Central Montana Prospectors
Central Montana Prospectors

The Most Expensive Materials in Our World Today 

       A great website just showed up that features the most meaningful and crucial materials that we use in our lives today. Of course, one would know that minerals are top on the list for manufacturing and production of our needs in this technological world today. 

     But the experimentation with combining a variety of elements means that unusual combinations work to develop optical, lasers, lighting and more. Lubricants are a big deal. But check out this website and see all the minerals needed and the expense they have for life. https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/markets/the-most-expensive-materials-on-earth/ss-BBZjiCe?li=BBnb7Kz#image=17

Rock Sadness: Grief Takes All Kinds of Forms 

      With climate change and Montana getting record levels of snow, means that the prospecting spirit must hide for the winter, subject itself to hibernation and alternative routes of adventure. So sad. Staying inside for the winter and not looking for rocky adventures is a fate worse than death sometimes.

     One must go to plans for what can be done next season with rocks and rock hounding adventures. Research, check outs, and resolve is the only way to get to next spring when the warmth comes bubbling up and we get a release to the outdoors. May the blessings be. 

Splash Hit for Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology!

     MBMG has sponsored a yearly symposium on mining for 5 years now. The last four years were orchestrated by Peggy Delaney, a very apt person of an extraordinary talent, who flew the coup. Those who remained stepped up to the plate, made the annual event a great one, and all of us are happy.

     The talks were so diverse, very eye opening, full of depth and breadth, and downright topical to today's mining and geological reviews. More will come on the event and topics, but the taste for more is still on our tongues and lips. Rocks, mining and experiences they bring are just the best! October 9th through October 11th just dominated Butte's rich history on the Montana Tech campus. 

Rock Your Photos

      So, the Montana Bureau of Mining and Geology is sending out a request for photos of rocks, mining or geology to be included in their proceedings manual publication. You will get acclaim, notice, and recognitions for your snap of Montana's best.

     I think they will be so flooded they are going to have to make a montage of photos of Montana's beauties to showcase what we have available for the seeker in our great state.

     Be sure to throw your snap hat into the pot so you can have a chance to take credit for being there for the perfect moment. Kaleb Scarberry says: "I will ask you to submit nice mining/mineral/geology photos for me to consider for the publication. The best photo submission will make the cover of the Special Publication and to your credit. You can start sending me these photos any time." You can access the site for more information at: https://www.mbmg.mtech.edu/symposium/ His email is Scarberry, Kaleb <KScarberry@mtech.edu> 

Does Blue Lead to Gold?

     While prospecting the area around the Middle Fork of the Judith, there were blue streaks along the rock walls of the USFS road into the area. Once learned that where the blue clay was, gold was formed nearby also.

      Now what would a prospector do when viewing this phenomenon on the walls? Why not do a test sample of the dirt, debris down below and see what you got?

      Jesse Buff was using his father's prospecting pack to do just that recently. The wash in the nearby Yogo Creek brought out interesting finds from those tucked away spots. It proved that the rock formations of the Yogo Mine area on the back side had all kinds of minerals that produced the sought after yogos and gold as well.  

Yogos Have Their Draw

      In the middle of Montana lies land that coughs up yogos like no place else. There is a legacy left by people who have longed to find these beautiful stones with new people taking a swing at do the same.

      Local news stations add to the mystique of looking for these prized gems that are more valuable than diamonds. Check out this site to see and hear more: https://www.abcfoxmontana.com/great-falls/montana-s-yogo-sapphire-mine-the-only-one-of-its/video_6f5f30be-d0a4-11e9-bf48-c3cb6e9a4984.html

Libby's Where It's At 

     The NorthWest Gold Prospectors out of Columbia Falls has a group outing on Labor Day for twenty some years out of Libby and the National Gold Panning area that is to die for. 

