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Gold Hog - Inside Your Sluice Box

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That “stuff” running down your sluice box…

For this study, we’ll call it “the mix”. The “mix” is the water combined with the material you added to it and is now running down your sluice box. Before the material (mix) hits your sluice box, it is in the mixing stage we’ll call the “slurry”. So, inside the header box of a highbanker, top of your sluice, or trommel, you have a “slurry”, it them leaves the upper box into the sluice bed and is now the “mix”.  
Because we just learned that heavy / dense materials fall very fast, what do you think happens within the first 6-12” of this mix?  You got it. Stuff starts to fall / sink.  Some falls at a faster rate than others.

So, the MIX now quickly becomes a “multi-level” mixture.  While videotaping the mix, we decided to break it into 3 sections.
1) The lights.  Top layer of water and very light material. Varies based on your area.

2) The suspended / middle level.  Material that is heavier than the lights, but not falling quickly enough to hit the bottom.

3) The sediment layer. The heaviest of materials that fall to the bottom quickly.  Such materials as gold, metals, gemstone dust / fragments and anything else in your area that is heavy.


Do they change? Yes, during the run through the box some of layer 2 will fall into layer 3, some of layer 1 will fall into layer 2, etc… However, keep in mind that this MIX is only in your box for a few seconds.  So the “change” in layers is not as dramatic as many think.  If you’ve ever worked material in a large creek or small river you’ll understand better.  You’ll see a “silt trail” or muddy water travel sometimes 100’s of feet down current.  What you don’t see is that the heavies travel very little.  (Note: These layers will also travel at different speeds.  This gets into many different research topics such as Laminar flow and more, but they do travel at different rates.)

So… here is our first “HEAD SCRATCHER” for you.

We constantly hear prospectors say they catch most of their “fine gold” at the top of their box. They will generally have small “V” groove matting of some sort at the top and can see the gold sitting there. 
Hmmm…  wait a minute.  
But, we now know larger gold falls faster than small gold. What does that tell you? Does this mean that the larger gold somehow mysteriously “jumped over” the matting? 
No, the answer is that the proper matting was NOT in place to catch both the fine gold and the larger gold.  A “theory” we proved at an active gold mine.  Because this was the “common thought” or “experience” passed on for years, people simply followed it without question.  We tested our “head scratcher” theory and we were correct. 

Because gold falls very quickly, and if you have the proper matting in place, you can catch a large percentage of your gold, of all sizes, at the beginning of your “scrubbing process”.  In fact, when we put “MAT A” in the bottom of our header box, under the mixing tray and grizzly, we ended up catching 50 – 80% of our gold RIGHT THERE.  Yes, it even shocked us.  Here is a picture of the matting removed. 

We ran through 75 gallons of crushed quartz and ore from a gold mine.  All this gold was caught inside the header box without ever making it to the sluice box. 
Then even more gold was caught just outside the box in the first 12” of sluice box using the Scrubber mat.  This was an exciting moment for us I must admit.  All our work, studies, hypotheses, (guesses) had just been justified.  We were like kids on Christmas morning.

Recommendation #1
Before we even get close to the RIFFLES in a sluice box, one should make sure the header box / slurry area has the UR Mat inside it. YES... right under the box where material falls. 
Then a small section of Scrubber Mat at the top of the sluice box.  This matting resists clogging and allows both small, med, and larger gold to be caught and HELD higher up in the box.  
Some people have said in the past to make a HUGE slick plate to allow gold to settle. We disagree. Yes, you should allow the mix to travel rather “undistributed” at first, but it only makes common sense to have something there to capture it WHILE it is settling.  In our opinion, large slick plates at the top of a box waste valuable collection time. Replace them with UR MAT, which allows mix to settle while capturing at the same time.  






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