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Basic Concepts

Mission Statement

Basic Provisions of the Process Licensing

What We Can Offer to You

Non-Disclosure Agreement

Sample Submittal







Micron gold has always been a major challenge for many gold prospectors, whether they recognize it or not.  Because it is so small, it might be present but you may not even know it.  It takes extremely good panning techniques to capture it in a pan, and a sluice will generally wash the micron gold out with the tailings, maybe even easier than washing out the fine black sand.

If you suspect you have micron gold, the first step is to look for it with a good 20X or 30X magnifier, looking for discrete, small particles of gold in the black sand.  If you don't see it, you may still have it present as gold encapsulated in a thin layer of iron oxide or iron sulfide or any of the other ore components that are typically encountered, or as gold that is still too small to see.  Perhaps a better way is to have an XRF test performed, which will also identify other metals present, including silver, lead, zinc, mercury, and the platinum group metals (assuming the XRF device is programmed for those additional metals).  The platinum group metals can be very difficult to identify visually, because they will likely be in very small quantities and their physical appearance is very plain.  Remember, if you don't specifically look for it, you will never know that you had it to start with.  In the iodine leaching process, the platinum group metals will concentrate with the base metals after the gold is deposited, making the recovery simpler and more practical.

There are many systems available to process micron gold, each with their strong points and their weaknesses.  The mechanical processes like sluices and water tables tend to be very slow and require expensive equipment and very precise operating conditions, but the gold is immediately available and readily visible.  The gold must be visible at some stage in order to recover it.  Processes that use moving water, like the Blue Bowl and wheels, tend to be very slow and they require very carefully controlled flow rates and a very narrow range of classification.  The gold must be visible at some stage in order to recover it. 

Essentially all of the processes, including mine, will demand that the starting materials have not been subjected to any process that would have already flushed the micron gold away with the tailings.  The cyanide leaching process has been developed very successfully to recover much of the small gold, including micron gold, from low grade ore; however, such a process is totally unsatisfactory for a small scale miner because of the toxicity, the significant amount of equipment required, and the excessive controls over environmental release.  There are now a good many jurisdictions that will not issue permits for new facilities that will use cyanide leaching, and if the permits are available, don't count on getting them for at least 5 years, a lot of paperwork, and a lot of money, and there is still no guarantee that you will get them.

There are other leaching processes available, with varying degrees of effectiveness, ease of use, cost, and different levels of safety.  I believe that my iodine process can be attractive for many of the gold recovery applications that exist, whether it be beach sand, waste black sand, sluice tailings, raw ore, or even scrap jewelry (including plated or filled jewelry).  The chemistry is sophisticated (but simple for the end-user), uses readily available raw materials (most are over the counter, general purpose chemicals), the chemicals are generally considered to be very safe for people, animals, and crops, and the disposal of waste materials is not considered hazardous (although disposal of large amounts of anything is generally considered inappropriate, at best, and illegal at worst).  As a side benefit, the iodine leaching process can be used as a very simple, very quick method of determining the presence or absence of gold, even as a field test.  However, the field test (because of the wide range of variables) is not a practical method for determining the exact, numerical quantity of gold in a particular sample and even a very small amount of gold will give the appearance of large quantities.  With careful records of the amount of starting material, leaching to exhaustion of the gold, careful recovery of the gold, careful melting, and careful weighing, the gold recovery per ton of ore ( or better yet, recovery per pound or quart of starting material) can be determined very closely as a basic assay result.  An assay estimate can be determined by simply washing the precipitated gold, drying it, and weighing it, unmelted, against the amount of starting material.  Keep in mind, that, the larger the sample size, the more confidence you will have in the results,  A typical fire assay has an extremely small sample size.  The BlackSand2Gold process will handle any sample size you are able to handle in your facilities.

