Mercury Question
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  1. #1
    us
    Jul 2020
    Alaska and Colorado
    22
    19 times
    Prospecting

    Mercury Question

    Iíve been using Mercury and Nitric Acid to recover super-fines from my cons. Iím not looking for a lecture on the dangers...I know what they are and I take extreme precautions.

    I donít have trouble panning most of my +70 material. Below that it gets a bit too tedious for my patience. My -70, -100, -150 cons I use my Blue Bowl and get it to about 80% clean. I then tumble the cons overnight w/ ďpure lyeĒ (Sodium Hydroxide). ...then rinse. Then the whole Mercury & Nitric Acid routine.

    Iíve come across some gold here and there in the 70 mesh range that never got picked up w/ the mercury. Is there a typical limit to the size of gold that this method is effective with? ...or are there other factors that would allow me to use this method for larger gold? Is Lye as good as anything else for cleaning before Mercury?

    I tend to have A LOT of -70 gold and A LOT of pyrite on my claims, making it a PITA to deal with the Super-fines...is there a better overall process for handling this?

  2. #2
    us
    Ed Tracy

    Jan 2015
    Shoreline,wa
    Equinox 800
    744
    1316 times
    Prospecting
    Have you tried cleaning your concentrates with nitric acid first before adding mercury, that was the method the old timers I knew used, using lye is a new one for me.

  3. #3
    us
    Jul 2020
    Alaska and Colorado
    22
    19 times
    Prospecting
    Quote Originally Posted by et1955 View Post
    Have you tried cleaning your concentrates with nitric acid first before adding mercury, that was the method the old timers I knew used, using lye is a new one for me.
    I have not tried Nitric A. for cleaning cons. I have heard of it though. What concentration of N.A. are you supposed to use?

    I also have Hydrochloric Acid on hand. Would that work any better or worse for this?
    Last edited by Yukon99669; Mar 29, 2021 at 11:28 PM.

  4. #4
    us
    Ed Tracy

    Jan 2015
    Shoreline,wa
    Equinox 800
    744
    1316 times
    Prospecting
    Quote Originally Posted by Yukon99669 View Post
    I have not tried Nitric A. for cleaning cons. I have heard of it though. What concentration of N.A. are you supposed to use?

    I also have Hydrochloric Acid on hand. Would that work any better or worse for this?
    What I have been taught was to put water in the pan with the concentrates and add the nitric acid till it bubbles, old school way.

  5. #5
    us
    Aug 2004
    Olympia WA
    Minelab Xterra 70, Minelab SD 2200d, 2.5", 3", 4"and several Keene 5" production dredges, Knelson Centrifuge, Gold screw automatic panner
    921
    2034 times
    Prospecting
    Nitric and Lye are opposites but the goal is to rid the gold of coatings that prevent amalgamation. I think acids are probably more effective than alkalis for this.
    Try tumbling your +70 with a good shot of nitric, dump in a dose of HG and let her spin. You will have a lot of flour HG but rinse it in warm water and it should come together

  6. #6
    us
    Jul 2020
    Alaska and Colorado
    22
    19 times
    Prospecting
    Quote Originally Posted by Bonaro View Post
    Try tumbling your +70 with a good shot of nitric, dump in a dose of HG and let her spin. You will have a lot of flour HG but rinse it in warm water and it should come together
    Should the Cons be rinsed clean of the Nitric before Mercury, or are you suggesting to add it with the Nitric?

  7. #7
    us
    Aug 2004
    Olympia WA
    Minelab Xterra 70, Minelab SD 2200d, 2.5", 3", 4"and several Keene 5" production dredges, Knelson Centrifuge, Gold screw automatic panner
    921
    2034 times
    Prospecting
    Quote Originally Posted by Yukon99669 View Post
    Should the Cons be rinsed clean of the Nitric before Mercury, or are you suggesting to add it with the Nitric?
    Nope...add it together. The nitric should be diluted to the point where it does not absorb the HG.
    Assuming you are using 70% nitric I would add no less than 60-70% H2o to prevent the nitric from eating the HG. You only want to clean the gold of its impurities and coatings. Add some glass marbles to help the action in the tumble. Rinse in warm water to help heal all the floured HG. You will get all of the gold
    Save the first rinse aside and add aluminum foil to it. Any HG that may been eaten by the nitric will drop out when the nitric attacks the lessor metal
    russau, Yukon99669 and winners58 like this.

  8. #8

    Feb 2006
    1,738
    1836 times
    What do you do with your waste?

  9. #9
    us
    Jul 2020
    Alaska and Colorado
    22
    19 times
    Prospecting
    Quote Originally Posted by galenrog View Post
    What do you do with your waste?
    I don’t have much, I’d say less than 5gal. or so of anything that’s been associated with Mercury/Nitric. Once I recover my Mercury I Neutralize and dilute Nitric Acid and all associated cons. Those cons end up in the bottom of my 55gal. Burn Barrel. After a few raging yard-debris burns I feel that the cons are safe enough to toss into the kids’ sandbox. They won’t ever make it that far...I just clean out ash down to that level and add to it from time to time.

  10. #10
    Make America Great Again

    Apr 2013
    Oregon
    1,684
    3942 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    do you charge the mercury? could be impurity's not letting the amalgamation form,
    what does lye do to the copper or other impurity's ie. does it oxidase or clean the impurity too.
    charging mercury; Link...
    Last edited by winners58; Mar 31, 2021 at 01:26 PM.
    Yukon99669 likes this.
    " A pessimist is an optimist with experience "

  11. #11
    us
    Aug 2004
    Olympia WA
    Minelab Xterra 70, Minelab SD 2200d, 2.5", 3", 4"and several Keene 5" production dredges, Knelson Centrifuge, Gold screw automatic panner
    921
    2034 times
    Prospecting
    Quote Originally Posted by winners58 View Post
    do you charge the mercury? could be impurity's not letting the amalgamation form,
    what does lye do to the copper or other impurity's ie. does it oxidase or clean the impurity too.
    charging mercury; Link...
    Charging your HG is good but it still wont amalgamate to contaminated gold...You gotta clean the oil, algae and manganese off before the HG will work well.

    Here is everything you need to know....

    https://koldun.tripod.com/bcftp/bcftp.htm

  12. #12

    Dec 2017
    4
    5 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Yukon use a sturdy large super clean plastic peanut butter container to shake your cons up in. Abraision from sands will clean gold nicely and let muddy water settle before pouring excess water off. Super fines in that muddy water!
    russau and Yukon99669 like this.

  13. #13

    Jun 2014
    California
    1,228
    3903 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    I add mercury just a little to my blue bowl to aid in recovery of fines from black sand . Clean up in plastic pan with nitric with the wind at my back . All loaded with gold
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Yukon99669 likes this.

  14. #14
    us
    retired bumb and part time Hobo

    May 2005
    St. Louis, missouri
    6,341
    5284 times
    I just don't use it so I don't know what to recommend other than Dr. Ken Williams (basement Chemist ) has the best advice on it's use !
    Last edited by russau; Apr 04, 2021 at 06:09 PM.
    Yukon99669 likes this.

  15. #15
    us
    Just Another etting Old Guy

    Feb 2008
    Grays Harbor in Washington state
    Whites Spectrum XLT with about 1/4" of dust on it and can't even remember how t turn it on?!?!?
    749
    1401 times
    Prospecting
    Just don't get caught also buying glycerine and ... putting it together will make a BIG BIG bang......
    then the Feds show up to take you and any survivors away.

    Let there be peace soon,
    Mike
    I'm a drinker with a heavy prospecting problem and I'm out of dirt again

 

 
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