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Gold prospecting holiday in West cork

  • #1
    Registered Users Posts: 1,446 ✭✭✭ bogwalrus


    I know Absolutely Nothing about geography or anything about where would be an ideal spot to start a gold panning holiday in west cork with my mates. I just want to do this for fun and a bit of a bonding session/hiking/camping trip with the lads before some of them move off and get married.

    I always find there needs to be a good reason to go wandering up mountains and hills and gold panning seems a great idea and were all up for it.

    I have done a bit of research namely here

    http://www.mineralsireland.ie/NR/rdonlyres/03E171C9-4C17-46F0-8A9C-9B73F416CD4B/0/golda4pd.pdf

    It seems devonian areas near deep stream and rivers where there is paleoplacers would be ideal.

    If anyone would like to pick a few spots they might think would be worth a check I can take loads of pics for them of that area (post them here) to show what all the geography is like for them. Also if i find a load of gold i can cut yee in :pac:

    Cheers,
    boggy


«13

Comments



  • bogwalrus wrote: »
    I know Absolutely Nothing about geography or anything about where would be an ideal spot to start a gold panning holiday in west cork with my mates. I just want to do this for fun and a bit of a bonding session/hiking/camping trip with the lads before some of them move off and get married.

    I always find there needs to be a good reason to go wandering up mountains and hills and gold panning seems a great idea and were all up for it.

    I have done a bit of research namely here

    http://www.mineralsireland.ie/NR/rdonlyres/03E171C9-4C17-46F0-8A9C-9B73F416CD4B/0/golda4pd.pdf

    It seems devonian areas near deep stream and rivers where there is paleoplacers would be ideal.

    If anyone would like to pick a few spots they might think would be worth a check I can take loads of pics for them of that area (post them here) to show what all the geography is like for them. Also if i find a load of gold i can cut yee in :pac:

    Cheers,
    boggy
    So you're not one of those ''I climbed it, because it was there'' types?

    That PDF mentions the association of gold with the gossans of the copper lodes.
    Allihies and Mount Gabriel both had ancient copper mines, so they might be worth a trial, although I've not heard of gold found in either.
    Mind you, the great G.H.Kinahan firmly believed that the gold resource was generally underexploited.
    Croghan mountain in south Wicklow would be a safer bet if you wanted to find a few grains.

    I'd love to see any pics of the Mount Gabriel workings ;)




  • slowburner wrote: »
    So you're not one of those ''I climbed it, because it was there'' types?

    That PDF mentions the association of gold with the gossans of the copper lodes.
    Allihies and Mount Gabriel both had ancient copper mines, so they might be worth a trial, although I've not heard of gold found in either.
    Mind you, the great G.H.Kinahan firmly believed that the gold resource was generally underexploited.
    Croghan mountain in south Wicklow would be a safer bet if you wanted to find a few grains.

    I'd love to see any pics of the Mount Gabriel workings ;)

    I've climbed the peaks in Kerry a few Times but always need to do something else on the climb like hit a few golf balls off carrontuhil ;)

    I'm in cork so don't want to go anywhere out of Munster although I'd love to head back around the Wicklow mountains again.

    I would like to find a spot near streams and the right kind of rock that has had no previous mining done before. Sure why not go on a discovery mission.

    If I get to the mines I will take some snaps.




  • AFAIK, you have to find the biggest mofo boulder in the stream - one that's been there since the ice age and has caused a deposit to sit undisturbed for millennia.
    Then you have to find black sand underneath it, and that's the stuff you have to pan.
    There are lots of good youtubes on gold panning.
    Best of luck with your adventure.




  • So I am eyeing up Knockoura in Allihies. I just want some opinion of its formation as a mountain as it looks interesting.

