Sunny Corner- Gold, amalgam and silver perhaps?

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All,
Just got back from my first and not last visit to Sunny Corner S.F.
Okay the Goldmonster is still waiting to serve up an Au target but despite the really high creek levels and enthusiastic mozzies I managed to score a little colour and not just on the back of my neck but also in the pan. It was a lot of work for some joyful specs and I am sure I could certainly improve my reading of the creek bank and improve my panning technique and speed - seems to take forever to pan through the last couple of tablespoons of concentrate. Okay so yes despite this some colour made it into, and stayed, in the pan.
Now I'm hoping for some sage advice.
Firstly, the biggest flakes I found were amalgam pieces which not wanting to deal with I threw back. Now now, I kept the lead shot but did practice catch and release with the amalgam. I haven't decided if this is polluting or sharing the love. Opinion welcome. Secondly, in amongst the concentrates I sniffed up and brought home are gold specs and one small picker but also grey metallic flakes and a few bright shiny silvery specs and wiry bits (tiny). So, does amalgam also come very bright or is it perhaps silver?
And finally what the hell do I do (safely) with the amalgam specs I inadvertently brought home.
Cheers
 
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if it really is Amalgam then it is about 50% gold that your throwing back, just keep it in a container with water in it to at least cover the Amalgam and nothing can go wrong, eventually when you have a good amount get someone with a retort to help you remove the mercury and leave the gold which can be melted into a gold bar

like this
IMG_20151113_142219.jpg
 
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Hoolly Doolly mate. It'll take me about 25 years at my current pace to collect enough amalgam to get an ingot that big. By that time my knees will have clapped out, my back will be cactus and I won't remember what that jar full of water and metallic bits is for. Of course if my memory wasn't too fried I would have enough gold to finally get my remaining teeth capped.
So now I have to figure out how to separate the clean gold specs from the grey half and halfers. Do you reckon the shiny silver stuff is amalgam too?.
 
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basically if you can break it up with your fingers it is amalgam, (a bit like play doh) and you should be able to mould it back together with you fingers, (do all this with rubber/plastic glove on please) remember mercury is liquid at room temp and just sucks up the gold like magic and holds it, the gold in the mercury wont even look like gold but if you have for example got 10 grams of amalgam it will be aprox 5 grams of gold in there

if it won't break up reasonably easy then I think is is NOT amalgam

also I don't know how you have clean gold specks in amongst the grey half and halfers if it is really amalgam?
 
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Hmm, okay thanks. That's really helpful. Okay this stuff is not big enough to use fingers so I will try it with some forceps. Maybe the silvery stuff is mostly mercury and not solid metal, again I need to get out the forceps and mechanically test it.
Sorry, my poor description re the gold specs amongst the half and halfers (amalgam). The gold bits are in my concentrates along with sand, black sand, lead shot, garnet or ruby tin, the shiny silvery bits and the duller silver grey bits I thought was amalgam. But one thing for sure, all these specs are heavy. I will refine the concentrates tomorrow and do some investigating under a magnifying glass.
 
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All,
Just got back from my first and not last visit to Sunny Corner S.F.
Okay the Goldmonster is still waiting to serve up an Au target but despite the really high creek levels and enthusiastic mozzies I managed to score a little colour and not just on the back of my neck but also in the pan. It was a lot of work for some joyful specs and I am sure I could certainly improve my reading of the creek bank and improve my panning technique and speed - seems to take forever to pan through the last couple of tablespoons of concentrate. Okay so yes despite this some colour made it into, and stayed, in the pan.
Now I'm hoping for some sage advice.
Firstly, the biggest flakes I found were amalgam pieces which not wanting to deal with I threw back. Now now, I kept the lead shot but did practice catch and release with the amalgam. I haven't decided if this is polluting or sharing the love. Opinion welcome. Secondly, in amongst the concentrates I sniffed up and brought home are gold specs and one small picker but also grey metallic flakes and a few bright shiny silvery specs and wiry bits (tiny). So, does amalgam also come very bright or is it perhaps silver?
And finally what the hell do I do (safely) with the amalgam specs I inadvertently brought home.
Cheers
Ahhh, sunny corner.