Many of the accounts of poor performance of iodine as a leaching agent for gold have contained significant inaccuracies as to the chemistry involved, giving rise to the notion that the process is much more complicated, or more dangerous than it really is, and that regeneration of the chemicals is too expensive to be economically attractive.  The chemistry is, in fact, extremely sophisticated, to the point where only an experienced chemist would totally UNDERSTAND what is happening, but almost anyone should be able to USE the process effectively and safely.  Also, the general statement that the raw materials are too expensive to make the process economical is quite often based on a poor understanding of how the iodine materials are recycled: the initial cost IS very high at about $50 per pound, but the regeneration cost is very low and the recovery rate is very high.  The active leaching chemical is no more dangerous or toxic than tincture of iodine, which has been used for many years, and is still available for minor cuts and scrapes.  For most users with a reasonable amount of gold in their ore, the cost of the chemicals is likely to be a very small portion of the economic impact.  There are several parts of the process that involve considerable soaking time, and that soaking time has nothing to do with the size of the batch. The major aspects that will control the economic feasibility of a particular operation must be determined by the owner of the ore and are basically related to:

General advantages of the iodine leaching process, as I have developed it:

General limitations of the iodine leaching process, as currently identified:

BlackSand2Gold is no longer offering to test ore samples for free, due to the extreme difficulties in keeping multiple samples free of cross-contamination, which is not an issue when the process is used as a production method.  It has been found that, when gold is actually present, it is usually very simple to extract and recover as high quality, nanoparticle, metallic gold, which introduces new characteristics that are very unique compared to the typical characteristics that most gold prospectors are familiar with.  BlackSand2Gold will continue to perform evaluations for existing and future subscribers to help them deal with problems that are specific to their ores.

How Well Do You Know Your Starting Material? 

The BlackSand2Gold process should be of greatest value to my subscribers when used as an evaluation tool to characterize their own ores and to help them identify exactly, the nature of their gold, its location within the ore, and how best to process it.  Because there is no need for the ore to leave the possession of the owner, he is free to try various processing variations and evaluate for himself the advantages and disadvantages, based on the properties of his ore and his facilities.  For example, if it is known that the ore contains gold, is it in the super small particles, the fine sand portion, the gravel portion, or the small rocks portion?  If it is in any portion other than the super small particles or the fine sand, will grinding enhance the recovery, and if so, how much grinding is required to release the gold?  It has been proven in the industry, that grinding beyond what is needed to release (or expose) the gold is counter-productive because the small ore particles will generate substantial problems with settling rates and the ability to cleanly separate the ore from the leaching solution.

If you have a sluice operation, are you certain that significant values are not being lost as very small gold simply because you are so intent on capturing small quantities of visible gold?  You can evaluate the very small material by leaching and then sluicing (or panning) the coarser material without having to worry about washing away the fine gold (if you screen out the fines first, for leaching, the sluiced material has no fines, by definition).

Do you have a starting material that you already recognize as containing super small gold so that a water table or Blue Bowl is the only thing that works, but it is too slow to suit you? Leaching might be the answer. In this case, leaching might be the easiest way to evaluate the material and it also may be the least expensive way to recover the gold as a production technique.  This case also includes placer deposits that include very small and very coarse gold: simply classify the material to separate the very small for leaching, the gravel for panning (or sluicing), and the coarse rocks for evaluation with crushing.

Do you have a personal claim with the possibility of a lot of small gold or a small amount of pannable gold but you are not willing to go into a large leaching operation using dangerous chemicals?  BlackSand2Gold might be a good fit for you.

Do you have a hardrock operation where it is almost mandatory for you to crush your starting material?  Have you determined how fine you NEED to crush the material in order to recover the gold values?  If you have to crush the rocks to a fine powder, you may already be forced to recover the gold by leaching rather than by sluicing or water table.  If so, the BlackSand2Gold process may be the right choice as your production recovery method.

