Moss MiningSteve Katz could write a book about moss mining and as a matter of fact, he is planning to do just that. The following is a taste of what is to come.
A few suggestions about finding and processing gold bearing mossCopyright © 1995 - Steven L. Katz
1. Focus your attention on moss that is in the high water zone of a river or stream -- larger rivers seem to produce more moss and more moss with gold. The moss appears to trap dirt as part of its survival process when water is flowing over it -- usually during spring high water.
2. Moss and small plants like to grow into crevices and cracks in bedrock -- make sure that you thoroughly clean out each crevice below the moss. Use the wire brush to loosen dirt clinging to the face of the rock underneath the moss.
4. Stringy moss which does not contain much dirt is not likely to have trapped much gold either.
5. The heavier materials, including gold, will tend to settle to the bottom of the vac's bucket due to the action of the air swirling around in the bucket.
6. My tests suggest that there is more gold in the dirt underneath the moss than in the moss itself.
7. The dirt in large amounts of moss can be worked loose by putting the moss with water in a large bucket (15 gal), squeezing the moss out as if it were a sponge and then running the moss through 4 and 8 mesh sieves -- then the dirt can be processed in a mini sluice such as the McCann Microsluice (tm) or in a small high banker -- my experiments with the McCann unit suggest that one pass through the sluice will result in 95-99% recovery -- hardly worth a second pass. Please try to dump the silty, muddy water in a settling hole and not directly in the river.
8. After you have gotten your first bucketful of material in a new area, pan it out to make sure that the moss that you are working with really does contain gold -- gold bearing moss, when present at all, is usually uniformly gold rich along a section of river -- but sometimes mother nature will pass an area by!!!
9. If you have a large amount of material, and it is convenient to do so, take the raw material home for processing -- in the long run you will gather more material (and gold) than if you stop periodically to pan out the material.
10. A large agitator such as an old washing machine may be a better and easier way to get the gold and dirt out of the moss -- but I haven't come up with a design yet -- if you do, and don't mind sharing the design of your solution, please drop me a note.
Thanx to Bill Westcott, Chuck Mitchell and Jeri Walsh in the prospecting section of the Outdoors forum of Compuserve for their assistance and critiques of this faq.
Comments and suggestions are welcome and can be addressed to me at at SteveFrog@aol.com
This faq is copyright 1995 by Stephen L. Katz. You may distribute this material freely, but in its entirety, provided no charge is made except for the cost of copying and distribution, and provided proper attribution is made to the author.
All other rights are reserved to me.
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