    Here are a few google earth images:

    It is the ridges on the right that i am looking at
    goldallihies.jpg

    This image is facing the ridge from the sea
    goldallihies2.jpg

    This is same as above but closer up to get a look at the type of rock. A lake there also so would be curious about streams entering exiting etc
    goldallihies3.jpg

    This last image is coming from opposite direction and close up of very top. It has some very interesting rock on the very top and wondering if the top of the mountain could actually have soil that would normally be very deep. Such as was this formed by a mass forcing the soil up.
    goldallihies4.jpg




  • I doubt there'll be much soil.
    Erosion will have taken most of that away, and that's the course you need to follow.
    If there's any gold there, it'll be lower down the ridge.
    It'll be in areas where heavy soil deposits were protected from thousands of years of erosion, like under the mofo.
    Other than that, it might be worth targeting areas where gold carried out of the quartz veins might have been deposited.
    Them's my (bullshítting) uneducated guesses anyway.
    Hopefully there's a more educated lurker about who might share their wisdom with us.

    How potentially auriferous/cupriferous areas were located in times past, is a subject of great personal interest.

    Of course, a lot of the guesswork could be eliminated by doing a little historical research...
    G.H.Kinahan was an eminent C.19th geologist (amongst other things) with a great belief in the underexploitation of gold in Ireland - well worth a persistent Google ;)


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  • Hopefully this advice will be of some use to you.

    From what I have heard there has not been any visible gold found in West Cork. From the link you posted it states that the gold in Cork is found along with copper mineralisation. Generally the gold in copper mineralisation is disseminated throughout the ore load and is microscopic in size. You generally get visible gold in high temperature formed quartz veins. Although most gold is found in quartz, not all quartz has gold.

    If you do find a place to pan, make sure you can see bedrock or know it is there under the sediments. If you can't it might be worth moving on as you won't find anything substantial. (The gold moves through the sediments and settles on the bedrock).

    Good luck, post back and let us know if you find anything!




  • I just found out today that a friend of mine has just moved to Australia to work as a surveyor for one of the worlds biggest gold mines. As far as i know he is surveying the lands for new spots. Just sent him an email to see if he can help me find a few nice spots based on geography that i can just go check out on spare time=) Happy days:D




  • bogwalrus wrote: »
    I just found out today that a friend of mine has just moved to Australia to work as a surveyor for one of the worlds biggest gold mines. As far as i know he is surveying the lands for new spots. Just sent him an email to see if he can help me find a few nice spots based on geography that i can just go check out on spare time=) Happy days:D
    That should be interesting - keep us posted.




  • Another friend of mine had a friend that found a 2k nugget. I told him to ask his friend more about it and today he sent me this link.

    http://www.proactiveinvestors.com/companies/news/30333/galantas-gold-rallies-on-omagh-drill-results-30333.html




  • Anywhere there's a sulfide deposit you should have a look into. Keep an eye on plants and how healthy they look (i.e. certain metals will affect plant metabolism through discolouration of leaves). So when you're looking for gold, the pathfinder element you want to bear in mind is arsenic. So, if you see plants check out their roots they'll have stunted growth and appear in a sort of brownish colour. Overall the growth of the plants will be reduced with arsenic concentrations in the soil of >2 ppm.


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  • El Siglo wrote: »
    Anywhere there's a sulfide deposit you should have a look into. Keep an eye on plants and how healthy they look (i.e. certain metals will affect plant metabolism through discolouration of leaves). So when you're looking for gold, the pathfinder element you want to bear in mind is arsenic. So, if you see plants check out their roots they'll have stunted growth and appear in a sort of brownish colour. Overall the growth of the plants will be reduced with arsenic concentrations in the soil of >2 ppm.



    Reminds me of Dantes peak with the crap james bond. The sulphur underground near the lake made a section of trees look brown compared to the lovely green ones.


    Great tip, :D




  • bogwalrus wrote: »
    Reminds me of Dantes peak with the crap james bond. The sulphur underground near the lake made a section of trees look brown compared to the lovely green ones.


