Instructables

Step 6: Pan Out Your Concentrates

Picture of Pan Out Your Concentrates
Further panning of the black sand to get rid of the bulk of it will reveal still more gold you didn't notice before, sometimes surprisingly big bits that somehow escaped your notice. I don't bother with panning the black sand while I'm on the creek. I dump my black sand "concentrates" into a little pail and bring them home with me. Since I only get to do prospecting while I'm on my vacations, (there's no gold here in Florida), and since vacations are short, I try to make best use of my time in the field. The best use of my time is finding still more gold. So I don't waste too much time trying to extract every last bit of gold from each pan full. I just save the black sands left over in each pan and bring it home with me. Then I can pan them out at my leisure at home and extract every last bit of gold, without any time pressure. It's good fun on a lazy Sunday afternoon, and a great way to relive memories of a great vacation.

This photo shows me panning out the black sands at home after returning home from Arizona. I pan them a few teaspoons at a time in a tub of water. I use a second pan in the bottom of the tub to catch the sand so I can pan through it several times and get out every bit of gold. My gold pan has riffles cast into one side of it which is very handy for this final stage of panning since they are really good at catching gold. They aren't absolutely necessary though. With care and practice, you could do it with any kind of pan. Once I get rid of the bulk of the black sand by careful panning, I use a powerful magnet inside a plastic bag to get the rest of the black sand out of the pan. Black sand is mostly magnetite, an iron mineral that is magnetic, so it will be attracted to a magnet. The magnet from a large speaker or from an old hard drive works well for this. Just remember to always use it wrapped in a plastic bag. Otherwise you will never be able to get the black sand unstuck from it. Once there is almost nothing but gold left in the pan, I suck it up with the sniffer bottle. Several times I have been surprised to find fairly large "pickers" in the pan that I somehow missed in the field. There will always be lots of little tiny bits of gold too. I always pan through the black sand several times until no more gold shows up. Panning into a second "safety pan" makes it easy to re-pan the concentrates as many times as you want to.
 
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