Central Montana Prospectors
Central Montana Prospectors

Latest News

Did Gold Really Come From Outer Space?

      Here is the 64 thousand dollar question, but a really curious statement was made on my way up the mountain to pick up a book from some prospectors out of Helena.

      The result of their summer digging on the mountain ravine, it was stated: We found more gold as we went up! Thus, one could assume if gold landed on a mountaintop after coming from outer space, it would roll down a ravine and more would be on top than down at the bottom of the ravine where they started.

      We all laughed, but thought twice about what we thought was preposterous at first. 

Equipment Differences Between Recreational Prospecting and Rock Hounding

      Depending upon what your purpose is, what you put in your backpack or put in the back of your truck varies. When you arrive at your destination and you want to unearth rocks out of their nest, a variety of encouragement tools need to go in your arsenal.

      If you go out looking for gold, one must bring their necessary gold pan, shovel and bucket, but if you want to go rock hounding nearby, a slew of tools such as shown here are important to have at your fingertips because you are going to need them.

Picture Talking

      When a prospector wants to get his message across to the curious tourist, he doesn't pull out his shovel, nor his pick, he shows patrons, pictures. And the pictures aren't on his cell phone, they are in his book that is a chart as to the possibilities of what can be found in the line of gold with graphic descriptions of the finds, the where to and the how for's.

      It's the book that is the most important tool to give the prospector ideas of how to get to his goal and the steps to take to get there.

      Gold just isn't from outer space, it is right in the inner space of a rock that you have to beat out to get your mitts upon. But the book does the talking with the newbie so you can say just what you want to say about the search for gold. 

      There isn't a pointing to long paragraphs of words, but rather one of photos that depict the image of what we all would love to go for. And a graphically well organized layout adds to the information. Yeah, the visual arts!!

Dredging News

     While stopping into the 5th Street Diner, Bill Mintsiveris, says that Rich Mattoon stopped by and said he has 3 dredges going at once, trying to catch the gold that is running off the Helena hills outside of town in Montana City.

      Even musicians can find that the natural resources of a stream in Montana can produce some teasures of the glittering kind. 

     Even recently the legislator out of Lame Deer has dredges they set up on the reservation to catch the gems formed by our earth. You can do it too!!

Cherishing the Earth With Rocks.

     Some people see the significance of rocks so much that they are interested and willing to hold the basic elements near and dear to their heart. Then they put it in a bag, secured with the stones that represent some of those elements.

    So just what does one have that represents the earth? Well, a crystal cube no less as a crystal is the most predominant stone on earth. Now what about fire? Tetrahedrons show that. Just the significance pour over Wikepedia!! Then dodecahedron stands for the universe, but why? It has 12 faces where the tetrahedron has 3.  The Icosahedron shows water as it has 20 faces and the octahedron signifies air. That's because it has 8 faces, 12 edges and 6 vertices. 

     One must need to see the symbolism of angles and vertices in order to connect these shapes with the elements. Trusting is good for some, but others have to have proof. Hmm....

Rocks Fill the Bill

      When you are a rock collector, have a rock shop, and are making a wood sculpture for a competion, what do you do?  You check out your stash for your last pile of rocks with holes in them and string them up with some wood to dangle your fanciwork for the world to see.

      This is know the lure of rocks and how they speak to others and showcasing them for the public. 

      Rocks are a thing of beauty and go well in art pieces. Many have discovered that as the internet is full of ideas of what people do with rocks. Building sculptures is just part of the lure of rocks. Many more abound. 

South Africans Buy Montana Land for 2 Billion Dollars

     Amazing story of the complex of multiple owners of the strip of land where our once Governor Brian Schweitzer worked being sold to the South Africans and the combination of the various owners into one unit.

       The visuals presented at the Symposium in Butte held notice of all the minerals that lay beneath the land and how rich this area is in explorations and minerals. Wow, Montana is worth a lot of money; just this small strip produces palladium, platinum, ore and more.

     Sibanye Rules!!

Gathering Stones

    Wanna buy some rocks? Head to Butte, Montana on Wednesday, October 10th, wheel around the Montana Tech campus and go up to the third floor. There will be a show from 9 AM to 8 PM where rock hounds will be selling their wares. 

      You could pick up all  kinds of specialty pieces or perfect ones for you to carry in your pocket or have as conversation pieces over a party.  Just add to your collection from a variety of sources. It's a part of the Montana Bureau of Mining and Geology Symposium. Filling my pockets for sure.

