Dilemma

desertgolddigger

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May 31, 2015
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I've a rather large problem after some five months of carting back pea gravel (two tons) to my backyard. Why cart pea gravel when most people run it through their dry washer? For some reason my dry washer, the mid sized Royal Gold Dry Washer, doesn't let anything larger than 1/4 inch fall from the hopper to the riffle tray. It just clogs up with anything larger.

I am beginning to think that this pile may hide a few larger nuggets, after I've been lucky enough to discover four pickers ranging in size from .03 to .16 grams.

But I can't afford a metal detector right now, just to either not find anything, or just one or two slightly larger nuggets.

I was wondering if the recirculating sluice I have, https://www.royalmfgind.com/product/multi-purpose-recirculating-sluice-box-kit-with-2200-gph-pump/
could run this material. My guess is that it will either send everything to the end of the sluice, or just clog up with the gravel.

Another reason I want to explore this pile for any possible gold is, I want to use this gravel for landscaping. I plan to put down heavy plastic, and then cover with the gravel. I'm tired of weeding, and the covered area will prevent ants from coming up in that area

Is there another method, other than panning it?😮
 
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arizau

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May 2, 2014
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I've a rather large problem after some five months of carting back pea gravel (two tons) to my backyard. Why cart pea gravel when most people run it through their dry washer? For some reason my dry washer, the mid sized Royal Gold Dry Washer, doesn't let anything larger than 1/4 inch fall from the hopper to the riffle tray. It just clogs up with anything larger.

I am beginning to think that this pile may hide a few larger nuggets, after I've been lucky enough to discover four pickers ranging in size from .03 to .16 grams.

But I can't afford a metal detector right now, just to either not find anything, or just one or two slightly larger nuggets.

I was wondering if the recirculating sluice I have, https://www.royalmfgind.com/product/multi-purpose-recirculating-sluice-box-kit-with-2200-gph-pump/
could run this material. My guess is that it will either send everything to the end of the sluice, or just clog up with the gravel.

Another reason I want to explore this pile for any possible gold is, I want to use this gravel for landscaping. I plan to put down heavy plastic, and then cover with the gravel. I'm tired of weeding, and the covered area will prevent ants from coming up in that area

Is there another method, other than panning it?😮
Two tons......sluice it. That setup should work fine properly set up. Virtually all of the gravels, sand and dirt should wash out....that is what a sluice does. If any at all, the gold in the concentrate will probably be mostly fines and hopefully some larger pieces. The water should disintegrate dirt clods, cemented gravel and wash dirt covered rocks...those things tie up gold.
If you cover plastic with gravel, do not walk on it since you will puncture it eventually and defeat it's purpose.

Good luck.
 
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desertgolddigger

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Two tons......sluice it. That setup should work fine properly set up. Virtually all of the gravels, sand and dirt should wash out....that is what a sluice does. If any at all, the gold in the concentrate will probably be mostly fines and hopefully some larger pieces. The water should disintegrate dirt clods, cemented gravel and wash dirt covered rocks...those things tie up gold.
If you cover plastic with gravel, do not walk on it since you will puncture it eventually and defeat it's purpose.

Good luck.
The plastic is farm grade. It's at least twice as thick, as the heaviest Home Depot carries. I've used it for years, and the only tears are from ground squirrels ripping it up.

I'll set up the sluice, and give things a try. Will take me tomorrow morning to get it set, then will run my first 10 or so buckets the next day to see what happens. Probably will take me that much material to get things properly tuned
 

DizzyDigger

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If I understand correctly, this material has not been run through your
dry washer?

If that was the case, I'd consider building an inexpensive hand crank
trommel, and classify it before running it down your sluice. The trommel
is not hard to make, and will cost you about $50 in parts.


I used 1/2" construction cloth screen for the barrel, but also bought
enough 1/4" screen to wrap over the trommel barrel.
 
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desertgolddigger

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I'm in the process of making an electric trommel. I had an old dry washer motor, and with a speed control, I think it will work. This will be used in my backyard, so I can dig at the claim without hand sifting.

No, the pea gravel is dirty, bur it doesn't contain any dirt in the pile, just 1/4 to 1/2 pea gravel..

I tried to sluice the material this morning. The water didn't move anything. So back to trying to figure out how to determine if there is gold in this pile. DRATS!!! 2 hours down the drain.
 

southfork

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Jun 15, 2014
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If you use weed block type material, it will let the rain / water pass through and not puddle. And if you decide to remove the gravel carefully it can be reused where the plastic will disintegrate.
 
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desertgolddigger

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southfork, I've experienced just the opposite. The weed block fell apart in a couple years, and the plastic underlay has lasted twenty years. Maybe it is the climate I live in.

Yes, the water puddles some, but for the most part, the water travels to the north and east (downhill). Puddles usually are gone in a day or two.
 
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desertgolddigger

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OK Guys, I went back to my old Time Ranger metal detector, to see if I could get it to work.

