Platinum Still Being Found in Northern California Streams (Part 1)
(N. California platinum nugget recovered back in the 1800s.)
Some of the Largest Platinum Nuggets Found
As far as historians are concerned, California remains the "Golden State" in terms of the sheer amount of lode and placer gold recovered from its mountains, slopes, rivers, creeks, dry washes, and arroyos. However, what many small-scale miners are not aware of is the fact that platinum has also been recovered in the state's alluvial or placer gravels, especially in selected locations in Northern California.
Some of the largest platinum nuggets ever found in California came from various locations in Trinity County, (especially near Junction City) way back in the mid-to-late 1800s. Exactly how large these placer platinum nuggets were is not known, but it's unlikely they could compete with the size and weight of many of the gold nuggets recovered in California at the time.
What the historical records do show, however, is that between 200-300 ounces of platinum were recovered annually during the heyday of California placer mining. Interestingly enough, platinum has dropped behind gold in terms of recent spot prices by at least $100.00 USD...not all that long ago you could expect the spot price per troy ounce of platinum to exceed that of gold by a decent margin...always. Not now, so go figure.
If you've been around the small-scale gold mining block for a while you've probably heard the term "platinum group metals" kicked around at one time or another. The platinum group metals are:
1) Platinum (Pt on the Periodic Table of the Elements)
2) Osmium (Os)
3) Iridium (Ir)
4) Ruthenium (Ru)
5) Rhodium (Rh)
6) Palladium (Pd)
6) Palladium (Pd)
In case you're wondering why I threw this information in here it may interest you to know that all of these are valuable little items. Sure, platinum is worth the most, but the current spot price of rhodium is $1,350.00 USD per troy ounce (down from a 2009 high of $9,000 an ounce!) and Palladium goes for around $650.00 USD a troy once.
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So as you can see, "It ain't all about gold." There's money to be made in all the platinum group metals. Interestingly enough, with technology advancing at an ever-increasing clip, experts believe that gold and the platinum group metals will become even more valuable in the future.
That's all for now, but there's more to come on platinum on Northern California. Best of luck to you out there in the mean time.
If you liked this post, you may want to read: "More on Gold Prospecting: Modern Methods (Part 1)"
(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2012
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