    Great tip, :D

    Don't even get me started on Dante's Peak... Here's a great explanation of the inaccuracies of that pile of balls film.




  • Did this 2k nugget come from the mine in Omagh? If so I wouldn't believe it, I have seen the mine and the ore they are working, it is quite low grade.




  • Step23 wrote: »
    Did this 2k nugget come from the mine in Omagh? If so I wouldn't believe it, I have seen the mine and the ore they are working, it is quite low grade.


    oops i made a mistake

    This is exactly what my mate said and it might clear things up:

    A friend of mine in Tyrone was saying that some company were coming in to mine for gold..... One of the lads over here has recently gotten into gold mining and found a nugget worth $2000... but that has gone back into the equipment that he had to buy. Very interesting stuff tho.


    And the Nugget was found in New Zealand not Ireland as that is where "over here" is :)




  • El Siglo wrote: »
    Anywhere there's a sulfide deposit you should have a look into. Keep an eye on plants and how healthy they look (i.e. certain metals will affect plant metabolism through discolouration of leaves). So when you're looking for gold, the pathfinder element you want to bear in mind is arsenic. So, if you see plants check out their roots they'll have stunted growth and appear in a sort of brownish colour. Overall the growth of the plants will be reduced with arsenic concentrations in the soil of >2 ppm.
    The Avoca mines in Wicklow (sorry), still have colossal spoil heaps full of sulphides and arsenic too.
    The mines ceased commercial operation in 1982, but still precious little grows on the most exposed heaps, and those few that manage to eke out an existence, are more like bonsai than mature trees.
    A walk around the mines (which you're not supposed to do :rolleyes:) fills the nostrils with sulphur especially on a warm day.
    There was an outbreak of cholera in the surrounding area towards the end of the C.19th - Avoca was largely unscathed, and this has been attributed to the quantity of sulphur in the air and water.

    I heard fairly recently, that a joint Irish/Canadian venture has found gold nearby in commercially viable quantities.




  • slowburner wrote: »
    The Avoca mines in Wicklow (sorry), still have colossal spoil heaps full of sulphides and arsenic too.
    The mines ceased commercial operation in 1982, but still precious little grows on the most exposed heaps, and those few that manage to eke out an existence, are more like bonsai than mature trees.
    A walk around the mines (which you're not supposed to do :rolleyes:) fills the nostrils with sulphur especially on a warm day.
    There was an outbreak of cholera in the surrounding area towards the end of the C.19th - Avoca was largely unscathed, and this has been attributed to the quantity of sulphur in the air and water.

    I heard fairly recently, that a joint Irish/Canadian venture has found gold nearby in commercially viable quantities.

    The use of plants in geobotanical surveys for mineral resource evaluation was done in the time before atomic absorption and ICP-OES equipment was invented (a long time ago) and since most sulphide ores are usually associated with sulphur, copper, zinc, silver, gold, lead and uranium it paid to notice these things about plants in the area especially if it was sulphide deposit like the massive granite pluton down in Wicklow.

    Nowadays I don't think anyone does geobotanical surveys as you can buy a handheld XRF for about £50,000 and do the job in a matter of seconds, what used to take days.

    Acid mine drainage (AMD) is caused by the oxidation and hydrolysis of metal sulphides (mainly pyrite) in water permeable strata, or in mined spoil dumped on the surface. This results in the formation of several soluble hydrous iron sulphates, the production of acidity and the subsequent leaching of metals. It's a slightly different to prospecting using geobotanical surveys as it's an impacted site and is attributed to mining activity as the two main mining adits in the case of the Avoca represent about 70% of the AMD discharge from the mines with the remainder coming from the other sources including minor contaminated streams, bank infiltration, and as groundwater discharge.

    I spent a lot of time down there doing work on it for my masters and I'm just reading over an article an old lecturer of mine wrote a few years back on one of the geochemical methods he used. So, it's slightly fresh in my head! :pac:




  • Ha - now I have an expert to quiz.