     The team approach to digging, processing, classifying and various other aspects of searching for gold is fabulous. Young, old, and all ages in between can jump in and earn the right to access Montana's most prizes resource.  Check out the analysis of the different styles of gold retrieval in the state of Montana on Treasure Hunting 2019

Montana Fossils Far and Wide

      As workers dig out the side of the hill to make a road, seashells can be found. What does this mean? This land was underwater at one time. When they built Tiber Dam, they pushed seabeds of layered fossils to the edge of the water.

      Farmers from Broadus to Choteau have gone out in their field and found dinosaur bones. But the easiest way to gather yourself a collection of fossils is a one stop shop at the Trex Agate Shop like this one or step into the Dinosaur Museum next door and get all kinds of fossils and books about them when you are on your way to pan for gold in the Northwest Montana. Why not? It helps soothe the need for these ancient energies to hold in your hand and show to family and friends. I'm gonna. Saw a trail of fossils millions years old right there in Bynum. Amazing.

Gold Gathering Strategery

     Memorial Day one can go to Zortman, dig for 8 hours piling up concentrates to bring back to camp to pan for gold, or one can stop by a tourist trap on the road to Virginia City, purchase a bag of gravel for $22 and take your chances.

     Which activity do you think would give you more gold? Does sweat and hard labor divvy up more shiny elements or does the ziploc bag in casual purchase with a verbal guarantee have more gold?

      You guessed it...the plastic bag without much work other than slapping down your money has more gold than all the money it takes to get some buckets in Zortman. Smart thinking does more for filling the gold vial than does limited behavior of thinking work begets gold. Maybe not so fast. The Red Rock Mine has better odds for a fact than Zortman digs. 

Gold Nuts

     MSN has a featured report that gold was created in outer space and they state that all the gold on earth that we find comes from the creation of explosions there with scientist stating all kinds of things.

      Just can't make me believe that. I guess it's a world where people can use a little bit of science to say anything with distorted backup of what they think is reality.

      The guys out of Helena who amassed large amounts of nuggets on their last day of propecting found them from what the earth made while forming in my mind. Broad gap between theories.

      The researchers and explorers who present at the Montana Mining Symposium in October each year in Butte just don't think the same way. Here's the site for more details about outer space hypothesis. https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/this-is-what-it-looks-like-when-an-explosion-creates-gold-in-space/ar-AAGpoHT?li=BBnbcA1

Finding Fluorite in Montana Mountains

    Asked Andrew Luna where he was going rock hounding this weekend. Duck Creek. What ya looking for? Fluorite. Hmm...gotta look it up.

     But apparently it is about 1 mile hike into steep mountain terrain, but the real good stuff is 5 miles in. Suggested a camera to his hat to show those who dare not to tread just how beautiful the find is when they arrive.

     The possibility of finding even purple stones, but those of multiple colors...just too darn enticing. But will be satisfied with my garnets and sapphires for the moment. Maybe a video will be on its way, but the adventure anticipation is awesome. Not to burst his bubble, fluorite can be found on Crystal Mountain as well. Why not try that route? 

What's Chromium Have to do With It?

      When speaking with Will Heierman of Texas, an avid gold and sapphire collector, he said in reference to gemstone color, "It depends on how much chromium is present in the stone." 

     Got to thinking about the colors of gemstones and what makes them look the way they are. Lots of good information about the human eye and what it perceives in terms of the wavelenght of the vibrations in the color.

      In some cases, a single trace element can produce different colors in different gem varieties. Thus chromium will produce a green color in emerald, but result in a red color in corundum. This is because there is a complex relationship between the gem's crystal structure and the trace elements. 

Ditching Gold; Heading for Dogtooth Calcite

     What better adventure to pull calcite out of the ground after hard clanking of the rock hammers and pickaxes; we might get some dandies after scaling a steep embankment in the Gallatin Red Cliff area.

     There is more than the shiny yellow that comes with summer explorations in Montana. This weekend will be some gathering of the unusual. Hopefully we will hit is big. Andrew Luna knows his spots! We be on that one. Stay tuned. Check out more info on Treasure Hunting 2019

What Does Reclamation Look Like?

     When your equipment breaks down, your team is there, what do you do? 