18 Buckets of Gravel Makes This!!

       When the prospectors in Great Falls were comparing notes as to how much gold was processed in a Gold Cube from digging gravel all day long in Confederate Gulch on a warm fall day with just their shirt sleeves, this is what they split. 

      Not much luck for a lot of work. No nuggets, only some panning projects for the diehard panners. Hmm...there is a law that says if a fool thinks they can get gold out of their claim and it isn't worth it, maybe this is it!! Gotta weigh your outcome.  Hmm...maybe this is a no go: gravel doesn't mean gold.

A Chance to Meet at the Old West Trail Museum

      On a quick day trip to Choteau one can find dinosaurs for the kids or the collector, but only until Labor Day...then they close for the year. Then hop into the car and head north to Bynum for a giant immersion into the world of rocks. It's a great combination of fossils and rock education that goes on for years building you love of life and the earth's treasures.

     For a day out and about, this might be the place to enjoy Montana before it turns too cold for the season. Let's find some treasures!!!

Kudos to a System that Works for the Prospector

     The Governor of Montana, Steve Bullock, has some good men. Patrick Holmes, his policy advisor and Ryan Weiss, public access rep, exerted pressure upon the USFS operating within the state  of Montana boundaries to comply with the needs of the prospector for access to claims. Hats off to them and for their continued support for the right to mine in Montana.

     Because of the Governor's commitment to public lands access we had a support service with them when it came to the heavy hand of the government. It is so comforting to know, that there are people who care, are willing to take action and spend time dealing with the issues the two have when converging on our need for the forest. Gotta hand it to these three men who make a difference for the prospector in Montana. They will work for you!!

When you check in on sites several years later, you find out their progress and learn new techniques you didn't see on your first visit. Learn as the companies grow is a part of the process.

Here's the details about the Symposium in Butte at Montana Tech in October

Consider Yourself Lucky

      If you live in Montana, you can prospect on any national forest land. That is not the case in other states, however. In Tennessee you can't and some other states. 

     This means that the US Forest Service has gone in and ended the ability of anyone to prospect there. Recreational prospecting is off limits. Our lands are not our own. Governmental agencies can take away your rights to access that were established in 1872 when the US Congress asked citizens to go out west and search for gold and other minerals. Now, big brother has turned that around and access to our forests are disappearing across the nation. In Montana, we still have the right, but who knows for how long. The US Forest Service is not your friend.

The US Forest Service Meeting in Lincoln, Montana July 30, 2018 Still time to Make Comments all the way up to October 9th

      With all the educational correctness, lots of terms were tossed out with many explanations of the million dollar process of gathering input from people about the Montana forest use. But little does it seem that there is room for the rights of the prospector.

      Even though you might have a claim for all the mineral rights below the ground on acres of land in the woods, the Forest "Disservice" can close the road and access to your claim, all on the basis that other people say so. Hmmm..has the right to prospect been considered as a part of this plan? 

      The US Forest Service is taking years to prepare documents to stake claims over large areas of the forest without honoring prospecting claims. They have plan A, B, C, D or E that will be implemented after they spend months toiling over what people say. Getting your word in edgewise might not even make a difference as maybe a false majority  rules and not the precedence of the law. Disturbing.

You learn everything in the pool:

      The other day while chatting it up with a swimmer late night at the Peak, the story was shared that in Utah, after public lands recently came open, there was no bid let out, no notice, it was just sold off to a mining company that gave heavily to the Trump campaign. 

      How's that for protecting our lands? Mining companies get special priviledges for candidtes they fill their coffers for. Utah has sold off more than 54% of its land that was given to it since statehood. This is national land that goes to private businesses to use for their own benefit. Such degradation of our country and land use all for the almighty dollar and giving kickbacks to the wealthy. Disgusting. 

Working Your Claim Ins and Outs (With the Government, Mostly Outs)

     You own all the mineral rights below the ground if you have a claim to search for gold. The United States Forest Service manages the surface. Where do the two meet to come to agreements?

      When there is unreasonableness and malfeasance in making arrangements to work your claim, where do you go for help? One group went to Senator Daines' office and got referred to Washington DC. The same group went to officials in Governor Steve Bullock's office and the Department of Natural Resources as well as going to the USFS directly. This triangle creates for interesting feedback and help or the lack of it. 

