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Author Topic: Can I get gold out of iron ore tailings?  (Read 8474 times)

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Offline 187Penguin

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Can I get gold out of iron ore tailings?
« on: January 15, 2011, 03:10:57 AM »
Hello All!
I work at an Iron Mine near Death Valley, CA. One of our steps in processing our iron ore is we classify it down to 1/4" and run it through a centrifugal magnetic separator. Our raw ore is very rich in iron, on the order of 50% Fe (As compared to the typical 13-15%), and at 62%-62.5% after separation. The "waste" off of our separator is all of the non and "lesser" magnetic 1/4" minus material. Our small operation produces on the order of 400 tons an hour of iron ore. Needless to say we produce a lot of waste, on the order of 100 tons an hour of this. The company has zero interest in that material. We just use it to back fill old pits and maintain the roads with. I would like to try my hand at prospecting for placer in this "waste" just as a hobby. My wife and I both work at this mine and it is very far off the beaten path. We camp out there pretty much weekly and think this might be fun to try in our down time.

My questions are:
Does it sound plausible? I know that in this ore we are working a vein of 60 tons of silver was found in the 70's, and it is one of the richest iron deposits on earth. I hope that means it's rich in other elements.

If it were you, what equipment would you use?I thought about getting a powered rotary pan. The desert fox caught my eye just because it looked like a complete deal for 300 bucks. I have a budget of about 400 dollars. We do have electricity, and a small spring that flows about 8-10 gallons per minute.

Any tip's or advise? Recommended books or websites? Or other resources in the Las Vegas/ Pahrump/ Barstow area? I am a complete novice when it comes to prospecting.

Offline bakergeol

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Re: Can I get gold out of iron ore tailings?
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2011, 06:20:01 AM »
I think before you invest any money in your quest- you need to find out
if any heavy metals such as gold are indeed in your tailings. A simple classifying
and panning operation of the tailings would put you in the right direction to decide if you are
going to be serious about this.

As you are involved in a commerical operation, there must be quite a bit of assay
data around and you need to view these also.

George


Offline aumbre

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Re: Can I get gold out of iron ore tailings?
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2011, 08:44:21 AM »
as george said, you can get the same concentrate with a $ 6.00 pan. there will probably be some type of concentrate that is not readily identifiable and you may need assays if you think that it looks interesting. There is also the opportunity to look around the pit for other veins and formations.

Offline 187Penguin

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Re: Can I get gold out of iron ore tailings?
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2011, 02:43:26 PM »
Thanks for the info. We are sitting on a 500 acre patented claim so I defiantly have room to explore around.... And if i need to dig down our D10 Dozer and 345 Hoe are up to the task  ;D I hear black sand is what you want to lookout for, but what do you look out for when all of the earth is black? Also, I got a $50 gift card for Bass Pro Shops, and am considering ordering this - Fisher Labs Deluxe Pro Gold Prospecting Kit. Any opinions on that kit since I can basically get it for 10 bucks?

Offline GollyMrScience

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Re: Can I get gold out of iron ore tailings?
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2011, 03:42:12 PM »
Dig up every shred of info you can on the claims. Geology and history. Also the area in general.
What form of iron? If using mag sep then likely magnetite but even that can have stuff in solid soluton and the crush size can dictate some mineral losses. The nature of the host rock and the general country rock would help too.
Find out what is being rejected in the process. Probably studied in the past so getting everything you can on it will help guide and fast track your efforts.
Assays certainly of the various fractions - multi element tests are very helpful - you might not have a spec of gold but a whack of nickle, chrome, platinum or moly for instance.
Dont know if you dont check.
Anything you can share will help and there are plenty of people here with good ideas.
What the heck - lets just keep mixin' stuff together till it blows up or smells REALLY bad!

Offline 187Penguin

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Re: Can I get gold out of iron ore tailings?
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2011, 09:16:19 AM »
Well we have sent off no less than 3 dozen samples to Lerch Brothers in Minnesota for analysis (Does that count as an assay?). But all we (The company) is interested in at this point is our Fe content. Methinks Ill try panning some of our waste to concentrate in the little spring on-site and see if I can't ask the boss-man (My father) real nice-like to send it off for me to the lab. I think my chances are good of him doing it since he and my uncle used to do some prospecting in their younger days. I know that in the area we are in you cant drive for more than a mile in any direction without seeing old gold and silver mine shafts and tailing piles. The other thing is Talc Mines... They are EVERYWHERE down here.

 


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