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Metal and Rocks


#1

now, folks, these are just some theoretical questions…;-))

METAL: if one were to set their minds to cleaning up a huge old
tailings pile from an old mine, containing various metals that
werent able to be processed at the time the mine was active, would it be feasible to grind the rock up into powder, filter out a lot of the rock particles, throw the rest into a crucible, melt it, and then pour the liquid into a cone shaped sand mold. would the various metals settle out by their weight? I know, it would be the snail paced way of processing it, but Im wondering, if it would work for
a start? How would one go about seperating the metal layers and from
there on to making sheet and wire (ingot molds and a rolling mill?).
does anybody know how to build a sulfur scrub on a low budget (duct
tape and bailing wire type stuff)

ROCKS: how can you tell, whether a raw piece of turqoise is going to
survive the cutting process…how do you stabilize it?

how do you tell whether something is serpentine or Jade? Im looking at stones that are serpentine in coloring and texture, except that they seem to come in a wider range of colors, lots of greens, some browns and oranges, some lavender, some bluish. unlike serpentine, the material is very hard, shiny and brittle on the outside of the boulders. now, when my ex went jade hunting on the monterrey coast, hed pick the shiny ones with some outside shattering, very similar
to what Im finding, but Im not sure enough…

please bear in mind, that actually mining that hill is NOT an
option. the purpose is to clean up several thousand tons of
unprocessed and half processed ore and replant and restore the
mountain while making a little bit of money for everybody involved.
The main person involved is willing to spend the rest of his life
doing that, but we do need to get started somehow.

anyways, I’ve got to go…
Sparrow


#2
    how do you tell whether something is serpentine or Jade? 

You can usually scratch serpentine with a knife or scissors blade
(although some Bowenite may be too hard to scratch). It also has a
refractive index around 1.56 or 1.57, where nephrite jade has an RI
of 1.61. Another key separation is specific gravity. Serpentine’s is
around 2.57 (but may be lower) and nephrite’s is around 2.95,
although black nephrite can approach 3.10. If you’re trying to
separate Serpentine from Jadeite, well, you just ain’t trying hard
enough!

To calculate specific gravity:

1). Clean the stone and weigh it. Record that weight as “Weight in
Air.”

2). Fill the smallest container that the stone will fit into with
enough water to cover the stone. Place the container on your scale.
Zero the scale.

3). Place the stone in the container and weigh. Record the weight as
"Weight in Water."

Compute SG:

1). Subtract Weight in Water from Weight in Air.

2). Divide Weight in Air by the above solution = SG

If you are weighing small you’ll need a carat scale and
an SG kit. You can also make your own SG kit, but I can’t illustrate
one here. Also, Hanneman Gemological Instruments makes a very
inexpensive balance type scale specifically for measuring small
stones for SG. Once again, the address is:

Hanneman Gemological Instruments
P.O. Box 1944
Granbury, TX 76048

Also, I can’t recommend the book, Gem Identification Made Easy,
enough. If you don’t have the time, money or inclination to get
formal gemological training, this book, and others can help a lot.

Ganoksin’s Selected Bibliography lists that book and many others on
gem ID at:


books/index.php?function=search&searchFor=Gem+Identification&goButton=go&m
ode=books

James in SoFl


#3

Hi, Sparrow-

How will you pulverize all of that rock?

Gravity separation of gold from host rock, after pulverization is
normally done with water, using a device such as a sluice, rocker
or long tom- see here-

http://www.duke.edu/~agf2/history391/longtom.html

and here-

http://www.keeneengineering.com/pamphlets/howsluice.html

This would be dumping a lot of silt and sludge back into the water,
and possibly also liberating mercury and sulphides bound up in the
host rock, so engaging in this practice would likely be
counter-productive from the vantage of environmental clean-up unless
you had something set up for water filtration and recirculation.

You should also know that the ratio of precious metals to host rock
is likely way low. As in, grinding up tons of rock in order to get
an ounce of gold. In the end, the gold which you obtained would
need to be refined and alloyed before you would be able to cast,
roll or draw it and sell it as karat gold.

Your goal of environmental clean-up is laudable, but attempting to
extract the gold may do more harm than good in the big picture,
particularly when you figure in things like energy consumption and
water usage. Additionally, unless the ore is rich, you may well not
extract enough gold to be economically worthwhile.

Have you contacted the U of A Geology department? They may be able
to offer you some good guidance on how to clean up the site.

Lee Einer
Dos Manos Jewelry
http://www.dosmanosjewelry.com


#4

I’ve been asked, off-list, if I’m “talking to Hanneman” I suppose
because I’ve listed his company twice now as a source of inexpensive
and simple gemology. I am not “talking” to him or anyone else, just
a happy customer. I placed two orders with him a couple of years
ago. I didn’t even know he moved until the address was corrected
after my last post that referenced him. The usual disclaimer
applies.

James in SoFl


#5
How will you pulverize all of that rock? 

don’t laugh…sofar with a sledge hammer and various other similar
things. there is an arista (not sure if that`s correct) that needs
to be fixed and greased up, but that’s not ready yet. at least a rock
chip close to the eye convinced my friend to get a face shield an a
leather apron!

Gravity separation of gold from host rock, after pulverization is
normally  done with water, using a device such as a sluice, rocker
or long tom- see here- 

we can’t do that, due to the reasons you’ve already pointed out,
sulphur and mercury…I give the bright red cinnabar rocks up there a
fairly wide berth… but they do sneak in.

There is equipment that will tie down the sulphur into a stabilized
form and keep it out of the air and water but it’s more expensive
than my house with everything in it…but it looks like a technically
inclined person could build one from scratch

This would be dumping a lot of silt and sludge back into the
water, and possibly also liberating mercury and sulphides bound up
in the host rock, so engaging in this practice would likely be
counter-productive from the vantage of environmental clean-up
unless you had something set up for water filtration and
recirculation. You should also know that the ratio of precious
metals to host rock is likely way low. As in, grinding up tons of
rock in order to get an ounce of gold.  In the end, the gold which
you obtained would need to be refined and alloyed before you would
be able to cast, roll or draw it and sell it as karat gold. 

um, the ratio is no problem. geologists take a look at the hard ore
and go through a delightful change in facial expression and color.
the mine hasn’t been worked since the mid fifties :wink: it is somewhere
along the turner albright line…

Your goal of environmental clean-up is laudable, but attempting to
extract the gold may do more harm than good in the big picture,
particularly when you figure in things like energy consumption and
water usage. Additionally, unless the ore is rich, you may well
not extract enough gold to be economically worthwhile. 

this is not about making money, even though there is probably enough
stuff up there to improve our communitiy’s living standard. the
mountain was sacred to the local natives, and this community is quite
abit in tune with that. the old mine sites are ugly toxic leachfields
stinking of sulphur. we want to avoid some multinational coming in,
buying up the old claims and strip mining our mountain.

I guess the option of taking it to a refining shop is always there,
but they generally keep the extra fun metals for themselves…

Have you contacted the U of A Geology department? They may be able
to offer you some good guidance on how to clean up the site. 

btween all the people ionvolved, we’ve read several of their
treatises. the Arizona mines have, to my knowledge more of a
phosphorus problem than a sulfur problem. the scrubbing process and
machinery is different. many thanks for your insights you instantly
hit on the main problem (sulfur) I’d love to talk with you some more
about it

Sparrow