collapse


* User Info

 
 
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

* Who's Online


Dot Guests: 120 | Dot Users
Dot Hidden: 0

* Board Stats

  • stats Total Members: 12772
  • stats Total Posts: 126846
  • stats Total Topics: 17712
  • stats Total Categories: 5
  • stats Total Boards: 48
  • stats Most Online: 814

* Advertisers

Gear Pan
The lil Gold Spinner
The lil Gold Spinner

Author Topic: Weird metal looking nuggets found, what could it be?  (Read 4450 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline mcbain

  • PPT Invited
  • *****
  • Posts: 5524
  • Province/State: hope bc
  • Country: ca
  • Kudos: 114
Re: Weird metal looking nuggets found, what could it be?
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2018, 07:21:40 PM »
Hi just make sure you do not breath the fumes.Luck Mcbain.
I started out with nothing Istill have most of it.

Offline tonofsteel

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 65
  • Province/State: SK
  • Country: ca
  • Kudos: 8
Re: Weird metal looking nuggets found, what could it be?
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2018, 12:00:51 PM »
Hi  Tonofsteel.
I have burnout oven for my casting work . Should reach range of gold melting temp.
Also good ventilation system what is important if the content of melting material is unknown. If your samples containing  metallic  materials but are in a powder form using high temp will fuse them into a bigger chunk making  easier to analyze using just household methods . If there is enough of the material might be worth to cast it . Gravity and centrifugal forces will separate metal with leaving nonmetallic crust in the crucible and on the top of the cast.
If you want to experiment with, you are welcome.

Thanks Marek!  When I get enough of something worthwhile together I might have to take you up on that offer.  But some further developments:

you can work under that microscope. Try watching as you apply a sharp point to one of those 'gold' specs. If it breaks/shatters taint gold, if it bends there's enough chance it's gold to be very interesting.

So this proved to be harder than I thought.  Getting this all lined up and then trying to pick it with a needle is challenging due to the size of the particles.  Also this cheap scope has some delay between when you move and when it shows up on the screen so that added to the challenge as well.  Some of them did crumble/shatter and some did not.  So some was confirmed to not be gold but some is still unknown.  Due to the irregular shapes of the rocks they were hard to hold under the scope at the right angle and try get the needle in there.

It is not easy to just look at rocks and figure out what is there, and this becomes challenging with a microscope (and even worse yet with a cheap one).  This is probably why with any ore everyone says to get it assayed, there is really no other accurate way to know what is really there.  (Maybe with one of the $900 microscopes you would be able to see more detail and less blur and this would be less of a problem).  (With experience/training and familiarity of the geology and deposition methods of an area I would imagine you could pick out promising areas and ore fairly well, as many people that I read/watch do)

But with that said this is where I am at:
- When you are panning you end up at the end with heavies in the bottom (concentrated).  If there are gold looking pieces left at the end and you panned properly (classified, enough force to wash away mica/pyrite but not the gold) then this is likely gold.
- If you think you have gold then try squish it with pliers or stab it with a point (if it deforms instead of shattering then it likely could be gold as jobinyt said above)
- If you think you found metal then try squish it with pliers / vise / press etc. and if it shatters then it is not metal
- It is dangerous to pick things out of a pail/pan without working the material down.  If it is not heavy then it is probably not very interesting
- If you are working with really fine flour gold you will have to classify down and pan each set (20/50/100/200 mesh)

When looking at rocks through a microscope looking for free mill gold there are things that can trick you.  Pyrite, mica and in this case what appears to be a yellow tinted quartz can trick you when looking through a scope.  There were a few yellow pieces that I could not shatter but I would not say was gold until it could be confirmed otherwise.

So this is my new strategy:
- If a rock looks interesting (color/mineralization) check it in the microscope.  Try scrape off some of the material to see if it is translucent or solid.  Try pin pick it or squish it.
- If it seems plausible that something could be there then crush it and classify it to multiple screen sizes
- Pan

That would answer so many questions because if there is nothing left at the end of the pan then there is nothing interesting free mill there. 

The next step would be looking into assay, chemically processing it or oxidize and/or melting etc.  If there is free mill there may also be some trapped in the ore that you will not get out with gravity methods.  At this point in time I think I would try the Borax+melt cupola method (if it ever gets to that point) but not get into arsenic or other chemical processing methods.

Hi just make sure you do not breath the fumes.Luck Mcbain.

This is a very good point as soon as heat is brought into processing, they can be toxic yes.


