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Danger Of Hydraulic Mining In The Venezuelan Jungle

This is a hydraulic diamond operation I stumbled upon deep in the central part of Venezuela. We heard of a la bullia (a shout) meaning a new diamond discovery has been found, several miles away from our camp. We embarked on a stiff hike, navigating the spiderweb of jungle trails heading deep into the jungle.

Hydraulic Diamond Operation

Still a couple of miles from the area we could hear the unmistakable rumble of a venezuelan water pump. These water pumps are usually an old air cooled engine and a home made pump coupled together with strips of carefully cut tires to attach these incredibly reliable machines together.

You have to hear it to understand the excitement it arouses as you quicken your pace to check out what they are doing. When I peered over this embankment I was astonished at the depth of the excavation and the size of the boulders they were moving.

You talk about dangerous, they were certainly skirting the edge. The remarkable thing that fascinated me was how much material they processed and the efficiency of their operation. This operation was literally hundreds of miles from any city and at least 30 miles from any jungle mining town.

If you want to truly understand hydraulic mining, this is the place. I myself worked the nozzle and the little gravel pumps they had for hours and hours to get hands on experience. It was pretty cool.

~ Rob Towner

What is hydraulic mining?

Hydraulic mining, or hydraulicking, is a form of mining that uses high-pressure jets of water to dislodge rock material or move sediment. In the placer mining of gold or tin, the resulting water-sediment slurry is directed through sluice boxes to remove the gold. (read Wikipedia article)

Hydraulic Gold Mining

Hydraulic gold mining began in 1853 in the Sierra Nevada of California. Early efforts were not very prosperous until the mining process was revolutionized and became more efficient. (read USGS article)

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Our company engaged Rob Towner to do the final setup and complete the wash circuit of our pilot plant to begin a feasibility study of an ancient mining district gold concession in Mexico, in order to construct a full scale modern mining operation that will eventually run 4000-5000 tonnes per day or pay ore. Rob is without question one of the most knowledgeable, and talented miners on the planet. His experience and know-how benefited our mining team tremendously and he worked right along side our crew. His work ethics are as high as I have ever seen and he gets the job done. We were right on schedule, never missed completing the days work and finished on budget and on time. Many thanks Rob, you're our favorite Montana Mining Gringo. Best wishes from our mine to yours.
Merv, Mexico
I have had Rob assist me on a number of occasions with my gold mining. When nobody else can fix it or figure it out, Rob jumps in and seems to put it all together so that what is stopped or busted starts working. I would never have got my wash plant at my mine working without his help. He knows how to keep the pay dirt being processed in the plant. I have seen him build stuff and weld stuff to get something fixed that seemed impossible but he gets 'er done just fine. Rob can read the ground like no one I have ever seen, he has thousand of ounces under his belt and my experiences with him show it. He has helped me setup my mine and plant in many different regards. I consider myself lucky I ran into Rob.
Jack, Montana
You and Les are top shelf. Thanks for all your help. I like how you guys operate.
John, Bering Sea
Montana Tech, said you where the Yoda of this gold stuff. My brother and I got a 100 acre gold claim......
Rod, Montana