Highbanking Tips

(Proline 2.5" highbanker.)

Efficient Little Work Horse

The highbanker, or power sluice, is a nifty little piece of mining equipment that's very efficient when it comes to trapping gold. Most highbankers have a high fine gold recovery rate as well...providing you have this little mining work horse set up correctly and operating properly.

However, like any piece of small-scale gold mining equipment the highbanker requires a bit of skill and experience to run at peak efficiency. So here are a few tips to help you operate and maintain your highbanker:

Change your highbanker's engine oil frequently: Just like the motors in cars and trucks, highbanker engines run at peak efficiency and have a much longer lifespan when their engine oil is changed frequently. A newly purchased or constructed highbanker should have its engine oil changed about every 6-8 hours of running time, while an older unit can be run for between 18-24 hours before an oil change is required. These frequent oil changes may sound a bit excessive, but if you follow this guideline your highbanker may very well outlast you!

(CAUTION: Don't wing it or go cheap ass...ONLY USE those oil grades/weights recommended by your highbanker's manufacturer.)

Replace the air filter on your highbanker water pump every 6 months: This is especially true if you're running your highbanker frequently or really putting it through its mining paces. If you only use your highbanker occasionally, you can probably slide a little here and wait another couple of months to change the air filter. Either way, changing the air filter on a regular basis will help save your combustion chamber and associated valve(s) from potential damage.

Minimize the length of the hose you use for pumping water to the highbanker: One of the great advantages to using a highbanker is the fact you can work gold-bearing areas located some distance away from a water source and pump H20 up to your unit via a length of hose. That said, you should know (if you don't already) that the longer your water hose is, the harder your highbanker's engine and pump have to work to get water delivered to the unit. If you have a choice in the matter, always try to set your highbanker up as close to its water source as possible and minimize the amount of hose you are using.

 (Commercial highbanker made by Heckler Fabrication. Photo courtesy Canadian miner Jennifer Bond.)

Adjust the water flow correctly: The water running through your highbanker's sluice box should be flowing at a nice, steady rate, not too fast and not too slow. If the water flow though your sluice box is like a raging flood, guess what? You'll end up flushing a surprising amount of gold right back out of the box onto the ground below. Conversely, if you run your machine at too slow a rate, your highbanker will start packing gold bearing material behind the riffles and will not trap the gold efficiently.

Don't overfeed the hopper box: It doesn't matter whether you shovel your gold-bearing material directly into your highbanker's hopper ("feed") box or classify and bucket it up first, DON'T OVERFEED gold-bearing material through your highbanker system. If you do, you'll not only create blockages and a tendency for material to pack up and clog the riffles, but you risk losing a good deal of your smaller gold, including fines and small flakes.

Gold Pans
Gold Concentrators

There are literally dozens of other relevant tips for those of you out there using highbankers in your mining activities, but those listed above are good for starters.

Be safe out there and best of luck to you.

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "2 Fine Gold Recovery Systems for Black Sand Concentrates"

(c)  Jim Rocha (J.R.)  2012

Questions? E-mail me at jr872vt90@yahoo.com


  1. That's a great article and I loved seeing the picture of my Heckler Highbanker/Dredge combo used in it... right on. I purchased the system from Greg and sent him the picture for his web page after some trials on one of my claims here in Canada and it's a GREAT system. I can't recommend Heckler Fabrication equipment highly enough... I have a video of the system running that shows just how much water the unit moves and it's CRAZY but those modified Clarkson riffles really pull out the gold. This is a multi stage system and if you look close you can see there are an upper and a lower stream of water discharging out the end.... great equipment.


    1. Thanks much for the info and for commenting Jennifer! Nice to know that Heckler is a little work horse. Best! J.R.


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