How Does Sluice Box Recover Placer Gold

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A sluice box is a man-made channel that uses riffles to capture alluvial gold via gravity separation. The riffles act as tiny restrictions to the water’s flow, creating low-pressure pockets that allow heavy gold to drop out of suspension while tailings(waste) flow out of it.

Step1 Setting Up

a. Find a shallow and swiftly-flowing water source. Align the sluice so the current flows through the length of the box.

b. Submerge the sluice so it fills with water almost to the top.

Step2 Adding Sediment for Sluice Box

Adding Sediment for Sluice Box
Adding Sediment for Sluice Box

In carefully regulated amounts, feed alluvial sediment into the upper portion of the sluice where the water flow enters. If too much sediment is added at once, the riffles will become clogged, allowing gold to wash out of the box. The tops of the riffles should always be visible. Water carries the sediment down the box and gravity ultimately separates the heavy gold from the lighter material(like gravel and sand), which flows out of the box as tailings.

Step3 Tending the Sluice Box

In between each load of sediment, clear any large debris from the riffles and remove the tailings that pile up where the water exits the sluice.

Step4 Collecting the Concentrate

Collecting the Concentrate from Sluice Box
Collecting the Concentrate from Sluice Box

Once the bottom riffles start getting full, take the sluice box out of the water while keeping it level. Remove the riffle section and roll up the matting which lines the bottom of the sluice. Thoroughly rinse the mat into a gold pan or bucket-the sediment rinsed from the mat will contain most of the gold caught by the riffles.

Step5 Reap the Rewards

Reap the Gold
Reap the Gold

Carefully use a gold pan to extract the gold from the concentrated sediment.

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