Gold Sluicing Your Way to Success

You can certainly dip a pan, but gold sluicing could help you separate precious metal from sediment a bit faster using the power of moving water.
By Richard Ray
July/August 1979

Diagram shows the dimensions and materials needed to make a gold sluice.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
Slideshow


Content Tools

Related Content

Californian’s Savory Spin on Porridge Wins Grand Prize

Merry Graham will help represent Bob’s Red Mill in the 2011 Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Cha...

Golden Pickled Quail Eggs

You can pickle any kind of egg, includin delicate and delicious quail eggs.

How to Cook Rhubarb

Learn how to buy, cook and preserve rhubarb.

Goldenrod Honey: From Weed to Wonderful

Tall Goldenrod is a fall favorite of the honeybee. Although it is most likely the bees are foraging ...

Gold sluicing—a gold mining technique that's been around since about the sixteenth century—can greatly increase the amount of gravel a panner can work.

The sluice principle is simple yet effective: Rushing water carries gold-bearing material through a trough and over a series of riffles. These obstructions cause a vortex in the water flow, which allows heavier matter to settle to the bottom of the box while lighter material is washed away.

You can construct or buy sluices of varying degrees of complexity, but the small, old-fashioned variety made of wood or metal—which lies in the stream and uses the natural flow of water—is quite effective and can be built or purchased for less than $30. A wooden sluice, however, usually weighs at least 30 pounds when dry (and, of course, a lot more once it's waterlogged!). So, if you plan to prospect in remote areas, it's s advisable to build with 1/8" aluminum sheet or buy a special unit made for backpacking. (Ready-made pack-in sluices, priced from $19.95 to $34.95, can be ordered from Keene Engineering)

Ether way, there're several features one of these helpful devices should have if it's to achieve maximum efficiency and give minimum difficulty. The sluices riffles, for instance, should be constructed so their tops lean in the direction of the water's flow to create the necessary vortex. And the little "obstacles" should be removable to allow for easy extraction of the trapped materials ... which will—you hope—contain gold.

You should also place a layer of out-door carpet under the riffles to aid in the entrapment of fine particles of "dust." This rug can be removed every few days and washed by hand in a clean tub of water to dislodge golden flakes.

Once you've found "color" with your gold pan, set up your sluice so that there's approximately one inch of tilt per foot of length. (Too great an incline will only cause the water to gush out the low end and carry everything with it, including any particles of gold.) Dump the promising gravel into the upper end and allow the water to separate the heavy material. Then just remove the larger rocks and watch nature do your work for you!








Post a comment below.

 








Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.