Set up and Run a Sluice Box

Sluicing for gold works because of the simple fact that gold is much heavier in relation to the other minerals, sand and debris that are commonly found alongside placer gold.  Your typical bank run or river bed material will be made up of quartz sand, host rock and various other minerals.

Gold has a specific gravity of 19.3While the specific gravity of quartz is 2.65

This means that if you take an identical sized piece of quartz sand and gold, the piece of gold will be 7.28 times heavier than the quartz sand.

We all know the expression; “He drives with a lead foot”! Which means that the driver has a heavy foot on the gas and drives fast. In reality the expression should be; “He drives with a gold foot”! Because gold is almost twice as heavy as lead.

In sluicing  for gold, we count on the riffles and gold traps in the sluice box to capture the heavies and gold.  The gold will settle out in low pressure zones behind the riffles while the lighter worthless dirt and sand gets washed out the tail end of the sluice.  You can process much more gold bearing dirt with a sluice box than you could panning for gold.

Proper water flow and velocity are key in optimizing a sluice box and its riffles gold capturing abilities.  There are many different styles of sluice boxes but their primary function and features are the same.  A sluice box is essentially a water trough with fixed riffles or drops that create low pressure zones and eddies    where gold and other heavy minerals get deposited.  These low pressure zones behind the riffles will “hold” onto any captured gold as long as the riffles are working properly.  The carpet, matting and expanded metal lining the bottom of the sluice box help to trap and hold any gold in place.

Sluice Box Riffle Performance