Results on the following targets are as follows.

American Gold Eagle 1/10 ounce strong signal
Vacambi 1 gram gold bar fairly strong signal
natural gold nugget .203 grams strong weak signal
natural gold nugget .120 grams weak signal
natural gold nugget .063 grams no signal

Looks like I can probably detect a close to the surface nugget of about .15 grams, but anything smaller isn't within the capability of my Time Ranger.

I'll set it up tomorrow, and detect a couple five gallon buckets of pea gravel. I'm sure I'll detect some hot rock, but maybe some day I might get lucky.

I'll have to reclassify the gravel as I go, so that anything under 1/2 an inch can be put through the dry washer.

Guess I've sorta found a way to find gold in the pile, but I'll probably miss some.
 

arizau

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May 2, 2014
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I tried to sluice the material this morning. The water didn't move anything. So back to trying to figure out how to determine if there is gold in this pile. DRATS!!! 2 hours down the drain.
The link you gave for your sluice said it came with 2,200GPH pump. Is that the case and "it didn't move anything"?
 
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desertgolddigger

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The link you gave for your sluice said it came with 2,200GPH pump. Is that the case and "it didn't move anything"?
Yes, the water could barely move the pea gravel. The sluice probably isn't designed to move rock without dirt, but I had to try. This is 1/2 inch pea gravel. Probably take a pump twice as strong.

I'll just use it for major cleanups of dry washer concentrates, if 2200GPH isn't too strong for that purpose.
 

arizau

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May 2, 2014
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Yes, the water could barely move the pea gravel. The sluice probably isn't designed to move rock without dirt, but I had to try. This is 1/2 inch pea gravel. Probably take a pump twice as strong.

I'll just use it for major cleanups of dry washer concentrates, if 2200GPH isn't too strong for that purpose.
Did you try steepening the sluice angle? It sounds like your sluice is loading up and that is the usual first step to correct that issue with a highbanker setup.
 
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desertgolddigger

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Did you try steepening the sluice angle? It sounds like your sluice is loading up and that is the usual first step to correct that issue with a highbanker setup.
Yeah, I forgot that, even now that I remember reading about that. I'll give things another try tomorrow or the next day
 
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desertgolddigger

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I gave things a go this morning. And it was a skunk. I ran 100 shovels full of the pea gravel. I figured I'd get at least one micro speck of gold, but nothing.

I think I'll just forego the preprocessing of the gravel that I was going to do before laying it down in my backyard.

I'll metal detect my yard, lay the plastic down, and lay the gravel. Then I'll metal detect the gravel. I think this is the most sensible plan.

I'm beginning to think my processing of the dirt/gravel at the claim pretty much gets everything. I sift with a 1/2 inch mesh classifier first, shaking it twenty times to ensure I knock gold off the rocks. Then I classify those results with a quarter inch mesh, shaking it thirty times. I am thinking that the gold can't stay attached to rock with that kind of shaking. That's why I rarely run more than ten five gallon buckets through my dry washer in a day (four hours of work). But my efforts result in an average of 1/10+ grams each session.

I still think the old timers strip mined the placers for the large nuggets (over 1/8 inch), while the other workers were working the hard rock mines.
 
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desertgolddigger

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With all the rain, and uncertainty about safely going out to the claim, I again tried to use my big sluice to work my gravel.

I'm classifying all the gravel, separating the 1/4 inch and less from the larger gravel.

I tried running this micro pea gravel, and was doing fine until my pump shut off. I was using my lithium ion generator battery pack, but failed to determine maximum amperage. I found the pump draws 3.5 amps, and my battery has a maximum load of 3 amps. My little 120v to 13.8v power supply also is limited to 3 amps. I thought my battery charger would work. DUH!!! Not for providing power to a pump. My big wet cell battery can handle this amperage, but my cigarette socket plug adapter blew a fuse, and I can't seem to find anyone locally who carries these little glass fuses.

So I am again down until I can find a fuse.

Results of about 3 gallons of this micro pea gravel was a skunk. I'm estimating that this type of material produces a nugget about once every few hundred buckets. I've found only three of these, and two large thin flakes since April. So sizes of gold over 1/8 inch are fairly rare.

I hope I can get something out of this huge pile, but it may very well be that the way I classify my material initially is super efficient, and I may not get anything. Time will tell.
 
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desertgolddigger

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Sometimes it's just not worth the extra effort but I've been doing the same thing. Reclassifying to get every speck of dust its some kind of madness/gold fever lol.
Yeah, especially like in my situation, where the area was initially hard rock, and placer mined by the old timers. Then the modern prospectors/miners worked the area over and over. So, getting anything is an accomplishment, even if you have to work very hard for a little bit.

I can tell you this. When I get a little nugget weighing say .03 grams, I am so excited, I have to restrain myself, or I might get arrested for noise pollution by the police, for screaming so loudly. :-)
 

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