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Fine Gold Recovery

Do you remember when fine / flour gold was just color in your pan or sluice box, way back in 2005? Well, now even that pan full of color is worth some real dollars. What once was a nice golden show that was fun to look at but only worth 50 cents has transformed into a considerable value.

This is still a discussion I have with some of the older prospectors who have always wrinkled their noses up at fine gold. Some of them are coming around when they cash out at the end of a season and see an incredible increase for their work. A few of the older miners have sold their claims for a lot of cash. This is after they have reworked old tailing piles multiple times. The only thing left is the fine gold because it is hard to trap or make stick in their sluice boxes. I have had a lot of success with the Fine Gold Sluice Box, catching this "fine stuff", but there are many ways to target lighter gold particles.

Another good way is to slow down the flow through your sluice and classify your shoveled materials down to 1/4" and smaller. What I am actually aiming for using this method is to catch black sand. That is right, my target is black sand.

Because I know when your flow is slow enough to trap this magnetite in your sluice a lot of fine gold will stop there too. This is of course using a "normal" sluice box and modifying your classifier to scree down crude materials to a small size.


When you can effectively gather Black Sand, Fine Gold travels with it too!

I have used this technique in the Queen Charlotte Islands on their "Gold Beaches", to recover some very nice quantities of fine and flour gold. It was me, lots of seagulls and two other people who were clamming at the beach. One of them, the older guy (I didn't catch his name), came over to see what I was doing. I pointed at my wooden sluice box and said I was mining gold. He laughed and said "if there was that much gold here someone else would have done it by now". Then he looked at the black sand in my sluice box and asked what bullion dealer were paying for that "junk". I responded "it is what you don't see that is worth the money". He laughed again and said "you can't eat what is in the sluice but at least you can eat the clams I have collected. They are the true gold!" At that point he turned and walked away.

I continued gathering the black sand in my sluice and emptying it into 6 five gallon buckets because the initiated black sand (mixed with gold) weighs a ton. I did manage to get the buckets back to my truck and loaded them up.

Later I pulled just over 3/4 of an ounce of gold from one of those buckets. That is two days work of 4 - 5 hours a day so that is 10 hours max. By today's prices, it would be around $1200 - $1600 per ounce. The price reflects the assayed value of the gold. $1200 for 10 hours of work. $120 per hour and I wasn't even killing myself digging either. Ever been to a $1200 clam bake? How many clams could you buy for $1200?

Please try this method out and bring home more fine and flour gold. This approach works well in heavily mined areas where all that is left are the fines.

Good Sluicing!


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