California Mining Archives

California Placer Mining

OK, some of my readers seem to believe that the documents I post are to obtuse for the average weekend gold miner.  I don’t tend to agree because the average weekend gold miner is probably an engineer, auto mechanic, or school teacher during the week, and none of this stuff is rocket science.  Also, you know that the weekend gold miners are smart, because they aren’t wasting there time playing golf. 

Well, the document that I am posting this week placer-mining-california-doc-division-of-mines-and-geology is one that should be useful to almost every weekend gold miner whether you live in California or not. 

This document is a very detailed thirty-seven page report on placer mining and from reading it you could pretty well go out and start washing dirt.  It has plans for sluice boxes and lot of other cool stuff.

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Historic California Gold Mines

California is obviously the heart of the American gold mining.  The 1848 gold rush wasn’t the first or last gold rush, but it was the most important in American history.  Literally thousands of gold mines with vastly different amounts of production have been established in the 161 years since then and modern prospector appreciate the importance of loacting those old mines. 

The value is that old mines prove that at one time there was gold in place in a given spot and it is virtually certain that the old timers barely scratched the surface of what’s actually available.

So, this map of  cailfornias-historic-gold-mines  is pretty valuable.  It doesn’t give turn by turn directions, but if you do any gold prospecting in California it is worth taking a look at.

I was really surprised at the number of gold mines in Los Angeles County.  Also, this is a big file, so if you are really interested by sure to blow it up to 100%.  You can get a decent idea of the general area of a gold mine from this map. 


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Shasta County Gold Mines

Here’s great document for California gold prospectors: A Historic Survey of Shasta County, California Gold Mines.  Really, for this is unbeatable information for California gold prospectors.

This is another TREASURE MAP for gold prospectors and yes I do appreciate all of the nice comments I get for posting these docuements.

This document is from 1995 and 158 pages long.  It’s a general study of the area, but over twenty pages are devoted to  the locations of old gold mines.  This is literally a treasure map!

Of course, be careful about trespassing if you go out looking for these mines, but there is a lot of Federal Land in the area that is easy for gold prospectors to access.

So, check out old-shasta-county-gold-mines

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I’m always intrigued by stories of Spanish mines, because there are stories of Spanish and Mexican mines stretching from North Georgia to California.  Some of these are obviously more myth than fact, but some, like one in Southern Colorado, apparently existed, but has been completely lost to history.

There is no doubt that the Spanish were able to establish and run successful mines from Columbus on, but nailing down the location of Spanish mines in the United States is always problematic and I am always dubious about these “lost” mines.  For one thing, knowing how much the Spanish conquistadors loved gold, it is hard to imagine that they would not have been able to fight and defeat the native peoples anywhere that they really discovered rich Gold deposits.   Conquistadors didn’t take kindly to lost gold flakes much less lost gold mines.   

However, this classic essay on the early days of the California gold rush by Donald Cutler discusses how little attention the pre-Sutter gold strikes in Mexican California actually generated.   I knew that their had been some significant finds in what is today Los Angeles County, but I never realized how large the strikes actually were. 

 Anyhow, here is the-discovery-of-gold-in-california 

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Below is a link to a 64 page document about placer mining from about 1880. I believe it is from the United States Bureau of Mines, but I didn’t see anything that said for sure.

However, it is a great document that every gold miner should read, because it has information on the big and small placer gold mines operating at the time in twelve states and the Dakota Territory. It is important for a modern gold miner to remember that those old timers found only a tiny percentage of the gold in place and recovered even less.

So if there was a paying gold mine in a given area in 1880 that’s a great area for you to prospect, because you know the paydirt is there. It’s just a matter of finding it and with modern gold mining technology it is a lot easier to find than it was when you didn’t have anything but a shovel a pan and burro.

The document also points out where gold miners might encounter diamonds, rubies, and other precious minerals.

Here’s the LINK.

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