Learned some more and keep on going  <_miner_>

Offline nite hawk

  • PPT Invited
  • *****
  • Posts: 482
  • Kudos: 10
Re: Weird metal looking nuggets found, what could it be?
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2018, 03:08:26 PM »
I hate to be a "party pooper" the top picture looks like a  lead 22 caliber bullet that has been rolled around in a river for a long time... ..
Looks like it mushroomed on impact,,, Not saying it is, but wondering at the possibility..
A couple of the pictures looked like possibly molten slag..
 Some of the pictures might have interesting possibilities though.. especially the one with the quartz attached.. the one looks possibly like possible gold in the quartz, but there is also the possibility of  chalcopyrite--which can look like gold stringers..
One can crush the quartz / gold? to a finer powder and pan it, and see how it moves in the pan. Gold moves different than copper...
The other pictures, lets hope they are the real "McCoy"..
 Hope I never splashed any flames though ,,Hope you have the real thing though... {cool^sign}

Offline JOE S (INDY)

  • PPT Invited
  • *****
  • Posts: 1078
  • Province/State: Trapper Creek, Alaska and Idaho in the Winter
  • Country: us
  • Kudos: 62
  • Wiser Mining Through Endless Personal Mistakes
Re: Weird metal looking nuggets found, what could it be?
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2018, 04:12:30 PM »
If there is a question on it being lead or solder then a simple , outdoors heat-up will tell for sure.  Lead melts at a quite low temperature and dropping it into an empty tin can in a fire would answer that quickly.

Of course, squeezing with pliers would also tell if they are soft lead even easier than that.
Wiser Mining Through Endless Personal Mistakes

Offline tonofsteel

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 65
  • Province/State: SK
  • Country: ca
  • Kudos: 8
Re: Weird metal looking nuggets found, what could it be?
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2018, 09:55:57 PM »
I hate to be a "party pooper" the top picture looks like a  lead 22 caliber bullet that has been rolled around in a river for a long time... ..
Looks like it mushroomed on impact,,, Not saying it is, but wondering at the possibility..
A couple of the pictures looked like possibly molten slag..
 Some of the pictures might have interesting possibilities though.. especially the one with the quartz attached.. the one looks possibly like possible gold in the quartz, but there is also the possibility of  chalcopyrite--which can look like gold stringers..
One can crush the quartz / gold? to a finer powder and pan it, and see how it moves in the pan. Gold moves different than copper...
The other pictures, lets hope they are the real "McCoy"..
 Hope I never splashed any flames though ,,Hope you have the real thing though... {cool^sign}

A bullet maybe, unlikely due to the area and depth it was at but still could be.  Molten slag sounds plausible too.

I am waiting until I go to IRL again to get a mortar and pestle.  I do not have enough scrap metal around of the right shapes to build my own so going to scrounge or just buy a small one to get started with some crushing and panning.

I will post what I find when I get that going.


Offline JOE S (INDY)

  • PPT Invited
  • *****
  • Posts: 1078
  • Province/State: Trapper Creek, Alaska and Idaho in the Winter
  • Country: us
  • Kudos: 62
  • Wiser Mining Through Endless Personal Mistakes
Re: Weird metal looking nuggets found, what could it be?
« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2018, 12:54:21 AM »
Lead oxidizes when in an oxidizing environment / situation. 

If Lead is situated in a location where oxygen doesn't reach it, and that would be rather unusual, it can sit for a very long time  (geologically speaking) with minimal or no surface oxidation.

If you think it could be lead then just try to crush it with pliers or test in in a cigarette lighter's butane flame ("Flick Your Bic" as it were).  Soft lead or solder would crush easily or melt in the lighter's flame.
Wiser Mining Through Endless Personal Mistakes

Offline JOE S (INDY)

  • PPT Invited
  • *****
  • Posts: 1078
  • Province/State: Trapper Creek, Alaska and Idaho in the Winter
  • Country: us
  • Kudos: 62
  • Wiser Mining Through Endless Personal Mistakes
Re: Weird metal looking nuggets found, what could it be?
« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2018, 12:31:23 PM »
Well now - yes, lead would usually oxidize in river water - but from dissolved Oxygen in the water and not from the Oxygen atom from the water molecule, itself.  Simple chemistry there.

If in the loose streambed material,  the periodic flood movement could easily have burnished any Lead Oxide from the surface of the lead - and I have seen that that exact thing occur where I mine in Alaska. 

Also, if the lead was deposited in a stable sub stream area which was, ITSELF, a neutral or reducing environment then the oxidation would also be greatly reduced or almost non-existant.

The cast Lead (possibly with some trace alloy metal) ingot which was stored in the atmosphere (and therefore had at least some exposure to humidity) does have some of the surface oxidized.  There are three different Lead Oxide forms -    https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead_oxide   - and that old lead ingot doesn't really seem to exhibit any of them as clearly as it could have in trying to use it to support your point.  Of course it's not bright, shiny metal, so there is some sort of surface oxide showing, as would be expected.

