Does anybody know about galena and precious metals?
Powered By BbBoard -

19:59:51 Mon
Jul 20 2009
Does anybody know about galena and precious metals?
Some years ago, I sent a sample of galena in for an assay. An old timer in Arizona told me that galena does not normally respond to a metal detector unless it has a high percent of silver in it. Well, the assay showed 2.5 ounces per ton of silver,BUT it also surprised me with a showing of 0.13 ounces of gold. I hear that Fort Knox gold mine in Fairbanks only gets 0.01 ounces of yellow per ton so my sample is 13 times richer. But thus particular state pretty much disallows metals mining due to the sulfides and acid polluting the waterways. They made mine owners liable for infinity !
I am wondering if it might be worth it to get samples from old furnace slag piles in that area and get them assayed for silver and gold?The lead miners were after lead and zinc from what I have read. I bet they had no idea there was gold in the galena too? Of course, how to get the gold/silver out of the slag piles is the other question without releasing the sulfuric acid and is it worth it? Can a 1 man operation do it and make money I wonder?
And what do old slag piles look like anyway? How do I recognize them in the woods? Where should I take samples from the piles? My curiosity needs to know?


03:09:44 Tue
Jul 21 2009
Re: Does anybody know about galena and precious metals?
As to the Old Timers were smarter than we are, check this out and you can believe that statement as fact.

What it took to get an 8th grade education in 1895...

Remember when grandparents and great-grandparents stated that they only had
an 8th grade education? Well, check this out. Could any of us have passed
the 8th grade in 1895?

This is the eighth-grade final exam from 1895 in Salina , Kansas , USA . It
was taken from the original document on file at the Smokey Valley
Genealogical Society and Library in Salina , and reprinted by the Salina

8th Grade Final Exam:
Salina , KS - 1895

Grammar (Time, one hour)
1. Give nine rules for the use of capital letters.
2. Name the parts of speech and define those that have no modifications
3. Define verse, stanza and paragraph
4. What are the principal parts of a verb? Give principal parts of
'lie,''play,' and 'run.'
5. Define case; illustrate each case.
6 What is punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of punctuation.
7 - 10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you
understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.

Arithmetic (Time,1 hour 15 minutes)
1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
2. A wagon box is 2 ft. Deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. Wide. How many bushels
of wheat will it hold?
3. If a load of wheat weighs 3,942 lbs., what is it worth at 50cts/bushel,
deducting 1,050 lbs. For tare?
4. District No 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to
carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for
5. Find the cost of 6,720 lbs. Coal at $6.00 per ton.
6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.
7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft.. Long at $20 per
8.. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.
9.. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance of which
is 640 rods?
10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt

U.S. History (Time, 45 minutes)
1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided
2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus
3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.
4. Show the territorial growth of the United States
5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas
6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.
7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton , Bell , Lincoln , Penn,
and Howe?
8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849,

Orthography (Time, one hour)
[Do we even know what this is??]
1. What is meant by the following: alphabet, phonetic, orthography,
etymology, syllabication
2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?
3. What are the following, and give examples of each: trigraph, subvocals,
diphthong, cognate letters, linguals
4. Give four substitutes for caret 'u.' (HUH?)
5. Give two rules for spelling words with final 'e.' Name two exceptions
under each rule..
6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.
7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: bi,
dis-mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, sup.
8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the
sign that indicates the sound: card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise,
blood, fare, last..
9. Use the following correctly in sentences: cite, site, sight, fane, fain,
feign, vane , vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.
10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by
use of diacritical marks
and by syllabication.

Geography (Time, one hour)
1 What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?
2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas ?
3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?
4. Describe the mountains of North America
5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia , Odessa , Denver , Manitoba ,
Hecla , Yukon , St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco
6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S. Name all the
republics of Europe and give the capital of each.
8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?
9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the
sources of rivers.
10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give the inclination of the earth.

Notice that the exam took FIVE HOURS to complete.

Gives the saying "he only had an 8th grade education" a whole new meaning,
doesn't it?!

