Gold Sluicing

gold-sluicingWe’ve been discussing the many methods of extracting gold from the earth and the various places to do this.  We slightly touched on gold sluicing when talking about dredging.

But right now we will delve more deeply into the topic of gold sluicing.  So what is this gold sluicing concept about?  What technologies does it require?  Is it something that an individual can do or does it take a team and some substantial money to get it together?  Let us look further…
When we talk about gold sluicing, we are still talking about mining placer deposits.  These are the spots where loose sediment collects and only the heavy stuff, as in gold, doesn’t get washed away.  Gold sluicing has been a pretty common method of mining and prospecting since the beginning.  Basically what a sluice box is, is a man made channel for water to flow through.  The reason it needs to be man made is so that man could design the “ripples” for lack of a better word, or speed bumps even, on the bottom of the channel.

How Gold Sluicing Works

So what happens is these speed bumps cause a velocity dead spot for the water that you run through the channel.  Gold and light sand is being washed through the channel and the heavier elements and valuable stones get caught in the dead zones where it is much easier to collect.  It does the separating and panning for you!

So the procedure goes something like this: You place a ton of gold-bearing earth at the top of the sluice box and then force a boatload of water down through the channel.  The material and water flow together down through the sluice and the water creates these dead spots in the current over the speed bump ripples.  The heavier items like gold drop out of being suspended in the water into these dead spots.  Once you are done washing all of the dirt out of the tailing, you simply walk up, collect what’s left, and then pan it or slap it on a water table, and viola!  You have collected a ton of gold!  Now that is how to find gold!

Using Trommels with Gold Sluicing

One last thing is that people will use trommels to help make this entire project go faster.  A trammel basically only lets smaller earth fall through and forces big rocks out elsewhere where they can be hard rock mined if you wish.  But what we are talking about is a spnning cylinder with holes in it.  This way you can just push the dirt into it with a bulldozer or some other heavier machinery to make life that much easier.  This happens before gold sluicing.  All that makes it through the trommel holes goes into the sluice.  It’s a beautiful process.  Gold sluicing is a great way to pan out a massive amount of soil quickly.

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