One of our best upgrades in recent years want the addition of this shaker table to our gold cleanup room. We had been using a batch centrifugal concentrator, which worked very well, but could only hold about 70ozt per batch, and had quite a bit of mob/demob time per batch. So we only used it for larger runs, and never for sample processing.
With the GoldTron, we can quickly and easily run a one gallon of concentrate from a sample area up to and beyond hundreds of gallons of material. We can breakout the batches quickly or blend them all together. It’s as easy as letting the hopper clear and swapping the collection buckets.
Continuous cleanup is the way to go if you have a lot of concentrates, and if you want to go through them quickly and keep track of many batches.
This table is very easy to use. It does require more tweaks, attention, and maintenance than the batch bowl we had been using, but the processing speed is so much faster and doing the adjustments while is actually enjoyable most of the time.
Major drawbacks include the requirement for very clean water and a constant water pressure. This is not a challenge for everyone, but for us who get our cleanup water from a pond with biomass, it has been an issue. We managed to hobble together a fine enough filter (20 micron is plenty) with enough flow to not bog down our pump. Next year we will bring up a large pool or spa filer and housing, which should solve this issue. Without clean water, little stuff would clog all the little jets, which we would clear by quickly turning up then down the flow on that jet.
The table likes a consistent flow of material, no surging. This is accomplished by the hopper and screw, with careful monitoring by the operator. With clean water, we found that one person could both feed the machine and keep the jets adjusted properly.
Like all tables, there are differing strategies on how clean to get the top, middle, and bottom outputs. We always try to keep all gold out of the bottom. Sometimes we run the top dirty, so there is little to no gold in the middle. Sometimes we run the top clean (and the GoldTron gets it very clean); and leave the middle dirty, then rerun it later, with different jet settings.
We always screen our material to 1/8″ before feeding it in, the gold we get from the Bering Sea is small and rarely has pieces over this size. The plus 1/8″ is easy to pan, especially if we screen off the 1/4″ and pan that separate. The table cuts the material into three sizes, and there are different options for which sizes these are. One size goes to the right side of the table, another to the left side. The larger size goes across a mini sluice. We were skeptical about this sluice at first, but are happy with the outcome. The water bar for the sluice could use some improvement, the water flow is uneven.
All in all, we are very pleased with this shaker table. It’s not for everyone. First, you need to actually get enough gold for the $15k to $18k price tag, plus shipping. Don’t spend more than 5% of your annual production on cleanup. If you have more time than gold, then use a $100 cleanup sluice, $200 in screens, and $50 in pans; then work almost as well, but take a lot more time and skill. But if you have a large amount of concentrates that you need to work through frequently and quickly, without needing panning skills and strenuous/tedious panning, then maybe the GoldTron is for you.
We should have bought one sooner.