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Mar 17, 2014 11:38 AM by John Overall

Diggers pan for gold in Tucson

TUCSON - The Tucson Desert Gold Diggers is a local club with gold fever. Just about every weekend you can find some of their members sifting the soil in search of a big payoff.

Bruce Benoit joined the Desert Gold Diggers about nine months ago. The more experienced club members taught him the best place to find gold is down near the bedrock.
"That's the soil that has most of the gold concentrated," said Benoit.

They come armed with picks, shovels and some heavier machinery. "We have a wet washer over here, we have a dry washer up on the hill. Several different machines in two locations on two different claims that we own here," Benoit said.

They usually find more gold dust than actual nuggets but with gold prices up around $1350.00 an ounce even a little gold can make the work worthwhile.

Bryon Hackett has a bad case of gold fever. "I've prospected all over from Nome, Alaska to southern Arizona. I've had claims in California. I've been all over. But this is my home and I do a lot of prospecting down here," Hackett said.

The Tucson Desert Gold Diggers own two dozen claims around southern Arizona. And Hackett has struck gold many times. "My largest nugget in Arizona, on our claim other side of Arivaca, size of my thumb nail. My wife stood in the river bed and showed it to me. It was nearly a quarter of an ounce," Hackett recalled.

The Gold Diggers have more than 500 members. They search for gold while enjoying the scenery, fresh air, and the friendship.

But Bud Little says even the friendliest prospectors have been known to get a little selfish after striking gold. "Gold changes people. When you find that little piece of gold you don't want anybody else finding that little spot where you found that little piece of gold," Little joked.

To learn more about the Tucson Desert Gold Diggers go to http://www.desert-gold-diggers.org/index.htm

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