16:42:14 Tue
Jul 21 2009
Re: Does anybody know about galena and precious metals?
I ran across an article on the net a while back about a co. that had drilled old slag around Jerome, AZ. They claimed they got .5 OPT gold, and some silver. They were trying to get money to setup processing it I believe. Don't know if anything ever came of it. The old timers were awfully ingenious and industrious, can't believe all the work they did way back when. Still, they weren't always completely efficient. Old slag all over my area, always someone who thinks they've found a piece that must have pounds of gold in it because it has some copper showing in it. They completely ignore the fact that the amount of gold attained per ton of copper was very small to start with. And anyone smelting wasn't going to just ignore gold and silver. Sure wish I could go out and build myself a little smelter on a hillside and nobody care, sure would make mining simpler. Oh well.
PS -The older the slag and the smaller the smelter, the more likely it was inefficient, and probably interested in richer stuff. But probably still just a waste of time for the average Joe.

01:01:32 Wed
Jul 22 2009
slag piles and poor farmers
I read that the older lead/galena smelters were only 40% efficient at removing the lead from the galena. No, Geowizard, I have never done a cupel thing and don't plan on doing so.I will just send more samples for assays instead. And no, them old timers did not get it all either.I metal detected many pounds of galena nuggets around their holes in the woods including an 8 pound slab right on the edge of one hole. The dolomite was showing on the xposed side which is probably why they left it be. I don't believe they were half as smart as you imply they were? They were poor folks lookin for spare money to supplement their farm income and they took what galena they could eyeball after some blasting with gunpowder. The landowner showed me a gunpower spoon /tamper thing he tripped over in the woods. He is gonna donate that , my 8 pound slab of galena, and an old miners pick his nephew metal detected , to the local history museum, hopefully with my name included.
Now, how do I recognize a slag pile? There is a 150 year old lead smelter in the town limits in a small park, but no mounds beside it, only a creek bed behind it. I wonder if the slag pile is back in the creek gulley? Would my MXT sound off on it?


07:47:31 Wed
Jul 22 2009
Re: slag piles and poor farmers
A mineralogist's point of view: old timers have probably missed the compounded minerals containing gold (tellurides, selenides, antimonides, sulfo-compounds, Ag-Hg-Au alloys...) except when they occurred well concentrated, or as larger crystals, like in the Mother Lode.

If one is going to re-visit old and new places with our modern concerns, one should make the best use of modern techniques, and not only of the good old tested ones. I think especially of the microprobe techniques, which can detect Au-PGE-Ag-Hg-containing minerals of micrometric dimensions and in any chemical combination.

It takes a few seconds to decide if a small mineral speck brought under the electron beam is worth a further investigation, but the difficulty is of course to bring that speck under the beam. A systematic examination under the probe of heavy fines, collected by panning or bromoform centrifugation, appears as a practical solution (but not to be run in the garage or the backyard, which I respect of course, considering the past achievements!).

14:45:49 Wed
Jul 22 2009
Re: slag piles and poor farmers
Recognizing a slag pile?
Around here it starts with the 100 foot high dumps off a hill side, black burnt looking stuff as mentioned above. Think low grade obsidian. Not quite like high quality glass, but close. Glassy. Or the big lumps still shaped like the vessel they were dumped out of, 6 ft. across, lining the river for a mile. But that's all the stuff out of the big copper smelters. Before they were here there were Mexican's burning mesquite in basically big ovens running small batches, and mostly for silver and gold. I haven't seen any of that stuff but guess smaller, less uniform in shape, and much smaller dumps, but would still have the glassy black look. And before them, the Spanish were all over the SW with arrastre's and little tiny smelters, ingenious in the 1600's. Some of that stuff might actually be worth looking for and messing with.

17:54:24 Wed
Jul 22 2009
Re: slag piles and poor farmers
Is this the slag of which you guys speak? I found it while metal detecting around a few old kilns. Didn't know what it was at the time, but thought it looked interesting so I added to to my growing mineral collection.

One piece is glassy and black with lots of bubbles, pockets and holes. Not unlike scoria or pumice. The other piece is heavier, still glassy, but looks more like a piece of low grade jade. The camera really didn't pick up on it, but there's all different shades of green in both rocks, which I assume must be copper ore, or discoloration if they used some sort of flux.

19:45:17 Wed
Jul 22 2009
Re: slag piles and poor farmers
The porous one I'd say maybe, but the close up also looks like some white mineralization that could be natural silica. The other one looks too much like just a rock to me. I think I'll go out and take a couple pics for you.

22:29:56 Wed
Jul 22 2009
Re: slag piles and poor farmers
Looks like those small pockmarks once held sulphides......

