Researching Online Mining Systems (Part 2)

 (A Mindat photo of a gold specimen from Norway.)

I'm writing this series of posts in the interest of furthering your online mining research and data acquisition knowledge. Hopefully, it will have value for you. I know this much...if I'd had access to this sort of online data back in the day I could've really accelerated my small-scale mining knowledge and experience. (That's a tip, by the way...)

Another very good source of minerals and metals mine information can be found online at Mindat or "mineral data" is a free, non-commercial source that claims to have the largest online database and reference point for minerals and mine locations throughout the world. There are upwards of a quarter million searchable metals/minerals localities currently in the Mindat archives. The nice thing about Mindat is that it usually gives you a short rundown on the mine or site as well as photographs of the minerals (or metals) associated with it. Although Mindat is primarily oriented toward geologists, mineralogists, specimen collecting geeks, and so on, it holds great potential as well for small-scale gold miners like you and I. This is especially true when it comes to Mindat data relating to gold localities and mine sites. You can pack a real "one-two" punch with your research efforts by using Mindat in conjunction with the United States Geological Service (USGS) online system described in my previous post.

 (A typical locality on Mindat...New Mexico's Blanchard Mine.)

How to use

First things first. You don't have to join Mindat or become a contributing member to access its database (although you're free to do so). Just click on the link provided in the first paragraph of this post and you're there. Next, you need to decide what type of search you want to perform on Mindat. This is where Mindat really shines because of the numerous options available to you like:


General mineral info: This part of the Mindat database tells you about approved minerals and metals (including gold, of course), their synonyms or other names, varieties, chemical series, mixtures, and what group they belong to (Strunz Groupings, Hey Groupings, and Dana Groupings).

Localities: This is the aspect of the Mindat database you're probably going to have the greatest interest in. An existing localities search will bring up a standard display, a regional report, detailed information about the minerals or metals at that location, and any recent status changes to that locality. If I had to compare one to the other, the Mindat locality data will usually be more up-to-date than anything you'll find on the USGS System.

Photos: There are various ways you can view the photographs on Mindat:
  • You can view a gallery of all the photos of a particular mineral (metal).
  • You can view all the photographs of minerals from a specific location.
 (Photo of a chrysoberyl specimen from Brazil from a Mindat mineral name search.)
  • You can display all new photographs submitted on any given day (like today, for example).
  • You can view all photographs submitted by a specific person (geologist, miner, mineralogist, etc.).
Newest Localities: This Mindat search function allows you to pull up only the most recent locations that have been added to its database.

Newest Photos: Ditto for localities, only here you're searching for the most recent images.

You have to admit that Mindat offers quite an array of search options and this works to your advantage depending on what info you're looking for. Granted, a good deal of Mindat's orientation is toward the mineral realm but there is plenty of content devoted to specimen gold, gold mines, and gold localities. One thing you might want to note here is that many minerals are associated with the presence of gold and that is another tangent you may want to pursue to increase your overall gold knowledge, particularly on the prospecting end.

(Gold specimen from the Round Mountain area of Nevada as presented after a search for "gold" on Mindat.)

In my next post I'll give you step-by-step instructions on using Mindat.

Be safe out there.

(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2016

Questions? E-mail me at


  1. JR, I stumbled across Mindat a few years ago. One thing I really liked about it is that on a lot of them (not all) shows the claim as "active" or not. While very few around here are being worked today, I don't want to be a "claim jumper". I have gone to quite a few spots that I found on this site. If there is one, I try to find the claim notice and read the date on it. Most are old, so I figure they are fair game for a small scale guy like me. So far I haven't had any trouble.....
    I still have not made it out this year....too busy with work...

  2. Ya need to make time to get out there Gary. The winter will be back before you know it!

  3. I Know! I wish I had not taken this second job. Salmon, Idaho sits right at 4,000 feet above sea level, my house is 3,888 according to google maps. Believe it or not, last Sunday it snowed in the mountains around us, about 6,000 feet up. A week before that we took the jeep up to 9,000+ to the top of the ridge and found an old mine shaft I didn't know was there. Need to check it out a little better next time. There is about a 15 inch wide band of quartz with a lot of iron and copper mixed through it. I brought back a few samples to crush. Gary

  4. Jim, sorry I haven't dropped in much the last few days. Work has been crazy, and trying to get my house insurance to pay a claim on a small attic fire that killed our electricity has been an exercise in futility. Not at all good for the blood pressure or my demeanor towards California insurance providers. Geez.

    I wanted to thank you again for getting this information together. It is a treasure chest of knowledge. If anything you have said stuck in my's do the research. It is GREATLY appreciated.


    1. No worries Jeff. Take care of business first.


Post a Comment