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Ditherer and Son Prospecting: Gold Prospecting Ophir NSW Homemade Highbanker

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Gold Prospecting Ophir - NSW on the Lower Lewis Ponds Creek. My old dad and I have come to Wildwood Cottage a few times now. Each time we come we find more gold than the last.

We stay at Wildwood Cottage on the Lower Lewis Ponds Rd, as guests on the property we can do some gold prospecting.....and we do!

We go there for the gold, there's no denying it. Both dad and I have had goldfever for nigh on 40 years.

For this trip we built a new highbanker called "The Hogwash" in honour of the Gold Hog rubber matting we used. Dad and I were still bending aluminium the night before we left, and we hadn't even glued some of the PVC pipework. We knew we'd have to play with the setup a bit, and we learned an awful lot. Over the next 3 days we refined our plans as we conducted the daily Post Mortem each evening in the loungeroom at the cottage.

We're both champing at the bit to go again. But that will have to wait. Besides, there's all the modifications to the designs....hours, indeed weeks or months of fruitful dithering before we once again build the prototype the night before.....again.....

For those who are interested, the highbanker is homemade and ditheringly designed. It was a conversion of a classifier/grizzly bar setup we took on the last trip. We run a 2" 5.5HP pump, and for the purposes of the testing (and due to fortuitous incompleteness) we had a dual valved manifold glued up out of PVC plumbing parts in line with the water supply. We had intended to have a garden hose attachment set up on one of the outlets and the highbanker on the other. But as dithering is not foolproof, we had failed to purchase enough PVC adaptors of the right size and thus had a spare outlet with a tap on it. By opening and closing this bypass tap, we could regulate the flow of water in the sluice.

The sluice itself uses Gold Hog Mats. we have both UR and Scrubber mats in for the duration of this trip.

Due to a design failure with the hopper, when we ran max water flow through the higbanker, too much of the dirty wash water would make it over the end of the grizzly bars and into the large tailing pile. We tried any number of ways to up the flow while not losing the gold-bearing wash over the back. We tried adjusting the direction of the sprays to control the V rooster tail. We added large rocks to the hopper to hold material longer and release it more slowly while still allowing more water to be put through the sluice. What we really needed to do was shorten the skidplate under the hopper and put the offcut skidplate underneath the grizzly bars. This modification will be made before the next video for certain.

The second sluice is one of our new homemade river sluices. We didnt use any expanded metal over the miners moss in the second sluice, and we felt that with the increased flows and speeds this would have been sensible and the more vortices the finer the gold recovery. This is another guaranteed modification.

We'll make the rubber matting sluice longer and the whole system more adjustable.

From an efficiency point of view, we should have set up the machine between dad and I, and had both of us digging a trench either side of the machine and shovelling straight in.

This we would do next time if the ditherer wasnt nearly 70. I might have to rope in another able bodied assistant and let the ditherer have a bit of a sit down in the shade. We might even put him in charge of concentrates and finishing. So we can get the highbanker reassembled after a cleanout more quickly and get back to processing.

Ditherer and Son

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check out the Wildwood Cottage Ophir website at www.wildwoodcottage.com.au