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Alaska Gold Blues

Discussion in 'Mining/Aggregates' started by firebird_ak, May 27, 2013.

  1. wnydirtguy

    wnydirtguy Well-Known Member

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    just tossing out this idea. if you did get a nice backhoe you could get a small dump truck or track dump. this way you can move topsoil to a stock pile area. then slot trench as mentioned before to get to pay dirt. haul that to the plant. then when u get enough to run the plant for a day you can use the backhoe to tend to the plant. you can utilize the machine the hole time and run the hole operation with 2 guys.
     
  2. KSSS

    KSSS Senior Member

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    If you were going to go with a backhoe, I would make it a 710. Near excavator breakout numbers on the backend and smaller wheel loader capacity on the front end.

    Otherwise I it would seem to me to be and excavator/wheel loader operation for more productivity.
     
  3. Delmer

    Delmer Senior Member

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    I'm thinking the sluice is the bottleneck. It wouldn't work to have a huge old wheel loader that was working half the time, even if it could move more yards.

    He wants a reliable backhoe so the sluice is never idle. A dump truck would be harder to dump than a loader.
     
  4. firebird_ak

    firebird_ak Member

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    I like the 710 route! They are quite a bit more expensive and harder to find, but have a 2.5 yard loader with 15,ooo lbs breakout! Maybe a backhoe to start making some gold right away, then add an excavator and dump truck hopefully the following year. One guy can use the excavator and dump truck to keep the pay stockpiled near the washplant and the other guy can use the backhoe to support the plant by feeding with the loader and also using it to haul tailings. A good thing about this plan is it is adaptable. If the backhoe was broke down, the excavator could stockpile pay then walk over and tend the plant. If the dumptruck was down, the 710 could alternate between stockpiling material and running the plant.
     

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  5. firebird_ak

    firebird_ak Member

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    After meeting with a potential investor, the above is still an option. There is also another option, a new crawler loader. We can get a brand new John Deere 655c for somewhere around $180,000. This is from the dealer with a full warranty and they even have their own airplane for warranty work in the bush. Operating this type of machine would be somewhat familiar to us compared our jd350. This would be a one machine operation until such a time that we might add a backhoe to tend the washplant. A big concern here is there doesn't seem to be many of these machines out there and we would have to buy it sight unseen. Also, the resale value is very low on similar low hour machines. I wonder why? There is also the option of going with the 655k which has tier 4 emissions and costs a bit more. The guys at the Cat dealer wouldn't give us much information on the 953 and instead thought that we should buy a skidsteer for 100,000 from off the lot. The 655c would mean it would take more gold to break even, but perhaps breaking even would be more fun and in a similar time frame when compared to the backhoe idea. A new John Deere 710 is getting quite close to the price of a 655 In the end, the goal is to pay off the investor in gold and end up with the equipment and to continue mining. New equipment didn't used to be an option, but when working with an investor, the idea is to reduce risk everywhere we can. That John Deere extended warranty and an airplane is very attractive compared to slightly used, but hiring a mechanic, and missing part of the short season. Not much info on here about the 655c and 655cII and 655k. They sure look like awesome machines!
     
  6. KSSS

    KSSS Senior Member

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    I would try and find a used 710. There is a large construction company here that loves those things and they rotate them out often and they take very good care of their stuff. Contact Honen Equipment in Idaho Falls, Brent is the guy you want to speak to. You would have to get it there, and maybe it would not make sense but you can run the numbers as see what you think.
     
  7. LT-x7

    LT-x7 Senior Member

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    I personally think a using a track loader to shuttle material is a bad idea.
    I would go with a backhoe myself.
     
  8. CM1995

    CM1995 Administrator

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    A track loader will move mountains more material than a backhoe will but for $180K you could get a couple of pieces of equipment that will greatly improve your productivity. You can get a used 20 ton hoe and a wheel or track loader for the same amount and double the productivity.


