Gus's Method for Processing Black Sand Concentrates (Conclusion)

 (Fine gold recovery table showing color.)

Over time California placer miner "Gus" has developed his own unique method for recovering fine gold from black sand concentrates. In my previous post on this topic Gus outlined some of his approach to handling black here's more.

"Tried Them All"

"My next step in processing black sands evolved over many years. I've tried just about everything out there but now I use the 'Black Magic Fine Gold Recovery System.' This system is designed pretty much along the lines of a classic Miller Table except that it employs what appears to be a siliconized or 'sticky' rubber surface instead of slate."

Gold Pans
Gold Panning Kits
Mining Equipment  

"I'll digress a bit here and tell you that over the years I've tried them all...spiral wheels, Blue Bowl concentrators, Miller Tables, micro-sluices, and dozens of my own do-it-yourself designs. By the way, most of the latter ended up in the scrap pile."

"One Tablespoon at a Time"

 "I like the 'Black Magic System' the best...hands down. It really shows you those minus-300 mesh particles of gold and you can easily suck those up with your snuffer bottle right off the rubberized surface without stopping the water flow or waiting for them to head to the other end. Keep in mind, however, that I'm loading the 'Black Magic' one tablespoon at a time."

 (The "Black Magic Fine Gold Recovery System.")

"Anyway, you may be interested to know that there's an enormous amount of fine gold here in California's Motherlode country. Using the methods I've described, I've been able to retain much more fine gold weight overall and it all adds up to good money. In fact, I just sold three vials of this very fine gold which paid for a bathroom and kitchen remodel."

Two Links of Interest

There you have it. If you'd like to learn more about "Gus" and his prospecting and gold recovery methods (as well as small-scale mining in general), here are a couple of links of interest:

"Gus's" website: Gold Prospector's Network

Additionally, if you're interested in learnign more about the "Black Magic Fine Gold Recovery System" here's the link:

ProGold Prospecting

I want to thank "Gus" for his willingness to share his expertise and knowledge with all of us. My best to you "Gus!"

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "Gold Rushes of British Columbia (Part 1)"

(c)  Jim Rocha (J.R.)  2013

Questions? E-mail me at


  1. Thanks Gus and J.R.
    More tools and insight makes me a happy prospector!

  2. No problem Greg. Hope all is well! J.R.

  3. I purchased a clean up sluice ($40+) to work my Amer. River material at home. Took it down to 20 mesh before running it. I found the trick to be finding the right flow and angle to wash out the white sands while keeping the black sands moving and the gold sitting still. Running each bucket a second time did find some gold that escaped, and a final panning of the material would come up with some super fine stuff.

  4. Pretty much what "Gus" is recommending...just using a different piece of gear. Thanks for sharing this with the rest of us Phil. J.R.

  5. I don't know how you folks do it. "One Tablespoon at a Time". I've moved soooo many shovel-full tons of dirt and rocks that by the time I'm at the point of panning my cons I'm afraid I end up in Speed Pan mode before too long.

    I have jars of black sand that I've just been too lazy to take the time to pan out. Years ago I'd sit creekside for hours watching every tiny speck to make sure it never made it to the edge of my pan. Now I just suck up the black sand and put it in a jar for the days that lie ahead when my body will no longer allow me to climb into a hole to throw rocks out of.

    However, not having the patience to pan it and not willing to spend good money buying equipment like miller tables and blue bowls those jars will probably be found sitting in the corner of a shed somewhere long after I've gone back to being particulate matter in the cosmos.

  6. I hear ya Sam! I never had much patience for the concentrates thing but as I've gotten older (and wiser?) I'm a bit more patient with things in general. Thanks for commenting, J.R.

  7. I'm in Oz-Western NSW around Tibooburra. Made my own dry-washer, done the research. I can see the fine gold in the hessian that I use for the screen. Now I've made an adaptation of a blue-bowl. Have given up looking for paid work here as little opportunity so time to start small-time prospecting now. All the tourists are interested in is the bigger stuff with their expensive Minelabs so I will pretty well have free reign. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. But I won't be going in blind at least.

  8. Best of luck with your endeavors Mate. May the fates smile down on you. J.R.


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