Many people believe that the moratorium on dredging in California has all but stopped prospecting in the state. This is just not true. There are a number of different methods of recovering gold at and around the state's waterways that are efficient and productive.
I sat down with CA GPAA State Director Kevin Bell and discussed a few options for getting on the gold.
This is a two-part series in part 1 we talk about Production Panning, Sluicing and using a Rocker Box in the stream to the 300-foot line set forth by the state for mechanized and motorized equipment.
In part 2 it is everything past the 300 foot boundery.
away. Welcome to the on the gold podcast. I'm your host, Kevin Hoagland. And today we're talking about the golden opportunities in the state of California. Just because there's a moratorium does not mean that you cannot go prospecting. We're going to talk about what you can do in the state of California that falls within the guidelines and how you can make probably a lot of gold before it's all said and done. And joining me today is Kevin Bell. Kevin Bell is one of the state directors for the state of California and a very active prospector. Good morning, Kevin. How are you?
Morning. Cab. How's everything going?
Everything is going great. At least we're not doing this at four o'clock in the morning.
Here we go.
Okay, So let's jump right into this one, because it just needs to be covered. Moratorium. State of California on dredging. And that means that you can't go dredging. And because of that or high banking anything within 300 feet oven active water channel. Correct?
Yes. Yes. Yeah. Anything within. There's no mechanized equipment within 300 feet of the stream or the water, the watercourse, anything outside that everything is legal. Inside. That 300 foot mark is basically no mechanized equipment. Can hand operated equipment. Only
a lot of people have the problem making the distinction between motorized and mechanized.
Yes, and so the state of California is has put it. If it's a device, whether it has a motor or not, if it's a compound or mechanical tool for gold extraction, that does not fit the definition of and tools. So the key word is and tools. So it's it's non, ah, mechanical, both whether it pulls water out of the stream or it's a compound tool for separating material,
and that's a great way to say it. Anything that pulls water from this dream is considered a mechanized
There are some tools that you use. Where there they draw water up into the tube, different things like that or with a hand pump, different things. Those are not able to be used within that 300 foot from shore. Line up 300 feet, Correct. Ah, what about 301 feet?
Everything is legal. Sky's the limit. You know we still with our high bankers or recirculating systems. They should be used in a tub or a pond. Either one.
Right. Because you cannot have any solid or any liquid reenter the stream channel. So if I'm at 301 feet, I have to be re circulating, and I have to assure that that material is not going back into the active stream channel,
right? No. Free 12
right? No free flow. Perfect. Perfectly to say that within 300 feet. What can I do? It sounds like I'm pretty limited.
Well, actually, you're not. They've not put any limitation on the end tools. So, for instance, you can use full size sluices and even production pins within that area, so that really extends your ability to move material.
Now, can I dig material right there at the water line?
Yes. As long as you're using hand tools, you can dig at the water line or the stream bed itself.
And what about anywhere in that 300 foot barrier from the stream line all the way up to that 300 foot?
Yes. As long as you're not disturbing any sort of green plants, trees, things like that.
Standard prospecting in small scale mining procedures as not just the state of California, but anywhere. So that's that's really standard. That's not just California. That's everywhere, as faras prospecting is concerned. So let's talk about what we can do within 300 feet. I can use a number to shovel. I can fill buckets full of material. I can take it down to the stream bed, and I can pan or Aiken sluice. Or I can use something like a rocker box because a rocker box, if you're using the differ handle, is actually not classified as a mechanical devices.
No, it is perfectly legal. So if you are dipping and filling the rocker box by a bucket or O. R. A dip absolutely legal.
Okay, now there is a rocker box. It's on the marketplace right now that has been around for a very, very long time, and that is the one that is made by gold grabber. The gold grab A rocker box is a rocker box that has a hand pump that draws water up or you can hook it up to a 12 volt battery. Absolutely cannot use that rocker box within the 1st 300 feet,
right? So if you're just using it as a standard device, without having the rest of the handle hooked up or having that electric pump perfectly legal,
Once you add those other items, then it becomes illegal because you're actually pulling water from the stream.
Okay, so a 300 feet in the 1st 300 feet, I cannot use that rocker box. But at 301 foot absolutely can use that all day long.
Okay, So panning. Gosh, I can go gold panning. Oh, wow, G Wiz, that's gonna take forever.
Well, that's the nice thing is there's no limitation on banning. It's a hand tool so you can use production pans
And that's where I want to lead this, too. A lot of people would just shy away from doing any prospecting if they thought the only thing they could do was go down to the stream and just work a standard gold pin. And quite frankly, I would, too. That's not a real joy for me to go down in Just Pan Buck, you know, Pan a scoop it in time of material. But there is the production pan, and I want to talk about that because you and I both use production pans. I used the gold hog flow pan. You used the pyramid pro Pan, and the reason that we used these pans is because they move a massive amount of material in a very, very short order of time. It's not a gold pan. It is a gold band, but it's not a standard I will
fight. It's a gold,
right? So I've done my prospecting and we have to reiterate that over and over and over, I've done my prospecting. I know exactly where I'm going to be working. I've got my material. I know the trend. I know where it's headed. I'm going to take some buckets of material or Evan down on the streamlined. I'm just going to shovel directly into my production pan and started panning
right and all say that production pans, I Maybe people I need to clarify are we need to clarify. Production pans will run as much material in a day as a regular slopes, so you are not limited, even at that level,
So you get that high volume of material processing, yet it doesn't require any flow so you can run it in a pool or real low water and it can run either unclassified or classified
is its biggest feature,
right? And I have a tendency with mine to classify down the one inch, no matter what I and can I just shovel into? Absolutely. Have I shoveled into it? You bet. And I will continue to do that at times where it just makes sense. But I still like to classify down to that one inch.
