One of the most efficient tools used for gold mining is the highbanker. It is a modern advancement of the simple sluice box, which has been used for centuries.
Why a Highbanker?
One of the first inventions for gold mining was the sluice box. The sluice box was used to filter materials so as to find gold. However, the box had many shortcomings such as cumbersome and time consuming, and it depended so much on the human energy. It required the proper setup and ideal water flows, which are never a guarantee. Getting the ideal setup is critical for good gold recovery, but sometimes it just cannot be attained.
The highbanker was therefore invented to solve the limitations of the sluice box. The machine in other words is a modern replacement of the sluice box, and the big difference is that it uses power to perform most of the activities contrary to the manual hand held sluice box.
This is not to say that a sluice box is obsolete; far from it. The sluice is still a wonderful prospecting tool under ideal conditions. However, there are circumstances when a highbanker will perform much more efficiently.
A high banker is a machine that comes in different models with very distinctive specifications, we have the larger ones and small medium sized versions, but they are all portable and can be moved around from place to another. The ideal size will depend on your particular needs.
How to Power you Highbanker
The beauty of a highbanker is that it can be used with a limited amount of water, because a pump is used to pull water from the creek to run through the sluice box. You don’t need to worry about situating a sluice to work within the confines of the creek, because it can be set up away from the creek and water is pumped directly to the highbanker.
During the setup process, the operators will be required to make several adjustments to enable you remove the materials that are not able to flow through, you have to maintain a vigilant eye on every particle that flows to make sure it is working over the riffles properly. The water speed can be adjusted through increasing the water inlets from the pump, the highbanker should be fed slowly to avoid the materials from sinking down without notice, and this is the biggest flaw that prospectors make. The machine can also be overworked and thereby give poor production results.
Setting up a Highbanker
When shoveling into the highbanker, the first piece that the gravel will hit is called the grizzly. A grizzly is made up of metal rods where their spacing is separated far enough that the smaller materials will fall through into the highbanker, while larger rocks will be screened out.
For best performance, it should be placed in a slanted position and set the angle that will suit your needs. The best highbankers comes with an in built gravel holder, also known as a hopper. This is the part where you shovel the dirt or the gravel.
A few Tips:
Make sure too that the pump is near the water to make it possible to supply water with an ease, this will aid in the reduction of fuel consumption and in case of an emergency, it will be easier to switch on and off. The more you draw your pump to the water source the more it becomes to regulate the pressure of water when you note a material that appears like gold.
Couplers and connectors do vary in size and models. It is recommended that you go for the expensive ones because they will last longer and be easier to work with throughout the day.
The parallel bars should be firmly placed from end to end to avoid rock sticking, the interruption brought by this scenario is costly because you will not stop the movement of materials and efficiency of your operation.
Making your highbanker portable does not only mean easy to move around with it, it can also mean that all the tools that are related to it are easily carried, for instance you can fix a pump holder just beneath it frame, and once you are done with what you were doing it will take less time to rap it up. You will take less time assembling it when all the tools are within reach that is for a busy day.
Modify handles on the frames so that is will be easier to during loosening and tightening, the diameter of the clean up bucket should be wider than the rear of the sluice box, for maximum gold retention it is worth replacing the commercial carpet with the miner’s moss.
Highbankers come in different models and they are either small or big, you have any size depending on your ability and the work load that you want to perform, for the bigger ones you will note they cannot be moved easily from one position to another. Most highbankers designed for casual prospecting are light enough that the average prospector can move them with ease.
This is an excellent video showing proper operation of a high banker, how to get one set up to maximize efficiency in gold recovery. Take a look:
Also Read: Find More Gold in your Sluice Box with these Tips
And: Review of the Keene A51 & A52 Sluice Box
Should you Buy a Highbanker?
For the average gold prospectors, a highbanker is the piece of mining equipment that will allow you to work the largest amount of material in a day. The only other type of equipment that is comparable in volume in a suction dredge. Unfortunately, in many of the western states the restrictions on suction dredging are becoming extremely difficult to deal with.
If you are a small-scale prospector who is looking for one single piece of mining equipment that will allow you to scale up you operations, a good quality highbanker is likely the right tool for the job. It is a significant step up from gold pans and sluice boxes, and you will be able to move a lot more material and find a lot more gold at the end of the day.
Next: Commercial Placer Mining in the United States