It’s no secret to gold prospectors that the more dirt you wash, the more gold you’ll find. And that’s just what will happen if you decide to use a gold sluice box.
With a sluice box, you can easily was 5 to 10 times more dirt than you could pan in a single day. Keep reading to learn how to use a sluice box on your next gold prospecting adventure.
What Is A Sluice Box?
A sluice box is a simple device that you can easily buy, or even make yourself. When you place a gold sluice box in a stream or a river, it uses the water flowing through it to separate the dirt and gravel from the gold. The sluice box then traps the fine gold behind riffles in the bottom of the sluice box.
How Does A Sluice Box Work?
Most gold sluice boxes are made out of lightweight metal and contain a removable riffle tray. The sluice box riffle tray sits on top of a carpet that traps the fine pieces of gold.
When the time comes to clean out your sluice box and collect the gold, you pull out the riffle tray and wash the carpet out inside your bucket. The fine material that was trapped in the carpet will then be in your bucket for you to easily pan out later.
How To Use A Sluice Box To Find Gold
To use a sluice box, just like panning for gold, the first thing you want to do is pick a good location to work the sluice box. Find a place in the stream that is close to the gravel you intend to work.
Find A Good Location For Your Sluice Box
Make sure the location you choose to work the sluice box in the stream has a good flow of moving water. You want the current to be strong enough that it can move the lighter gravel and dirt through the sluice box and carry it out the end, while the heavier material stays behind. And you want it just deep enough that the water almost reaches the top of the sluice box.
Add The Gravel
Now that the gold sluice box is in position and water is moving nicely through it, it’s time to add the gravel.
Take a scoop or shovel and add the gravel and dirt directly into the front of the sluice box. But be very careful not to overload the box as doing so can cause you to actually lose gold. Add gravel just fast enough that you can see the top edges of the riffles at all times.
Remove Large Material
Take time to remove large rocks and other large material that could collect and clog the out-end of the sluice box. And don’t purposefully add large rocks to the sluice. By not removing these larger rocks and other material, they could cut your water flow and knock the gold out of the riffles.
Cleaning The Sluice Box
Once you begin to notice a large build up of black sand on the riffles in the box, it’s time to clean gold out the sluice box.
Lift the sluice box out of the water. Be very careful to not lose and of the black sand that is left in the sluice. Take the sluice and dump the black sands into your bucket. You now have a bucket with concentrates. Take your gold pan and pan the gold out of the concentrates.