      Even though you have torn up the hillside with the approval of the US Forest Service with your POO Plan (Plan of Operation), the trees and underbrush pushed to the side, so you can dig down 20 feet below to gather the gold, do you start putting it all back because you got your tea cup of gold? 

     Yep, that is what some of them are doing. The trees that were downed for access, are put across the land again so the dirt and hillside doesn't just slide down the mountain. You can move the debris back in place and then it's ready for seeding on top. You don't need to bring in new dirt, just rearrange what was once there, only in a different fashion. Reclamation happens all over, and you don't even know it sometimes. Good use of your time while waiting for parts.

     Doing it as you go seems like a good idea. You gotta get it done by the end of the summer, so why not while idle?

Comparison Gem Shopping in Montana

      Phillipsburg is supposedly the place to head when the penchant for sapphire mining comes to mind. Gravel comes in a variety of forms with mini buckets, boots, bags and 5- gallon buckets.

      One hundred dollars got a boot for $75 which the lady assured me that was the best deal. Hmm...not so much. Then the $25 mini bucket yielded specks of sapphires, not big enough to cut. Where were my multiple big ones garnered in just a half hour of shoveling gravel and running two layers through a jig shared with another visitor?

       The best deal by far is the results one gets at Blue Jewel this year. Last year California friends visiting found an $8000 museum quality one in their bucket. 

       The value for the bang of the buck certainly is not pouring money into packaged stuff at Phillipsburg, as evident by processing gravel recently. But then again, everyone's luck is different. 


Extraction of Gold in Montana

      As the piles of gold were laid in front of me on the table for viewing, the significance of the types of gold was evident. Some come in mini nuggets that makes the vial rattle with their weight against the glass, others come in jewelry quality with their bright yellow color, but then there is the dirty looking stuff that is blackened because of how it was formed through multiple smaller pieces coming together to form a much larger nugget.

      Then there is always the flour gold that is the yellow version of the food staple, but there is an element in between the flour and the mini nugget and that is like the fly poo left behind by those critters, not quite dust, and not quite a nugget, a spot somewhere in between that the miners coined in description.

       But all in all, no matter how gold comes out of the earth in Montana, the effects of intuition and knowing the workings of the earth's formation leads miners to amassing plenty enough money value each day that you are successful at predicting just where you might find it. All these types have been found this week in July in Montana.

Why is Water a Nuisance in Mining Gold?

      When you have the right combination of people to mine as a group with expertise in heavy equipment use, metal detectors, working with the government and the sales of gold nationally, you have a success story.

       It isn't with the running of water that gold can be extracted from the earth, it is a front-end loader, a Minelab 7000, and diligence to go layer upon layer of earth to amass your pile of yellow. Now, where in this description do you hear water running?

      This fall the earth will be reclaimed with the material removed and no one will really ever know that the gold deposited by the glacial movement long ago in Powell County was ever searched for the deposits embedded in the rocks and dirt. There still is gold to be mined in Montana and it is happening all over. Miners are having success...may you too! All the while some scientists say all this gold came from outer space!! Ha Ha!!

Rare Earth Minerals in Montana

     Because the United States is so dependent upon other countries for their minerals, there has been a switch in the US Government where they are coughing up money for grants and studies in Montana.

      Recently it was reported Montana's only antimony mine is getting help in the form of a grant to produce more antimony which is good for bullets and missile warheads.

      When talking with Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology in Butte, it was reported moola was coming in for a study on tungsten which Montana has a lot of. It is needed for steel. Someday we might get independent. Growing up; maturing America is looking in our great state for answers with our wealth of minerals. Oil might be good, but rare earth minerals are better. 

Gold Found Right Inside a Rock

      If rocks come shooting out of rocks like in this phot0, wouldn't you think that your gold search would have to be modified from a gold pan in a stream to a metal detector following out every bing of your instrument?

      Bruce, the owner of the Blue Jewell shared this example of gold he found in southern Arizona's quartzsite district in which he dug up every beep on his metal detector whether it was a bullet, coin, pin, or rock. Hitting this with a hammer show cased a dandy, shiny piece of gold that defies the term, "Gold isn't shiny, it's a dull color." This piece looks very bright to me!!

