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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A study of the fine gold recovery of selected sluicebox configurations Hamilton, James F.


The recovery of placer gold from 20 mesh to 150 mesh in common sluicebox configurations was investigated. Two types of riffles, 1-10H expanded metal (1.5"x.75"x.25") and 1.25" angle iron riffles (dredge riffles), were used in conjunction with 3/8" thick "Nomad" matting for 25 tests. The effects of variations in upper feed size, water flow rate, sluice gradient, and solids feed rate on the recovery of placer gold particles are documented. The gold and test gravel were obtained from the Teck Corporation sluicing operation on Sulphur Creek, Yukon Territory during July, 1985. Approximately nine troy ounces of placer gold and fifteen tons of gravel were transported to Vancouver.B.C. A test sluice facility was constructed in Coquitlam,B.C. to simulate operating conditions in a typical Yukon placer operation. The sluicebox was 12" wide and 8' long with clear plexiglass sidewalls. Screened gravel of either 3/4" or 1/4" upper feed size was fed to this sluice from a hopper at rates of up to 1260 lb/min. The water pumping capacity was a maximum of 400 USGPM. Between 75 and 90 grams of each of three sizes of placer gold (-20+28#, -35+48#, -65+100# ) were premixed with the gravel for most tests. The final test used 25 grams of -100+150 mesh gold. Sluicing, when properly controlled, was found to be a highly effective means of concentrating placer gold as small as 150 mesh. Expanded metal riffles were far superior to dredge riffles in concentrating gold of this size range. Recovery of the -65+100# size fraction frequently exceeded 90% when using expanded metal riffles. Visual observation of eddies formed downstream of the riffles showed that scour depth between riffles was the one characteristic of the slurry flow that gave the best indication of the resulting gold recovery. For expanded metal, scour depths between 1/2 and 3/4 of the riffle depth were found the most effective.

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