From the Nov/Dec 2017 issue of the Gold Prospectors Magazine
By Kevin Hoagland
’Tis the season, once again, when my phone starts to ring and my email inbox explodes with those familiar questions, like: ‘What should I get Virginia and Virgil for Christmas? It just seems like those two have everything.’
But, when I ask the right questions, the light bulb’s come on instantly. Suddenly, there is a sled full of gift ideas for that special prospector on your list, and you don’t need Rudolph’s shiny, red nose to find them. To make things a bit easier on those of you buying gifts for your favorite dirt digger (or even spoiling yourself) we’ve created the 2017 Holiday Gift Guide made up of a few of my suggestions. This prospector’s wish list includes everything from paydirt to research material.
Let’s get started with one of my favorite Christmas gifts that I receive every year: paydirt! It has become somewhat of a holiday tradition around my house, and I like it. Paydirt provides almost instant gratification, with just enough suspense to keep things interesting. Not only does paydirt help to keep an edge on my panning skills, but it eases my gold fever during the holidays. Who doesn’t love finding natural gold in their stocking on Christmas morning?
Eureka Joe’s is one of my top picks for gold paydirt. These bags have never let me down. Joe’s offers five different two-pound bags from their gold mining operations in Alaska—everything from a “Taste of Alaska” to the guaranteed “Nugget Bag.” These nugget bags are without a doubt their most popular. Like every bag of Eureka Joe’s paydirt, they contain Joe’s best gold-bearing concentrates, and then Joe throws in 1.5-gram to 4.5-gram nuggets into the bags to sweeten the grub stake.
Panning some Eureka Joe’s Paydirt is a good activity to spend time with your family, especially with the kids on Christmas between the opening of presents and dinner. For this holiday season, Joe is inviting you to get the GOLD with a special offer. Mention GPAA or add the “GPAA” promo code when ordering online from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31, and you will receive a free gift pack on any order over $100. Of course, shipping is always free. And, remember to save your concentrates. You’re not going to get all the gold on the first try.
As an aside, the story of Eureka Joe is a great one and one that I’ve heard many times about old timers passing on their passion for gold panning to the next generation. It’s on Eureka’s Joe’s website and well worth the short read.
Are you like me and have a lot of five-gallon buckets of concentrates scattered around your shop? If you do, and you need that textbook piece of equipment to get it down to your final gold, look no further than Gold Hog and the Multi Sluice.
I added a Multi Sluice to my recovery operation a couple of years ago. Frankly, it’s the most versatile unit I have used, and that was before Gold Hog’s Steven “Doc” Vetter made a recent improvement. The Multi Sluice now includes a Super Fine mode which allows you to easily catch gold between 100-300 mesh with a recovery rate of about 95 percent on the first pass. There are a great deal of videos on the Gold Hog website that share with you exactly how the Multi Sluice operates, the different mats and flow restrictors that come with the unit, and how to use them. You can take a five-gallon bucket of material and concentrate it down to a few tablespoons of black sand and gold (with no panning) in less than 30 minutes.
You don’t want to restrict the Multi Sluice to the shop only, though. It’s portability allows you the convenience of taking it into the field. I do a lot of drywashing, and the Multi Sluice lets me work down a few buckets of quarter-inch classified material to a couple cups of final concentrates in a matter of minutes. But, more importantly, I know if I am still on the gold in a way that a gold pan would never be able to show me.
The Multi Sluice is an amazing piece of necessary equipment for any prospector who wants to recover gold at the highest level and fastest way possible.
Becoming a better prospector
Next on my list of exceptional gift ideas are education and research. The more you know about this planet, all of the goodies under your feet and how to recover them, the greater success you will enjoy.
Action Mining Services, Inc., better known to many of as AMS, has been my go-to source of research since 1980. I can say that I’ve learned how to assay, leach, accomplish mercury amalgamation, and so much more from their study courses and training. In 1984, AMS launched Popular Mining magazine, which for 12 years was the standard in education and technology for serious miners around the world. And, this brings us to my choice for reading and becoming a better miner.
AMS has put together two sets of books that I suggest every prospector and miner should have in his or her library. The first is a series of six books written and published by AMS covers a broad range of prospecting and mining techniques and topics:
• CLS Leaching Manual for non-cyanide leaching.
