How rich is Virgin Ground?


We have recently been doing some prospecting out the back on one of our friends claim in the grey district to very good results it had all been mined in the past but the area we had mined, they were yet to get out with the machinery and had 150 years worth of gold in it and it gave some good results and we are considering purchasing a 4-6" gold dredge to get the work done easier rather then just going all out on the sluices and maybe moving 1M2 of dirt a day.

But we have set our eyes on a bigger prize, a few KM downstream the creek gets much much deeper so deep that our friends massive digger cannot even scrap the bottom of it with a 6M deep reach, so they where forced to stop mining further downstream, I thought alright this could have potential most dredges can get that deep and there would be good gold but it would be very diffcult and it would probably be better off to go up the back when the bedrock was only 1/2 a metre deep . But we got talking and found out it is not only virgin in recent years but has never been touched even by the oldtimers as it was just to deep for them to get, they said once they started getting to the deep bedrock 5 or 6M deep just shallow enhough to reach they got incremental results ( 100s of ounces a day ( this was 30 years back though so wasnt worth so much ) ) but this was with a huge full scale operation.

So onto the point, if the bedrock is 6M deep and just gets deeper from there, but if it was completly virgin untouched ground in a rich creek with a lot of gold, would it be worth the effort to dredge down that deep? The creek is a reasonable size maybe the size of moonlight creek or slab hut creek, but would it be safe and actually still to a good result to dredge down that deep to get to the virgin bedrock .

Any info is very much appreciated

Thanks :smile: .

have you dredged before?
6m is hellish deep to start a hole add another 2-3m to bedrock and thats a monster hole and need a 40-50Ft dredge hose at minimum to stop dumping tailings on your head.
you would also need a well powered dredge to get good suction at that depth and enough floatation to climb aboard to deal with plugups etc.

not sure what depth before you need to start timing dives and control ascent?

do able but not on a budget and certainly want to know what you were doing to tackle it.

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You will also have to think about this. If the river is not confined to bedrock on both sides. Your pay streak might not be where the river runs today. If the valley opens up, its rich untouched ground could be 100m away from the river. As you mentioned slab hut. They old river channel is about 100+m across the valley. The pay streak is there. But that’s a lot of ground to dig holes to test.

If you are serious about this and are willing to spend some money. Get a reverse circulation(RC) drill to run a line across the valley. Drill holes every meter until you hit the pay streak. Then drill holes at 3m spacing every 10m either side of your glory hole up and down the valley until you can define the pay streak and follow it. That will be the easiest way for you to test the ground and follow the pay streak.

RC drills drill down with a hammer bit and crush everything into dust. They then use air to blow everything back up out of the hole for sampling. You get a 5ft sample in a bucket you can run thru a sluice box when you have time. It is more $ then an auger drill but way faster and the results are more reliable to go off. Auger drills tend to spin the gold around and around and only give you an idea if there is gold. RC run a super high pressure air compressor that will blow your dick out your asshole and thru your partners assholes. I have used them for both hard rock and placer in the Yukon.
If you go with an auger drill you will need super high torque to get that deep. Everything slumps in and binds into your auger. Nothing like losing 6m of auger bits in your hole. And what ever you do. Never let that auger stop spinning. Forward, backwards. Doesn’t matter. Just don’t get stuck in the hole. RC will run casing so you don’t have that problem. Stop drilling when you have gone thru 1m of bedrock for best results.
Your looking at $10,000 per 100m of drilling. Make sure they know what they are doing. 100m of drill rod with the drill bit is about $200,000. If they get stuck in the hole. You are usually responsible for replacing it. Read your contract to find out who is liable for such fuck ups.
Do not get talked into diamond drilling. You need bedrock for it to work. Diamond drills drill down with an open tube, and as they drill, the bedrock fills the tube. Drilling gravel will only leave you will a big bill and nothing to sample.

From experience. Nobody in the Yukon who knows anything will ever buy a (virgin) claim that has not been RC drilled. It is the only reliable way to get results that prove the ground. Everything else will just prove there is gold. How much gold is the only way a claim has value.