    Seriously though, it must be one of the most studied sites in Ireland from many points of view.
    Geologists, ecologists, historians (too few), hydrologists, biologists (and more 'ists than I can think of), have all studied the place.

    I've been very fortunate to know two mining experts who brought me on a tour of the 850 level. It turned out to be a five hour journey up ladders, through C18th levels, C19th levels and all around the raises and stopes of latter years.
    It was one hell of an experience, but tinged with sadness, knowing those levels will probably collapse long before the loss of heritage is recognised, or the public ever gets to see a truly remarkable and extensive feat of engineering.




  • slowburner wrote: »
    Ha - now I have an expert to quiz.

    Seriously though, it must be one of the most studied sites in Ireland from many points of view.
    Geologists, ecologists, historians (too few), hydrologists, biologists (and more 'ists than I can think of), have all studied the place.

    I've been very fortunate to know two mining experts who brought me on a tour of the 850 level. It turned out to be a five hour journey up ladders, through C18th levels, C19th levels and all around the raises and stopes of latter years.
    It was one hell of an experience, but tinged with sadness, knowing those levels will probably collapse long before the loss of heritage is recognised, or the public ever gets to see a truly remarkable and extensive feat of engineering.

    It's an interesting site to have alright, great history to it as well. From the Roman traders to the Associated Irish Mine Company and the Cronebane halfpenny and the use of it as a rubbish dump by Wicklow County Council! A lot of work has been done out of TCD on it, but that's the stuff I'm more familiar with.

    The problem with Avoca is that when it shut down it wasn't economic (i.e. for it to be economic you'd want to be getting a 5% copper yield out of the rock extracted and they were down to about 2%). However, with better technology and copper prices rising (along with gold and all the other sulphate minerals), Avoca will be economically viable in a short space of time (at least that's what a few people in the GSI hope anyway, they have the property rights to the site as far as I can recall). So the will to clean up the site isn't there as the site may be used again shortly, hence why the place is such a mess. Not great form since some of the vertical adits were 'sealed' by dumping a few Ford cortinas and datsuns with some gravel and soil on top, the cars have corroded (AMD groundwater) and the shafts are unstable at the top entrance. This is a great article to read on some of the monitoring work carried out on the site: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0043-1354(97)00449-1




  • El Siglo wrote: »
    It's an interesting site to have alright, great history to it as well. From the Roman traders to the Associated Irish Mine Company and the Cronebane halfpenny and the use of it as a rubbish dump by Wicklow County Council! A lot of work has been done out of TCD on it, but that's the stuff I'm more familiar with.

    The problem with Avoca is that when it shut down it wasn't economic (i.e. for it to be economic you'd want to be getting a 5% copper yield out of the rock extracted and they were down to about 2%). However, with better technology and copper prices rising (along with gold and all the other sulphate minerals), Avoca will be economically viable in a short space of time (at least that's what a few people in the GSI hope anyway, they have the property rights to the site as far as I can recall). So the will to clean up the site isn't there as the site may be used again shortly, hence why the place is such a mess. Not great form since some of the vertical adits were 'sealed' by dumping a few Ford cortinas and datsuns with some gravel and soil on top, the cars have corroded (AMD groundwater) and the shafts are unstable at the top entrance. This is a great article to read on some of the monitoring work carried out on the site: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0043-1354(97)00449-1
    Apologies to Bogwalrus.

    The EPA has a more recent report (2007) available to download here
    There have been some significant changes since Gray's 1998 report: most notably, he observed a river devoid of fish life down to the estuary, and a predominance of diptera, which are a biotic index of pollution.
    Migratory fish have returned to the river - indeed, the record sea trout for Ireland was caught below Woodenbridge last year.
    The intensively polluted stretch is now much shorter. I'm not aware of any biotic indexing work carried out lately, but I'll bet the diptera are less predominant.
    I think the pace at which the river is recovering has surprised many observers.
    Undoubtedly, the deep adits continue to discharge heavy mineral deposits directly into the river. I saw amazing 'copper flowers' which had precipitated onto ferrous fragments when I was in the deep adit.
    However, I don't think anyone predicted the phenomenon of concretion.
    My knowledge of this is just from bits and pieces I've heard locally - one man told me about trying to move what looked like loose spoil - he said it nearly broke his JCB!
    If this concretion thing is true, it could reduce runoff from the spoil heaps.

