled out the water, in goes a fresh load or er 'solids'. The used solids are dried in the sun and reused. Smells a bit and so do our guys but hey this is gold fever for real. - cheers Steppe

Offline gangesex

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Re: "thaw and dig"
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2008, 02:55:36 PM »
Here's what you do if you wanna go serious in frozen ground. I have seen it done personally, and it works good. Real good. You need -20 weather minimum to make this process effieciently work though.

Old air track rock drills and compressors are cheap, and they are quickly becoming obsolete with new advances in drilling technology. However an old air track and compressor is what you need to drill off a quick pattern in frozen ground. Load your holes with the cheapest explosive Ammonium Nitrate (ANFO, AMEX, etc etc) and just load it enough to loosen the gravel. Work your ground in 50' square patches and keep moving around and coming back to your original patch. What I am saying is shoot the gravel, muck out,  move to next patch, repeat, next patch repeat. When you come back to original patch the cold weather will have frozen in the ground deep enough to drill off the next pattern. The groundwater will help freeze in your gravel rock hard and thats what you want. with an excavator and an air track you can move A LOT of frozen ground in a hurry. Keep working the 50' square patches in rotation and pretty soon your down 70' -80' deep or so and the walls won't cave in because of the cold weather. Keep a stock of topsoil strippings handy from theprevious summer, and use them to backfill at the end of the winter. When your into next spring all will be thawed, gold gravel is piled and ready to sluice off and your strippings will be reclaimed. DONE. and it does work. REAL good.

Just make sure youve done your testing beforehand so you know youve got good values worth staying in for the winter, and paying for your grub, diesel and AMEX and primers used. It helps to have a best friend who has a blasting ticket as well ::)

Jonathan