How I miss the place! Some of the best places to fossick, especially in the summertime!
 
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All,
Just got back from my first and not last visit to Sunny Corner S.F.
Okay the Goldmonster is still waiting to serve up an Au target but despite the really high creek levels and enthusiastic mozzies I managed to score a little colour and not just on the back of my neck but also in the pan. It was a lot of work for some joyful specs and I am sure I could certainly improve my reading of the creek bank and improve my panning technique and speed - seems to take forever to pan through the last couple of tablespoons of concentrate. Okay so yes despite this some colour made it into, and stayed, in the pan.
Now I'm hoping for some sage advice.
Firstly, the biggest flakes I found were amalgam pieces which not wanting to deal with I threw back. Now now, I kept the lead shot but did practice catch and release with the amalgam. I haven't decided if this is polluting or sharing the love. Opinion welcome. Secondly, in amongst the concentrates I sniffed up and brought home are gold specs and one small picker but also grey metallic flakes and a few bright shiny silvery specs and wiry bits (tiny). So, does amalgam also come very bright or is it perhaps silver?
And finally what the hell do I do (safely) with the amalgam specs I inadvertently brought home.
Cheers
I have never encountered alluvial silver - probably almost unknown (if not unknown). Some try and flog alluvial silver nuggets on ebay, but I suspect they are not truly alluvial if even natural (silver oxidises too rapidly in the atmosphere or streams). Best not to return amalgam or mercury into the creek (gets into fish - e.g. should not eat too many from Eildon reservoir). I realise the amount you found was insignificant, especially compared to the amount lost in creeks during the goldrushes (90 tonnes in Victoria)? Does less damage in garbage in principle though. Although metallic mercury is poisonous it is not extremely toxic unless swallowed, amalgam probably less so - methyl mercury is the real killer (and about a third of metallic mercury in streams will have converted to forms like methyl mercury since the goldrushes).
 
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Sunny Corner, is that the timber planting/logging area ?
Yes it is. There is a fair bit of harvesting activities at the mo which presents both opportunity and obstruction. A lot of turned over ground but at present a lot of forestry road closures making access not permitted.
 
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I have never encountered alluvial silver - probably almost unknown (if not unknown). Some try and flog alluvial silver nuggets on ebay, but I suspect they are not truly alluvial if even natural (silver oxidises too rapidly in the atmosphere or streams). Best not to return amalgam or mercury into the creek (gets into fish - e.g. should not eat too many from Eildon reservoir). I realise the amount you found was insignificant, especially compared to the amount lost in creeks during the goldrushes (90 tonnes in Victoria)? Does less damage in garbage in principle though. Although metallic mercury is poisonous it is not extremely toxic unless swallowed, amalgam probably less so - methyl mercury is the real killer (and about a third of metallic mercury in streams will have converted to forms like methyl mercury since the goldrushes).
Okay thanks Goldierocks, point taken, no more catch and release. But removing tiny amounts of amalgam some possibly with methylated molecules and taking back home kinda sounds risky. I assume methyl mercury was the Minimata culprit in Japan. Don't really want to put myself or my family at risk and there is the question of safe disposal. This mercury business reminds me of a time on the coast when on a lovely rock platform I came across a high school teacher with his students measuring pH, DO and temperature of the tidal pools. Teenagers with inadequate WHS and big mercury thermometers in Rocky environments is not a good mix. Mercury contaminated rock pools all over the place!!!
 
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I have never encountered alluvial silver - probably almost unknown (if not unknown). Some try and flog alluvial silver nuggets on ebay, but I suspect they are not truly alluvial if even natural (silver oxidises too rapidly in the atmosphere or streams). Best not to return amalgam or mercury into the creek (gets into fish - e.g. should not eat too many from Eildon reservoir). I realise the amount you found was insignificant, especially compared to the amount lost in creeks during the goldrushes (90 tonnes in Victoria)? Does less damage in garbage in principle though. Although metallic mercury is poisonous it is not extremely toxic unless swallowed, amalgam probably less so - methyl mercury is the real killer (and about a third of metallic mercury in streams will have converted to forms like methyl mercury since the goldrushes).
Um I could be wrong but I think they use to mine Silver on the Ringarooma river in Tasmania and I am pretty sure they mined it by high pressure and volume water jets breaking up the old paleo deposits and sluicing the mud. But okay this shiny stuff probably metallic mercury not silver. It's only tiny in amongst the sand.
 
