Water Needs for Gold Processing
In this entry, we will discuss some of the basic water needs for a gold wash plant. Whether it is a trommel style wash plant or a screen style gold wash plant you need water to mine.
Water is a crucial item for the alluvial miner. Whether you are mining by hand or mining with a gold wash plant it is the same. You need water! And a lot of it! There are some misconceptions regarding water needs on different machines. When processing and sluicing aggregate material there is a science of water needs. If you want to process 50 yards of material per hour it will take a certain amount of water.
There are many studies that have been done with documents data to show how much water is needed to process X amount of material. These studies can be found with a quick online search. Proper water volumes are crucial to recovery. Too much water will produce gold losses as well as too little water.
There is also a different style of riffle design that has different water requirements. The commonly expanded metal riffle requires a certain amount of water whereas the Hungarian riffle requires 3-4 times the amount of water. This at first may make you think that one requires less but it can be confusing. The Hungarian or angle iron riffle can process 3 times the volume of an expanded metal sluice per foot width. So for the same footprint using a Hungarian riffle, you can process 3 times the amount of material. On the gold watch project gold wash plants often times we will utilize several types of riffles so that we can achieve optimal recovery in almost all situations.
The several ways to acquire water on a gold processing site.
Some will use a river and pump directly while others will make settling ponds. When it comes to water it is best if it is clean. Clean water will give you ideal recovery rates. However, this is not always achievable and you must improvise. This is often done with a series of settling ponds. Whether we are on site commissioning a machine in Africa or in South America it is important we set up ponds that have enough volume and proper layout for settling. When we offer our on-site consulting services or onsite setup and training this is something our engineers help the customer do.
When using a gold wash plant to mine in settling ponds it is important that the wash plant can recycle the water without clogging the machine. This is achieved by proper design. Many designs on the market are great in ideal situations but seldom do miners ever find themselves in "ideal" situations. It is important to have a machine that is robust and can efficiently run with recirculated water from a closed settling pond system.
In the next article, we will discuss gold wash plant maintenance. Stay tuned.