Dani and I went out to Jim’s camp to spend the night and to take him some groceries. Before we went to his house, we went out to visit the mine site. I’m not sure what I expected, but it didn’t really look like much more than a gravel pit. This kind of mining involves removing the top layer of soil and getting down to the layer of pay dirt above the bedrock. The gold is found in the pay dirt layer.
The pay dirt then is fed into a sluice plant. The sluice plant uses water to separate rocks, gravel and dirt leaving behind the gold. The chute at the end has a layer of “fabric” underneath a grid of bent metal. The bent metal serves to catch pieces of gold as the water flushes through, and the fabric below catches even smaller pieces of gold.
On the site was a stack of ivory from mammoths recovered during the excavation.
Jim’s cabin is an old dredge master’s house. In the days when the larger operations used dredges, the miners lived in communal quarters, but the dredge master often had his own home.
Jim told me to look around a bit before leaving the safety of the doorway on the way to the outhouse as bears are a common sight. Needless to say I didn’t dally.