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Three cold and rainy days in April were extraordinary for prospectors, miners and detectorists attending the first Prospecting and Mining Summit in Placerville California held by the International California Mining Journal or as most of us know them as the ICMJ.
Days one and two
Days one and two from the fairgrounds included vendors from many of the top companies in the recreational and professional mining field. There were hands on demonstrations from gold panning to wash plants, including Minelab gold detectors, for many it was their first chance to see the GPX 5000 gold detector.
Me (Kevin Hoagland) at the Minelab stand talking about gold prospecting
There were two solid days of lectures that covered everything from basic geology and where to find gold to advanced nugget hunting.
Chris Ralph, a welcomed addition to the Minelab Treasure Talk team held the best “where to” look for gold seminars I have ever had a chance to see. Chris and I held back to back “Where to-How to” seminars to a full house crowd of over 350 people. It was truly a memorable day to have so many great questions about metal detecting. Thank you to everyone that attended.
Chris Ralph giving a 'where to' presentation on gold prospecting
Day Three, To the Field
Packing my truck and heading out to Auburn at 5 am was in itself an adventure. A normal 45 minute drive took 90 minutes as the rains and flooding became heavier and deeper. Driving across the American River Bridge I wondered how many of the 200 people signed up for a day on a historic hydraulic mining site would brave the weather and show up.
Pulling into the parking lot at the meeting place I was disappointed that there were only a few trucks here and there throughout the lot. Looking around the lot I was almost expecting to find the event cancelled.
Scott from ICMJ and I exchanged hellos and he asked me to pull around to the back of the lot. I crawled soaking wet back into the truck and drove around the building to be met with a fleet of about 150 trucks cars and a couple of full size motor homes. Everyone standing in the rain anticipating the day to come.
We weathered the rains for a briefing and headed up the hill, past the town of Forest Hill, into the snow line then across mud slicked dirt roads with the final section being the divided road between two hydraulic pits with an easy hundred foot drop off on either side. Once in the Pit the owner shared the history past and present. He pointed the areas that are of interest to the nugget hunters and the areas where other companies had set up their equipment for anyone to use.
Brian from ICMJ speaking to a crowd of eager gold prospectors
Working with a group of about 25 detectorists most using Minelab metal detectors it was not long before first gold was found. Using a GPX 5000 a man found a small nugget that came in around a half gram and was pretty deep. His remark to me was, “I knew it would find the gold I just didn’t realize that it would find it that small or that deep.”
Soon, others were finding gold some detecting some running wash plants or just panning some gravels that had been brought up to work. For the most part everyone forgot that it was raining
I got to work with about 75 people that day plugged into their detectors hearing every sound they heard as they swung their detectors looking for the elusive gold still hiding in the ground.
The rains for the most part subsided in the late afternoon and the sun broke through. Everywhere you looked you could see the spirit of adventure in the faces of each person there, people talking, sharing stories and showing their gold.
Standing on a riser with a friend, we were listening to the conversations about how great the last three days had been. Heading out everyone stopped to thank Scott, Chris and the rest of the ICMJ gang for something that many will never experience again.
I’m sure that there will be more ICMJ Prospecting and Mining Summits but for those of us that attended or volunteered our services this event will always be remembered for what it was, A first.
Please watch the X-TERRA Prospecting and Eureka Gold Prospecting videos here on MLOTV www.mlotv.com. Just type my name into the search field. There is a lot of information about getting the best performance out of your X-TERRA for prospecting on the videos. There is some reiteration on the Eureka Gold video concerning ground balance, tone and sensitivity settings that will definitely help.
Alaska is an interesting place to detect I have had a great deal of success hunting tailing there over the years and would not trade my Alaskan experiences for anything.
Best regards and good Hunting