Greetings from Gilpin County, Colorado,
It’s unlikely that Robert Burns was thinking of the Golden Gilpin Mill when he wrote, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” But he could have been.
The summer began with a great deal of fanfare. We reached the critical milestone of completely rehabilitating and refurbishing our mill, which had been out of continuous operation for decades. This accomplishment is unique in North American mining history.
If you remember previous Notes, I sent you video of the crusher, ball mill, rake classifier and flotation cells all working exactly as intended. We were ready to finally start operating phase I with a goal of 20 tons a day. But we encountered a problem. The good news is we’ve solved it. The bad news is that it took time and money away from our goal of summer production.
To make a long story very short and readable, here is what happened . As crushed rock moves through its milling cycle, water circulates in a closed loop. In the final stage of the loop, after the precious minerals have been removed, the water moves the remaining rock to a thickener, where the waste rock settles to the bottom and becomes tailings while the water recirculates for another trip through the process.
As you may remember, our initial feed for the mill is the thousands of tons of stope fill that were readily available. Based on random sampling and testing, the stope fill averaged a little under forty percent of an ounce per ton. The plan was to use this fill to first get all the kinks out of the mill and secondly to produce revenue while the Bates Hunter shaft is dewatered and the miners can get to the richer ore at greater depths. For many of the world’s gold mines which measure production in grams, a half an ounce per ton would be a home run. But based on all of the technical reports that you can read on our website, we believe that we will find much richer rock as we move down the Bates Hunter and across into the Becker Bates.
It was a great plan – but the stope fill didn’t cooperate. Unlike “fresh rock” that we will mine in the ordinary scope of business, it turned out that the stope fill contained too much clay. When it was in the thickener tank, the clay did not settle to the bottom the way sand (ground up rock) normally does in a mill. As a result, as the water recirculated, the clay moved with it and after a couple of hours of mill operation, the clay literally clogged things up resulting in the need to shut down the mill and clean out the equipment.
This was not a simple fix. But under the direction of our fearless leader Matt Collins, and the Master of Mills, Chris Emanuel, we found a solution. And the solution really shows their resourcefulness and how lucky we are to have guys like this at the helm. Analogizing to the oil fracking industry where there is a need to continually settle sand and solids out of water recirculated into wells, we purchased a fracking tank which has been repurposed for our particular needs.
Water issues at the mine required us to purchase two Big Blues
And adding to our critical infrastructure palate we now have a fracking Big Red
The hills are alive with the sound of milling.
TIME TO SHAKE AND BAKE
One of the key steps in the process of separating precious metals from rock is the Shaker Table. A gold shaking table is one of the last steps in the milling/gold upgrading process. The table is an ingenious method that separates particle grains based on specific gravity, density, size and shape. As the table shakes and the concentrate passes over it, the mineral rich particles are sent in one direction bound for greatness, while the poorer stuff passes on and is forgotten with the rest
Even with our clay problem we’ve made a ton of concentrate.
After weeks of diligent work, that included fabricating parts, rebuilding motors and resurfacing the table, we are, in the immortal words of Ricky Bobby (Taledega Nights) ready to “Shake and Bake.”
To mix methaphors – we are at the light at the end of the tunnel and it’s time to start filling up the pot of gold.
• Our geologist is at work on the Clay mine with the goal of setting up a drilling program that will establish a measured resource. We have reports from the 80s that show significant gold deposits. Modern techniques and technological requirements mandate that we engage a qualified third-party professional to establish resources (how much gold is there likely to be in a certain area) which become bankable assets.
• We’ve begun the work of rehabbing the Black Eagle Mill. This mill was last used around 1990 and the equipment is in much better shape than the Golden Gilpin. A key member of the milling team is currently making initial plans to guide the upcoming work. Records indicate that the Black Eagle was processing 125 tons a day and we look forward to the day when those 125 are added to the Golden Gilpin’s 75 tons, giving us 200 tons a day. At that rate, if we can keep our direct milling costs to the projected $500 an ounce when in full swing, the math becomes a thing of beauty.
Stay tuned for further announcements and production updates.
GS Mining Company