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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  drwasheris 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

Posted by: Denise AT 02:47 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, June 14 2017

Fun and exercise are two great reasons to go gold prospecting, but you might as well make some money while you're at it, right? The best way to do that is to increase production rates. Assuming you are mining on a known gold-bearing claim or waterway, volume is the key to your success!

gold panningGraduating from the basic gold pan to some other form of simple equipment is the best way to increase production rates. Just going from a pan to a sluice will increase production by at least 500%, depending on how it is used. A highbanker will work about the same amount of material as a well-run sluice, though it can move the water to you instead of you bringing the gravel to the water, thereby dramatically incsuction dredgereasing volume of production. A drywasher will produce similar results by allowing you to work without water.

A dredge or highbanker/suction dredge combo is the next step up. A dredge uses a gas motor to generate the suction that will load and transport the material to the sluice, which greatly increases volume, as well as allows you to reach gravel on the river bottom that would otherwise be inaccessible (unless the river is seasonal or there is a prolonged drought). The more material a dredger can push across the riffles, the more gold can be recovered. An additional benefit to dredging is that it also allows you to clean gold out of all the cracks and crevices in the bedrock. A shovel just cannot do that.

The size of the dredge intake nozzle is the most important factor in how much material a dredge can process, but it is not a direct one-to-one relationship. For example, a 5 inch dredge will not move twice the material that a 2.5 inch dredge can move. It actually can move much more. The surface of the hose is figured in square dredge nozzleinches, the area (and therefore the volume) goes up much faster than the diameter and the corresponding production rates go up proportionally. A larger hose size will also clog less because more sizes of rock and gravel will pass through. Having to stop and remove clogs can significantly reduce the time you get to spend actually moving dirt and finding gold. No matter the size, you're likely to have rocks jam up the hose from time to time, but generally, the larger the hose the less frequent the clogs that slow or stop production. In most areas of the country, a 2 inch dredge is considered a "recreational" size and may not require a permit to use, whereas much larger nozzle sizes would require a permit. Always know the laws where you intend to gold prospect and mine before you buy equipment.

Beyond dredges or highbanker/suction dredge combos, you can get into some professional mining set-ups that use trommels and jigs and shaker tables and earth moving equipment. Every deposit is different, varying in size and grade and structure. Environmental conditions and access will dictate mining methods and knowing the rock types and size of the gravel is critical in determining which equipment will work best for increasing your production. Finding a suitable deposit to mine and finding a way to work it economically— to justify your time and expense— is the first step.  Then choose the right equipment to increase your recovery rate and speed of recovery and make more money.  Good luck!

Posted by: Denise AT 04:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, November 15 2016

The Mountain Goat Trommel is not new to the prospecting industry by any means, but it has just recently been field tested by Kevin Hoagland, host of the GPAA-produced TV series Gold Trails. Kevin's complete Field Test was published in the November/December 2016 issue of Gold Prospectors magazine. Below is an excerpt or you can Download the complete Mountain Goat Field Test here (6-page .pdf).

Invented by the late great Angus Niccolls who started Camel Mining, the Mountain Goat Trommel has a long history of excellent gold recovery and easy of use. It will handle .5 inch minus material with the optimal recovery Mountain Goat Trommelbeing material that has been classified to .25 inch. It’s best to use wet material when you use a wet system such as a trommel. It has been aptly named the Mountain Goat because “it eats anything and goes anywhere.”

The Mountain Goat is a variant of the Archimedean Screw, which is a tube surrounding a rotating screw used to pull a column of water up a grade. This makes it possible to easily lift water. In the Mountain Goat, the outer tube is lined with the screw, and as gold-bearing material is stratified by a stream of water and run through the tube, the heavier gold-bearing material is deposited into the reverse screw and brought to the top of the unit. The lighter waste material is continually washed and pushed through the unit into the tailings.

In other words, when material enters the hopper, the gold goes one direction and the water goes the other. It’s really no different than huge trommels, except that the Mountain Goat does all of this in a unit that weighs less than 20 pounds, and recirculates about 10 gallons of water all day long. And if set up properly, the manufacturer says it can handle about two yards of material in a long day of running.

The Mountain Goat Trommel is cleverly designed. It’s compact and almost completely assembled when you receive it. The carry handle is molded into the unit, making it easy to transport (especially if you are riding a quad or other vehicle). The trommel tube is pre-mounted to the unit with the nugget trap installed, needing no further assembly. The legs are collapsible and can be set to two different heights. Plus, the front legs are further adjustable to allow you to fine tune the unit to the material you’re working.

The pump is 12-volt, and the flow rate was chosen to offer the best recovery possible. It is recommended that Camel Mining Mountain Goat Trommelyou use some sort of filter on the pumps inlet side to assure that trash is not drawn into the system where it can cause clogs and lost time. The recovery trap sits on the unit and does not require any mounting tools. The hopper slides into the trommel and uses wing nuts mounted to stabilizer bars that quickly connect the entire assembly together. Set the Goat in a large tub if you’re using as a recirculating unit, add water, hook it up to a battery and you are almost ready to run material.

