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Dig Your Own Minerals - Fee Digs and Mining
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Crow Creek Mine - This gold hunting area is located about an hour from Anchorage, Alaska. Here, you have the option of gold panning, metal detecting for gold, or gold dredging. The fees vary based on what activity you prefer. For gold panning or sluicing, daily fees run $15 per person. Those with metal detectors have to pay just a tad more at $20 a day. This gold hunting operation is very friendly to first-timers. If you don’t have your own gear, basic gold hunting equipment is available on site.
Arkansas Quartz Crystal Mine - Located in the Ouachita Mountains just north of Mt. Ida, this fee mining locale offers digging at $20 a day. It’s best to call in advance to make digging reservations.
Himalaya Tourmaline Mine - San Diego County, California. Offers fee digs for $75 a day per person.
The Oceanview Mine - In the World Renowned Pala Gem Mining District.
Phoenix Gold Mine - This gold hunting facility is located in Idaho Springs, Colorado. For a very reasonable rate of $10 a person for adults and $5 each for children 11 and under, you can get a tour of the mine and pan for gold. They are open year around, only closing because of weather conditions.
Hogg Mine - Lagrange, Georgia. Check out their web site for information on upcoming digs.
Emerald Creek Garnet Area - Just south of St. Maries, Idaho. Here you can dig for rare star garnets, the state gemstone for Idaho. A digging permit costs $10 and that allows you to take away 5 lbs. of garnets. If you find more than that, you can purchase another permit per every 5 pounds. However, each person is limited to 30 pounds of garnets a year. There are limits on the number of people allowed to dig daily so you may want to call ahead to find out more about the best times to visit.
Western Maine Mineral Adventures - Located in Woodstock, Maine, this appears to be another location where you can purchase various types of containers of mineral ore to sift through in search of gems. There’s a student/scout rate of $25, and the miner’s rate ranges from $50 to $500. If you live in the area and have children, this might make for an educational field trip.
Gem Mountain Sapphire - Philipsburg, Montana is the home of this sapphire mine. You can visit the locale and take a look around for free. If you want to try your hand at finding sapphires yourself, you can purchase gravel buckets to wash and dig through. Prices start at $14 a bucket, but there are some discounts available if you purchase multiple buckets. In addition, if you are unable to get to Gem Mountain, you can buy various sizes of gravel containers and have them shipped to your home. They have been salted, so they’re guaranteed to have something in every container.
Rainbow Ridge Opal Mine - Located in northwest Nevada about 35 miles from Denio, Nevada.
Royal Peacock Opal Mines - Near Denio, Nevada. Bank digging is $180 per day per person or you can dig in the mine dump/tailings area for $75 per day.
Royal Rainbow Opal Mine - Unlike the other opal mines that are located in Virgin Valley, the Royal Rainbow Opal Mine sits in the Black Rock Desert near Gerlach, Nevada.Â Prices range from $10-$25 a person a day to mine on virgin ground. Opals are not the only thing you’ll find here - there’s also some great obsidian, jasper, agate, and tons of other mineral specimens.
Royston Turquoise Mine - The Royston Mining District is located near Tonopah Nevada. Here, you can arrange for a tour of the turquoise mining operation and pay a fee to dig through the tailings pile to look for some turquoise of your own. You do need a reservation, so be sure to contact the mine well ahead of time.
Emerald Hollow Mine - This treasure hunting paradise is located in Hiddenite, NC. The Emerald Hollow Mine offers several methods of gem hunting: sluicing, creek digging, and mine digging.
Gem Mountain Gemstone Mine - Spruce Mine, NC is the home of this operation that offers both flume mining and tours of the Brushy Creek Aquamarine Mine.
Spruce Pine Gemstone Mine - Located in Spruce Pine, NC. This doesn’t really seem to be a fee digging place, but they do offer sales of containers of mine ore that you can sift through in a comfortable setting all year around. This might be a great place for a novice to go to learn more about what to look for when gem hunting.
Dust Devil Mining - Located near Plush, Oregon, this sunstone mine bases its fee-digging rates on what you find. After you complete your digging, they will evaluate what you found and then charge you very discounted rates for the high-grade material. You are not under any obligation to buy, and there are a lot of things that are not charged for at all.
Juniper Ridge Opal - This opal mine in Southern Oregon is more for serious fee-diggers. While some other sites offer tailing diggings or gravel in buckets, you’ll be digging in an actual raw matrix at this mine. Because of this rates are higher, starting at $200/day. If you find more than a one-gallon bucket full that you want to keep, there will be additional fees. Although this is more expensive, it also gives you the best chance to make a real treasure find. If you are interested in this, be sure to check out the web site. Space is limited and you should book in advance with the mine owners.
Spectrum Sunstone Mines - This sunstone mine is a privately owned mining claim on the Nevada border located about 27 miles northeast of Plush, Oregon. They have free digging in certain places from May 10 - November 1. They also offer higher-grade digging.
U-Dig Fossils - This trilobite quarry is located near Antelope Springs, Utah just about 50 miles west of Delta.� Fees for adults start at $28 for a 2-hour stay and range up to $70 for a full 8-hour day.� Utah residents are offered a 20% discount.� If you’re a fossil collector or just want to try something new, check out their website.
Creative Creations/Wyoming Fossils - For fees starting at $30 an hour and ranging up to $100 a day, you can search for fossils at this Wyoming quarry.� Follow the link to their web site if you’re interested in making a reservation or just want to see some photos of the fossils that have been found here.