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Gold Magic Introduces The 12e Mining System
By Chris Gholson
From page 36 of the March, 2003 issue of Lost Treasure
Copyright © 2003 Lost Treasure, Inc. all rights reserved
From page 36 of the March, 2003 issue of Lost Treasure
Copyright © 2003 Lost Treasure, Inc. all rights reserved
Synonymous with wealth, struggle and hardship, the gold pan has become an enduring symbol of the early prospector. No one knows for sure when panning first evolved, however we do know it spans back into antiquity as the practice of recovering precious metals from stream gravels is depicted on Egyptian monuments dating as far back as 2900 BC, This simple, yet remarkably effective device was as revolutionary to early placer mining as barbwire was to the ranching industry. In fact, its original design was so good that few thought the pan could ever be drastically improved upon. Well, after nearly 4,000 years the engineers at Century Mining did just that.
First created in 1989, the original Gold Magic has since undergone many modifications and improvements, ultimately becoming one of the most effective and reliable gold recovery systems on the market today. Weighing in at 10 pounds, the 12E spiral gold machine is Century Minings top-of-the-line model and is crafted from heavy-duty plastic and stainless steel. Its small size and low weight enable it to be packed into just about any location. The Gold Magic is so portable it can easily fit in the trunk of a vehicle, on a backpack, quad rack, or just about anywhere else you can imagine.
One of the most impressive features of the Gold Magic is its ability to process material either wet or dry. By this I mean it can be used to recover gold in an active water channel such as a creek or stream, or it can be used in the middle of an arid desert, and best of all it doesnt require any cumbersome hoses or motors. You can even use it right at home if you prefer to pack out your material instead of processing it in the field.
There are two main components to the Gold Magic; these are the spiral pan and the control box. The spiral pan contains the center cup and is the device used for separating gold from worthless overburden. The control box houses the 12V rechargeable battery, gear motor and battery charger. The supplied battery will power the unit for approximately 16 hours on a single charge. When the juice begins to run low the Gold Magic has a built in charger, making it possible to plug into 110V AC socket with an extension cord. Persons that enjoy venturing into the backcountry and dont want to hassle with recharging batteries will appreciate the added versatility of the 12E. Simply insert the provided crank, switch the drive belt, and the Gold Magic converts to a manually operated machineno power required other than your own muscle. If hand cranking isnt your cup of tea, consider investing in the optional solar panel and get all the free power you want courtesy of the sun. The 12E is already pre-wired for the panel, so no major alterations or messy soldering is required.
The Gold Magic was designed to process material through three stages of classification and separation. The first stage takes place in the outer edges of the pan, which contains 69 different agitation knobs. This is the classification and separation stage. Since the Gold Magic is self-classifying, most of the lighter sands and gravels are dumped out of the pan just by their own volume. Heavier materials, like gold particles, are carried behind the riffle from the nine oclock to the three oclock position, where gravity spills it across the agitator knobs. As the gold moves up on the spiral riffle it is further classified and concentratedthis is the second stage. The final stage takes place in the patented removable center concentration cup. Any gold that was present in the material is caught behind the top edge of the riffle and is carried up to and deposited in the concentration cup. The gold being heavier will stay in the cup while the lighter material will eventually be worked out. Ultimately, the gold goes to the back of the cup and will remain there until the operator removes it. The theory is simple and it works incredibly well. Field Test I was anxious to get out in the hills with my new Gold Magic, but knew it was important to first familiarize myself with its operation and make sure everything was working properly. I also thought it would be a good idea to conduct a preliminary test on some dry materialand I had the perfect dirt for the job. For years Ive had a 5-gallon bucket of dredge concentrates sitting in a dusty corner of my garage. The material inside was absolutely loaded with fine gold, but because the particles were so tiny, it was nearly impossible to separate them from the black sand by hand. I always wanted to recover the gold, but never had the time nor the patience to do so. Would the Gold Magic really be able to pull out the gold from the dry concentrates?, was the question I was about to have answered.
Half of an hour later the bucket had been emptied. During this time I had periodically shut down the unit, removed the material from the center cup, and dumped it into a standard gold pan. I restrained myself from peeking at the contents until the entire bucket had been workedI guess I just enjoy surprises. When I sent that first wave of water swishing across the material my mouth dropped. Staring up at me from the top left corner of the pan was a shiny tail of fine gold about one quarter inch wide by four inches long. This was impressive, not because of how big the gold was, but because of how small it was. If the 12E could work this well using the dry method, I could only imagine how well would it perform in a wet environment.
