The basics of using the Gold Lab & Thumper
What are you processing?
If you are using the Gold Lab & Thumper you’ll need to start with one simple question; what are you processing? If you are starting with ground that you’ve just dug up and then put into a container to take home to process, let’s call that “raw dirt”. It has slits, minerals and everything else that was in the ground when you dug it up. The process of mining is quite simple, you are trying to reduce the volume of non-valuable minerals from the ordinary “dirt”.
Normally, raw dirt is first to run thru some type of sluicing process (hand sluice, highbanker or dredge to eliminate the lighter, non-metallic materials from gold, silver, the platinum group, etc. and heavy metals like iron). Everything is based on specific gravity and water is the medium in which those items are separated. Heavy metals because they are “heavy” will remain behind when they are processed with some type of riffle system because they fall out behind the riffle due to “low pressure” (versus weight). The process is age-old and is a constant in nature, so as miners we incorporate that constant to do the hard work for us.
So, to start – run your raw dirt thru some type of sluice process (as described above). This reduces the volume of materials by eliminating the lightweight materials and leaving you with concentrates. These concentrates are what the Thumper and Gold Lab are designed to process. After getting your concentrates, clean your concentrates by washing away the silts and other light materials. If your concentrates contain a lot of silts, I advise putting them in a five gallon bucket and run water into the bucket (slowly) and stir the material releasing the silts so they float away with the water – do this until your concentrates are clean and you can see them in the bottom of the bucket. Remember; just run the water so it washes out the silts, not all of your concentrates.
Let’s start with Thumper. It is referred to as a wavetable – but basically, it removes the lighter materials in your concentrates leaving the minerals you are looking to recover (gold, silver and the platinum group metals). Remember mining is about mineral recovery and the valuable minerals all have one thing in common – they are heavier so specific gravity plays a key role in their separation. The heavier the mineral the less likely it will wash away in water (relative to anything else in your concentrates of the same size). Thumper is designed for the miner that deals with a lot of concentrates. Thumper will reduce gallons of concentrates to cups without the same effort required to process them thru the Gold Lab. This is not to say that the Gold Lab isn’t important, but it is to be noted that both have a significant role in your recovery process. Thumper is a tool that deals with volume and helps you reduce your overall workload. It all boils down to how much you are processing versus your investment in the tools to process. I advise the beginners that they should start with the Gold Lab to process their fine gold and wait until they are adept and proficient to enable them to have the volumes requiring the incorporation of Thumper. If you buy the Gold Lab first and then decide you need Thumper – I honor the “Combo” price discount and give it to you as if you bought both at the same time. My commitment to miners is to help you buy only the tools you need to make your operation balanced and as profitable as you can.
The Gold Lab does everything it’s claimed to do (my story is just like everybody else – I had really fine gold from Nome AK and I needed a way to process it – read my story on the website). The Gold Lab will process and recover your fine gold. As described above – you need to start with clean concentrates – primarily so you can see your recovery process at work (follow the steps above). The Gold Lab is designed to process fine gold (not pickers, or anything you can pick up with your fingers or even tweezers). The Gold Lab processes concentrate starting at classification size 12 – and that size is run thru the sluice not the vortex bowl (watch the video). The vortex bowl is set up for three sizes and each has its own setting. If you run size 100 at the volume set for 30 you will lose your gold, so watch the video, read the written instructions and follow the procedures – they do work and will allow you to recover gold. I advise my customers when you first run your concentrates – start at the slower (lower water volume “speed”) to determine how your concentrates process. Guaranteed – run them too fast and you will “blow them out”, but run them slowly enough to allow the process to work, you will recover your gold.
One claim for the Gold Lab and Thumper I cannot guarantee for anyone. “IF THERE IS NO GOLD IN YOUR CONCENTRATES – NEITHER THUMPER OR THE GOLD LAB WILL RECOVER ANY”. I’m sorry to say that, but I have had customers buy my equipment and then tell me they couldn’t recover the “gold” they thought they had. I have asked them to send me a sample and when I ran their concentrates, had to tell them it isn’t gold (but mica or pyrites). There are other “minerals” that look like gold but are not and they certainly do not act like gold in water. History is full of stories of folks finding what they thought was gold only to be told it wasn’t. If you are unsure of what you have, have it sampled before investing in equipment. I run samples for my prospective customers (free of charge) and will let you know if you have gold. I want you to be happy with the equipment – because if you’re happy you’ll tell others.
If you have specific questions, email me – I will give you my response as quickly as I can. I don’t claim to know everything – but I do know how Thumper and the Gold Lab work and I will always give you a “straight” answer.
About The Author
I’m Dave Chiara, and it was only a few years ago that I picked up a gold pan and couldn’t put it down. I happily spent my weekends dredging, processing, panning, and sluicing. I can’t imagine a better way to spend your free time – out in nature with friends and family, and coming home with real gold!