But before you use it for the first time, or if it has sat unused for a while, be sure to clean the unit with hot water and a little unscented dishwashing soap. Hook up the unit and allow the soapy water to do its job of removing the release agent that comes on just about any product that has been molded. Sponge down all surfaces exposed to water and the outside of the unit, too. This simple cleaning step can prevent gold loss. You might want to clean the machine outdoors as the soap bubbles can go everywhere!

As you use the Mountain Goat, continually test the tailings. You should not see any gold.  If you do, you may need to increase the angle of the unit by turning the screws on the front legs. It’s a bit of trial and error, just as it is when setting up a sluice in a stream. The Mountain Goat can be paired with the Desert Fox Spiral Wheel for a complete two stage concentrator and final recovery unit.

Nugget of News Blog

Posted by: Denise AT 02:31 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, January 11 2015

Desert FoxIf you're looking for a proven fine gold recovery tool that has been on the market for decades, consider the Desert Fox Spiral Gold Panning Machine. It's easy to use, and recently Kevin Hoagland, Executive Director of Development for the Gold Prospectors Association of America (GPAA) conducted a field test review which was published on pages 14-17 of the January/February 2015 issue of Gold Prospectors Magazine. Here's an excerpt of Kevin's findings and you can also click on the image at the end of this post to download a complete copy of the field test review (4-page .pdf).

"... The Desert Fox ships in an Action Packer case that is the storage, transport, and water container unit. It provides excellent protection for the Fox while giving you a true compact recirculating unit that can be transported easily. Unpacking the container was simple and for those of us that spend little time looking at the way something comes out of a container, the manufacturer has included a photo in the manual to show you how to repack the unit so it's back to being travel-ready in just a few seconds. In the container you will find:

  • A-frame with variable speed drive motor connected as one unit
  • 7 lead 12.5 inch double wall spiral recovery wheel
  • Adjustable water spray bar
  • Tailings catch tray
  • 12-volt 750 GPH pump and flow hose from pump to spray bar
  • Instructions
  • Recovery cup
  • Nylon stocking for the pump
  • Small bag of practice sand with flecks of real gold.

Setup takes just a few moments. The wheel frame is a single point A-frame that sits perfectly in place in the container and allows you a stable, easy-to-set-up base for the spiral unit. The A-frame construction also allows the unit to be set up directly in a stream. Stand the A-frame in the container, lift the drive unit to a beginning angle, slide the double-wall wheel into the slot on the drive motor, attach the spray bar, fill with water, hook up to a 12-volt power supply (not included), and after a couple of fine tuning adjustments, the Desert Fox is ready to start running your concentrates. Total time from cased to running is about two minutes!

The A-frame mounted drive motor allows you to easily make small adjustments to the angle of the wheel. This ease-of-use factor can become critical when running materials that require more precision. Water flow is controlled by a single-point knob on the spray bar assembly, and the speed control is located on the back of the unit. These 3 adjustments are all you need to ensure efficient gold recovery. Before first use, be sure to clean with a good quality dish washing soap to remove all the manufacturing oils (mold-release agents from the plastic parts). Do NOT use a citrus-scented soap because the scent is derived from oils, which is exactly what you are trying to remove. Use hot soapy water and a non-abrasive pad.

Spiral panners work in reverse of traditional hand panning. Instead of gravity separating gold from concentrates with the heavies sinking to the bottom of a pan, a spiral machine uses speed, water, and the angle of the spiral wheel to keep lighter material in the bottom of the wheel, while the heavier black sand and gold is brought up the leads. When set correctly, the sands drop off at the last moment and only gold is moved through the center of the unit and recovered in the cup.

Desert Fox Spiral Gold Panning MachineI recommend classifying your dirt to a minimum of .25 inch to 1/8 inch mesh. Once classified and prepared to run, feed the material slowly into the bottom of the wheel. I've found it best to use a tablespoon. Increase the feed rate after all necessary adjustments are made.

Starting with the water first, find the lowest water pressure that will clean the light material from the leads as it climbs up the pan, adjust the angle and speed as needed so the heavy sands drop off at the right spot and you're ready to start processing your concentrates. After completing the basic setup, I adjusted the speed to keep the unit tuned in to variations in the types of material I ran. There are two models of the Desert Fox— a constant speed ($339) and a variable speed ($359). Since the difference in price is just $20, I highly recommend the variable speed model.

The Desert Fox is a straight-forward and simple spiral wheel system that recovers gold efficiently, and has been manufactured by Camel Mining since 1969. It is compact, weighs about 10 pounds, and is ideal for carrying into the field. Gold recovery is exceptional and the learning curve is short..."