Before moving on, let me offer a few tips on using this device in a dry environment. When working dry, be sure to feed the pan a little slower than usual to ensure that all gold particles are properly agitated to the bottom of the riffles. If the pan is fed too quickly, or the material being processed is damp or moist, a loss in recovery will occur. For best results, the material being worked should be as dry as possible. Also keep in mind that when operating in a dry, low humidity climate the pan will develop static electricity. This static electricity will cause sand and flour gold to adhere to the surface of the pan. If you notice material clinging to the pan, sweep it off with a brush and save for later processing.
Now that I had seen the 12E in action, I was ready to test it out in the remote goldfields of southern Arizona. The Patagonia placers of Santa Cruz County are situated approximately 150 miles southeast of Phoenix not far from the Mexican border. Although silver production was of more importance than gold in this region, many of the gulches draining the east flank of the Patagonia Mountains have nevertheless produced a fair amount of placer. The tricky part was going to be finding it.
After passing through town I cut off on the first dirt road I spotted heading south into the mountains. The track led me deeper and deeper into the heart of the Coronado National Forest, crossing some of the most beautiful country in Arizona. I wound through thick tracts of manzanita scrub, across open grass filled prairies, and straight through the old ghost town of Harshaw. Once I spotted an abandoned mine and heard the sound of running water, I knew I had found the perfect place.
The spot I chose was a bubbling creek about two feet deep by eight feet wide. All the indicators were there, and I was sure hoping this creek would be kind enough to give up some gold after my long drive. Since I was unable to find any exposed bedrock in the creek bed itself, I decided I would have a better shot by gathering from the sides of the banks where the bedrock was shallow. My trusty shovel and I dug straight into a juicy bedrock crack and quickly liberated it of its gravel content. Once my bucket had been filled I was off to the creek to let the 12E work its magic.
I sent the Gold Magic into motion and began feeding the material into the pan at the 3-4 oclock position. After about 15 minutes had passed, I felt a quick inspection was in order. Amazingly, the cup was barren. There was plenty of black sand and even a small piece of birdshot, but no gold. I nearly dumped out the bucket and went to gather another sample, but something told me to go ahead and polish off what I had. I finished it off and reluctantly took one more peek into the center cup. Something shone through the darkly colored sandit was gold. No nuggets, Im sorry to say, but there were several nice pickers. I ran a few more buckets and by the end of the day my little creek yielded a bit less than two grams of gold.
When processing wet, it is important to set the spiral pan at approximately a 45-degree angle to the water level and deep enough so that the water reaches to at least the center of the pan. If you are working in a creek or river with a strong current, turn the pan to face downstream. If you notice the center cup begins filling with excessive gravel and black sands, gently flush the area with a small amount of water. If any gold was accidentally washed out during the processdont panic. Any of the displaced metal will fall back into the rotating spiral pan and will eventually be returned back to the center cup.
The field test had been a success. Not only did I find gold, but I also proved to myself that the manufacturers claims were not merely a bunch of hypethe Gold Magic can really recover gold in both a dry and wet environment. This machine is quick, quiet and with only one switch, incredibly easy to operate. I cannot imagine why anyone could not become an expert class Gold Magic operator in less than an hour. While the 12E is by no means a large-scale production unit designed for moving yards and yards of material, it is an extremely useful tool for recreational prospecting, placer sampling and in the cleaning up of concentrates. The unit is so portable you can drag it into virtually any gold-bearing location with ease, and be up and running within a matter of minutes.
The Gold Magic comes with just about everything you need to go prospecting, but there are a few additional tools I would recommend taking along with you on an outing, such as a shovel, pick, plastic scoop, five-gallon bucket, crevicing tool and a standard gold pan. The pan is simply used to check the material recovered in the concentration cup during final clean up. I would also suggest you purchase a one-quarter inch or larger classifier from your local prospecting shop to prescreen the material being worked. You can skip this step if you like, however by keeping the larger-sized rocks out of the mix you will not only extend the life of the spiral pan, but will also speed up processing time immensely.
The 12E is packed in a single container, which also doubles as a portable panning tub, and includes all hardware, instructional video and manual, gold vial and warranty card. The tub is an accessory item that can be purchased for and additional $45. The Gold Magic is warranted for one year against defect in materials and workmanship. If youre interested in gold prospecting, but cannot afford to wait around another 4,000 years to see what else comes along, I strongly suggest looking into the 12E. Its simple, hassle-free operation, low maintenance, ability to work either wet or dry, and retail price of only $440 make the Gold Magic one of the best all around panning machines on the market. This is an excellent piece of equipment for recreational mining, not to mention its a lot of fun.
For more information on this, and other Gold Magic products, contact the factory at Century Mining Equipment, P.O. Box 2773, Columbia Falls, MT 59912, 1-800-458-8889, or on the web at www.goldmagic.com. Remember to tell them you read about it in Lost Treasure.