• Modern Mercury Amalgamation Manual— my go-to manual on amalgamation.
• Geochemical Prospecting Book on geochemical prospecting theory and practical applications for finding hidden mineral deposits.
• Two of my favorite books, and what I have always called my textbooks on assaying—the Assay Manual for advanced assayers and the Fire Assay Home Study Course for beginners are a must read if you are considering any type of assaying and ultimately refining. And lastly
• Discovering Overlooked Fortunes an excellent book on testing to find and identify mineral elements.
All the methods used in these books have been tried and used in the AMS labs and in the field over the years. Having as much training as possible is the key to success. Even though you may never use non-cyanide leaching like I have, understanding the process along with how and why it works will make you a better prospector. I credit AMS for their training on amalgamation. The company is working hard to eliminate mercury use worldwide by creating and supplying equipment that recovers gold in what can be considered a particulate with gravity. AMS has changed the way to safely recover gold, and their equipment and training is being now used in many parts of the world.
If you’re a GPAA member, when you call AMS to place your order you’ll receive an additional 10 percent discount off the sale price in the ad by mentioning the promo code GPAABK6.
The second set of books comes straight from prospecting and mining history. The Popular Mining Encyclopedia of Articles is a five-volume set (more than 1,000 pages) containing articles written by contributing miners from around the world. Popular Mining magazine was published by AMS from 1984 to 1996. But, because the information was too valuable to simply archive, AMS took the time to compile all the articles, plans, pictures, drawings, tips and ideas into book form without the advertisements.
The five-book series is loaded with information, such as building your own concentrating table, ball mill, amalgamator, balance scale, sluice all the way to assaying complex ores, water and platinum, conversion charts and safety procedures. It also includes tips on dredging, metal detecting and more! Each volume is indexed for each subject search. GPAA members receive an additional 10 percent discount off the sale price in the ad by mentioning code GPAAPM5.
I have years of Popular Mining stored in boxes across the western states. To have the best of the best in a series of five books is the perfect gift and tool for you … and me … (Hint, hint!)
Cool under-the-tree gifts and stocking stuffers
The Gold Prospectors Association of America comes in next on the list with lots of tools and goodies for the prospector as stocking stuffers and great under-the-tree presents. I know it may look a little confusing. but it’s very easy to get a lot of cool stuff for a great price. Here’s how it works:
Choose one item from Tier 1, four items from Tier 2 and one item from Tier 3 for a total of six items all for the holiday gift bundle price of $84. Go to the GPAA website, and you’ll see instantly that the Holiday Bundle price is a smoking hot holiday deal. There is also a great bargain on the Gold Fever box sets, five complete box sets plus the Alaskan, Season 1 and 2 all for $50. Normal pricing at a GPAA Gold & Treasure Show is $50 per single season. This is total savings of about $250. Plus, there is no limit on the number of bundles you can purchase.
Tier 1 (choose 1 item)
• Classifier Bundle with 4 inserts
• Mini Sluice
Tier 2 (choose 4 items)
• Scoops (pink or green)
• 11” Gold Pan (pink or green)
• 14” Gold Pan (green only)
• Classifier Base
• Metal Classifier Inserts (4, 8, 10, 12 mesh)
• Plastic Classifier Inserts( ¼” and ½”)
• Gold Fever Box set (Black and Dark Grey)
• GPAA Metallic T-shirt (Black, Green, and Blue)
• Mini Starter Kit
Tier 3 (choose 1 item)
• GPAA Trucker Hat (Pink, Red, Blue)
• Snuffer Bottle
• Property of GPAA T-shirt (Med – 2xL)
• Gold Prospectors Magazine Subscription Card
• GPAA Small Patch
We are also offering a great deal on the entire Gold Fever Box Set in a special bundle for just $50:
• Gold Fever Black Box Set
• Gold Fever Red Box Set
• Gold Fever Yellow Box Set
• Gold Fever Light Grey Box Set
• Gold Fever Dark Grey Box Set
• Alaskan Season 1 and Alaskan Season 2 included free with this bundle
This may be a silly question, but who doesn’t want a metal detector for Christmas? Both Minelab and Kellyco have come to the holiday table with two excellent detectors that will have you out detecting in your backyard before the rest of the presents are opened.
