Highbanking for Gold
Highbanking has become a very popular way to prospect for gold in recent years. There are a couple different reasons for this. First, highbankers are an excellent tool since you can move quite a bit of material through them in a day of mining, and they work great at capturing gold. The other reason that highbanking has become so popular is because of the recent suction dredge ban in California. This has forced many prospects to find a different way to recover gold from the creeks and rivers throughout the states.
Highbankers work very similar to a standard sluice box; will a few extra features that make them a little better option for processing lots of material. The basic function of a highbanker is much the same, except rather than a sluice that is placed directly in the waterway; they are placed above the water near the source of material that you will be digging. Then a pump is used to force water over the riffles of the sluice box. This allows the highbanker to be set up directly at the source, and paydirt can be shoveled in with ease.
Also Read: Finding Gold with a Sluice Box
Another nice feature on most highbankers is a grizzly at the head of the unit, which screens out the larger material from entering the sluice. This really aids in the speed at which you can feed material. Rather than classifying material into buckets to be processed, the classifying takes place right when you feed the gravel into it. This really speeds up the process, allowing a miner to move the most material possible.
Properly setting up a highbanker is critical for efficient recovery of gold. It is important to check the riffles as you feed material to ensure that it is working properly. It should be discharging lighter sand and gravels out the back of the sluice, while retaining heavier minerals. You should notice the majority of black sands getting hung up in the first foot or so of the riffles. If it is making it down to the bottom third of the sluice box, you need to readjust the highbanker, or do a cleanout to make sure that the riffles are working to maximum efficiency.
The recent ban on suction dredging in California has forced miners to seek other ways of searching for gold. Highbanking is an excellent option that many have chosen as the next best option. Of course, the fundamentals of gold prospecting still apply; sample different areas with a gold pan to find rich concentrations of gold. Since a highbanker can pump water from a distance, this means they can work excellent on bench deposits that are a distance away from the main river.