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Okay thanks Goldierocks, point taken, no more catch and release. But removing tiny amounts of amalgam some possibly with methylated molecules and taking back home kinda sounds risky. I assume methyl mercury was the Minimata culprit in Japan. Don't really want to put myself or my family at risk and there is the question of safe disposal. This mercury business reminds me of a time on the coast when on a lovely rock platform I came across a high school teacher with his students measuring pH, DO and temperature of the tidal pools. Teenagers with inadequate WHS and big mercury thermometers in Rocky environments is not a good mix. Mercury contaminated rock pools all over the place!!!
Yes.minimata disease was caused by methyl mercury (directly released by industry, although bacteria convert metallic mercury to native mercury in streams). It was ingested by eating fish, not drinking water (negligible solubility in water). Even some fish sold in Australian shops can have enough mercury to cause birth defects (mostly big predators like shark and swordfish, tuna and bass). No, amalgam or native mercury are unlikely to have any significant methyl mercury attached. You won't recognize it but it is likely to be extremely low where gold and native mercury metal accumulate in streams - far more likely in organic-rich muds. Most modern thermometers do not contain mercury, but coloured alcohol, although thermometers that contain any liquids are rare nowadays (surprised if still used in science labs).
 
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Um I could be wrong but I think they use to mine Silver on the Ringarooma river in Tasmania and I am pretty sure they mined it by high pressure and volume water jets breaking up the old paleo deposits and sluicing the mud. But okay this shiny stuff probably metallic mercury not silver. It's only tiny in amongst the sand.
I doubt that Ringarooma River has alluvial silver - I have never heard of or seen alluvial silver in more than 55 years as a geologist who works in metal exploration (Ringarooma was mined for alluvial tin). It is why silverware has to be polished - silver-plated utensils rapidly turn black on exposure to air.
 
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Yes.minimata disease was caused by methyl mercury (directly released by industry, although bacteria convert metallic mercury to native mercury in streams). It was ingested by eating fish, not drinking water (negligible solubility in water). Even some fish sold in Australian shops can have enough mercury to cause birth defects (mostly big predators like shark and swordfish, tuna and bass). No, amalgam or native mercury are unlikely to have any significant methyl mercury attached. You won't recognize it but it is likely to be extremely low where gold and native mercury metal accumulate in streams - far more likely in organic-rich muds. Most modern thermometers do not contain mercury, but coloured alcohol, although thermometers that contain any liquids are rare nowadays (surprised if still used in science labs).
Right, so the methyl mercury gets into the food web at the microbial level and bioaccumulates, so on a completely different path to the metallic species. Good to know. Yeah I remember a lot of concern when there was talk of dredging Cooks River and Alexandria Canal because of the heavy metal muds. Yep its great that todays thermometers are alcohol or digital although digital units can pose WHS risks as many use button batteries which though not containing mercury have caused the death and injury of too many small children who ingested them. 20 odd years ago big glass mercury thermometers in High schools and universities was pretty commonplace.
 
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Right, so the methyl mercury gets into the food web at the microbial level and bioaccumulates, so on a completely different path to the metallic species. Good to know. Yeah I remember a lot of concern when there was talk of dredging Cooks River and Alexandria Canal because of the heavy metal muds. Yep its great that todays thermometers are alcohol or digital although digital units can pose WHS risks as many use button batteries which though not containing mercury have caused the death and injury of too many small children who ingested them. 20 odd years ago big glass mercury thermometers in High schools and universities was pretty commonplace.
yes re methyl mercury. Muds in Yarra mouth a similar issue. I have an old (25 cm) mercury-glass thermometer still. Batteries of all types are an issue - mercury is not the only nasty in them! We need better recycling of them.
Re methyl mercury toxicity. A researcher on mercury spilled a few drops on her latex lab glove (they look impermeable but have microscopic holes - better to use nitrile gloves). Weeks later she felt dizzy and suspected mercury poisoning. They immediately started treatment, but once mercury is in your blood there is no complete cure. She continued to worsen and died 6 months later.