    The new smell wears off quickly when you aren't making any money, just equipment payments.:cool2
     
  9. LT-x7

    LT-x7 Senior Member

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    I dont have much experience with track loaders, but wouldn't that depend on the distance you intend to move the material?
    I would assume a track loader would move more material at relatively short distances say under 100', but what happens when you extend that out to 500' or even 1000'. Can the track loader keep up? Then what about running cost? Fuel, undercarriage, ect.
     
  10. Oxbow

    Oxbow Senior Member

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    I like the shotgun behind the sluice!
     
  11. KSSS

    KSSS Senior Member

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    I would agree. I think trying to move material around with it would be slow and expensive in undercarriage wear. Might work for the excavation side of it but not so much for the lift and carry portion. That's why there are wheel loaders.
     
  12. AKDM

    AKDM New Member

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    Alaska
    firebird_ak,
    I found this forum gathering information on crawler loaders.
    How is your project going ?
    Have you made any headway in your endeavor to upgrade your machine and project?
    I own a 955k which I am using to clear land we have in the Kenai area.
    If I can be of assistance let me know....
     
  13. Oxbow

    Oxbow Senior Member

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    Welcome to HEF AKDM!
     
  14. rdr99

    rdr99 Member

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    Location:
    helena, mt
    A decent sized wheel loader 966ish with a digging bucket. Pair it with a small dozer D6/650JD. Use the dozer to strip off the overburden/top soil and trees. In your pictures it does not look like you are digging in hard rock. The wheel loader can dig and tram the ore. If digging becomes harder, use the dozer to breakdown the material and push to the wheel loader. If you over size your equipment slightly it is not so hard on it. The other question is: how remote are you? Do you have to fly in equipment/parts and fuel? Barge, or winter road? I worked in a mine outside McGrath for 2 years, everything had to be flown in.
     
  15. LT-x7

    LT-x7 Senior Member

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    So what did you end up with? I would guess your all done mining for the season.
     
  16. firebird_ak

    firebird_ak Member

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    Hi everybody

    We ended up getting a 2005 416D with only 1200 hours on it. It really seemed like the best machine available at the time. I was impressed with what we were able to do with it. One of the biggest problems we was the lack of traction. The chains we bought for the rear tires wouldn't clear the cab so we couldn't use them. The tires are foam filled and have been great, but I suspect they sink in the mud much more than air filled would. Moving the black dirt is very time consuming. We washed about 1000 yds of pay through the little trommel. This year we hope to increase it to 3500 with a few modifications. I never did get the feed hopper to vibrate and I still haven't gotten time to take apart the jd350 to look at the clutches. Hopefully this year for both. Heres a link to a short video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vo5xKCWcq0

    Thanks for all the interest!
     
    aighead likes this.
  17. LT-x7

    LT-x7 Senior Member

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    So don't leave us hanging, how much gold did you get out on the 1k yards you ran?

    Nice backhoe, looks like it did what you needed it to.
     
  18. wnydirtguy

    wnydirtguy Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Mooresville North Carolina
    thanks for the update. i am thinking you feel great getting some return from your investment. keep at it and keep the updates coming please!!
     
  19. firebird_ak

    firebird_ak Member

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    25 ounces. Not enough to get a decent excavator, but we paid the backhoe payments for the winter and the tool and food bills for next year. The ground is pretty consistent, but there should be a couple small pockets hiding in there with some really good gold. There's probably between 200 and 900 ounces right in that little area that we prospected. You can see the area mined with the backhoe in 2014 outlined in red and roughly what area is left as defined by my old prospect holes in blue. I have prospected by hand about 200 yards beyond the top of the picture and found nice coarse gold, but haven't yet found a well defined channel beyond what is outlined in blue.

    There's an older link belt on craigslist that might be worth a look... If it just makes it out there and operates for a month it would probably be worth it. http://anchorage.craigslist.org/bfs/4853335579.html Might be able to work a deal, but if I'm going to go into debt it probably won't be for an old machine.

    I'll probably get a real job after this summer so I might just put the place up for sale and see what happens.

    Thanks for your interest in this project.
     

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  20. stumpjumper83

    stumpjumper83 Senior Member

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    How many yard did you have to move to get that 25 ounces if I may ask?