     How gold is formed in the earth as it is evolving is under debate. Bruce says the Dr. of the book he follows says that some are formed from bacteria in developmental stages. One would have to check out his book for more details, but this guy is an expert. See this link. 

Book Reviews.  Washing rocks in a river is definitely out to find gold in this format. But Bruce had a vial full of gold nuggets he found in prospecting with a gold detector too. 

My How Times Have Changed

     Last year it was no, no, no with the US Forest Service and the Blackfoot River Prospecting Club, and this year it is yes, yes, yes, with an Avon prospecting group that have a POO (Plan of Operation) accepted and are able to take to the hillside, shoveling off forest life, baring open the land.

      Then the two-part step to prospecting using the gold detector is filling the pockets of both state and national claim holders.

     I wonder if it had anything to do with the new supervisor assigned out of Helena that got things in motion after all the local, state, and national pressure put upon them last year? Maybe they learned something...like prospecting does not mean there is not the cooperation of the participants in a good way. Growth for the miner might mean movements in policies that have needed to be changed for a very long time!!

Blue Jewel Mine Coughs Up Sapphires

     Both staff members at the Blue Jewel Mine out of York, Montana carry around in their pockets sapphires they pull out to show potential diggers to their site. 

      The stories abound of how long Bruce and family have been at this process of digging on this site and the success he has had. He doesn't hesitate to tour you around his compound showing you the operations of going through the earth that started with his grandfather long ago.

     Sometimes the piles of gravel one digs in are good, and sometimes not so good, but that is a familiar scene in any sapphire site. Bruce's operation is different than it used to be. One must buy 6 buckets for $100 bucks. Splitting it is optional if you have buddies, but this place used to provide sapphires for B52's in the war by the TON!!

      Head to Blue Jewel Mine if you want to find sapphires. We lined our pockets in a short period of time. Good establishment. 

Rare Earth Minerals in Montana

      Wikipedia said there was no mining of antimony in the US; wrong. The United States Antimony Corporation operates in Thompson Falls and coordinates many antimony and other crucial products for our country.

     Antimony is instrumental in the manufacturing of many products, especially as a fire retardant, and in bullets plus in missile warheads.

     When a writer mentioned our country closing a gold mine in the Bear Tooth, she mentioned that America wants to use other country's minerals to reserve ours. I wondered if the deviousness of this choice was true. Why doesn't America support the development of its minerals? John Lawrence, the CEO of this corporation said one man has taken 32 years to get a permit to mine. Let's get with it, America!!

Barite on a Rock Wall

    Hunting barite this weekend you say? Scale this wall you might add. Only some of us find it right at our feet having been shoved down by scalers of the daring type. 

     Barite has been hunted for awhile. Remnants of the search are out front with collapsed entrances to old mines right by the road out of Basin. Those pretty yellow cubes all stuck together abound all about. Just fill your bag, bucket or pockets to go home and clean. Rock hounding is fun.

     Follow the Cataract Creek Road way up top and back again to search for nests of crystals while you are in the area. You will be glad you did.

Australian Sapphires

     Walk into a Montana sapphire shop and find right on the counter sapphires of a different sort from way down under the earth, Australia. How cool is that!! The El Dorado Sapphire Mine out of Helena, sells them for the sapphire seeker along with bags of gravel that can be taken home or processed right outside in their yard with shakers, tubs of water and tweezers.

     These sapphires look way different than our Montana ones, as the Australian ones are dark, not varied in colors like our local ones that range from pinks, orange, blue, green, purples and various shades in between. 

     Take a peek outside our state's capitol on York Road, near Canyon Ferry Lake.

Rare Earth Minerals in Political Volleying

     The United States is in a precarious position in the world because it does not supply the volume of rare earth minerals needed in production of products. Our country is very dependent upon China for them and yet our President wants to apply aversive pressure to a country that is supplying us with these crucial minerals.

