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topic 20033p2

Recovery of fine floating gold

A discussion started in 2003 but continuing through 2020

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April 6, 2008

I found this site while looking for a safer method of recovering gold from my fines I've collected as a weekend prospector. I was hoping to find some method, such as electrolysis that did not use toxic, dangerous chemicals such as Aqua Regia or Cyanide.

I read through quite a few pages on letter 18889 which is dedicated to recovering gold from Electronics but mostly it seems to involve dissolving the gold in chemicals. Has anyone out there used or heard of using electrolysis to treat their fines?

Rob Feeny
- Kelowna, BC, Canada

April 7, 2008

Don L -- you are looking for a fine gold recovery system ?

Buy you a 8 inch piece sch. 40 ,of pvc pipe and a glue on cap. Drill the cap and screw a water valve into it, this is so that a hose pipe can screw onto the valve. Buy some ribbed rubber matting to bed the full half 8 inch pipe. from the cap move down about 12 inches and cut the pipe in half long ways. Find a tripod , like the one's used in surveying,drill a hole for a and install a carriage bolt in the pipe in the middle. use a wing nut to mount the pipe to the tripod. You can adjust the tripod to most any height or angle. You can run a hose pipe from the dredge to the pipe and the valve will adjust your flow. If you adjust the angle right you WILL recover all gold no matter how small. The 8 inch pipe gives you a good wide bed for gold to hangup. One person can run the pipe while the dredge is being used. You will love this fine gold recovery system. This is all I ever use with my 3 inch dredge.

Wallace S [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Cleveland, South Carolina

June 14, 2008

I would like to know how long the 8" p.v.c. pipe should be to recover the fine gold you talked about.

Hank Langford
- Whitney, Texas

July 22, 2008

I agree with the person that suggested separation. Get a button up shirt that you no longer wear, use a 5 gallon bucket and cover the opening with the shirt and tie the shirt around the edge creating what looks like a drum. Now put your fist into the shirt slowly to create a funnel inside the bucket. Make sure the t-shirt will not cave in or you will lose all the gold and have to start over. Make sure you drill holes in the sides of the bucket so that the water will drain out when it starts to fill up. You have just create a big sieve. Stir up the floating gold and pour it into the sieve. When you are done just bunch it up and dry it. Save it until you are ready to process it into a nugget. Do not attempt to refine the gold unless you have experience, I've done it with proper supervision and coaching. What you have in the t-shirt is a mixture of all kinds of material not just gold, do not go and burn it without the proper setup. Make sure you check the drainage water from the sieve to make sure there are no holes and the shirt is catching what your going for. Have fun. Use a battery operated water pump so that you can just stir the gold up and take down a beer while everything is running. lol Good luck

Andy T. [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Cedar Park, Texas

October 7, 2008

Use a large coffee filter or you can buy large sheets of material that they use for tea bags on the net.

That will filter the floaters out of your water and also using a fine miners moss or outdoor carpet in your box will pick up most of the fine dust.

I use to just tie a black bandana to the top of a bucket and pour my recirculated water through it at the end of the day and it worked pretty well.


John Dennett
- Weatherford, Texas

November 10, 2008

I recently learned of a fella in Colorado who has discovered a safe way of gold recovery and they have been working on refining the process since April 2008. Search "Amalgamite". Very interesting. I have yet to try it. Came by here in search of what electronic parts might be worthy of salvage. Thank you.

Charlie Little
- Mansfield, Arkansas

March 11, 2009

Take a potato, cut it in half. Dig out a dime-size hole in one half of the spud, put your dime-size blob of mercury in the hollow in the spud. Wrap spud in tinfoil. Bake spud under coals, downwind ( just in case).
Open spud, collect gold. Put baked spud in your gold pan and pan out the mercury.
Do not eat the spud !

