Dredging vs. High banking
Some of you new prospectors probably have been asking around about equipment. You have been to the creek with a pick, pan, and shovel and found gold but want more. The fact is that you are going to have to move more dirt to get it, or pick a really good location. Some of you have bought a sluice and had a lot of fun with it and found it to be light on the back when you carry it out with you. So what do you do when the cost of this equipment is so expensive? You can build your own but that requires equipment to bend metal, or for weld.
This bad boy prospecting tool is my favorite because there is no shoveling required. Do you know how when you are digging and get that big rock you just have to get under but there are other rocks preventing you from digging around it? With a dredge you literally suck the material around them rocks away in minutes pick it up and move it out of the way. Here is the best part, when you dig and get to the hard pack where you cannot dig through it and the gold cannot get through it. Your shovel will not get the gold laying on the top like gold on the floor. This is where that under water vacuum pays off big time, it sucks the gold right off the top of the hard pack or clay with ease.
What is a dredge?
A dredge consists of a motor with attached water pump, a box with preferred matting/ riffles. A crash box/ jet flare hoses nozzle, foot valve, floats, and possibly a compressor for air so you can breathe under water. Sounds like a lot but it’s simple, it’s a floating high banker basically. Imagine the gold is in 6 feet of water 40 feet off the bank, how do you get it? A dredge because it floats. it is a power house for moving dirt! How does it work? The motor takes gas and pulls water thought the foot valve and forces it into the power jet (that metal y looking piece) creating a Venturi effect. It pushes water in to the dredge hose, as it does this it creates a siphon at the nozzle pulling in water and material and putting into the box.
Things to remember:
The biggest mistake you can make is to flood that box. The dredges is powerful but remember if you make a mud bog in the box the gold has no time to drop out and be caught. Only pull material away a little at a time. Do not burry the nozzle into a sand pile and suck the ground all the way up to your elbow as fast as you can.
Nozzle screen or rock guard/ classifying nozzle:
Some like them some do not but I will say this. If you pay all that money for a 2.5 inch hose and then get clogs left and right, why are you smashing the hose to clear it? The nozzle may slow you down a bit but it stops the big rocks from clogging the hose and saves your hose. All it is, is a bar or set of bars that stop anything ½ the size of the opening from entering.
The high banker is work horse of the gold getting machines with lots of digging involved. A high banker has most of the same components of a dredge but is on a stand and one big change is spray bars and a punch plate/ grizzly bars for classifying as you shovel the dirt in. You also have the added option to make it a high banker dredge combo. It is the same concept as the dredge but the set up can be a little different.
The nozzle can be the same if a y pipe of venturi is used or a suction nozzle ( this looks like a pipe on a 45 degree bend with a pipe entering in at the bend for water input) the water is pushed from the pump into this suction nozzle pulling material into the nozzle by the venturi effect.
The material then travels down the hose into the hopper box where it hits the grizzly bars or classifying system to remove the big rocks and gravel as if falls of the back of the high banker. The Smaller material then falls into the sluice box where the riffle system or mat used collects the gold.
Things to remember:
You will be shoveling with a high banker, unless you get a high banker dredge combo unit. TOO much will make capturing gold less effective, but it classify the material as you go!
Both are pricey but the more material you move the more gold you can get, once the cost of gas is exceed by gold found you make money! Don’t think because you buy a unit you will make money, there is a lot of planning and work to make gold!
My personal idea is to get a high banker dredge combo unit with a hopper that pointed off to the left or right so the material drops off one side or the other and not the back where a motor would be typically. My reasoning behind this is because now that unit with the purchase of floats is now a dredge that classifies. I would use grizzly bars and in a 4 foot box, I would place a standard riffle tray followed by a 36 inch dream mat. The best of both worlds! They do exist but I have not seen the one I personally want yet.
There is nothing wrong with anyone’s equipment it all comes down to personal preference, budget, and what the material your after is going to do in that unit …… chunky gold in your area, you may want to skip the classifier, no need for them nuggets falling out the grizzly. I hope this helps a few of you guys understand the differences there is not really much other than hoses, a hopper and one floats.
Any questions feel free to leave a comment and we will be happy to reply!