      There was a meeting in Helena to discuss as the USFS says, "How can we resolve this? Big one would be: be honest (hard to imagine, but unique). Another: do what you say you are going to do (switcheroos is peculiar at best) But we will go with a simple list: we want access to our claim and the ability to work it. Sounds simple, but hard with bureaucrats. More bureaucratic convoluted complications. No fun.  Will post if we ever get any action; some say it is Delay, Delay Delay with the prospector by the USFS. We've experienced that: write a letter in March 2017 get a response in December saying they are meeting with us and never did.

A Montana Prospector's  Example of Being Assertive with the Government; You can learn it too.


Thank you for having Hans Oaks install my lock on gate FSR 4150-001, but you do not have to grant me keyed access through the FSR 4150-001 gate.  I have that right via the 1872 Mining Law and the State of Montana Mining Laws.  As a federal stakeholder (Miner with a federal claim) it is me, the miner that determines what is a “significant disturbance” not the US Forest Service.  If I determine that what I am doing would create a “significant disturbance to the national forest”, I then would work with and consult with the District Ranger to determine what steps to follow after I make that determination.


I arrived home late Wednesday and reviewed your Certified Mail.  Please review my email to you on July 9, 2018 at 10:01 PM.  I made my position very clear.  I have determined that all my activities proposed in that email would not cause significant disturbance to my claim area or surface resources, therefore a Plan of Operations (POO) is not required for any of my proposed activities.  I will not accept the harassment of being limited to travel ten times.  What is this “until September 1, 2018”?  The weather here in Montana limits how long we can work on our claims, not the US Forest Service.  I am a Federal Stakeholder with a Mining Claim not the general public or a camper, so don’t treat us like the general public or a camper.


I look forward to working with you, but I will not accept harassment.


       Got Some Good Ones:  Made plans to go and dig for crystals out of Elliston with 406 Minerals Men. Just wish we could find such configurations such as this we saw at Blaze N" Gems store on York Road. It is exquiste, but I think it came from Utah, not Montana. We got smaller ones, but you can definitely pull those shaped stones right out of the earth's clay pits all shiny and clear.

       Just to dig up a huge conglomeration of earth's beauty such as this would be a thrill. It was great to amass all kinds of examples of crystal formations as the earth cooled and made little pockets like we found on the hillside. Andrew Luna led the way; you can find him on fb with 406 minerals and exploration sales.  You missed out. So sorry, so sad. Sign up with him and get crystals at the top of the mountain, in the middle or not near the river because it is off limits to the digger of the Helena group.


Montana Treasures Found Recently at the Blue Jewel Mine by Alan Robertson

      Love when prospectors are willing to share their photos of Montana treasures they find. Here is a photo from Alan Robertson who went to Blue Jewel Mine out of York, MT. This was just some of his take for the day just over the dusty hill into the El Dorado valley where the sapphires have washed their way up from the depths of the earth. They are always beauties to see, but remember you get about 40% of these when cut. All those jewels in the crowns of the fair queens and kings have sapphires in them. Your jewelry can tout the benefits of Montana's treasure too if you go out in search.

     Read about this on Treasure Hunting Year 2.

Clever Dudes: While in Zortman at the Big Dig in the campground, along came Mike Nelson in his pickup with his daughter, handing out his latest creation of fun. He made 3D sluice key chains from his computer. 

     The trick is, his creative thinking permeates more levels. He fiddles around on his computer doing all kinds of things. He also can make any kind of decal from his computer for you to announce your local prospecting club on the back of your truck, or in your back window. 

      If you can think it up, he and his brother can probably make it. Contact information, write us. 

Will the Bull Trout Reign Supreme?

     This picture dominates some of the thinking in Montana. The protection of the bull trout might take precedence over the search for gold or for anything else for that matter. Some say it is a stupid fish and no one wants to catch it; others say they will jump beaver dams and yet can't make it up to a culvert and so it has to be taken out before forest service suppression plans needs. These trout rule at the moment over people, policies and needs if some people have their way.

      The Montana Outdoors magazine devoted an entire article about the bull trout for May-June of 2018 to the bull trout. This magazine was found in the reception area of the Montana Governor's office; apparently what is going on in Montana rivers and streams are a big deal to the visitors of Montana. We thank Governor Steve Bullock for representing Montana well.