    There was also a joint Welsh/Irish project to test the viability of treating the discharge from Ballymurtagh using crushed limestone (I think) - after treatment the water was potable, and the plant was not expensive in terms of how it could contribute to the economy. Nothing ever came of it unfortunately.

    I'd better drag myself away from the screen or I'll never shut up.


    (One more thing - where did you see or hear the reference to Roman traders?)




  • Baldric says there is gold in Ireland. I believe him




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  • Interesting vid.

    Here's a view inside a Wicklow adit. It was driven in to 700 fathoms just before the famine.
    Every inch of it was cut by hand, just using a pick.
    The adit was driven in search of gold but not a single particle was found.

    209510.jpg




    I can't find any evidence for the existence of this trial adit, but I'm nearly sure it's later. Note the pyrites or Fool's gold above, and to the right of the bore mark at the top of the portal.

    209509.jpg




  • Just a question on gold Mineralisation.

    What chemicals/tools could i use to extract gold in lets say a load of copper/iron rich soils?




  • Well you would probably need a couple of tonnes of ore to start with then you would need an ore processing plant, to process the ore to make concentrate. You'd then send off the concentrate to a smelter and then you would have your gold! So unless you are a mining company you probably won't get any gold from ore as the gold is so highly disseminated that you need tonnes of ore just to get a few onces.

    However, if you are looking at ore that has produced gold in the past, look for gossan, this is altered parts of the ore and is basically rust, because gold is so stable and doesnt tarnish it may be possible to spot some in the gossan. And remember to look at any quartz veins you find, you can always collect a few lumps, crush it to powder and pan it to see if it contains any gold.

    Good luck!




  • ...or you could try the technique of the Golden Fleece.
    I think it was used in China, but I could be wrong.
    It involved setting up the fleece (shag pile carpet might be just as good) in a fast flowing part of the gold bearing stream.
    The likely soil was shoveled into the water, just above the fleece.
    The principle is that the heavier gold particles sink to the bottom of the fibres, and get trapped.
    The old timers would then burn the fleece - the idea being that the gold would melt, and be easily sorted from the spoil.

    Edit: modern day gold miners use miners' moss





  • Step23 wrote: »
    Well you would probably need a couple of tonnes of ore to start with then you would need an ore processing plant, to process the ore to make concentrate. You'd then send off the concentrate to a smelter and then you would have your gold! So unless you are a mining company you probably won't get any gold from ore as the gold is so highly disseminated that you need tonnes of ore just to get a few onces.

    However, if you are looking at ore that has produced gold in the past, look for gossan, this is altered parts of the ore and is basically rust, because gold is so stable and doesnt tarnish it may be possible to spot some in the gossan. And remember to look at any quartz veins you find, you can always collect a few lumps, crush it to powder and pan it to see if it contains any gold.

    Good luck!

    Very true,

    The idea was that maybe if i fill a couple of buckets of finer sand i could test to see if there are any traces of gold, even very minute diluted traces. If so then technically i have found gold and that area might be worth further investigation.


    Devonian areas like here in the south of Ireland should contain Gold mineralisation. Some soil per tonne could yield 2 ounces. Others 10 grammes.

    Basically what i am looking for is a chemical of sorts that can colour or do something to show diluted gold etc.




  • If you do find yourself with gold containing soil, use sieves to get the grain size as fine as possible, then pan it, you could have some gold. I'm not sure what chemicals you could use to test for gold. I know aqua regia will dissolve gold, but that is horrible stuff, exteremly corrosive!