01:47:35 Thu
Jul 23 2009
Re: slag piles and poor farmers
I'll make some inquiries in the town next time I am there. My relative showed me some areas he says are slag piles and they are like 30 feet high outside of the one town. They look like yellow mounds to me , not pumice or glassy lookin.I know Hecla and New Jersey Zinc had some operations therabouts in the last 50 years. I'd be after the spots on the Topo maps where it shows the word FURNACE ,usually near a creek. Those are probably the 40% efficient old timer workings.
Who gives the most reliable assays? I used Action Mining in Oregon last time.It cost 30 bucks for gold and silver only.I couldn't afford the 180 bucks to tell me everything that was in the galena sample.


02:00:38 Thu
Jul 23 2009
Re: slag piles and poor farmers
not trying to high jack this thread but is this what Galena looks like ? I found it with my MXT.

16:05:58 Thu
Jul 23 2009
Re: slag piles and poor farmers
Let's see if I can get these pics on. Nope.

21:27:21 Fri
Jul 24 2009
Re: slag piles and poor farmers
Thanks Geowizard..
On the streak test it shows dark grey to allmost black ?
it is not magnetic and is quite hard. it reads as Zinc on the MXT. I put a few drops of nitric acid on it and it seems to have no effect ?? Platinum ???? :confused:

08:16:49 Tue
Jul 28 2009
Re: slag piles and poor farmers
We used here a VOYAGER EDS-attachment to a JEOL Superprobe 733 since 1980 (amazing!), and now, I have no idea about what's going on in that market.

-Try to be free from liquid nitrogen hassle, or be sure to be able to feed the reservoir in all circumstances, vacations, week-ends, disease .
-Be very cautious when choosing the operating system of the EDS computer, which should preferably be the same as that of your office computer(s).
-Speed of mapping for separate elements is also important: too slow acquisitions are nerve-shaking.
-Operating personel should be fully aware of mineralogical and chemical problems, associations, incompatibilities, etc.
-Mastering of the back-scattered electron mode, the most frequent and critical peak-interferences (Pb-Hg/S; K/U; Mo/S, Zr/P...), heavy/light-element electronic properties,

I beg your pardon, I could go on and on, ...and discourage you!

Good luck! J.J.

01:49:36 Thu
Jul 30 2009
Sacman...your rock...
I metal detected a chunk of rock similar to that some years ago near Payson,Arizona with my Lobo ST. I eventually found out it was magnetite/hematite . A rock shop offered me 15 bucks for it so it wasn't totally worthless.You can tell by the red splotches on the rock. Find somebody with a rock or tile cuttting saw and saw off a piece where the red shows. It will be like blood red on the inside and you will know for sure it is hematite and if the rest of the insides are metallic looking, it is most likely magnetite. Both Hematite and magnetite are iron ores.
My local college geology dept swore my rock was a meteorite but they were WRONG. I had meteorite hunters tell me that rocks from space do NOT contain Hematite-the red splotches on your rock.


01:55:47 Thu
Jul 30 2009
Geowizard,another question?
I found a spot behind a loose boulder on the relatives land who has the galena. There is some sort of mineral there where the land slopes down to the creek and right behind that there boulder. The stuff is kinda chalky white but has a greenish/blue tinge to it, fairly soft, definitely not metallic.Any idea what it might be? I will try to take a photo of it. Unfortunately, my relative has told the Wisconsin DNR to include his land in their forestry holdings or some such thing so mining is pretty much out of the question. here. Still would be nice to know what this mineral is?


15:48:32 Thu
Jul 30 2009
Re: Geowizard,another question?
Hey Tom:

Canít tell you much about metal detectors (Iíve got a Minelab XT18000, but it hasnít seen the light of day in years), but I can pass along some info on galena mining. I worked at a galena mine in northern Arizona for a few years back in the mid 1990ís. At the time, chasing just the galena ore wasnít profitable. Our cons averaged 1400 lbs. of galena/ton, with 180+ oz. of silver, and only a trace of gold. The silver mineral was argentite. The closest refiner for us was located in Trails, Canada. (Yes, we knew about Doe Run, MO, but they wouldnít pay for the silver). At that time, the price of refined Pb was about $0.18/lbs. and Ag was $4.50/oz. If I remember correctly, after shipping and penalties, we lost $10. for every ton of galena shipped. The refiner kept saying we would make it up with more volume. That modern math thing, I guess.