Chuck Carlson
- Boise, Idaho

April 24, 2009

Wallace S.,
I sure would like a much more detailed description of the 8 inch pipe fine gold recovery devise.
Bruce L

Bruce Leep
- Bozeman, Montana

July 25, 2009

Another method using mercury is to let the mercury pick up the fine gold in your pan, then pour the nickel size drop of mercury amalgam into a small depression created in an old t-shirt. Squeeze the mercury amalgam through the t-shirt and collect your now cleaned mercury in a glass or pyrex container. Cut the dirty brown spot out of the t-shirt as this is now your fine flour gold adhering to the
cotton t-shirt material. You can burn out the t-shirt
material to make your gold button or even use nitric acid solution to dissolve the cotton material and leave outside
in well vented area to evaporate leaving just the fine gold.

Bruce in El Paso

Bruce Evans
- El Paso, Texas

August 12, 2009

I haven't seen anything here that will collect enough gold to cover the head of a pin.
Float gold cannot recovered by any of the above. If you want to recover float gold you need very fine mesh bags (can be found on the Internet under water filtering). You pump water thru the bags for several hours. Not all water will have gold. Only the top 2 to 3 inches and must be below a waterfall or behind a dredge.

Raymond Looper
- Fallon, Nevada

August 24, 2009

Floating gold can be settled by breaking the surface tension with a surfactant "jet dry" comes to mind. Back in my youth we used to play with a Shaklee product called "Basic H" it was a wetting agent that would make water wetter and break surface tension. Most of the agents I can think of would work if you could drop small amounts in your sluce box as you run.

Good luck and hope you always see color in your pan!

Marty Burgess
- Las Vegas, Nevada

July 11, 2010

I've been working with some flour gold and have found a good way to get it out of sand.Its called a door mat.Yes I said a door-mat! The mat I use has a fine texture on it kind of like miniature creek beds. run it the same way as you would run your regular sluice.carefully control the water flow and down angle. if you want large gold think big! But if you want to get the small gold out think small.

rou1 - Rob Lewis
prospector - Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada

August 31, 2010

Would you mind explaining the doormat a little further? Do you place the sand on the mat, then wash the sand off and the small flour gold goes through? Then how do you get it out of the water?

Mary Wilson
- Seattle, Washington

September 1, 2010

the gold don't go through the mat it sits on top. gold is flat black sand is round. this is why the sand runs off and the gold sits down on the mat...however some gold flakes/the larger flatter ones might get washed down no matter what you do. just set your water flow and angle. keep testing small amounts till you can see the gold settling and the sand running away.i usually run sand with a table spoon. spooning it onto the mat but like I said it's a slow process.

rou1 - Rob Lewis
prospector - Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada

September 16, 2010

Great thread! I am a new prospector and have a claim on the Yuba North Fork. I have been diligently going to my claim and digging sample test holes to find out where the gold is on about a fifty yards of 1/2 mile of river...sometimes while panning, I am noticing lots of floating gold but it is really small and fine. I have heard that dry gold can float. Will the mat or is the mat what I should use at the river. When I pick up a pan of gold there are hundreds of small fine floating flakes with many sitting on the sides of the pan. When I walk through the claim or am digging out a test hole, I look down and see hundreds at my feet and all over the rocks. I know gold is the heaviest mineral I will find and that there is a mineral called pyrite or fools gold but is the stuff sitting on the edge of my pan gold? is it able to be recovered? I have yet to find anything much bigger that a 30-60 mesh piece of gold. Can anyone help me please? I really want to locate the gold on my claim. I have read several books by McCraken and others on how and where to find gold but I keep coming up with pretty much nothing. I have 3-5 specks besides the 30-60 mesh piece of gold and a flattened out fishing weight. I am not ungrateful but wanting to do better. Thanks for any responses from real miners.