Just from looking at those tiny bits of metal I would just squeeze one in a pair of pliers to see if it was soft.  If so - Lead or Solder.  If not then possibly Nickle or even Platinum.

Wiser Mining Through Endless Personal Mistakes

Offline GollyMrScience

  • PPT Invited
  • *****
  • Posts: 2950
  • Province/State: Near Edmonton Alberta
  • Kudos: 158
Re: Weird metal looking nuggets found, what could it be?
« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2018, 12:52:46 PM »
Well aren't those neat looking. As the others have been saying  its sometimes easier to find out what something is by determining what it is not.

All the suggestions about how to do a quick check are great and can sure get you on track fast. I hear you about the shattering bits problem. Typically I use a little setup with a short piece of drive shaft that fits down inside a 1 inch steel pipe section about 3 inches long. The shaft piece is about 4 inches long and fits loosely down the inside of the pipe. A small plate of 1/4 inch steel about 3 inches by 3 inches completes the setup. Suspect mineral laid on the plate sitting on a solid surface. Pipe over it and then first check is simply insert the shaft piece into the top of the pipe section and drop it. Check suspect. If that little bit of force was enough to flatten a bit then you know a whole lot about the specimen right away. If it shatters or does not flatten put the pipe over it again and then you up the force a bit with a couple of gentle taps with a hammer as the shaft sits on top of the sample. Check each time to see if any flattening or breakage. If it breaks stop smacking so you have bigger bits to work with and  get the broken pieces under magnification to see a fresh face and all sorts of things can be settled. If you get to the point that even a cautiously aggressive tap doesn't do much then you are moving into pretty rare air on possible candidates.
Of course the whole setup is made so the pipe contains the sample so you dont have to go chasing broken bits all over the place.

From the pics you sent later of the broken bits I see an example of what commonly happens with strange shapes. It is easy to look at a shape that looks like a softer metal was worn and assume -  especially with that shiny surface. It is important not to confuse grey metallic with grey shiny as breaking it like you did shows why. Under magnification you can see you are dealing with a polymineralic fragment. A very highly polished rock fragment made up of many minerals with a grey-ish colour. Under magnification though you can see the many mineral crystals and bits.   Given the weak mag response there may be a few small bits of magnetite stuck with all the other goodies. Though I cant directly comment on your grains other than to say they look similar you find grains like them from till that has been dragged down off the shield to the north where veinlets of hard material made up of various minerals are broken out and because they are harder polish to a very high luster under glacial and water reworking. Because they started as strange shapes dictated with how they were in their host rock they have a head start on the strange look.

The same highly sophisticated lab crusher described above can be used to smack the crud out of the sample and get to powderish form to be panned. If there is gold in it the flakes will tend to flatten so can stand out as you pan right away as they are larger than the average bits of rock powder. Don't let mica flakes sucker ya though. lol they can be very tricky.

When dealing with small samples dont think so much about panning it as backwashing it in a pan. You want to keep everything under observation so careful treatment in a pan to sort out the heavies etc while observing what the rest of the sample does and looks like. This would include watching for the small bits of black sand and checking with a mag to confirm magnetite. remember to use a wetting agent if any floaters are observed.

A couple of quick bits on Saskatchewan - ferro platinum can be found but it is usually the same size or smaller than the gold grains so....tiny. Whitish grey and about 60% of them will report to a low intensity mag while the rest will lay there taunting you till you get some serious high intensity mag on them.  In Saskatchewan you can also find fossils that have some very strange shapes to them especially after being reworked by water including coprolite, worm casts and some petrified woods that has been invaded with opaline and siliceous materials and that stuff can polish up well. Generally however they would not look at all like the mineral dogs breakfast your pics show of the broken material.
What the heck - lets just keep mixin' stuff together till it blows up or smells REALLY bad!

Offline bobinsk

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 11
  • Province/State: Prince Albert, SK
  • Country: ca
  • Kudos: 0
Re: Weird metal looking nuggets found, what could it be?
« Reply #18 on: January 23, 2018, 08:37:55 PM »
Where are you in Sask ? I am in P.A.
Perhaps you can just come over and use my microscopes to see what you actually have ?

Offline tonofsteel

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 65
  • Province/State: SK
  • Country: ca
  • Kudos: 8
Re: Weird metal looking nuggets found, what could it be?
« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2018, 10:12:06 PM »
Thanks for all the advice!