     Not wise to play around with the country that holds the goods. But when one wants to bully others, games can get nasty. Working our own country for mining minerals might be more important than threatening other countries with all kinds of sanctions etc. We need to get to getting with the goods in our homeland. China has us over the barrel. The perspective is not good. Check out this article; it's a little scary. https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/markets/why-china-s-threat-to-restrict-rare-earth-minerals-is-so-serious/ar-AAC9sdJ?li=BBnb7Kz

The Publication Has Arrived

      In 2017 in October an attendee got a small copy of the abstracts that were to be presented at the Symposium offered by the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology.

      This last October attendees were notified they would receive the copy about January of 2019. It just arrived in the mail April 8th, and it is such a treat to hold in your hand. Having taken copious notes to savor all the knowledge exchanged while listening to this myriad of topics presented, to have the visual reference to thumb through is just fabulous. I am sure the time it took to get all the t's crossed and the i's dotted took perseverance. But none the less, the arrival is welcome and I would imagine available for inquirers to the Bureau. You just might enjoy it as well. It's a masterpiece.

Don't Underestimate the Power of China to Influence Our Minerals; Oh, and What About Russia?

      Story told today about China flooding the market with cheap minerals driving the market down in order to put out an American company out of business. Foreign countries affect our mining operations here and their resources. When we are dependent upon foreign minerals, other countries can affect our market value for many precious metals.

      It is the critical metals that the US is dependent upon, almost to the 100% level that are affecting decisions in Washington DC. The demand for these rare earth metals for technology's needs and specialty manufacturing processes have increased our issues in the US. More freedoms to mine and prospect need to happen in order to develop mining independence. Why do you think the only platinum mine in the US in Montana was bought by a foreign country? There is a crucial need for it. 

Seven Rivers in Montana that are Full of Gold

       If and when you get the itch to ditch a prospecting club and strike out on your own, to make a plan of an independent venture, look no further than government land on any of the seven rivers listed on this web site. You can set up shop, go to work with your sluice or gold pan, and/or bring home gravel to work; either way, the possibilities is unlimited because "gold is always being unearthed every day in the world." Is the lucky number 7?   http://raregoldnuggets.com/?p=4564

Smokey the Bear: Hear This!!

    The first line of your letter says you are a dirty BOOGER!!! No if's, and's or BUTTs about it.

     Here's why: It's your job to provide access to prospector's claims in the forest. You were told that when the government couldn't afford roads into the woods and the country needed development. So prospectors built them long before you were born and when you came around you played King of the Hill and close roads and play games of the claim holders. Bad boys.

    Here's just some of your many unsavory tactics: You make the prospecting club build their own culvert and bridge which is your job. Then you dictate who is at the meeting, excluding women. Then say you are going to deliver a POO Plan 2 1/2 years later, not following your rules of 15 day return notice, keep a reclamation bond for years and stopped mining operations for that long, use your position to negotiate your job to be done by someone else and various, other unsavory lies and mismanagement. Why are you allowed to do this? Stomping on prospecting rights of access all over the place is not in your job description, but you do it anyhow, because of power hungry tactics. Redirection is overdue!!


Effects of Government Implementation on Mining Claims

Charter Differences

The charter for the US Forest Service says it is in the business of selling trees. When they operate with bullying the prospector with a mining claim, making up rules, aren't they operating out of their jurisdiction??? 

Who's on First? 

The Mining Laws of 1872 were created by the Congress and invited the US citizen to go and prospect on the land out West. This was long before the US Forest Service was ever created. Does the prospector take precdence over the USFS?

BLM vs US Forest Service

The prospector has to fill out endless forms for their claims with BLM and there is no further contact with them. The US Forest Service makes up their own rules to govern the claims. Two departments confusing the public and themselves. 

Regional Differences

Discover this...if your claim is in one region supervised by one USFS official, and is compared to another there is a vast difference and some can be held hostage to the lack of consistency in operations. Discrimination can rule.

