I see a lot of people investing in fancy equipment to process their concentrates. Some folks just like having & using cool tools, I get it. Still, don’t feel obliged to do the same. Getting to clean gold doesn’t have to mean spending more money on fancy gear, especially if you are just panning, sluicing or high banking. Here’s my method:
1. Classify 30/50/100 (100 is optional depending on your cons). Here are the classifiers I use:
5.5-Inch Mini Stackable Classifier, 50 Mesh
As you will see on the Amazon page you can get a variety of sizes. I use the 30 mesh and the 50 mesh. I sometimes add in the 40 mesh if the amount of 30-50 cons is high. My next purchase will be a 60 for the same reason…the more cons you have the more sensible to classify into smaller piles to pan separately. Note: Be sure to clean them occasionally by rubbing the backside of the mesh with a spoon to press out particles that get caught in the mesh. And remember, some of those particles will be gold!
2. Put each classified portion in a separate pan covered in an inch or so of water. Here’s the pan I like:
SE GP1001BL 10-Inch Plastic Gold Mining Pan Black (4-pack)
3. Pull magnetic sands up thru water using a rare earth magnet(waving it back and forth in the water so any non-magnetics are washed out). I use a magnet like this: 2Pc Neodymium Magnet 1.5″ Countersunk
I put a long bolt thru it and put the whole thing in a yogurt cup…then just lift up the magnet by the bolt to drop the iron sands.
4. Pan each material down to just the heavies (jet dry in the water).Jet-Dry Rinse Aid…as if you needed a link to that!
5. Next use swirl/shimmy/shake&tap methods to separate gold (adding more jet dry to the -50 pan(s)) You may have to separate the finer material into multiple pans so the amount in each is manageable. See videos below on how to do this.
6. Suck up gold as you go, putting it in a smooth bottom ceramic soap dish. I got mine for two bucks at Walmart but anything smooth bottomed will work. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Mainstays-Basic-Bath-Accessories-Collection-Soap-Dish/16879898
7. Swirl gold in soap dish and use suction pipette to remove last grains of sand. (See details below) If you can’t find suction pipettes locally, here’s a cheap source for a lifetime supply (LOL): 2ml Plastic Liquid Transfer Pipettes, Pack of 100…sell the extras to friends maybe?
8. Post pic on your favorite online forum (or even here!) so your fellow prospectors can see how you did.
9. Let gold dry, weigh and add to vial 😀 Here’s the scale I use to weigh my gold:
GEMINI-20 MilliGram Scale, 20 by 0.001 G
…all of this takes 30-45 min after a typical outing.
Key point here is the tools: classifiers (needed for every method), 10″ smooth bottom black pans, rare earth magnet, Walmart soap dish, suction pipette. That’s all folks!
Here’s a similar process from my friends at Gold Cube: https://goldcube.net/gold-cube-university/ (scroll down to the Fine Gold Challenge) although they classify dry which I discourage strongly.
Here’s another good one on how to swing a pan from Doc at Gold Hog:
And starting at the 12:30 mark, another good Doc video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyBLBaBuW6k
…and one more from Doc with gold cube and panning tips:
Note for those learning the technique Doc is demonstrating: classify further than he did for an easier time “tapping”. His material was all -30…by separating out the -50 or -60 material, you’ll have to do the process twice but it’s much easier and faster.
Also, did you notice how he uses his fingers and when done touching the material, he taps his fingers in the water? This keeps your gold in the pan instead of sticking to your finger 🙂
If you come home from dredging with 2+ GALLONS of material, that’s another story. In that case, I can see running a “poop tube” style recirculating sluice to further concentrate your material…or you could just do that via a sluice at the river.
If you have a link to a panning video you like, feel free to add it in the comments!
Oh, and here’s a soap dish of gold from one of my 1/2 day outings:
Soap dish wrangling details:
1. Set dish on a solid, smooth surface (tabletop not work bench)
2. Put the -50 or -100 gold and not-gold in the soap dish
3. Include a very small amount of jet dry and water (add a little more if needed along the way)
4. Grasp the dish by the outside edges and move it in a circular fashion while still flat on the table. Speed up as you get the feel for it but high speed will not be needed.
5. When you stop the motion you’ll see a tail of “not gold” to suck up at one end of your material!
You can also use a backwashing technique with the soap dish. The super smooth surface means you can be both quick and gentle at the same time, important for -50 and -100 gold. You’ll be surprised at how little water is needed for backwashing…if it’s not working for you, take out some of the water!
Also, if you want to be compulsively thorough (like me!) whatever you suck out with these processes should go in a finish pan for re-inspection.
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