From the pics you sent later of the broken bits I see an example of what commonly happens with strange shapes. It is easy to look at a shape that looks like a softer metal was worn and assume -  especially with that shiny surface. It is important not to confuse grey metallic with grey shiny as breaking it like you did shows why. Under magnification you can see you are dealing with a polymineralic fragment. A very highly polished rock fragment made up of many minerals with a grey-ish colour. Under magnification though you can see the many mineral crystals and bits.   Given the weak mag response there may be a few small bits of magnetite stuck with all the other goodies. Though I cant directly comment on your grains other than to say they look similar you find grains like them from till that has been dragged down off the shield to the north where veinlets of hard material made up of various minerals are broken out and because they are harder polish to a very high luster under glacial and water reworking. Because they started as strange shapes dictated with how they were in their host rock they have a head start on the strange look.

When dealing with small samples dont think so much about panning it as backwashing it in a pan. You want to keep everything under observation so careful treatment in a pan to sort out the heavies etc while observing what the rest of the sample does and looks like. This would include watching for the small bits of black sand and checking with a mag to confirm magnetite. remember to use a wetting agent if any floaters are observed.

I think I learned my lesson on this one, I can't just pick out things that look interesting and draw any conclusion about them.  Everything needs to be tested (at least crush, pan)  and ideally assayed.  It is more clear to me now as to how these tricky rocks occur but in itself it is a bit fascinating that the geological chain of events can produce such things.

A couple of quick bits on Saskatchewan - ferro platinum can be found but it is usually the same size or smaller than the gold grains so....tiny. Whitish grey and about 60% of them will report to a low intensity mag while the rest will lay there taunting you till you get some serious high intensity mag on them.  In Saskatchewan you can also find fossils that have some very strange shapes to them especially after being reworked by water including coprolite, worm casts and some petrified woods that has been invaded with opaline and siliceous materials and that stuff can polish up well. Generally however they would not look at all like the mineral dogs breakfast your pics show of the broken material.

Originally I was just focusing on gold as there is a lot to take in when starting out panning/prospecting/geology.  But as time goes on I see that there are other minerals that could be of interest and they are also heavy.  Diamonds, gems, platinum etc. you should also be familiar with so I try to look for non gold color heavy things in the pan as well.  Which is how I originally got led astray, thinking that the different minerals have different SG and gold is one of the heaviest I need to look at how everything moves in the pan even before I am down to the final bits.  But then careful testing is required as even though you find something kind of heavy it still may not be of interest.

All the suggestions about how to do a quick check are great and can sure get you on track fast. I hear you about the shattering bits problem. Typically I use a little setup with a short piece of drive shaft that fits down inside a 1 inch steel pipe section about 3 inches long. The shaft piece is about 4 inches long and fits loosely down the inside of the pipe. A small plate of 1/4 inch steel about 3 inches by 3 inches completes the setup. Suspect mineral laid on the plate sitting on a solid surface. Pipe over it and then first check is simply insert the shaft piece into the top of the pipe section and drop it. Check suspect. If that little bit of force was enough to flatten a bit then you know a whole lot about the specimen right away. If it shatters or does not flatten put the pipe over it again and then you up the force a bit with a couple of gentle taps with a hammer as the shaft sits on top of the sample. Check each time to see if any flattening or breakage. If it breaks stop smacking so you have bigger bits to work with and  get the broken pieces under magnification to see a fresh face and all sorts of things can be settled. If you get to the point that even a cautiously aggressive tap doesn't do much then you are moving into pretty rare air on possible candidates.
Of course the whole setup is made so the pipe contains the sample so you dont have to go chasing broken bits all over the place.

The same highly sophisticated lab crusher described above can be used to smack the crud out of the sample and get to powderish form to be panned. If there is gold in it the flakes will tend to flatten so can stand out as you pan right away as they are larger than the average bits of rock powder.

So while I originally wanted to replicate this setup the town I live in does not have any metal suppliers.  Based on what I know now the drive shaft is probably the right hardness and composition to avoid the problems I have run into.  Eventually I would like to build this as it has much more finesse for testing samples than what I ended up building, which is the gas pipe crusher:
ResMP.jpg

I saw this in a few videos/forums/blogs and so thought it could work to test the samples I had.  Basically I did it because it was convenient (ie. available down the street)  I did get galvanized and this may have been a mistake vs black pipe but I am not sure on how much of a difference there is between the two at the end of the day.  While panning there is a lot of shiny metal but it does wash away compared to suspected gold.  I can see how it would make life difficult when looking for platinum or other metals that are not gold in color however.....


Don't let mica flakes sucker ya though. lol they can be very tricky.
When I went out panning with marekn the area we were in had mica and it does seem to lag behind other material and hang back with the gold.  I think it is actually more of a fools gold than pyrite when it is small in size.  This one might have a bit of an experience factor to it but you need to have some relatively aggressive washing action to test if it is mica or gold.  The mica will flit away but the gold will roll a bit or stay stuck.  The mica is like a little sheet and it stays stuck to the pan but when lifted it will float away fast where as the gold will sink back down.

 


Gear Pan
Gold Rat