Rich Mariani
- Vacaville, California United States of America

January 13, 2011

The best deal to recover find gold is to reduce the depth of your flow and make it free of turbulence. Any riffles or obstructions must completely be covered by water. There is a formulaic way to figure out exactly how many gallons to pump to do this, but suffice to say with a 6 inch wide sluice running 1 inch deep, at a 5.5 degree angle you need 40 GPM feed water. Amazingly, if this sluice would clean immediately it would handle 5.3 thousand lbs of fines per hour, and twice that in gravels, at least. Of course it is unlikely that a sluice fed this much dirt would clean it in the same time. You need fast moving water to clean a sluice quickly, at least 4-6 fps. A 1.25 in. deep sluice at 10 inches wide at a 10 degree slope would attain 3.5 fps, but it needs 132 gallons of water per min to attain that flow speed. At that speed you would need lots of sluice length and nomad carpeting to recover fine gold. (15 feet?) You need to screen out everything over 14 mesh in sands to ensure good recovery. While you see lots of sexy ads on youtube etc, what they don't tell you is that river water running through the sluice is hundreds of gallons per minute. (300 GPM or more for a 3 inch depth of ten inches wide at 7 degrees - 6 inches in 4 feet.) Just because you see some fine gold after clean up tells you nothing about what you missed. Just because the first 1/3 of these sluices recovers 90% of the gold in the sluice tells you nothing about what 100% was in the original dirt. It merely says that the back 2/3s recovered 10% of what it got, (this was fine gold) -and- if it recovered gold right up to the end, that was where it was losing fines. Getting less and less does not imply there was less and less. Just that was the efficiency of the sluice.

The best kind of sluice for fine gold would use semi circle indentations in the sluice bottom, rather than riffles, as this has less turbulence and obstruction to flow. (Gemini table is an example. Riffles should be no more than 3/4 the height of water flow depth. You should not see white water or frothing in the flow. No chemical or flocculants should be added to a sluice, because a sluice needs surface tension to clean properly. If gold floats on ST, then it is more or less lost. The volume of even acres of this type of gold is so miniscule that it is well worth ignoring. It is seen in many placer or gold productive areas, especially where the water has tannic acids in it, or pine oils. It would be very tricky to add just the right amount of detergent not to defeat your sluice and to recover significant quantities of gold. You could experiment with Loc from Amway, but be careful as it is very powerful as surface tension remover and may actually hinder gold recovery if too much is added. What will adhere to a pin will remove all the ST from one liter of water.

It is possible to recover very fine gold with what is called an undercurrent sluice. All the undercurrent does is provide slits in a false bottom running lengthwise with the sluice current. The slits themselves are much less in area than the screen bars of the undercurrent itself. Sort of like a sieve bend. The descending water into the slits of the sieve takes mostly just extreme heavies and has a tendency to reject the lights. If the sieve areas are made just right for the flow, the concentrate so collected will be fairly high grade. It helps to narrow the sluice by about half at the point where the bar-screen false bottom is set, so that the feed naturally stratifies and the bottom becomes a heavy layer, which is scavenged by the undercurrent. A flat bar width of 3/16 inch with a slit of 14 to 18 gauge would be workable. Make the bars about 12 to 18 inches long. Several of these in an 8 foot run should do the work you need.

I have several other designs I have tried on ultra fine gold (20 to 50 microns or 8 ten thousands of an inch to 24 ten thousandths of an inch. Throughput is ultra quick and all you get is gold. Good for cleaning Black sands. I am a little bit coy about design details, but I could with a legal agreement allow building of a machine.

e. charters
mining - toronto, ontario, canada

April 15, 2011

Don't use a torch to burn off your mercury, use a retort they are simple to build and you only need something like 400 degrees. a retort is really a small still, the mercury will "boil" off then condense back and land it a bucket of water as clean mercury to be used again. Do the research, I tire of people harping about using mercury, and then suggest using wicked acids instead.

Harry Orr
- Quartzsite, Arizona

December 2, 2011

I am from Louisiana and buy my material from Tom and Perry Massie, they advertise up to a quarter of an ounce per two pound bag of gold and believe them to be honest.
I watched a " Gold Fever " show and Tom mentioned that most of the time a bag would contain a "penny weigh" of gold minimum, so far from two bags I have recovered 1/2 gram or .321 "penny weigh", the first bag I wet panned and watched a lot of floating gold flakes return to mother nature. I took a different route with the second bag, I thoroughly dried the material and in small increments recovered the heavy gold pieces. This brings me to my question, how do I tell the gold flakes from iron pyrite?

