Gold / pgm nuggets refining advice needed
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Thread: Gold / pgm nuggets refining advice needed

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  1. #1

    Jul 2017
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Gold / pgm nuggets refining advice needed

    Hello all
    I have been finding alloy nuggets that consist of 60% iron, 7-10% gold, 10% pgm mostly iridium, and 20% copper / nickel. The typical size is about 1 gram and fairly plentiful.
    I live in an area with known precious metal reserves but there has been no commercial mining of these sites so there is no associated refining / commodity infrastructure.
    Due to restrictive mining / prospecting laws I'm basically limited to a pan and a shovel with nothing that can be considered mechanical so the overall quantity one can reasonably collect is limited maybe a few ounces of gold and pgm metals over the course of a summer.
    The larger nuggets I can get spot price for the precious metal content. The smaller stuff I'm not sure what to do with. Do I acid leech the gold and write off the pgm's as a loss. Is it worth sending to a refiner to recover the pgm's? Do I just keep it as is and sell as scrap?

  2. #2

    Mar 2013
    67 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    I would proceed this way. I would grind it all to powder, burn it to remove sulphides, then amalgamate it. The mercury will take up the gold, silver, and copper. It will not touch the PGMs or the iron and nickel. That electrum can be melted and sold to a refinery as is. You can part it yourself with nitric if the values are there. The rest should be dried and a regular magnet used to remove iron. Then you go back over it with a neodyum supermagnet to lift PGMs (they are paramagnetic and will lift with a N52 but will not lift with a regular magnet). You will lift some ferite if present as it is paramagnetic as well. Put it in a beaker and add a bit of nitric to eat the ferrite. What you will have left is the platinum. You can do nothing more with that but sell it to a refiner. Platinum has to be smelted at over 5,000 degrees so doing it at home is out. The refineries do it with a complicated chemical process which is above our pay grades

    Now as to your panning, you are not finding the gold line but messing around with the background noise! You have to find the gold line in that creek to make gold. Start with a nice flat, easy to walk on, sand bar or gravel bar on the inside bend somewhere. Test pan from the water's edge every 3 or 4 feet across to the shore. Somewhere in there you will hit a place where the microdots increase to several in the pan, rather than one or two. From there you trench right and left till you find the width of the line (where it goes back to background noise). Now you know the position and width of you line. You can test for legnth just as easily. Then you clean that up!!!!!! Now you have to abandon your normal panning and production pan. You will need at least a superpan and a batea is better (faster). You pan only down to black sand and stop!!!!! You do not finish panning. That is a total waste of time, your producing, not testing. You see test panning is necessary to get down to visible gold so you can see but to do that you throw several times the amount of gold out in the black sand you wash out. Most gold is invisible to the naked eye. 20-20 vision just cannot see it. It's too small. So finish panning cost you money every time you do it!!!! You take those hard won concentrates and run them through about a 60 mesh screen. That product you can pan out! Your now done with a pan, miller table, blue bowl or anything else that will only capture visible gold! The rest of those concentrates you tumble with a tablespoon of lye to clean it, then amalgamate it. You see you want it all down to the 300 mesh, not just gold in the visible spectrum as that is only about 15% of the total gold. Think about some nut that shovels into a sluice box all day to find at cleanup he has only about $8 worth of gold. Those things leak gold like a seive My nut was 4 grams a day with a pan!!!!! You ain't doing that, you ain't doing it right
    delnorter likes this.
    Gold Gold Gold Gold
    Bright and Yellow, Hard and Cold
    Molten, graven, hammered, rolled
    Heavy to get, light to hold
    Stolen, borrowed, squandered, doled



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