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Last Post 10 Nov 2020 10:45 AM by  ARTHUR WAUGH
Black Sand Dry Wash
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James Lillard II
Greenhorn
Greenhorn
Posts:3



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03 Nov 2020 02:35 AM
    While driving around in the AZ desert last week I found a dry wash that had black sand streaks visible from the truck. At night! I had no gold mining equipment since I was there for agates. Used my hands to gather a about half a gallon of the stuff, but there is just too much black sand for my skill level of panning. I see mica and probably chalcopyrite flakes in the pan that I thought was gold at first. The wash empties into a running stream that is known to have placer gold about 4 miles from the location I found the black sand. There is no indication on the topo that any mining happened nearer. I plan on going back in two weeks (Wednesday 11/11) with a recirculating gold cube. Does this sound like a good idea or a waste of time? Total greenhorn here.
    ARTHUR WAUGH
    Posts:774



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    03 Nov 2020 12:26 PM
    Before you do, you need to find out if it is claimed, or even available to be prospected or mined. I have heard that some State trust lands are off limits.

    Plot out location by TRS and do the work to find out and stay legal. Not worth a ticket or a load of lead, though you can use that to practice panning once you get it out of the tail feathers.

    Might be easier to bring a few buckets home and run it there. Just don't try and load a full one in the truck...well over a hundred pounds.
    Classify down to 100 mesh if you need to, even after the cube. You'll still have black sand. Might even use a magnet to get the iron sand out (use wet). The closer everything is to the same size, the easier it is to pan the gold out. Save the remains for further processing.....another lesson for another time.
    William Hall
    Buzzard
    Buzzard
    Posts:587



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    03 Nov 2020 06:45 PM
    LOL @ Arthur

    Gettin the lead out...
    TRS = Map cords. township, range, section

    Bill
    So Much River So Little Time...Get Out There
    James Lillard II
    Greenhorn
    Greenhorn
    Posts:3



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    04 Nov 2020 02:58 PM
    The land is federal not state. MRDS has no records in the area and there are no claim signs. Would you sample directly under the black sands or trench across the wash?
    ARTHUR WAUGH
    Posts:774



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    04 Nov 2020 03:09 PM
    I'd do some testing of the black sands, and look for any exposed bedrock in the wash. Sample the material in the cracks, etc, if you come across any. Also sample any gravel or baseball sized rock areas you come across.

    Needless to say, tag your samples as to where you got them so you can go back if anything turns up.

    If you do find anything worthwhile, check with the feds to see if claimable, if so inclined.
    James Lillard II
    Greenhorn
    Greenhorn
    Posts:3



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    07 Nov 2020 07:37 PM
    Separated the dirt and sand using magnets. I then directly smelted 100 grams of the black sands with 100 grams borax, 200 grams lye, 50 grams silica sand, and 20 grams lead. This yielded a 20 gram button. That is where I’m stuck at the moment. Currently out of cupels.
    ARTHUR WAUGH
    Posts:774



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    08 Nov 2020 11:12 PM
    While not all that familiar with the smelting process, I understand the borax, etc. What has me baffled is why the lead?

    Sounds like you now have a 20g wheel weight.

    Usual process is to get your cons as pure as possible before smelting to remove the remaining impurities.
    Christopher Caszatt
    Greenhorn
    Greenhorn
    Posts:10



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    09 Nov 2020 10:30 AM
    The lead is used as a collector metal for the precious metals. After smelting with the lead you put the lead button in something called a cupel. The cupel absorbs leadoxide and when put in a kiln or furnace the lead melts it oxidizes and is absorbed that is absorbed by the cupel. You do this until your lead is gone leaving you with a precious metal bead. The bead can have silver gold copper platinum and palladium to name a few. This is how smelting with lead is achieved to reach pure gold

    Hope that brief explanation makes sense. You can look up the process on YouTube. Just look up dan Hurd and there's lots of others too.
    Leo Lorenz
    Lost Dutchman
    Lost Dutchman
    Posts:457



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    09 Nov 2020 02:14 PM
    As you say the lead is oxidized, but you do know that means it burns off into the air, and without proper filters or devices to remove the lead from the air, you could have toxic issues. Thats likely why there are safer ways to do this. Easiest method is not always the best.
    Howard Finch
    Greenhorn
    Greenhorn
    Posts:11



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    09 Nov 2020 02:48 PM
    Hi.
    I've been reading this thread as it developed, it is interesting and informative. Thanks
    Howard
    Christopher Caszatt
    Greenhorn
    Greenhorn
    Posts:10



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    09 Nov 2020 06:04 PM
    With the smelting and burning of any of the things used in metallurgy I don't think any of it is super safe to sniff for long periods but yes this does have lead vapor and should be done in a safe way but as I understand it this is the most generally accepted method to smelt gold from ore samples for an assay. The equipment is readily available online.
    ARTHUR WAUGH
    Posts:774



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    10 Nov 2020 10:45 AM
    Thanks Chris, adds to my education base.
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