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Cleaning up Black Sand with Flour Gold


Phoenix

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OK, I have a question for you all.... I am very new to this whole thing, and I know that my panning techniques is leaving a great deal of room for improvement, but I cannot seem to concentrate my gold up.... I really think that I have a fair bit of flour gold (probably 200micron or so in size).....

No matter what I do, I cannot seem to get the gold to concentrate up... I have panned and panned, I have run a magnet over all my cons and pulled out everything magnetic, but I am still left with a pile of sand and (what I think is) flour gold...

My question is this -- can I use HCl to dissolve the sand and such? If I remember my chemistry right -- this will not dissolve the gold, right? Would this work?

Thanks for the help!

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Black " sand" can sometimes just be manganese staining over something else :brows: really dense.... so I have read.

HCL will not dissolve gold, but toxic chlorine fumes may chase you out of the room, depending on what else is lurking in the cons- well ventilated area, safety gear :old:

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Final panning techniques is what you need to learn, called the bump by some or the tap by others, it's basically using inertial and specific gravity to your advantage, it's also the same principal that shaker tables use to separate the gold from other heavy minerals, here's a few videos that will help you understand the principal, the technique/s you can copy and then develop them to be your own,

Keep in mind that in these videos and the one above posted by LipCa, the people are using a lot of gold in their pans so you can see the technique work, but rest assured that these methods will work even if you have very little gold in your blacksands, you will just have to keep repeating the technique until you get all the gold out of the blacksand.

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Thanks y'all, I have watched all of these videos and then some... I just can't seem to get anything to concentrate. I have been trying this for a few days now, and nothing is getting any better.... I found a video on how to make a blue bowl DIY-style, but I don't know if I will have the time to put it together...

Thanks for the suggestions though.

Phoenix

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If it won't concentrate with the "backwash and tap" method, it is probably not gold.

Or, you don't know how to do the method.

Forget the blue bowl for the time being. Knowing how to recover gold from a gold pan is a "basic" you need to learn.

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Thanks y'all, I have watched all of these videos and then some... I just can't seem to get anything to concentrate. I have been trying this for a few days now, and nothing is getting any better.... I found a video on how to make a blue bowl DIY-style, but I don't know if I will have the time to put it together...

Thanks for the suggestions though.

Phoenix

I think that nobody asked..... But do you have your pan cleaned of ALL oily film ? If water beads up in the pan then yes you are going to play hell separating anything. Some of the pros on here can tell you better than I on how to get a new pan clean. I curse too much when I do it ! :grr01:

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"I really think that I have a fair bit of flour gold (probably 200micron or so in size)....."

Ahhh: Before proceeding further that gap between thinking and knowing is begging for better focus. There may be a simple, short-cut way of preempting resort to chemical procedures. Consider using in a high power magnifying glass or a basic microscope. If you still are convinced you are seeing gold rather than iron pyrite or some other substance, then follow LipCa's observation about acquiring basic panning skills. For some it's easy, while others never get it -- but it is a skill as fundamental to prospecting as driving a straight nail is to carpentry.

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I think that nobody asked..... But do you have your pan cleaned of ALL oily film ? If water beads up in the pan then yes you are going to play hell separating anything. Some of the pros on here can tell you better than I on how to get a new pan clean. I curse too much when I do it ! :grr01:

OK -- that is something that I have never heard.... Can anyone give me some suggestions as to how I should do this? The water does bead up a bit in my pan.....

Thanks!

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Put some sand in the pan mixed with dawn dish soap or Jet Dry,water and swirl it around good let it sit overnight and soak and swirl some more and remember that just the oil in your fingers can screw it up, Make sure the bucket you put your cons in is clean. Do not use any bucket that had oil in it. Don'tt use a brillo pad you dont want scratches in your pan. soapy sandy water you can rub it around by hand also. Good Luck it takes time'paetience and practise but you can do it.

Jim n Sue

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Video didnt really show the bump or tap that I could see. What you do is tap the edge of your pan closest to your concentrates which makes the heavier material go to that edge. In the video you see the gold actually crawling up the side of the pan.

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Normally, it your pan is oily, your fine gold will just float to the surface.

Just use some dish soap and scrub it out good to be sure it's clean.

Jim is right, keep your cons away from oily containers.

How did you acquire this fine gold? Crushing rocks? Panning beach sand?

