Whenever I go out prospecting during the summer months, I'm never satisfied with the bucket of concentrates I bring home. If you are anything like me, you collect gravel from the different places you visit to cleanup during the winter. I always fill a couple of other pails with unclassified material to mess around with at home. I have nine months of cold winter up here in Canada above the 49th parallel, so I'm happy to have all this gravel to cleanup in the winter to keep the cabin fever at bay.
I have been conscientious about setting up a cleanup system for this itinerant gravel. It all starts with my Gold Rush Nugget Bucket, and a few other bits and pieces of cleanup equipment. Here's my list;
- - Gold Rush Nugget Bucket
- - Milk Crate
- - 500 GPH Bilge Pump (Can be replaced by a ladle or open-quart juice container)
- - Cement Mixing Tub (Can be replaced with any large plastic tub)
- - California Bucket Sluice or Finishing Sluice of your choice (Can be replace
- - Miller Table, Blue Bowl or other fine gold recovery item. (Can be replaced by the pan and taking a little extra time with the Gold Rush Nugget Bucket)
- - Saruca™ or Gem Sieve (Can be replaced by tweezers and a little bit of patience)
Here's my winter cleanup system: I attach the Gold Rush Nugget Bucket to an upside down milk crate with bungee cords so that the Bucket will not move while I'm agitating the classifiers. I place the Bucket and milk crate in the mixing tub to catch and recycle the water. This keeps the Bucket base out of the water and allows free flow of the lighter material.
Mixing tubs are used to catch and recycle water.
The pump continually adds water to the top classifier and keeps the material flowing through the Gold Rush Nugget Bucket system, collecting the heavier items such as gold, silver and platinum in the concentration bowl. You can run as much material through the Gold Rush Nugget Bucket as you like, since the concentration bowl will always replace the light sand with heavier material. Remember to always check the top screen for nuggets or larger gems, and always retain the material from the second screen to process later for small gold pickers and semi-precious gems.
Once you have completed your initial process through the Gold Rush Nugget Bucket, it's time to process these super concentrates. I use my California Bucket Sluice and then my Miller Table which speed up the recovery session. However, you will do just as well to use the finishing pan included with your Gold Rush Nugget Bucket; it'll just take a bit longer. Your end result from this step will be clean gold and other precious metals. You may have some magnetite left mixed with the gold if you are panning that can easily be removed with the magnet included with the Bucket.
A California Bucket Sluice can be used to speed up the recovery session.
Don't forget that all the small gravel you have been saving from the 2nd classifier can also be panned to get down to the heaviest material, which will be your gems and semi-precious gems (garnet, quartz, etc.) I use a gem screen ( Saruca™) which allows to very quickly get all the gems into the center of the screen. Once the screen is flipped over, it's a simple process of scraping off the gems from the top of the pile, then sorting through and separating the gems to color clarity and type.
The Saruca is a gem screen to collect precious and semi-precious gems as you prospect!
Don't sit around this winter! Work on those buckets of gravel with the aid of the tools in your Gold Rush Nugget Bucket and that glittering gold. Most importantly of all, have a lot of fun doing it!