    I'd suggest a quick google for panning forums etc they could be of some help to you too.

    Hope this helps!




  • slowburner wrote: »
    Apologies to Bogwalrus.

    The EPA has a more recent report (2007) available to download here
    There have been some significant changes since Gray's 1998 report: most notably, he observed a river devoid of fish life down to the estuary, and a predominance of diptera, which are a biotic index of pollution.
    Migratory fish have returned to the river - indeed, the record sea trout for Ireland was caught below Woodenbridge last year.
    The intensively polluted stretch is now much shorter. I'm not aware of any biotic indexing work carried out lately, but I'll bet the diptera are less predominant.
    I think the pace at which the river is recovering has surprised many observers.
    Undoubtedly, the deep adits continue to discharge heavy mineral deposits directly into the river. I saw amazing 'copper flowers' which had precipitated onto ferrous fragments when I was in the deep adit.
    However, I don't think anyone predicted the phenomenon of concretion.
    My knowledge of this is just from bits and pieces I've heard locally - one man told me about trying to move what looked like loose spoil - he said it nearly broke his JCB!
    If this concretion thing is true, it could reduce runoff from the spoil heaps.

    There was also a joint Welsh/Irish project to test the viability of treating the discharge from Ballymurtagh using crushed limestone (I think) - after treatment the water was potable, and the plant was not expensive in terms of how it could contribute to the economy. Nothing ever came of it unfortunately.

    I'd better drag myself away from the screen or I'll never shut up.


    (One more thing - where did you see or hear the reference to Roman traders?)

    Nick Gray told me about the Roman traders.

    Recovery of these kinds of environments is not uncommon, I mean even in the exclusion zone of Chernobyl there's a fair abundance of wildlife which has totally surprised people. What you see in the Avonmore and Avoca is that most of the metals undergo numerous changes in their speciation due to dissolution, precipitation, sorption and complexation phenomena when discharged into a water body. Upon entering the river etc... the metals will distribute between the aqueous phase and the suspended sediments during transport. So the metals tend to be assimilated in sediment with organic matter, Fe/Mn oxides, sulphides, and clay forming several reactive components. So really sediment is always regarded as the potential reservoir for metals and plays an important role in adsorption of dissolved heavy metals. So you won't find as much heavy metals in the actual water column but you will find them in the sediment and having done this before this is usually the case, the dissolved metal concentrations are fairly low in comparison to the bulk sediment and we were using an ICP-OES for metals and cations.




  • There are colloquial references to the Romans alright, but nothing more solid than that.
    Did Nick Gray say anything specific about them?




  • slowburner wrote: »
    There are colloquial references to the Romans alright, but nothing more solid than that.
    Did Nick Gray say anything specific about them?

    Not to best of my recollection, it wasn't really the focus of our work just something cursory to give the place context and really his inimitable way of getting us to think outside of the box. When we were brought out on site (over the course of 2 days) we did a walk around, he started off on the very beginning of operations and right up to the present day state of the place. Has there every been any proper archaeological surveys done? Sure there's stuff preserved in the surrounding peat bogs etc...


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  • El Siglo wrote: »
    Not to best of my recollection, it wasn't really the focus of our work just something cursory to give the place context and really his inimitable way of getting us to think outside of the box. When we were brought out on site (over the course of 2 days) we did a walk around, he started off on the very beginning of operations and right up to the present day state of the place. Has there every been any proper archaeological surveys done? Sure there's stuff preserved in the surrounding peat bogs etc...
    The very beginnings are what I'm interested in.
    There haven't been any surveys that I'm aware of. Avoca suffers from the 200 year rule as far as archaeology is concerned; i.e. if it's more recent than 200 years, it's not worth investigating - that's the state's position, anyway.

    There is only one tiny bit of bog in the district, if you could call it bog at all. It's really just a shallow covering of heather.


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