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Friday, December 29 2017
Given a choice, most miners prefer using water to wash and run material, but in some dry, remote areas that is just not feasible. If you focus on the natural conditions that exist in desert regions and work with them, you can maximize fine gold recovery. The number one rule is that the drier the soil, the better. Damp soil conditions are very much a hindrance for drywashers. Beyond that, learning the different soil types you may encounter in the desert and how to deal with them can increase your gold recovery.
Clay is generally known as a great gold robber, making clay-bound gravels the biggest difficulty to overcome. In most of the placers directly derived from weathering lode deposits, the placers are in ravines, gullies and hillsides with sometimes very little gravels and mostly decomposed fragment of rock and fine silt from the decomposing host rock. Host rock containing a lot of feldspars are most problematic. As feldspar breaks down, it creates some difficult clays and silts that bind fine gold to small rocks and sand with the clay and silt particles forming larger clods.
Loamy or sandy conditions are much easier to process with a drywasher than clay-bound material due to the absence of clods and clumps. But if dirt clods are giving you grief, break them down with a large hammer on a canvas tarp, or use a mortar and pestle (dolly pot).
Once you are set up to run material, process in short runs before cleaning out the riffle tray (perhaps after every three 5-gallon buckets). Frequent clean ups minimize the amount of fine gold that may creep or walk down the riffle tray with the tailings. This method uses your dry washer as a form of a classifier to screen off larger material while getting rid of much of the fine silt and lighter weight material.
Re-running tailings can aid in the recovery of lost gold— especially small gold dust and flakes. The second pass through is usually much quicker than the first time because the material has already been classified. With some placers, especially flat, fine gold, rerunning material can be very lucrative. In places where gold is more coarse and angular, very little gold will like be recovered by running the tailings a second time.
You may want to experiment with adding a second layer of cloth to a portion of the riffle tray. Doing so reduces airflow by almost half in that section. In addition to the riffle tray, the void under the riffle tray can collect a sizable amount of really fine gold mixed in with fine silt.
No doubt there are going to be losses of gold when using a drywasher to recover fine gold (20 minus mesh down into the 200 minus gold), but the end goal should be to limit those losses as much as possible and these tips should help. Good luck! Learn more about Gold Buddy drywashers here.
Nugget of News Blog
Tuesday, December 01 2015
With the weather turning colder, you might think you're done prospecting 'til next summer, but you don't have to be! Even if you're not a regular snowbird heading to a warmer climate for the next few months, you can take a short desert vacation some time this coming winter, and turn it into a lucrative gold prospecting trip, too.
Gold mining in the desert is especially enjoyable if you're not into crowds— the desert can be delightfully smog free and people free in the winter. Experts say there is just as much gold waiting to be taken out of the desert as there is commonly found in streams and rivers. Why? Well, throughout history the desert mines just never got the publicity that wet places like California's Mother Lode did, so fewer prospectors went there. Plus, back in the day, mining used to be harder in dry conditions. Luckily that's no longer true if you have the right equipment.
• Metal detecting is another great way to hunt for gold in the desert. Gold detectors are not necessarily higher in cost, but they are built with a higher sensitivity to detecting gold nuggets, and have better ground balancing and
• A bonus of prospecting in the desert is the abundance of interesting rocks. You can find many unusual rocks and semi-precious gems such as tourmaline, turquoise, agate, jasper, and more. Lapidary shops can cut and polish the rocks for you, or buy your own rock tumbler and lapidary tools and learn a new hobby.
This winter, consider extending your gold-getting season with a prospecting trip to a sunnier, warmer state. Good luck and have fun!
Saturday, March 01 2014
Some say that "gold is where you find it" and while that may be true, once you arrive at a known gold-bearing location, how do you decide where to dig first? Successful prospectors follow different methods, so there is no single "right" way, but no matter if you are sluicing, dry washing, or metal detecting, if you first consider the "lay of the land" you can better pinpoint a place to start.
Natural Factors to Consider Before Digging for Gold:
Man-Made Factors to Consider Before Digging for Gold:
Sunday, December 01 2013
Dry washers are like highbankers except they do not use water to recover gold. While wet processing is nearly always faster and more efficient, especially for fine gold, dry washers are the best tool for recovering gold nuggets, pickers, and flakes from dry materials in the desert or other areas where water is not plentiful.
Keep these tips and tricks in mind when using a dry washer:
• Double-check all the "throw away" rocks. Scanning them with a metal detector is a great way to ensure you're not tossing aside gold-laden rocks. Also, don't assume old tailings piles have been totally worked out. This is another time to use a metal detector because ordinary rocks could be laced with gold and completely over-looked by earlier prospectors.
Monday, November 05 2012
Drywashers are like highbankers, but they do not use water, making them excellent tools for recovering gold from dry material in desert areas. A dry washer is basically designed to be a waterless sluice. It separates gold from sand and other waste material with pulsations of air, vibrations, and static electricity instead of running water.
The top portion of a drywasher is called a hopper and consists of a box covered with wire screen. The screen is called a "grizzly." Dry gold-bearing material is fed onto the grizzly, which is mounted at a fairly steep angle. Thinner material, such as dirt and small gravel, falls through the grizzly screen and into the hopper. Larger material, such as rocks and sticks, roll off the grizzly and back onto the ground. Material from the hopper is then fed by gravity into the riffle tray below (looks like a sluice box), through an opening in the bottom of the hopper.
The under side of the riffle tray consists of a piece of stretched cloth that allows air to pass through the bottom of the riffle tray. A fan is mounted inside the sluice box and spins as air is blown up through holes in the bottom, usually by a leaf blower or another source of compressed air. Mounted on the fan is a weight that throws the fan off balance when spinning, and vibrates the entire box. This additional vibration assists in forcing flour gold to the bottom to be trapped, whereas lighter material is blown off.
Keep the following tips in mind, and you just might see the results of your drywashing efforts pay off even better:
• Moist soils and clay cause problems, so be sure to crush lumps of clay and dry your dirt in the sun (plastic tarps are ideal) before running through your dry washer. Surface soils might seem dry, but if you dig down a few inches, you may find moisture in the soil that will cause your sand, gravel, and gold to stick together.
• Double-check all the "throw away" rocks that get stuck in the grizzly before discarding. Scanning them with a metal detector is a great way to ensure you're not tossing aside gold-laden rocks. Another time to use your detector is on old tailings piles. These ordinary looking rocks could be laced with gold, yet were completely over-looked by earlier prospectors.
• Don't limited yourself to drywashing in "proven" areas. Because of the high costs associated with inaccessibility and lack of water, most desert regions have gone largely untouched by mining operations of yesteryear. A side benefit is that you don't have to go far off the beaten path. Virgin ground can be found in washes right off major roadways.
• Keep an eye on the terrain. Areas where the greatest amount of erosion has occurred are usually the areas where the highest concentration of gold values might be found.
• One of the best locations to look for gold is where the hills meet the desert and fan out. This is where flood waters from storms drop gold in the gullies and washes. There also may be more gold traps further up on hillsides. All it takes is one good storm to change the face of a desert landscape, so drywashing after a storm can potentially uncover previously hidden gold!
Gold Buddy drywashers are made in the USA and available in four sizes— Colt, Pony, Maverick, and Stallion. Each drywasher comes with a FREE "Working the Drywasher" instructional DVD, FREE shipping in most cases, and has a 5-year manufacturer's warranty.
Nugget of News Blog