Stan Paulk
greenhorn prospector - Deville, Louisiana, U.S.A.

December 7, 2011

Hi.My father gave me 20 grams of rock that seem to contain gold.So I crushed as much of it up as I could and panned it.When the dust mixed with water it floated and clumped up.I have several pieces that are chunks and they're silver in color and some gold color mixed.What type of rock or metal am I dealing with?

Ben Willey
- Union, Maine, USA

April 11, 2012

Q. What chemical is used to drop the mud from the water at the end of my dredge?

Mikw Wood
- Seward, Alaska

May 31, 2012

Q. I found a small river running through a piece of land (deposit of silver ore plus fine gold) it was spilled by silver mining company. Has stopped operating more than 15 years already. I am interested to retrieve the fine gold. Already have permission. I am new. How can I capture the gold?

Liew Yiung
- Kuching, Malaysia

February 6, 2013

Q. I have found a mixture of floating gold and mica. I took it to a local jewelry store; he told me it was part gold and part mica. He told me to separate the two to get me a fire brick, drill a hole in it, pour a little bit of mixture in the hole and heat it up with a torch. He said the two would go different directions and separate. I was wondering if anybody else has heard this?

wesley mullinax
- polkville North Carolina

August 5, 2013

A. I read that they use a flotation plant that uses a reagent that promotes flotation. Air is pumped through a conditioning tank and the gold and silver bubbles up and it is run through a carbon filter then processed.

Randy Bislow
- Franklin, Nebraska, USA

September 4, 2015

Q. I went on a trip to California, I stopped on the area known as Patrick Creek and was collecting white rocks, on 2 different occasions a man collecting water for the fires told me this was bedrock. As I started digging it was loaded with black sand and Quartz.I took a bucket and shovel and filled them with this black sand. I ended up after stopping there twice with a huge bin of black sand and rocks
while panning through I notice lots of gold looking flakes all over the top but also some white shiny stuff and some rust colored stuff what appears to be copper.Is any of this worth anything and should I separate it into the particular colors red, white and gold? I might sound silly but I'm new at this and need some advice.

- Eugene, Oregon U.S.A.

January 4, 2017

A. I mine for flour gold in Juneau, Alaska. We use Gold Hog yukon mats, Dawn dish liquid, and a 3" hydroforce nozzle. We pump well above 20,000 gallons per hour. We have 2- 12' sluicing setups and we often combine units for a 19' machine. No matter how finely tuned your setup is, chances are you will not catch all of the fine gold. Any way you can cut down on bubbles in the system, and cause the gold to fall out of solution will help. We mine almost exclusively the super fine gold, so catching as much as possible is obviously our objective. We have added everything from thick bristley mats turned upside down, to rocks in the header box, and miners moss barriers. We move an average of 10- 12 yards per 6 hr shift, as we are only allotted a small window of work time, due to the tide.

James Hevenor
- Juneau, Alaska ,USA

sidebar December 2, 2017

! Hi I see you have a topic on recovering of fine floating gold. I would like to be able to post on this Forum. My hobby for the last 50 years has been Hydro-Metallurgy. I have several proprietary processes, I wish to get in touch with the persons that are posting.

Johan L
gold reclamation - Palm Springs, California, USA

"Price/Demand Curve for Internet Advertising: Infinite demand at zero cost, zero demand at infinitesimal cost"
-- Thomas J Pullizzi, 1995.

December 2017

thumbs up sign Hi Johan. You're very welcome to offer any public help you wish or to ask any questions -- it would be greatly appreciated if you participated in the dialogs! Further you're certainly welcome to advertise your proprietary processes on this site if you wish.