Good luck. But in my opinion. Your either gonna have to drill it, or get discovery channel to pay your glory hole bills before you ever make money dredging 6+m deep. The river is just to wide to gamble on hitting a pay streak and a 6inch dredge would be the minimum size you could get away with. 1 rain storm and your 6m hole is filled and your starting over. There is a good reason it may still be virgin ground.


How long is a piece of string?? Only one way to find out aye… :slightly_smiling_face: Nothing ventured…nothing gained.

JW :cowboy_hat_face:

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Virgin ground can be worthless or it can be a bonanza. To find out you would have to test it. Virgin ground could be totally non productive in one spot and yet in a lead only a short distance away it could be extremely rich. In a river unworked ground could once again be very poor in one area due to speed of river flow and the fact that there is no holding bottom and yet a short distance downstream could be very rich.


If you can get a copy of Kelly Tarletons autobiography he used a ventury system running of one of his jetboats at much greater depth to recover the fabazhy jewellery lost of the east coast of gisborn around the turn of the 20th century in a shipwreck also talks about diving times and if course his much loved use of explosives

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Gezzzz…don’t talk explosives, you will get Lammerlaw all worked up. :joy:

JW :cowboy_hat_face:


Yes Please! Anything that goes bang appeals - bugger it the site would not allow me to put up a video! But heres a still from it - shooting my whaling harpoon gun - thats the recoil. It makes a lovely bang! It can bowl you ten feet back if your game enough to fire it.


Thanks you all for all the info :slight_smile: .

It might be a bit beyond us for the time being, as all the easy ways out ( such as explosives and diverting the river ) require a much higher level and much more expensive consent .

And the paystreak is probably not compleltey in the river as there is there is gold all through the valley not just the river and I think it is just as rich through the whole area as the river .

But thanks a lot really appreciated :smile: .

Any chance of being able to get hold of a digger with a long dipper arm for getting down deeper?

I probably could but definitely not within budget XD, not looking to go all out full scale , just suction dredging or hand held means .

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a quick hand job is all that is needed. maybe lots of sucking

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Ya missed :rofl: plenty of smoke. Is it black powder?

Nope - didnt miss - you can see a block of wood falling behind the stand and yes it is black powder - a muzzle loader.- what ever you put down the barrel is ok and safe to shoot, bits of glass, nails, bolts, false teeth, iron rod and what ever you like as long as it fits down it will come out and not blow the gun up! The recoil is the killer! If a whaling ship had 75 crew members then you could guarantee that it got fired 74 timers - no sane person would fire it twice - and the Captain would not fire it at all!
My son and friend Henry refused to fire it! Come to think of it another friend also declined my kind offer to try it out.

i once fired a net gun while standing on an empty avgas drum, not only did i just about break both wrists and my back i did however win the bet . but not sure id fire a whaling gun

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Hahahah good onya. I see a small block on the chopping block, thought that was the target. I have footage somewhere of a 3/4”bore cannon I made out of a grader and a GD5000 drill. Very happy with black powder. Smoke noise muzzle flash .

I have quite a few kgs of blasting powder and also black powder - they are both the same more or less. The bore is 7/8 inch and they fire a bronze harpoon with an explosive head. I have over loaded it and done myself a mischief twice - first time the recoil sparked off a migraine and second time it built up so much pressure that the hammer came back to full cock when I fired it from the hip and tattooed my face with burnt gunpowder so that I had black freckles - and had to operate on myself to get them out. Its a bloody marvellous device.

I also forgot to say earlier that on one occasion that I had anything to do with virgin ground she got pregnant and it cost me a lot of money!


The Bearded Miners are probably cobbers of yours are they. They terrorise Kaipara up past Nelson creek now an then . They were great advising me . I would of made a pipe bom b if they hadn’t told me.
I was going to use ordinary powder/nitro. :bomb:

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I knew Nelson Creek and Notown area well once upon a time.
Someone l know who will remain un-named took all the %^= *?:# and =/×%& %/_€ £×*(%) and #!¥&&€₩ %&€#!
I liked that area. My cobber brought a vintage motorbike off an old guy who lived at Notown. There were two old Model A cars converted into pick up trucks there and the old guys go to town vehicle was a yellow 1948 Ford V8.

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Yes…i know Notown well too. Have tested a cut that was very rich. The old excavator still lies in the bush rusting away. That lead dipped deep and fast but was amazing