I don't think many people on this site realise just how toxic mercury is (mercury and arsenic are two of the elements that your body does not need even in trace amounts (and such elements are invariably toxic). . Although metallic mercury is not nearly as toxic as methyl mercury it is still toxic, and if it lodges in your gut the bacterial flora there convert it to methyl mercury. The vapour from heating metallic mercury is also highly toxic. Brain damage and birth defects at the least. I would not hold it in my hand as I see people doing. It poisons Brazilian artisan gold miners. Arsenic is killing millions on the Brahmaputra delta - another nasty associated with gold. White arsenic from past roasting of gold ores in northern Victoria sometimes kills cattle when it leaches into dams, but lower long-term concentrations as in drinking water cause cancer ("black rain")

Bit gruesome I know, but if the government can give us the grim reaper and cancer photos on cigarettes, this might prevent poisoning of a gold prospector. I have seen houses in the Victorian Alps that draw their drinking water from mine adits, never having had the water analysed (Harrietville, Corryong).

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Just a friendly reminder:
⚠️ Warning - Restricted hazardous chemicals/dangerous goods use or discussion isn't endorsed by Forum Management. Individuals using any hazardous chemicals/dangerous goods do so at their own risk/s and need to ensure their own legislative compliance.
Footnote: the use of mercury in NSW Gold Mining & Recovery/Processing is illegal, even in small scale, artisanal type set ups.
On 14 January 2022, a CCO was issued by the EPA under sections 11 and 12 of the (Environmentally Hazardous Chemicals) Act. This CCO prohibits certain prescribed activities in respect of mercury and mercury compounds, being declared chemical wastes under the Act. The CCO also implements the Minamata Convention on Mercury and is necessary to prevent or minimise any adverse effects of mercury on the environment.

Terms of the CCO

  • use of mercury compounds in a new facility is prohibited
  • use of mercury and mercury compounds in artisanal and small-scale gold mining and processing is prohibited
  • discharge of mercury and mercury compounds from artisanal and small-scale gold mining and processing is prohibited.
 
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All,
Just got back from my first and not last visit to Sunny Corner S.F.
Okay the Goldmonster is still waiting to serve up an Au target but despite the really high creek levels and enthusiastic mozzies I managed to score a little colour and not just on the back of my neck but also in the pan. It was a lot of work for some joyful specs and I am sure I could certainly improve my reading of the creek bank and improve my panning technique and speed - seems to take forever to pan through the last couple of tablespoons of concentrate. Okay so yes despite this some colour made it into, and stayed, in the pan.
Now I'm hoping for some sage advice.
Firstly, the biggest flakes I found were amalgam pieces which not wanting to deal with I threw back. Now now, I kept the lead shot but did practice catch and release with the amalgam. I haven't decided if this is polluting or sharing the love. Opinion welcome. Secondly, in amongst the concentrates I sniffed up and brought home are gold specs and one small picker but also grey metallic flakes and a few bright shiny silvery specs and wiry bits (tiny). So, does amalgam also come very bright or is it perhaps silver?
And finally what the hell do I do (safely) with the amalgam specs I inadvertently brought home.
Cheers

Sunny Corner is an interesting place.On my last visit there many years ago I found a spot where the contents of crucibles from a smelter had been discarded.
The residue was jet black and had the appearance of volcanic glass.
I found a few fragments free from cracks and polished them up on my lapidary wheels.They made excellent cabishons and, to the naked eye, were indistinguishable from obsidian.
 

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Flux.jpg

This is after it has been poured and cooled. It doesn't really need polishing but this one broke 😂
 

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