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It has been a while since I have shared any of my latest adventures or projects with you. So, I will give you a brief update about my most current project that I am working on.
Some years ago, I came across a geological report written by a British geologist with the name of Martin Litherland. He reported about a “gold belt” in Ecuador called the Collay-Shincata belt. He stated that the belt is 120 kilometers long and 15 kilometers wide. He and 2 other geologists have said that they think this is one of the richest gold zones in the world.
Coincidentally, I became involved in a gold project about 5 years ago that was based in Cuenca, Ecuador. My role in the project was to discover and help develop gold properties for commercial mining. I discovered 1 great property near Mendez in the jungle. I discovered another near the town of Gualaquiza, about 3 hours south of Mendez.
These projects had me traveling back and forth between Cuenca and the jungle on a weekly basis. It was a crazy schedule, but somehow I kept it up for more than 2 years. During these trips, I navigated 4 different gateways to the jungle. One of the roads was paved. It followed the Paute River from Cuenca all the way down to Mendez. However, the other 3 roads were gravel and were poorly developed. They were far more adventurous routes.
I guess it didn’t take long for me to remember the old Litherland geological report and to realize that all 4 of my routes to the jungle were actually running right through the heart of the Collay-Shincata gold belt; the very same one that I had read about years earlier! That started a whole new “gold prospecting chapter” in my life.
During my many trips back and forth from Cuenca to the jungle, I began stopping and panning the larger rivers that flowed from the gold belt mountains to lower altitudes. I panned rivers that flowed from this mountain range in all 4 cardinal directions. Every single river I panned contained commercial quantities of alluvial gold! Wow, the report was true! What to do next?
As I reviewed my collection of historical mining documents and archaeological discoveries, I realized that a fair amount of this territory had been occupied by the ancient Canari culture. The Canaris were known to be very sophisticated gold workers. Their gold artifacts are some of the finest in the world.
In my research, I discovered an obscure book called The Gold Treasure of Sigsig. It detailed the excavation of 10 different Canari tombs in the 1920’s where more than 200 lbs. of sophisticated gold artifacts were recovered from each dig. Where did the Canaris get so much gold?
Then came the Spanish Conquistadors into the area in the 1500’s. My historical mining records revealed that the Spanish did a fair bit of mining in the gold belt. I started to pinpoint all of these archaeological and geological locations on my Google Earth map. Patterns began to emerge.
Soon, I began exploring parts of the Collay-Shincata gold belt on foot. It seemed that in almost every area I entered, I discovered illegal mining and dredging operations going on. Since there is only 1 dredge manufacturer in Ecuador (Vera Industries), I went to speak with the owner to see what he knew of this area.
Sr. Vera reported that a number of his customers were, indeed, working in my area of interest. He told me that every time the government would confiscate illegal dredges, his customers would simply buy a new gold dredge from him and go right back to work until the next confiscation. Business was (and is) very good for Sr. Vera (real name).
Further, during my investigations of the 7 Lost Cities of El Dorado (see The Rivers Ran East by Leonard Clark), I discovered that the lost city of Logrono was located at the foot of the gold belt mountain range. The Spanish were literally producing tons of alluvial gold each year that flowed from this very gold belt! I have the old, historical records to prove it.
When I finally discovered, walked on and panned at the abandoned site of Logrono, I could easily understand why it was located there. The gold in my pan was amazing. I believe that I (and a friend who was with me) may be the only people alive who know where this site is. It is quite remote, but still accessible.
OK, now I was starting to get pretty excited about the prospects…
I guess this story is turning out a little longer than I expected. I will continue it in the next newsletter. I promise, the story gets way better from here!
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