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Ch. 1: Gold in Ceylon

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«OLD IN CEYLON.
from gold, the latter must be melted with three times its weight of silver, and then hammered or rolled out thin before it is exposed to the nitric acid, which dissolves the silver and leaves the pure gold behind.
In powdering the quartz, the process is rendered quicker by making the quartz red hot, and then plunging it in cold water. If the quartz, as is some­times the case, contain magnetic iron, dry the powdered mass thoroughly, and apply a good magnet, which will take out all the iron, and thus save an immense trouble in getting the gold pure.
Gold Washing.
From our previous extracts it will be seen, that so abundant is gold in some parts of Australia, that it has repeatedly been obtained by a kick of the foot, and by boys and men with a tin dish. These modes are, however, too primitive to be profitable, except accidentally so. A tin dish is no bad test of the soil when " prospecting." Wash the soil, pouring carefully away the mud, leaving the heavier portion at the hinder angle of the pan. Then amal­gamate the residue with a little quicksilver. If there is gold, the quicksilver on kneading it will become solid, and form a pasty mass. If the quicksilver remain liquid, and in globules, there is no gold—try again.
The Hungarian method of separating gold would answer well in Australia, where for the most part the gold is coarse and heavy. Get a long broad board, grooved longitudinally, and nail a thin strip of wood all round it, except at one end. Nail also a few strips of wood across the inside of the trough) to stop the gold, whilst the soil washes over. Give the trough a slight incline against a bank, and put your gold earth at the upper end. Pour water over this, and if there is gold it will all remain from its weight in the upper grooves, whilst the soil being light, will be washed away. Where people work independently, as in Australia, and gold is coarse, and water plentiful, this method, simple as it is, would be a very efficient one.
The following is just as simple and efficacious. Carry with you a large wooden bowl, and put into this, or dig out of the bed of the stream with the bowl, a quantity of earth; stir this well in the water, and let it rest a minute or so; then throw away the water, and repeat the operation six or seven times. The gold, with care, will remain at the bottom. A bowl with five or six pounds' weight of stuff may be washed in a few minutes, and this method will be quite as productive as the " cradle," in which, by the testimony of all parties, half the gold is wasted. The sediment may be treated with quicksilver as before, if required, and the superfluous quicksilver may be wrung out through a piece of wash-leather, leaving the gold amalgam behind. We shall by-and-by show how to recover the quicksilver.
We are here supposing the absence of mechanical contrivances, many of which are more ingenious than useful, and that the Australian miner has chiefly to depend on his wits and his arms. To such, the following easy method, well known in South America, is worth more than the "radle," and is attended with none of its inconveniences. Make a wooden gutter, the longer the better; very slightly incline it, so as to allow the water to run off; put your soil at up'per end; and if the gutter is long enough, all the soil may be washed away, leaving the gold at the top, or at most, not half way down. The run­ning water thrown on will carry off all the light soil, and the stones may be picked out by hand. The gutter, to be efficacious, should be wide, and pretty deep, and if long enough, there would be no fear of losing any gold. Such a contrivance where a party is working, would, in point of producing, beat a dozen cradles.
A shallow tub or pail makes a first-rate washing machine. The manner of using it is this:—Place the tub in the water, an inch or two under the surface, then stir up the sediment,—the running stream will carry all the light soil away, and by-and-by you will have a respectable tubfull of gold ; the stones may be picked out as before, and the remainder either separated by hand or with quicksilver.
Ch. 1: Gold in Ceylon Page of 442 Ch. 1: Gold in Ceylon
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