Cyanide-Free Gold Separation
February 2011 by Chris RalphSome ores—mostly those with a high free gold content—are very amenable to gravity concentration. Well oxidized ores containing coarse gold are usually best for non-cyanide processes. Ores with significant sulfide content may require the...
“Wealth beyond your wildest imagination.” Those were the words that were used to inform me of how much gold was in a paleo channel that exists beneath the present channel of the Similkameen River in the State of Washington; words that have echoed in my mind for the past sixteen years.
With eight loads processed, a pumpkin-size rock fell into the hopper, stopping the whole operation until I could lift it out.
While mapping, I also found rock chips in the soil that were characteristic of the same wall rock alteration that occurs adjacent to the known lodes in the greenstone belt.
The biggest obstacle is that like many streams on the Kenai Peninsula, high water during the summer months from snow melt and rain can make dredging nearly impossible. The best dredging is in the colder months of the year.
Most prospectors understand placer mining a lot better than hard rock mining and don’t realize the amount of work that goes into processing different types of hard rock ore.
This project taught me that you don’t need to be Albert Einstein to apply a little science to your prospecting. I learned that most of the science related to suction dredging is actually common sense. All we need to do is take the time to apply it.
I have figured out over the years that the winning combination is hard work, persistence, knowledge, and a little luck. This leads me to describe one of my best finds ever, a “honey hole” of placer gold, if you will.
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