As we’ve discussed here in the weeks past, prospecting and panning for gold in stream beds, creekbanks, riverbanks, and ancient river gravels is an activity that can add a lot of fun and richness to an RV trip. I love digging and panning for gold and other precious metals. But segregating mineral values out of the fine small rocks and sands at the bottom of the pan is tiring and tedious. Plus, there is every chance that you will lose values by trying to pan out the fine sands and gravels too quickly to finish. There’s a fix for that.
A couple of weeks ago, we saw what the Blue Bowl could do washing fine black sands and non-mineral gravels. This time, we look at the spiral panner. This device separates black sands from gold values like magic. There are several brands of spiral panner on the market, including products like the Keene Engineering GW25 Gold Wheel and the Gold Screw.
Advantages of Gold Wheel
- High rate of fine gold recovery—96%-98% of 150-mesh concentrates.
- Will process 40 lb. of fine concentrates per hour.
- Amalgamate concentrates down to flour gold.
If you are in good ground where there is a lot of mineralized rock and black sands, as you work the contents of your gold pan down, you’ll notice that there is a volume of relatively heavier small stones and a lot of dark or black sands in the bottom of the pan. They are hard to pan out and tough to pan out without losing gold. You’re already tired from swirling and shaking a heavy pan full of material. You can keep panning the fines or put them aside and run them through a classifier and then the spiral wheel.
As you will see in links to the gold wheels above, the machine is nothing short of miraculous at separating gold and other heavy values like Platinum Group Metals (PMG) from the concentrates. Before running them on the gold wheel, a careful classification of the gold-bearing materials is necessary. I classify down to a 150-mesh screen, which will run flawlessly on the wheel. Here’s how to do it.
It is impressive to watch the gold wheel as it can run 40-50 pounds (roughly half of a five-gallon bucket) of black sand concentrates per hour. Just on the last three or four rings of the wheel, you’ll see the bright yellow stuff free of other materials, climb the wheel and flow into your catchment container. Woohoo!