Then by accident, while drilling the hanging wall in several places to check for stability, we ran a few assays and found gold running between 2 and 7 oz/ton. Again, this was back in the days of $265. to $300./oz for gold. The gold was a combination of free gold and associated sulphides. It was cheaper for us to just add 500 to 600 lbs. of hanging wall ore to each ton of galena cons and let the refiner pay us for the gold. The galena vein was about 4í wide, running from the back to the floor, so we were drifting in a 9í wide (plenty of room to maneuver the LHD), and taking 5í of the hanging wall. I ran some of the hanging wall separately and did fairly well, but low overall metal price forced the sale of the mine after a few years. It would be a different story at todayís prices.

Refining galena now days is fairly straightforward, add controlled heat. Heating the ore mix above 832(F) will volatize the sulfur off (re-captured for making acid), the Pb and zinc will be in a molten state. The Parkís process recovers the precious metals with the zinc. Zinc is further purified by distillation, and Pb recovery is in the upper 90%. In a pinch, lead can be extracted from galena over a campfire.

Iím guessing that you are finding a lot of slag because they didnít take the extra step of concentrating the galena, beyond hand cobbing, and just smelted everything coming out of the ground. Hereís the bad news. If the Old-Timers were going after lead and zinc, then they got most of the silver and gold. This is because in pyro-metallurgy order, lead has an affinity for zinc, zinc has an affinity for silver, and silver has an affinity for gold. The only way you would have residual sulfur left in your slag is if the refiner didnít heat the ore up enough. (see above). If thatís the case, there might be some zinc, silver and gold remaining.

The next question would be; at todayís gold prices of +$900. X 0.13 = $117./ton, (assuming a 100% recovery), then do you have enough tonnage available to make a profit. Extracting 0.13 oz. from 2,000 lbs. of slag will take some work. I recommend starting simple (cheap), by taking several grab samples, crush and pulverize to Ė100 mesh or finer, and use any form of gravitational separation. This will tell you several things including, point of liberation, what shape, form and type of heavy metals are collected in the cons. Weighing all the material dry at each step will give you a better idea of your final extraction ratio. Assay the cons and extrapolate the numbers.

When you are done testing the slag, let us know if you are in business. In todayís economy, this project could have some merit.

Good Luck,


01:32:25 Fri
Jul 31 2009
Thanks for the encouragement John
I may go over to Rock Creek this weekend to see a farmer.I want to see why my map dowsing is so extremely attracted to spots on his land even tho there is no known gold in the area. He does have 2 limestone /gravel quarries thereabouts.
I had found a spot in another river nearby, where the dowsing took me in about a mile across really rough ground and the river was a mudhole. But in the 1/4 mile of the river that wasn't all mud, I had found an area that looked like it had seen some mining activity and the river bottom was a coarse reddish bedrock with tons of black hotrocks.Most of these black rocks were lite as pumice but I hit one with the sharp end of my pick and it just bounced off the rock, and flattened the point on my pick? How can a tennis ball size rock be that tough? I hardly even scratched the rock.
A bit farther downsteeam, my rods pointed to a spot and I triangulated best I could.Had to wiggle down a 7 foot vertical river bank. My MXT started showing Hotrock readings everywhere and then I turned around and BANG. My meter went totally blank , dunno why?, but the detector was screaming. I dug down into what looked like a manmade gravel bar ,as all the cobbles looked the same size like a cobblestone street. I dug about 8 inches and a fist size black rock came up, shaped just like my fist too. It was extremely heavy for its size, maybe 2 pounds is my guess. Unfortunately, I got kinda depressed it wasn't yellow, so I chucked it!! Biggest mistake I've made in a long time. I even had a rock pick on me with a super magnet and didn't check it with that. I have been back there 4 times and can't find that rock? I have since read in the last 2 years that some gold nuggets are coated with black oxides of iron or manganese,OOPS !
If that was a gold nugget ,there have got to be more deposits than just that one,hence my interest in a visit to Rock Creek this Sunday. Heck, I will offer to buy some flowers/chicken meat from the farmer and see if he will let me in to prospect for gold? I will be sure to ask if he knows any spots on the creek where there is exposed reddish bedrock and black rocks lying around? I will compare what he says to the spots I map dowsed for gold deposits and see if they match.
At least I will know this time to NOT throw away any heavy rocks that sound off on my MXT. Take em home and do some testing on em first/cut with a rock saw, check specific gravity, etc...I always seem to have to learn things the hard way?


Does anybody know about galena and precious metals?
Powered By BbBoard -