Additional Points to Consider with Mining Claims

Volleying Repsonsibility

When one needs to address state or federal authorities about inequities in treatment with prospecting claims, don't get caught in the volley between state vs federal. It is happening in your state so let them know you won't accept blame placement elsewhere. 

No Rule Book 

In the prospectors' defense know there is no rule book. The USFS makes up stuff as they go to see if they can get away with it. Example: Lincoln District said our club could only dig 10 feet deep. Placer claims have all minerals below the ground no matter how deep it goes. Fake rules!!

Prior Presence

If the USFS decides they are going to close the road to your claim, one point to make in your rebuttal to their demands is that access has been there for a long time and the club or claim owner expect that access to continue, especially if there is no inclusion in the decision. Notification is key.

Not Included

If the USFS claims ownership of any of your mining claim such as moving your tailings or making changes to your claim, know that if there has been meetings with the fire district or for water issues, if they haven't notified the mining interest in their decisions, they are in violation of procedures of  fairness in operations.


Montana Recreational Interactive Map

Most of  these dots are reviewed  in our Treasure Hunting 2016 and Treasure Hunting 2017 pages. 

Just click the orange links to learn more about all these sites.


  • Hopeless #1 GPAA Claim
  • Blackfoot River Chapter
  • Zortman
  • Libby Creek National Gold Panning Area
  • Lucky Dawg # 1 2 3 GPAA Claim
  • Golden Back Achers GPAA Claim
  • Ole Miner
  • Bacon And Beans GPAA Claim
  • The Montana Blue Jewel Mine
  • Gem Mountain Sapphire Mine
  • Spokane Bar Sapphire Mine
  • Blaze N Gems
  • Crystal Park
  • Ruby Reservoir
  • Spencer Opal Mine



  • Montana Petrified Forest
  • Great Plains Dinosaur Museum
  • Blaine County Museum
  • Earth Science Museum
  • Mineral Museum
  • Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum
  • Baischs Dinosaur Digs LLC
  • Museum of The Rockies


NEWEST: Do historical maps influence the prospector in search of the spot..? on... Historical What kind of clubs head south for the winter?... Other Clubs. March, April, May, June, July, August and September's  newsletters just posted on  Newsletter    Have you looked at the drop down buttons on the rock page? There are more elements than just one aspect. Can you stump a geologist with your rock samples? check it out on... Rocks. Enjoying the once a year mining symposium in Butte can be found here... here . Can a rock talk about the beginning of life?. Educational. Find a way to preserve your fossil finds on... Fossils. Can dowsing work in prospecting?.. Book Reviews. Want to grow you own crystals? or Can kids really make a business out of selling rocks?: Kids. Will the bull trout reign supreme (NOPE!!)or will the USFS come up with an alternative plan for a culvert? Are prospecting books better than newspapers on....  Latest News   What about checking in on a rock and mining symposium? or What about not getting dirty or leaving town to find rocks on... Treasure Hunting 2018 Can a magnet work as a tool?. Tools of the Trade. Just how valuable is a gun while prospecting? on... Prospecting Stories Geotripping and you can be found on... Prospecting Tips. Can prospectors share the countryside with ATV's and backpackers? on Treasure Hunting 2019


NEWER: Check out what a prospecting advisor has to say about your rights on: Interviews. Is there room for antique prospecting tools nowadays?:  Tools of TheTradeFind out where a Montanan finds gold in the winter... Gold. New charts on healing stones and chakra balancing on......  Healing Stones Find out what else can be a part of ... Green Prospecting


 NEW:  Shortly, hear about the consultations for standing your ground on (It's there!!) .Interviews Check out  Kelly Fowler's light weight creations that fit in your backpack to go prospecting in Montana creeks. Let's Make Your Own Equipment . What is working to help prospectors find gold in Montana?... Government plus the latest trials dealing with the USFS. Do miners always use words to communicate or is there another source of communication? ... Latest News



We are a group devoted to the advancement of recreational prospecting in the State of Montana. We are called a coalition as we cover many aspects in the field of prospecting here and we seek to help prospectors with the government.

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