The Gold Cube Part Two

The Gold Cube Part Two

Part One here



Ran the Gold Cube out on my apartment balcony yesterday. I used a about two pounds of sand from an Arizona location I found while traveling to Quartzsite. I spotted 10X gold in my pan in the concentrate that developed but I may have pulled a rookie move. I may not have thoroughly cleaned my gold pan before running this test. Leaving that mystery aside, some comments are in order.

First, this test was totally unfair to the Gold Cube. The material I had was simply scooped off the top of the ground, four or five trowel fulls and not classified at the site. Raw material, not concentrate. Later, I classified most of it to fifty mesh since I knew it was extremely fine gold. I had seen small bits of gold while I looked it in harsh direct sunlight but, again, very fine. The question was whether the Gold Cube could recover those tiny microdots. While I can’t be sure from this raw material, there are many, many other reasons why I like the Gold Cube very much.

I love the simplicity of the machine. No spray bar to mess with, no valve to adjust, just turn on and go. Compare this to setting a river or creek sluice in which I always pour screened or classified material. (I use a Le Trap sluice and I never shovel into it directly. Or the Keene models when I had them.) With a sluice, you have to find the right spot to begin with, never easy, anchor the silly thing, get the angle right, make sure the flow through is correct, adjust, and then adjust some more. And then you have to get the sluice out of the river without losing any values when it’s time for a cleanup. Not easy when you are by yourself. Compare that to the Gold Cube.

No ideal place on the river to find, no flow to adjust, no angles to set, no need for constant fine tuning. No problem with recovery for cleanups. Just get it level and proceed. It ate up my fifty mesh sand almost as quickly as I could feed it but I am sure it takes longer for bigger gravel. Whatever.

I am probably going to bring home concentrate from the desert rather than setting it up on a river. This will be a different experience than true field use so I won’t guess at how that might go. I might use it at a campground if there is a creek or faucet nearby to get enough water. Again, another day. That’s my overall impression of the Cube. Now, some details.

A word on weight. With the setup seen below, I was using about 18 gallons of water. That’s about 150 pounds. Throw in the Gold Cube at around 35 pounds and then a five to ten pound battery and you are looking at around 200 pounds. I mention this because my 13 year old balcony can easily support this weight. If your balcony or situation is much older, you should make sure it is structurally sound.



The next photo shows me applying Jet Dry, something fairly common to matting material. A YouTuber advised to prep the Gold Cube’s fresh mats by brushing the liquid into the mat while at the time pressing hard to release any air in mats. The maker’s literature may contradict using chemicals. In any case, I kept brushing until no more air bubbles came out.

This is a seven dollar level from Home Depot that sticks very well to the frame.



A look at the first or top tray which collects the bigger gravel and most of the gold if you are lucky to have some.



Recommendation is to wash out each mat under pressure into a tub. Tried this with my camping shower head but it did not have enough force.



Took all of the trays to my garden plot at one of the community gardens in my apartment complex. I don’t do much gardening, only five plants, but I am assured a hose and a place to washout everything I bring home from the hills. Used water under force to clean out the trays, each of which has a mat.



This is the result. The Gold Cube is not a finishing machine, rather it is a super concentrator. To clean up this black sand you’d need a Blue Bowl, good luck with that, or some other means to collect all of your values. I prefer careful panning and then storing my placer gold for some time in the future. I never make money by panning or sluicing. I just collect. Now, back in the day, when I helped out with dredging, that was another story!



Gold appeared under my 10X loupe in the pan ┬ábut I couldn’t picture it with my scope. Anything glittering is incredibly difficult to photograph up close. The lights I need to photograph wash out the gold color, take away the lights and you can’t see the gold. Another project, another day.

Each tray looks similar so it may be easy to get confused when stacking them. In an extremely clever move, the maker has designed them so they only fit together when turned the right way. If your tray is not stacking properly then turn it around. It will then stack correctly. There’s just enough difference in the trays to prevent wrongly placing them. I kept trying to force one tray onto the top of another, needing only a quarter of an inch or so of stretching to make the tray fit. But this plastic does not stretch. Turning the tray around results in perfect placement. Correct stacking is crucial to making water flow through the machine. So engineered, you should be able to assemble the stack in the dark since they will only fit just so.

These two Gold Cube posts are just my first impressions of the machine. I do have a few pounds of paydirt from NorthernNevadaGold.com but I was planning on donating it to a rock club I belong to. Maybe I will break down and process it. Then again, I would much rather find my own sand and gravel and I do know a few spots I would like to investigate. Stay tuned.

Kevin Singel has a page on actually operating the Cube, both in the field and off. Great hints and tips:

https://findinggoldincolorado.com/using-a-gold-cube-in-colorado/

The company that makes the Gold Cube is on eBay at goldcubeusa. For all you haters and trolls, this post is a non-sponsored recommendation! I pay for all of my equipment. And I pay extra for my web hosting to make sure there are no ads on my site. My videos are first done with Vimeo, a service that I pay for to make sure there are no ads on them. When they get published to Google there is nothing I can do. But I certainly don’t make money from them nor do I have any account set up with Google to get money from them. Now, go back to your basements.

https://www.ebay.com/usr/goldcubeusa?

Kevin Singel has a page on actually operating the Cube, both in the field and off. Great hints and tips:

https://findinggoldincolorado.com/using-a-gold-cube-in-colorado/


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Gold Today

It’s commonly stated that there is more gold waiting to be discovered than what has been unearthed so far. That’s probably true. What’s undoubtedly truer is that gold will be microscopic, invisible gold, beyond the reach of the small scale miner.

Today’s commercial operators can profitably recover gold the size of a red blood cell, something like 5 microns in diameter. To give you an idea of scale, a human hair might be 75 microns across.

Drew Barkoff told me last year that the reason it took until the 1980s to discover the tremendous gold deposits in north-central Nevada was that none of it was visible, even in samples containing nearly ounces per ton. The riches of this so called Carlin-type material became evident only through geochemical analyses.

Gold prospecting is now done at the parts per billion level, mineable grade now around 8.5 ppm. But you don’t need a dedicated gold mine to profit from it. Gold and other precious metals can make economic or add to the revenue of a copper mine or even a sand and gravel operation.

ASARCO’s Mission Mine in Sahuarita, Arizona is a large open pit copper mine. They recover precious metals as these tend to follow copper through flotation recovery and eventual smelting. In 2016 the Mission Mine produced 1.3 million ounces of silver.

Teichert Construction is the biggest road building company in California with sand and gravel operations throughout the state. They have, for example, produced aggregate in Sacramento County for decades from an old channel of the American River.

Unlike ASARCO, Teichert is a privately held corporation under no regulation to make figures public. Independent consultants working with Teichert on streamlining recovery sometimes speak off-the-record. They estimate Teichert at Sacramento recovers enough gold to pay for all the aggregate they produce.

The small scale miner is mostly confined to the world of visible gold, say, down to 10X magnification. It remains to be seen how much visible gold is still recoverable within the limited economic power of the small scale miner. But the power of their ingenuity is also immeasurable and we should not underestimate their ability to surprise us in the coming years.

The best way to keep up with the small scale miner and independent prospector is by subscribing to the ICMJ’s Prospecting and Mining Journal. I just call it The Journal:

http://www.icmj.com

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