The Nokta AU-Gold Finder was developed for and is exclusive to Kellyco and their partners, meaning you can’t buy this detector anywhere else. This unit is all about gold prospecting and Nokta did it right. You can find my overview of this detector on the Kellyco website.
Nokta did it right. They listened to the detectorist and built into one detector what we’ve all been seeking: high frequency response with the ability for hitting small gold nuggets (less than one gram), auto and manual ground balance, precise sensitivity adjustment capabilities, reliable and clear threshold and the sheer ability to handle iron ground minerals. The Gold Finder is also lightweight, hip-mountable, has long battery life and a decent price tag. Well, that’s just more gold in the poke.
The AU Gold Finder is not just another HiFreq VLF coming into a fairly crowded market space. It was designed by engineers who listened to the wants of detectorists. And, Nokta never stopped asking questions until they had built the best machine they could. I like it. The Gold Finder is easy to use and was intuitive for me right out of the box. A new user will find it has a short learning curve and experienced detectorists will immediately recognize the detector's ability to handle some of the worst iron soils without having to de-tune the detector to the point of loss of targets while still having a great rhythmic threshold. If it stutters, you better dig it. Bottom line: I use it, I find gold with it and I am not planning on giving it up as a VLF detector in my tool bag anytime soon.
Now, for the great deal! During the holiday promotion that Kellyco is offering, mention promo code AU3000FF at time of checkout, and the AU Gold Finder’s retail cost is slashed to $699. That is a savings of $200 from the normal retail price and $400 off the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. There is one catch though: you must order between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31 to receive this special pricing. Don’t forget to use the promo code!
Since 1986, Minelab has never ceased to amaze me with technology that simply works great and finds gold. As a leader in true technological innovation, this year Minelab released the Gold Monster 1000 detector, which has changed the way detectorists find gold. As Minelab states, and very aptly so, the Gold Monster 1000 “turns beginners into experts with fully automatic operation in an easy-to-use, high performance detector.”
There is a lot to say about this detector, most of which I have already said in two Field Test articles published in Gold Prospectors magazine this year. The machine is impressive and, more importantly, it just finds gold with little to no help from the operator. Minelab rewrote the VLF detecting book by using a single frequency coupled to a 24-bit processor, and the outcome is nothing short of amazing.
The Gold Monster 1000 is a true fully automatic, turn-on-and-go detector using 45kHz again coupled to a 24-bit processor that simply finds more gold. Now, include a true gold chance discrimination circuit that’s the best in class and trusted by detectorists worldwide and you have the next generation of metal detectors.
Other features of the Gold Monster are just as impressive. With two-mode detection, Gold Discrimination and Deep-All Metal, two standard waterproof coils (10” elliptical and 5” round) for great depth and small target sensitivity and a rain-proof control box, the Gold Monster is suited for all-weather detecting.
The Gold Monster runs on AA batteries and comes with a rechargeable battery pack. One other cool feature is that the shaft is three pieces and the Gold Monster 1000 comes with an adapter kit that allows you to build your own Gold Monster. Yep, break a shaft and use a broom handle. It doesn’t matter. Just keep on detecting.
A new gold pan, or is it?
Among the deluge of calls and emails I get every holiday season, one of the most frequently asked questions concerns gold pans. ‘Virgil and Virginia have so many gold pans. Why would I want to get them another one?’ Well, because all of us have different gold pans for different jobs and panning techniques depending on the size and the shape of gold and the host material in which its found. And, every now and again, an inventor comes out with something new that fits our needs. This time it’s the Gold Claw.
Gold Claw burst onto the prospecting stage last year and has enjoyed great reviews ever since. The Gold Claw is a welcome addition to the world of gold prospecting for the simple reason that Gold Claw founder, Klint Washburn designed a uniquely-shaped pan that works. The Gold Claw doesn’t have a lot of fancy bumps, slides, groves and other sometimes unnecessary this and that, which has become almost cliché.
The Gold Claw and the special panning methods used to master the Gold Claw is different and outside the comfort zone of what most of us old miners have become accustomed. After the initial shock of its design, and the typical ‘Where’s the rest of it?’ reaction, we find that it is a serious pan that everyone should have in their gear box.