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My first gold I found in the phoenix area by myself I had trouble concentrating in an area, but I could take a pin to it and break it. Turned out to be fools gold. Good signs that it's gold is that it does not break when pressed with a pin, is just as shiny when you put your hand over the gold shading it, and finally, still looks like gold under the magnifier. My first pay to pan place about four years ago I got a good amount of garnets, worthless, and also a bit of gold for a $7 shovel of dirt, but about a month ago took a 60X magnifier to it, and the gold color was not there and it was silver, so again fooled by fools gold. Won't throw that vial away. Its what hooked me.

EDIT: Before you go down the chemical route, I'd be sure there's quite a bit of it there for you to go chemical, or you just want to do it for a hobby. You may need over 100,000 grains or more of flour gold to make an ounce. I have spent hours trying to pan this flour gold, only to get a dozen ior so specks that won't even tip my scale that will read .01 grams. For now, those minute specks of gold get put with the black sand in a bucket to figure out or throw out later.

This video is something I use to get small gold after a clean up:

Edited by chrisski
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Normally, it your pan is oily, your fine gold will just float to the surface.

Just use some dish soap and scrub it out good to be sure it's clean.

Jim is right, keep your cons away from oily containers.

How did you acquire this fine gold? Crushing rocks? Panning beach sand?

Thanks for the advice, I will have to try that and see what happens. As to where I got it, this was from the bottom of a small waterfall (about 25-30 feet tall), and we dug down about 1' into the gravel. We found a LOT of black sand, some small garnets (I think), and what I am pretty sure is VERY FINE gold dust. I found a nice DIY design for a blue bowl, and I think I am going to try and build it -- I like the challenge, and right now this is far more about the journey then getting any return....

I will let you all know how things go...

Phoenix

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Boulder Dash said it good.

Sometimes you need to cut your losses and find what works for you or you'll spend days, weeks, months going after pennies worth of gold. I found the perfect waterfall that matched the glory hole from gold rush, but when we pulled the 4' X 2' X 3' rock out and ran the sand stuck in the crevice, we may have gotten a speck or two. That was a wasted weekend.

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I'll add a couple of things about pans and panning. New pans suck. Too slick for me. I use fine sandpaper to take that shine off and give it a bit of a grip. Pans get better with time and will also tend to get polished so don't be afraid of roughing it up often. It also might take many different pans to find your favorites. Kinda like everyone has their own taste for hot suace, try them all. Also keep rubbing alcohol handy to clean my pans.When it comes to getting fine gold to seperate from black sand it's almost mandatory to classify, classify and then classify again, smaller mesh each time. Also add a couple of drops of jet-dri (won't bubble up like dish soap) in your water. It breaks the surface tension up and keeps your fine gold from floating. And of course you have to have gold in your black sand to seperate...HA! ....so for a new guy I'd recommend buying a half gram or so of fine gold. Know how much you have (small scales are fairly cheap) and mix that into a couple of cups of black sand and now you can practice to retrieve that weighed out gold and tell if you are getting it all. Without allot of concentrates to process the expense of some of the real great equipment seems unjustified however you can do a search for homemade "chalk board" claissifiers. Nice simple home project.

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Ok -- my two cents:


First off, based on your young son being the catalyst, followed by your taking him out and actually finding some gold, I'd absolutely take a shot at building the homemade blue bowl, which I have no doubt after some trial-and-error you'll construct sucessfully.. You'll need it too.. Because, among other reasons:


It doesn't matter how good one gets with a pan; if one has -200 mesh Au mixed in with -100 mesh cons, 100 mesh being the finest easily available stacking screen size, one is going to have a heckuva time tapping out all the gold regardless how good a panner one is.. At this point a final cleanup unit of some sort not only makes good sense but is also pretty much necessary / mandatory for timely sanity-saving fine gold recovery.. I don't have a blue bowl but I do have a Black Magic, which as it's turned out has definitely been one of the better buck-nineteen's (at that time) I've ever spent in my life..


While 100 mesh is still visible to the naked eye it is also pretty durn small.. If one places 1/3 tsp. of -100 mesh and smaller cons loaded with mainly blacks and gray-whites along with an assortment of colors and a few pieces of gold into a finishing pan, gives it a quick agitation and a couple side taps, one will find it a challenge to eyeball gold without the aid of a loupe.. Make the gold 200 mesh and even with skillful tapping it becomes next-to-impossible spotting individual pieces of gold with the naked eye..


Quick note on screens: The finest metal-based screens I've ever found are 400 mesh (get beyond that and you're pretty much into filtration, so the constructing materials change..) As a general rule they're mainly available from scientific equipment warehouses and are the screen only, usually 5" rounds or squares.. I did find a set of three 5" round stacking screens for powdered ceramic though -- 100, 250 & 400 mesh for $50 at that time..


