SWIFT CREEK MINE

Alaska Gold Mining - Metal Detecting - Prospecting

Meet Barry Clay

At the November 2010 Alaska Miners Association Convention in Anchorage Barry Clay was awarded for the reclamation work on his claims by the Alaska Department of Natural Resources.

Barry Clay is sometimes available as a mining consultant for Alaska placer mines. He has many years of experience in prospecting, permitting, exploration and reclamation. He can provide assistance to explore, evaluate or permit your Alaska mining claim for reasonable costs. His contact information is here. Note: Barry is currently involved in a large mining operation in Nome and is not available for consulting on other mines at this time.

Barry Clay was raised in California but his family has a long history in Alaska. Barry's grandfather mined on Swift Creek in the early 1900's. When his grandfather found out Barry was going to Alaska to look for gold he told Barry, "Try Swift Creek". Barry staked a claim there and his father joined him in mining Swift Creek.

In 1998 Barry was moving dirt with his dozer when he caught a glimpse of an interesting rock rolling off the side of the blade. He stopped the dozer, got off and picked up the dirt covered rock for a closer look. The weight immediately gave it away as a huge gold nugget. It turned out to be the largest gold nugget ever found in Alaska's at 294 ounces.

He knew this was an extraordinary find and wasn't quite sure just what to do with it right away. So he buried it under a nearby tree to keep it safe and give him time to decide the best course of action. He later dug it up and took it to his friend Don Eller, owner of Yukon Telephone, who he knew he could trust and who had a safe larger enough to hold the huge nugget.

While Barry usually looks for gold with heavy equipment, he has several dozers including a D8 and an excavator to feed his trommel, he also does some metal detecting. He owns a half a dozen detectors and has many different coils for them.

After removing overburden from the gold bearing gravel Barry will often take a metal detector into the cut to locate nuggets near the surface. After the pay dirt has been remove down to bedrock he again will use a detector to be sure he hasn't missed any gold.

When he gets some time for himself he knows of some ground he wants to explore by drilling in the Ruby mining district (drilling is a process used to sample what is underground and determine if the values of gold available in an area are worth pursuing) but at present is involved in setting up a large mine in Nome.

Barry prides himself on taking care of the land. He likes to go further than the regulations require. He disturbers only the minimum amount of ground necessary to remove the valuable minerals. He designs settling ponds that will keep any turbid water out of area streams. When he is done mining an area he returns the contours of the land to near their original state. Then the ground is restored and replanted with native vegetation that local wildlife thrive on.

After many years of mining it's still Barry's passion and he loves to spend summers searching for another big nugget at his claims in the Ruby district, exploring other areas of the state and doing consulting work. He specializes in using his experience helping other miners with their plans of operations, permitting and reclamation.

Picture of Barry holding to big nuggets
 
   

 

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