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Tuesday, June 23 2020
Ocean beaches can be compared to the Mother Lode. Why? Because you can find GOLD on many by mining with a highbanker, and by searching with a metal detector. How lucky is that?! TWO ways to find gold at the same location! Think about it, who hasn’t lost a ring or coins at the beach? Whether you prefer recovering gold by swinging a detector or shoveling into a high banker, your chances of both are higher by visiting a beach this summer that is located in a gold-bearing area. And a side benefit is that you’re outdoors and can social distance! So if you’re itching to get out of the house now that COVID-19 lockdowns are lifting, here are some tips for mining the beaches in different ways.
Beach Mining with a Highbanker
When you consider the advantages of beach mining with a highbanker— easy access in all seasons, no classifying material down to size, no digging in heavy cobbles and moving boulders, no worries about rattlesnakes or poison oak— the idea is very appealing. Of course any new environment means there will be a learning curve. Recovering 100 mesh gold from the beach requires a little extra attention to detail to prevent loss, so you’ll need to readjust your equipment and process. Don’t expect chunky nuggets; you’re going for the flour gold here. High tide, not your watch, will dictate your schedule. The general principles you already know are the same, but also keep these tips in mind.
• Slow down. Expect to process about 10 gallons of material an hour. If you try to feed a highbanker faster or use bigger scoops you will likely lose gold. The most efficient way to locate the paying black sand layers is to use a post hole digger or earth auger. The pay layer is usually right on top of a golden brown sand layer that pushes up into the black or blue sand. Frequent storms can remove the light sands and reconcentrate the black sands.
• Use about 25% of the water you would normally use. You may need to modify your spray bar to compensate for less water volume so you aren’t fighting foam and bubbles.
• The beach is a level playing field—literally, so tip your box to a 9-degree angle and go from there. Most beach miners use battery-powered bilge pumps to run their beach sluices. A small gas-powered pump also will work. A Gold Cube is also an excellent piece of recovery equipment to concentrate beach material, then run it through a Blue Bowl.
• Do frequent clean-ups.
Beach Mining with a Metal Detector
Water and sunscreen have a sneaky way of slipping rings from fingers of swimmers and sunbathers, making beaches a lucrative location for metal detecting. There are actually several similarities between beach hunting for jewelry and hunting for gold in the rivers. At the beach, stuff that is lost in the upper sand areas make their way down into the surf during large storm events just like gold is washed downstream in the same storms. You can find an occasional nugget above a river in gold country, but you’re going to make your best finds when you locate the pay streak where nature has concentrated the gold. The same is true of the beaches.
You will find that the surf sorts out materials, and when you are really lucky, you can identify a pay streak. In a river, the gold pay streaks follow the downstream flow of the river, but on the beach the pay streak will typically run horizontal across the beach. After items have been in the sand/surf for some time, the wave and current action tend to sort thing by weight and density. The pull tabs will be in a certain line, the lighter coins further down towards the deeper water, and when you start detecting fishing weights, you are likely nearing a pay streak. That is where you are most likely to strike gold— as in gold rings, bracelets, pendants, etc.
Wet sandy areas are particularly lucrative for detectorists. The reason for this is that beach-goers first congregate at the "towel line" and then migrate to wet sand. The "towel line" is an invisible area where the majority of people plop down their towels and coolers and umbrellas. At the towel line, sunbathers slather on slippery sunblock and tanning oil that acts like a lubricant and lessens friction. After baking in the sun for a while, they will need to go into the water to cool off a bit, which is where the body's natural reaction to cold is to shrivel up. Less friction + shrinkage = rings in the wet sand you can find with your metal detector!
In all types of beach hunting, the discrimination must be kept very low, eliminating only small iron (bobby pins and nails). Aluminum pull tabs and tin foil should not be discriminated or you will lose some gold and/or platinum rings as well. Some beach hunters operate with zero discrimination and dig everything. Use of a sand scoop makes target recovery fast and easy. It’s important to realize that most gold rings will read in the “middle” tones (above iron but below coins). If you’ve ever hunted the beach you have no doubt found your share of unwanted nails and other litter. To solve this, lace a rare earth magnet in the scoop to quickly capture those small, annoying iron targets. If you’re going to hunt the salt beach areas, you’ll want to get a heavy duty plastic scoop. A steel scoop will rust fairly quickly in those harsh conditions.
If you intend to hunt IN the water, of course you will need a waterproof metal detector and waterproof headphones — one that can handle salt water mineralization. There are some good pulse induction machines that work extremely well in salt conditions. Very shallow water is no problem but when you hunt waist deep water and deeper you should consider a mask and snorkel. If possible, hunt at low tide. That way you can get further out and hunt where other detectorists might not have gone. Plus, the surf tends to pull things down the beach and out into deeper water.
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:
"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.
Monday, February 04 2013
The Gold Cube is now shovel ready! Take the hassle out of pre-classifying with this NEW Gold Banker (manufactured by Gold Cube). The 3/16th punch plate topper acts like a huge classifier. Already own a Gold Cube? Buy the top part only and then simply attach the stand extensions to your existing Cube stand and attach the 5 foot hose and you are ready to go for the gold!
The Gold Banker is constructed of thick ABS material with built in adjustable spray bar. The punch plate is anodized or stainless steel (your choice) that simply slides into the unit. Stainless is the best choice for salt water use, or just give the less expensive anodized version a good rinse with fresh water after use. Learn more about the Gold Banker.
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