By Mike Hillis
Well....not exactly new, but new to me.
My wife was thrift shopping yesterday and picked me up an old used Estwing 12" steel gold pan as a surprise gift. I was happy that she recognized it and bought it for me and I think its pretty a cool pan. I normally use a green plastic pan but I think it will be cool to swirl a metal pan.
She wants to see it in action. She "suggested" I go pour some gold into some yard dirt and pan it out and see how I liked it. I "suggested" that we go out Sunday morning to a local spot and see how it works on fresh gold. She then suggested we wait and do a road trip and make it a long weekend thing......oooh......better and better....
I have no idea how it will turn out but I'll let you know.
Last night I read a very interesting (IMO) article by Chris Ralph in the June, 2019 issue of the ICMJ (https://www.icmj.com/) titled "How Long Does It Take to Find and Recover an Ounce of Gold". There are a lot of caveats Chris lists, which makes it dangerous for me to summarize what was written. Further, there is a fine line between showing results from a magazine/journal which needs money to stay afloat and requiring interested parties to simply pay for a subscription. IMO, anyone halfway serious about searching for native gold (and there's more there than just gold) should be a subscriber. Most importantly, his estimates certainly depend upon the ground you are covering -- this should be obvious to everyone and I hope simply mentioning it will squelch any attempt to quibble at his results. Basically there is a lot of uncertainty around Chris's numbers, which he is well aware of, but it's still interesting to hear from an expert who has used all of these methods countless times. I was surprised at some of his estimates. In order longest (least efficient) to shortest:
Panning: 42 hrs,
Metal Detecting: 40 hrs,
Sluicing/Highbanking: 30 hrs,
Dry Washing: 30 hrs,
Dredging: 20 hrs,
Hard Rock Mining: 8 hrs.
I think it's worth emphasizing that this is a time efficiency, not a cost efficiency. Panning is clearly the least expensive with hard rock mining by far the most. Chris also points out that the leadup time/research/preparation & cost are vastly different -- hard rock mining being the obvious extreme.
Does anybody know if its possible to use a
solar cell panel to run a small electric bilge pump for a small highbanker? Will it have to be in direct sunlight ?
Mine is a Johnson 2200 gph bilge pump that pulls 8 amps at 12 volts
What size panel will I need and what do they cost? Can I run the output straight to the water pump or do I need a controller thing?
Or can I use a panel to recharge my 12 volt ,15 amp gel cell and how long will it take?
I'm not much of a sluicer. I'd rater be looking for nuggets with my detector. I like gold I can pick up with my fingers lol. My wife bought a small Keene sluice box several years ago and we set up a recirculating system at home where we could run some dirt at our leisure just for fun. I never really liked my home made set up. Although it worked it was slow..It was like a mini high banker made with stuff I got at the local hardware store. I was wanting something more efficient. In my search I found Gold Fox USA. There is also an Australian version that is the same company with a dealer who distributes for them in Oz.
I wont go into a lot of boring detail...you can go to their web site and face book page or youtube for that...However I would like to say that so far I am very happy with this little set up. I can run unclassified material through this sluice extremely fast. The trommel is five inches in diameter. I've only used it three times so far and time will tell on how durable it is but it seems to be very well built. The company has many different sizes and options available. They are fast and get the product to you when they say they will. If you have a question Kelly the owner will get on the phone and answer it for you.
The Lil Monster Deluxe comes with a 12v 2000 GPH pump. You supply your own power. I am using a RV deep cycle battery that I had laying around. I also bought a 700 GPH 12v pump and am using the two pumps together. The reason being is the material I am running is mostly clay and I wanted more water to help break it down. The only thing you have to watch is that the jets that supply the trommel will get plugged with organic material. They are easy to clean. In fact if you turn off the water supply to the hopper so it feeds the jets only...the water pressure is enough to flush them clean most of the time. Give them a look.
All the bad weather, snow and to many things I need to take care of no chance to get away for a trip to gold country, been watching tons of YouTube gold related videos on prospecting related stuff and the occasional Jeep roll over compilation just to scare me into not doing that stuff with my Jeep on the gold trail?. Lots of ideas on the web for idle hands to foolishly venture, not that I don’t have anything to occupy my time, but a little sucking device somehow seemed like a good idea, so off I go... I’ve been building my little Jeep friendly recirculating sluice and thought I would try making a nozzle for use with the pump I already own, just a few pipe fittings and a little part here and there. I already have a Keene high banker setup and 90gpm Honda pump I can’t use in California, but something small for Jeep travel where it’s ok might come in handy, so I build the first one paying attention to everything I can think of to reduce friction and any head pressure and the little bilge pump was inadequate for the task.
searching the web for 12v pumps it’s hard to find anything that produces both volume and pressure at a reasonable price, the rule 4000 utility pump was the most powerful at 66gpm open flow and max lift of approx 30’ with over half its rated volume at 15’, but at a cost of 20amp hrs power consumption, they even made a two stage model rated at 134gpm same rated lift. Only problem the rule evacuator pump line are discontinued and I could only find one seller in the US that still had 3 in stock, every one else was out and the product is no longer listed one the manufacturers web site. I passed on the rule4000 and found a reasonable priced 1000 gph utility pump with a rated max lift of 7m out of Korea and ordered one, it won’t arrive until sometime in April I find out so we’ll see but I suspect it was a waste.
I should have stopped reading about water pumps, but didn’t and found another 12v pump that looked better with more volume than my bilge pump or the Korean pump and with a rated max lift of 7m burning only 13amp hr from my battery and ordered it.
superior pump came today and I outfitted my nozzle with the new pump along with a water proof power switch and cigarette lighter socket power cord, even with the power of this pump (1/4hp) the suction is inhibited by the discharge restriction and lift enough to make it not quite just enough suction to be practical, however pumping directly into a container without the lift it will suck dirt and gravel more than enough to be worth trying out for bedrock cracks. Everything but the battery weighs 8# total out of the water and in the water it’s slightly negative buoyancy keeps it on the bottom without feeling heavy it also feels fairly well balanced.
Before the superior pump arrived eBay kept nagging me about the rule4000 and I still couldn’t find a replacement for this now discontinued pump, so with only the 3 left I figured it was only a couple hundred and I’d might regret it more later if I passed cause I’m on a mission now and pulled the trigger on the rule pump, estimate it arrives on Friday. At over twice the power and capacity of the superior 12v pump it should pump material into my little highbanker if I get a larger battery.
Anyway more to come...
How can I make a dredge for fossils. I don't want the fossils to go through the pump. I haven't bought anything yet...just using bucket classifiers and its painfully slow with all the blue & purple clay and leaves. We are on a small creek that runs through a swamp in South Carolina. Right now we are just going through piles of excavator dirt from the creek bottom but would like to get into the hand size teeth in the creek bottom. We are considering just using an excavator and a gas powered preasure washer to wash the fossils off the clay. Any help would save me time and money. Thanks?