Do you want to recover gold from computer parts?  The leaching process works nicely, especially if you pre-treat the parts to remove most of the copper. Leaching tends to be a little slow due to the reduced area of exposure, but the process will generate a rich pregnant solution and precipitation is generally very rapid due to the high gold concentration.  Recovery using aqua regia can get very expensive because the nitric acid cannot be recycled at any level and it presents significant problems and risk.  Leaching with bleach and acid is extremely risky (and possibly, deadly) and the bleach suppliers do not intend to share any responsibility for injuries caused by such usage.  If you doubt that, read the label carefully.

Do you want to recover gold from plated jewelry?  That is what I used when I started evaluating the process parameters.  The leach solution was capable of removing essentially all of the plating from a necklace in about 15 minutes. Precipitation is generally very rapid due to the high gold concentration.

Does your starting material contain PGM's?  How would you know if you did not have it tested?  Even though it may not be practical to recover the PGM's as a small scale miner, it could be attractive for a refiner to extract them from the base metal iodides after they have been concentrated somewhat in the leaching operation.  Presence or absence of PGM's is generally determined by XRF.  BlackSand2Gold will help you get the PGM's into a more concentrated form that can be processed further by a precious metals refiner.

Does your starting material contain silver, mercury, lead, or manganese?  BlackSand2 Gold will help you identify these materials and help you remove them for recovery, to remove them to prevent interference in the leaching process, or remove them to prevent them from showing up as contaminants in your final gold product.

Does your starting material contain components that will adversely affect the leaching process, such as alkaline material that will cause foaming  or other reactions that will interfere physically with the leaching actions?  It is better to identify these possibilities in the Evaluation Procedure vs finding them in the Production Procedure.

Leaching as an Evaluation Process or as a Production Process

The BlackSand2Gold leaching process is easily adapted for use as an ore evaluation tool or for use as a production process. The expensive chemical is potassium iodide and is NOT regulated by the Drug Enforcement Agency.  This chemical provides the basis for the active leaching of gold and PGM's and is not consumed by the leaching.  Other chemicals, readily available at low cost, are used to create the proper conditions for the leaching and for the precipitation of the gold.  Be aware that the active leaching agent is corrosive to essentially all metals present (it will corrode and dissolve them), including whatever gold jewelry you may be wearing.  These metals do not destroy the iodine, but they will build up and cause the leaching solution to be less active.  When that occurs, it will be necessary to regenerate the leaching solution back to nearly virgin conditions, also by using low cost, readily available chemicals.  None of the chemicals used are considered highly toxic, flammable, or explosive, but some are very irritating, and some are inherently dangerous due to their concentrations.  With proper handling, there will be very little residue that needs to be disposed of and for a true small scale miner, the quantities should be well within the official limits for casual disposal.  The individual subscribers are responsible for determining the disposal regulations for their particular locations and circumstances.

As an Evaluation Procedure:

As a Production Procedure:

Economic Feasibility:

As a casual operation, the BlackSand2Gold evaluation process is not likely to be economical for low volumes of ore with low gold content.  However, the Production Procedure allows for economical processing of such ores by minimizing the amount of leaching solution used (resulting in high gold concentrations), minimizing the number of precipitation operations (which saves a lot of settling time), and eliminating a lot of intermediate reactivation steps (saves time and minor chemical usage).  The Evaluation Procedure allows the subscriber to evaluate the characteristics of his ore to determine the best methods of pre-concentration or to determine which components can be discarded without further processing (or to be handled by different processing).  This step alone could easily be worth the subscription cost and the cost of the leaching materials.  When used as intended, the cost of the leaching salt is minor if the starting material truly has substantial gold, or if the starting material can be pre-concentrated, or if large portions of the starting material can be eliminated from the leaching system.

If any of this information fits your situation and you are interested in discussing it further, send me an email with information on how to contact you.  Without a non-disclosure agreement, I will not discuss the details of the process, but I will discuss the application of the process.




Last Revised: 12/07/2017