Click here to learn more about the Desert Fox Spiral Panner on this website.  Click image to download .pdf of field test review.

Posted by: Denise AT 10:38 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, July 01 2013

The Gold Cube is now shovel ready! Take the hassle out of pre-classifying and increase your yield at the same time! The Gold Banker was field tested by Gary Sturgill, Trade Show Manager for the Gold Prospectors Association of America (GPAA). His review appears on pages 14-15 in the July/August 2013 issue of Gold Prospector Magazine. Gary rated this new product 10 out of 10 for its easy for assembly, durability, and time savings. If you don't have a copy, here is what Gary had to say:

Gold Banker

"I have had my Gold Cube for about a year now. You can run your concentrates through it or run classified material through it. I like the way it runs my concentrates from half a bucket of black sands and gold down to a cup and a half in a short time. I've used the Cube in the field with some of the GPAA crew on an outing and we had to classify all of the material before running. Every miner knows that when you have to classify your material before you run it, you're not as productive as when you can run it straight through a piece of equipment. More volume means more gold!

The Gold Banker eliminates the pre-classifying of the paydirt. This nifty little unit will turn your Gold Cube into a high banker of sorts. You can now shovel your paydirt right into the Gold Banker, which has a built in spray bar to wash your material right into the Gold Cube. With the Gold Banker, you can classify all the larger rocks and pebbles off the back.

The Banker comes zinc-plated, but if you are running material from a saltwater beach, the stainless steel model may be your best option. It even has 3 gold traps built into the tray for catching any larger particles of gold before going though the Cube. The package comes with a longer hose for feeding the spray bar and uses the standard 1,100 gallons per hour pump supplied with the Gold Cube Deluxe.

I took the Gold Cube and the new Gold Banker out to one of my favorite places to prospect and set it up in about 5 minutes and was ready to run some dirt. I started digging where I had last left off, and started shoveling straight onto the punch plate. The spray bar was doing a great job of washing the material and only the larger pebbles were coming down the back. The larger material will hang on the bottom of the classifying screen, allowing you to inspect everything before you wipe it off. 

Field Test continues here.

Posted by: Denise AT 12:54 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, May 02 2012

Place your sluicebox in the flow of a stream or river so that the water enters the flared end and flows through the sluice. If the current is strong you may need to lay some stones against the edge of the sluice to keep it from washing away. The sluice should be set at a downhill angle that allows the material to briskly flow through it. The higher the volume of water available, the shallower the angle will be.

Shovel material into the sluice at the flared end as close to the end as possible so that the material is washed over the entire length of the sluice. Do not overload the sluice with material. Pace your shoveling so that the sluice has time to clear before you add more material.

When you are ready to clean out the concentrates, remove the sluice from the water and tip it down into a bucket or tub. Wash as much material as possible out of the sluice into the tub and then remove the riffle tray and carpet and wash both of them out into the tub. Replace the carpet or miners moss and riffle tray into the sluice and you are ready to go again. The concentrates of heavier material and gold are now in the tub so that you can remove the gold from the concentrates with a gold pan or a Gold Cube or a spiral panning machine, or another clean up tool.

You may find that it helps to screen the material before you put it into the sluice by first  passing the material through a gold classifier. Pre-classified material will run through the sluice at a more uniform rate. With just a little practice, you'll be a pro at using a sluice in no time!

Posted by: Denise AT 11:31 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, December 22 2010
If you're like many prospectors, you collected a few buckets of concentrates this summer and figured you'd process them during the winter when you had more time. Now those buckets are probably in the garage, the basement, and taking up space in the shed — and someone else in your household might be complaining that they are in the way! Three great products can help you process those concentrates more easily and quickly, especially if it's fine gold: Desert Fox automatic spiral panning machine, the Magna Two, and the Catch-It II Water Table. All of these machines are simple to operate. You won't need much practice before you discover how efficient and easy they are to use. With gold around $1,400 an ounce, the sooner you get those concentrates processed, the sooner you can reap the monetary rewards of gold prospecting!
Posted by: Denise AT 11:52 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, November 10 2010
If you're like many prospectors, you collected a few buckets of concentrates this summer and figured you'd process them during the winter when you had more time. Now those buckets are probably in the garage, the basement, and taking up space in the shed — and someone else in your household might be complaining that they are in the way! Three great products can help you process those concentrates more easily and quickly, especially if it's fine gold: Desert Fox automatic spiral panning machine, the Magna Two, and the Catch-It II Water Table. All of these machines are simple to operate. You won't need much practice before you discover how efficient and easy they are to use. With gold around $1,400 an ounce, the sooner you get those concentrates processed, the sooner you can reap the monetary rewards of gold prospecting!
Posted by: Denise AT 10:18 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, March 29 2010
Posted by: Denise AT 06:14 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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