      However there are meetings statewide to discuss forest plans as they might be in revision due to the effect of the forest fires in Montana 2017. Ground access is needed in these areas and the bull trout alternative strategies of service might need revision.

Mobilize Your Support Group With These Organizations

ICMJ Mining Journal

Word has come that this organization is headed to Washington DC to meet with gov't officials and want horror stories about the prospector or miner in dealing with the USFS. There are plenty of experiences that come under this title. Submit your one page statement to this magazine.

Policy Advisor

Since Governor Steve Bullock has appointed Patrick Holmes to head up this department for public access to lands there must be submissions of the illogical approach of the USFS to close roads especially in the Lincoln area where fire suppression is needed on the ground. Helicopter use only doesn't pack it as evidenced with the fire season last year.

American Mining Rights

This organization was pointed out at a local prospector meeting as one that has fought for the rights of the local prospector and won. This organization is one that would be great to hold in one's back pocket or make regular contact in order to make progress with the USFS. check this

out: https://www.facebook.com/americanminingrights/?hc_location=ufi

Public Lands for the People

This organization holds the leadership in helping make access for the land and rights of the prospector to prospect. Once one joins or a mining group there is representation via this larger support group for the miner. It would be valuable to belong with the services they provide.

Take Another Look 

Perfect News Report on Mining Effects

      This link is the answer for those smart jackasses who would like to tout how mining has not left any mark on our environment. Right on KRTV news about the length of Superfund to clean up the mess left. Recreational prospectors have to put up big bonds to cover reclamation, but big industry doesn't. Why's that? 

     Zortman was ditched by a mining company decades ago with no reclamation. Must have friends in high places to get away with that. Where's the repsonsibility? Prospectors are supposed to be accountable, but oh, my the favors to industry. Hm.... http://www.krtv.com/story/38293291/upper-tenmile-superfund-site-still-active-after-almost-20-years


2017 Mining and Mineral Symposium onto 2018

This was one of the best conferences I have ever gone to. It is amazing and lots of information shared. It is an annual event that is soon to come out with a website taht features what is coming up for this fall's program and we will notify you via this site as to how it stacks up whcn they do. I would be sure to put the mid October date on your calendar to not miss iin 2018 www.mbmg.mtech.edu/2017symposium.asp


us forest service

Prospecting Hot Spots in Montana Haven't Cooled Down

     Lincoln Montana Prospecting Group is having a "decommissioned" culvert discussion with the Forest Service soon so they can save access to their claim just like the Elliston, Montana claim holders who are having pressure by the Forest Service as well to manage their small tool operation.
     Zortman in eastern Montana has issues with access to their claims because apparently BLM has closed roads so that prospectors do not have access to their claim.
     Standing up for the prospectors’ rights is an important job and we intend to get help resolving issues from the bluffing and intimidation profiling by government agencies.



Going For Gold! Recycling Style!


After you gather all of your items in your household that contain gold like your old cell phones, TV remotes, computers use the Borax melting method given here to get your gold nugget.


Did You Know That?

     You can take your own variety of home objects including the ends of insulin test strips and put them into your own container to melt them down into a gold nugget. You can also melt down your own gold flakes from panning in a similar manner. Both means will be processes your outcomes in a safe and environmentally friendly manner. You will not be using mercury which adversely affects your health and your offspring for decades to come.

    In order to do this melting process you would use "The Borax Method is a technique of artisanal gold mining, with its basis in the principle that borax reduces the melting point of all minerals, including precious metals like gold.

     The melting point of gold is 1063 ˚C, which is a higher temperature than can be obtained by cheap torches and burners. By adding borax to the heavy mineral concentrate, the melting point temperature decreases, allowing people to melt gold out of their concentrate and salvage. By using borax, no mercury flour is produced, and gold recovery increases.

     Take your cleaned gold flakes and weigh them, this tells you how much you lose in melting and cupellation when melting the flakes.
     Heat your clay bowl, don’t worry if the bowl cracks or splits, add borax to the hot bowl, when the borax melts add the gold flakes and more borax then heat until you get a nice bead of gold, let it cool and weigh to see how much you lost." as stated on this webpage. Check it out by clicking on the button.



It's important to check out the website given here to get more information to finalizing the production of your gold nugget.



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© Central Montana Prospectors Coalition, Site Created & Written By Alma Winberry