But we don't let these public discussions go private; it's rude to draw readers into a discussion, then cut them adrift unsatisfied as the topic goes selectively private. It's rather like telling some of the guests at your cocktail party to drink up & go home because the others have been invited for dinner :-)

Further, totally unmanageable spam explodes instantly if commercial opportunity is offered at no advertising cost, and it's clearly not fair to ask our advertisers to pay the costs of this forum and then steer potential customers to their competitors who pay nothing.

Apologies and Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading

September 23, 2018

Q. Sir I'm alpesh from india. I have my own farm of black sand which contains gold in powder form. When I washed it on carpet my carpet turned into gold colour. I tried to separate it but I didn't get success. Please help me to get result because it is in powder form.

Alpesh damor
- Bhloda, gujarat, india

February 2, 2019

Q. I found my dog chewing on stone used to build my fireplace in my home and when I looked at the fire place it was shining where the dog chewed. I ran my fingers over the rock and gold dust appeared on my hands.
Is this possible? I live in Washington state so the stone could be local or somewhere near. What I have read is that this can be possible. Flour gold or fine dust gold.

How do I verify that the stone may have gold in it? I am not equipped with any equipment or knowledge to do what I have read others post as far as testing or "harvesting". I am not a prospector, but know stranger things have happened.

Is this common? Is it worth pursuing? Is there a laboratory that will test the material?


Melissa Sullivan
- Richland, washington, USA

simultaneous February 6, 2019

A. Hello Melissa, Sounds like your dog has the Midas touch! Not to burst your bubble but you could have iron pyrite there, aka fools gold. Iron pyrite is magnetic, as gold is not. If you have enough surface area you can test it with a magnet. Another simple test is to rub the area in question well. Iron pyrite has an odor of sulphur, or rotten eggs, gold does not have a distinctive odor. It is possible to find gold in rock, not very common in fireplace stone however. Is it worth pursuing? I would hate to see you ruin your fireplace for such a small amount of gold. Let us know what your findings are. One more thing, that's one tough dog you have there!

Mark Baker
Electronic Plating - Phoenix, AZ USA

February 6, 2019

A. Could be schist, in which case the dust is mica. Could contain pyrite (an iron compound known as Fools Gold), or Galena (a lead compound- but it's more silvery). No point in pursuing it- Even if it WERE gold, the cost of recovery (dismantle, break up rock, smelt, rebuild fireplace) far outweighs any tiny amount of gold you might find. It's about $40/gram, how much does a new fireplace cost? Pics of the stone would help narrow down the possibilities. I'd be more concerned with your dog needing to break that habit before he ruins his teeth- Mine was a rock chewer too and I'm not looking forward to his dental bills when the damage starts turning into cavities.
If you've actually got gold in your fireplace, I'd say it's more valuable as a conversation piece :)

Rachel Mackintosh
Plating Solutions Control Specialist /
Industrial Waste Water Treatment - Brattleboro, Vermont

March 15, 2020

Q. I need some help. I'm located in Michigan and I'm pretty sure I found a fossil type gold deposit in a flood plain; lots of different types of ore, oxidized metals, some copper, some silver metals, and lots of fine gold dust. It's very concentrated on a high bank that has been deposited in floods for a long time. It's thick clay with large layers of river gravel. The gravels all seem to be ores and lots of fossils, covered in fine powder, as well as chunks of the powdered metals layered down in streaks and layers throughout the clay.

I can't seem to collect any of the super fine powder, or pointers on collecting this stuff. So if I could email some photos?

To help confirm if the deposit is rich I have melted some of the powder but can't get it hot enough to separate the silvery metals from the gold. Very new to all this. Thanks in advance to anyone who could help.

Chad Truran
- Taylor Michigan u.s.a

Ed. note: Photos can be attached to e-mail to mooney@finishing.com for posting here.

April 21, 2020

A. Hi Chad,
Can you try polyelectrolyte to settle fine gold powder?

bhupesh mulik
CAC admixtures - MUMBAI,india

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