A word or two about waterfalls and I'm done.. Both Boulder Dash and Chrisski are correct, for the most part.. There are a couple of exceptions though.. First let's forget about moving any boulders, which I'd only even consider doing in a known nugget area and probably wouldn't attempt without water diversion at the top either.. We'll also assume a location of mainly flour gold with the possibility of some flakes and 'your' type of waterfall only.. We'd also need to further assume when you said 'under the waterfall' it was actually cascading onto your head, which I doubt was the case, so I'm moving you just downstream of the splash zone..


Unless a fairly deep pool, it's pretty unusual for there to be much if any fine material directly under a falls with even only moderate water flow volume.. Hitting a LOT of black sands a foot down and just outside the splash zone is a good thing.. The question is, did you hit the bottom? - be it false or real bedrock..? If the answer is no, keep digging -- especially if you do find Au in your cons..


Back to underneath the waterfall.. If the bowl underneath the falls is round and smooth all fines will blow out (mainly) downstream.. Of course any cracks can trap Au.. The two main exceptions one is looking for underneath a falls are on the back side.. 1) A low inset, or 2) an up-and-over pooling depression.. Both are fairly rare.. Assuming the only variable in play is the moving water itself, a falls is always set back further at the top than it is at the bottom.. Simply a matter of moving drop-off water erosion at work.. Other factors need to be involved to create the back-traps..


Looking at the set-up you describe, I personally see no reason why the black sands you've dug couldn't be loaded with flour gold.. Or some.. Or none.. But you've already said 'some'.. I therefore say continue going for it.. You've already stated the journey is more important than any (monitary) reward.. At the same time you're at the beginning of the greatest reward of all.. There are those of us on this board whos children could care less about prospecting.. You're in the enviable position of having a child dragging you into the hunt.. I wish the both of you the best of good fortune..!


Swamp

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Hey Swamp.....

That's a lot for two cents... what a deal (grin)

Now, backup and do it with the size gold Phoenix says he has.

He said 200 MICRONS, not 200 mesh.

Big difference. 200 microns is a fine sand. 200 mesh is like cement texture.

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I want to start off saying to everyone that I do apprecieate the comments and suggestions. I will fully admit that i need to get better at panning, and I probably should pony up and get a better pan itself... (the one that came with my son's "kit" is rather small.

To Swamp - regarding the waterfall that we went to, your right, we were not right under the "splash zone". Actually we were about 15-20' down stream at a point where the water flow did a quick series of angled turns. We did not did down anywhere close (we think) to the bedrock, and we were out mostly just having fun on a saturday.

I think I am going to build this little DIY blue bowl, and see what happens. As well, I will pick up a bottle of jet dry and some fine grit sandpaper to do some modifications on my existing pan. I KNOW my panning skills need some work, but I also like to tinker and this blue bowl looks fun.

I will let you know what we end up finding.

Phoenix

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LipCa -- Good catch.. It is closer to fiddy cent than two cent, innit..?

No, really -- good call on Phoenix having said microns, not mesh..

Microns / mesh equal out somewhere in the low 120s I believe..

So 200 microns would be approx. 70 mesh + - , a workable enough panning size..

Then like menloAu said: Classify classify classify..

Both 50- -- 70+ and 70- -- 100+ will improve one's panning skills in a hurry, with the

Au being heavy enough to tap up or over and large enough to see unaided for the most part..

Phoenix -- If your kit came with a 14" pan you 'could' get by with it alone, but if it came with

a 10" pan your picking up a 14" would help panning down a bunch.. And wet-or-dry sandpaper

used wet.. I'd say 320 grit + - one step will do a nice job of removing the mold release wax..

Swamp

EDIT: I meant used wet in a very wet pan as well..

Edited by Swampstomper Al
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Phoenix -- If your kit came with a 14" pan you 'could' get by with it alone, but if it came with a 10" pan your picking up a 14" would help panning down a bunch.. And wet-or-dry sandpaper used wet.. I'd say 320 grit + - one step will do a nice job of removing the mold release wax..

Swamp

EDIT: I meant used wet in a very wet pan as well..

Swamp - yeah, we do have a small 10" plastic pan, and I have been thimking seriously about going to get a bigger pan. I will also pick up some fine sandpaper to give the existing pan a once over. Thanks much for the suggestions.

Phoenix

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