Yeah, that makes it a lot easier if I am running unclassified. I still shovel collapse by
right, so at the end of the day, and I don't know what your production rate is. But when I'm out and I'm on a stream and I'm using my production pan and I'm breaking that material down very, very quickly, I'm dumping. I'm doing my fast cleanups, pulling my map, rinsing it out, throwing it back together and going right back to work. At the end of the day, I I'm going to have at least 3/4 of a five gallon bucket full of virtue on concentrate. I'll take that home and then do my final classification in my final recovery and someone like that. What a year results when you're using your production pan
right? Very similar years. And And I think that, you know, when you run your production pin, all you're doing is getting it down to the size of the material where the gold is and putting it in a bucket,
and then repeating.
And that's part of the prospecting process. I've prospected this area. I know that all of that the majority of my gold is going to go through Ah, 20 mash green. But I did find a few pickers that were above the 20 mash. So when I'm panting, I'm going to stay just right above that 20 machin. That's everything that's going to go in because I don't want to miss the pickers. So when I'm production painting and you do that by sight, or else if you really want to, you can classify all the way down to that. But that kind of defeats the entire purpose of a production pan.
Right? Speed is everyday.
Speed is everything, and at the end of the day, having that concentrate to take home is a absolute must, and so production panning is a way to run volume in the state of California inside that 300 foot barrier. Now let's talk about sluice boxes.
The you can run full size sluice boxes. And even there, you know there's no dimensional restriction on the sluice cider. So you have a large loose, you know, 16 inch wide things like that without without restriction
and that material. You can take that directly from the stream channel on the bank or wherever you have performed your prospecting within that 300 feet class, fight down and run it side
down and run it.
limitation. Uh, within that 300 foot. As long as you're not, you know, damaging vegetation or something. You have no restrictions. You know, one of the things I want to reiterate and tools are not a limitation. There's no, you know, there's no real limitation, a hand tools, and it Your only real limitation is how much material you can run in a day.
That's a great point. It is limited to what you can do in the course of a date. But everything is limited to what you can do in the course of the day, and that's what you work to do. You go to that point. And then what you have for your recovery is what you have for your recovery. Now, I don't know if you want me to mention this, I'm going to. Anyway, You have a particular spot because you have prospecting Thursday, which is something that you've been doing ever since you retired. Where you go out, you've got a certain spot on a certain river, you go out and you're not working hard. And at the end of the day, you've got grams.
Yes, and the material that you're running, we're so familiar with the layer of material that we need to process We on Lee process that that line,
so you're really concentrating the amount of gold you're working and that you're extracting
so through your prospecting. You know exactly the material that you're going to work and you're not working hard. You're just having fun and just working steady throughout the course of a day and you end up with I mean, I've seen some multiple graham days that you've sent me pictures up, so
yeah, the nice thing about it is is you're not wasting time running material. That's marginal. I like you know you're only running the highest grade material through the slough, so your recovery goes up dramatically, and that should be what you always you know, you know here, especially here in California, where we tend to have pocket material. You want to always make sure that you're you know, where the best, the best cold. It's
well and don't care if you're just in California anywhere that you're working, you should know where the best gold is, so that is done through your prospecting. So to be successful in the state of California right now is a possibility. Now it's more than a possibility. If you do your prospecting, you know the material that you are working. And if you're in that 300 foot mark, I know that it's hand tools on Lee, which means a hand, a sluice, a shovel, a bucket, different things like that. But if you're outside of that, the possibilities are unlimited. Outside the 300 foot, you know
that's where your dry washers and you're recirculating devices come in,
right, and we've covered gold pans. We've covered production gold pans, sluice boxes, rocker boxes that are hand dipped in hand, operated, not mechanized. There's always metal. Detecting is well,
Oh, yes, yes. And that that's one of the great opportunities that metal detecting is allowed within the 300 feet or outside the 300 feet. So it should always be something that the minor that's coming to California bring.
I agree. I agree. So for this inside the 300 foot, let's just make it simple, You prospect. You find your gold, you pan use loose, you rocker box or you metal intact.
in part two of this, we're going to talk about what you can do outside your 300 feet closing words.
Well, you know, I just wantto let people know, Kev, that you're you're not hampered by this law. You have the ability to get really good recovery on goal. There's a lot of gold here in California. You have year round flows in a lot of these areas, and as long as you do your prospecting, you are going to do amazingly well. Even though you're only using hand tools.
Well said Wait, thank you for joining us on Part one of California prospecting and mining. This was the 300 foot. What you can do the next one will be what you can do outside of 300 feet. Kevin, thank you for joining today as the state director for the state of California and making sure that people understand that there are still incredible golden opportunities available every day in the state of California.
You bad cab. Thank you. And, uh, I just invite everybody to make the trip. Don't be afraid. Make the trip.
Bring your gold pan. Bring useless box. Bring a shovel, bring your metal detector and get on the gold.