Since my dad’s visit in April, 2012, I had several more outings and found a few nice new pickers and a decent amount of fines. They came from locations previously visited, like The Big Hill, Black Rock Canyon and the Swimming Pool. Many new areas were explored and none of them turned out to be mainstays, like the one’s just referenced. That shows just how difficult it is to find good, reliable spots to dig in Lake Havasu’s Bison area washes. The snowbirds (retired winter visitors to Havasu) had already headed home and the weather pattern was changing.
Warm weather is becoming the norm, not the exception this time of year (April / May) and that means a steady dose of 100+ degree temps is just around the corner. Time to take stock of season one gold totals and decide what to keep and what to sell. I decided that I’d keep my pickers and sell my “fines”. I later discovered this to be pretty normal among amateur prospectors. Now I needed to find a place to buy my fines. I polled the online gold prospecting community at Treasurenet and the consensus was to package it up and send it to Midwest Refineries in Michigan. I first spoke with a guy there who informed me they had been in the biz for over 60 years. That made me feel more comfortable about a scenario in which I had to trust someone and not have the opportunity to take my gold and walk out the door if I did not like their assessment. I was also happy to learn they pay 95% of spot. This means 95% of current market value, based on their assessment of the gold’s purity. I had 7.5 grams of fines
to sell and asked local longtime prospector, Rick, his estimation regarding Lake Havasu’s gold purity. He told me that I could expect somewhere around 85% to 90%. When speaking to the guy at Midwest Refineries, he explained they have a minimum quantity before they would assay gold and it was 3 ounces! He explained that in cases like mine, they melt down the gold into a button shape, then x-ray it, to reveal impurities, then, and this is the part I did not like, guesstimate what they believe the purity to be. Because of what Rick told me, I was prepared to hear something in the 80% – 90% range, so when the refinery guy’s report came back to be only 72%, I was not happy! That, combined with the current price of gold at the lowest it’s been for over a year, $1533.00 per troy ounce, I ended up with a check for just under $250.00! Not nearly what I was expecting! So…what I ended up with was only 67% of spot! All this effort and only $250.00 to show for it, well…that plus my retained pickers and a season’s worth of prospecting knowledge under my belt. That’s amateur prospecting for you! Sometimes you get lucky, most of the time you come home with a couple tenths of a gram and a sore body!