Gold Claw pans use a distinctly different design which make the tool suited for a variety of uses, one of which is my favorite: dry panning. There is an art to dry panning and hours of practice must go into perfecting your art for success. Well at least it used to. The Gold Claw for dry panning is fast and, more importantly, extremely efficient. It’s the most efficient pan I have used to date.
The great thing about the Gold Claw is that it’s even more efficient as a wet pan than it is a dry pan. After getting over the initial surprise of how it looks, in very short order your favorite prospector will be catching gold that used to go in the tailings pile on the first pass.
After I first started using it, I asked Klnt if there is a way to keep the same workability and downsize the Claw, and the answer was yes. There are currently two different sizes of the Gold Claw, the standard and the new Gold Claw Pocket pan. The pocket pan is quickly becoming my favorite. It fits in a smaller pocket of my backpack, weighs hardly anything at all, is as fast and recovers exactly what I have come to expect from the larger standard Gold Claw.
To take advantage of a Gold Claws holiday savings for GPAA members, go to www.goldclaw.com and enter the gift code GP17 to receive your GPAA members special holiday pricing when ordering your Gold Claw.
A sluice is a sluice is a sluice, or is it?
Of course, the next most asked question has always been, ‘What should I get for my prospector who already has so many sluice boxes it’s not funny?’ Again, sluices are tools in the gear box. The more, the merrier.
Three years ago, there was a new term introduced to the prospecting industry. It was “fluid dynamics.” By definition, “fluid dynamics” is a sub-discipline of hydro dynamics. For a company to use “fluid dynamics” to describe how their product works, they had better have a pretty good grasp of what they’re doing and how it works. Enter Kevin Bell, the inventor of the Recon and Expedition Fluid Dynamic sluices systems to round out this year’s Holiday Gift Guide.
Bell understands water. It’s his profession. And, over the years, he began to see that by altering the flow of water that spaces were created within the flow that allowed gold as small as 200 mesh to be easily captured. Key word easily. Then, all he had to do was create a vessel to perform this function. With a lot of prototyping and countless hours of testing before designing the first unit, the Recon and Expedition fluid dynamic boxes have not only found their place in the prospecting and mining industry, for many, including me, these units have become a necessity for in field the recovery of ultra-fine gold.
What sets these fluid dynamic boxes apart from other sluices is pure simplicity and ease of operation. With no moving parts, external riffles or carpet—and a less than one-minute setup and cleanup—they are something all prospectors who use water for recovery need, whether they realize they may be missing fine gold or not.
Ultra-lightweight and very compact, the Recon and Expedition boxes are the perfect gifts for that prospector who has everything, and a tool that he or she will appreciate for years to come. When I first got the Recon, and put it to the test I realized quickly that it is a permanent part of my water recovery tool box that goes everywhere with me. By now, I’ve spent countless hours on the both units and I can assure you that my ultra-fine gold recovery is way up.
There you have it, my picks for the holiday season. I’ve listed a lot of these great gift ideas for you to consider. I’ve been using this gear—some of it for years—and, for me, these items have been crucial to my success in finding more gold, recovering more gold and just learning more about gold.
I’ll see you, out there,
Now for the fine print:
All items are available direct from the manufacturers or their local dealers. Please contact each company listed above to take advantage of the Holiday Gift Guide sales.
Sale begins Nov. 1 and ends Dec. 31 for all sale items listed above.
PO Box 221393 Anchorage, AK 99522-1393
Gold Hog can be reached through their website and social media sites.
Action Mining Services Inc.
37390 Ruben Lane. Sandy, OR 97055
Gold Prospectors Association of America
43445 Business Park Drive Suite #113 Temecula, CA 92590
Phone Toll Free: 800-551-9707 (United States Only) Local: 951-699-4749
1085 Belle Avenue Winter Springs, Fl. 32708
Phone toll free 1-888-535-5926 Local: 407-699-8700
Minelab sales through their national dealer network.
To find the Authorized Minelab dealer nearest you visit the Minelab website and select
“where to buy”
PO Box 85 Willard Utah, 84340
Snake River Products-Recon and Expedition Fluid Dynamic Systems