Sluice boxes have been used in one form or another for thousands of years. It has always been the case that basic gold panning methods worked well for recovering gold, but a sluice box will recover considerably more gold.
Sluice boxes use riffles to capture and hold find gold that is shoveled into the sluice box
. Riffles do a great job of slowing the gold down, but some type of matting underneath the riffles is required to hold the gold and help prevent it from blowing out the bottom.
Many of the early set-ups just used carpet material underneath of the riffles in a sluice box, and this works fairly well. However, newer materials in recent years have helped to improve recovery rates.
Spaghetti-style matting is a great addition to any sluice box that will significantly increase recovery rates. The small loops allow small flakes of gold to easily get stuck, while finer sands will not get overloaded. It works efficiently with the riffles. Most prospectors have upgraded their old carpet matting to this higher quality spaghetti matting and are finding better recovery rates with it.
Another advantage of spaghetti matting is that it is relatively easy to clean out. When finished sluicing for the day, carefully remove the matting and shake it out in a bucket to release the concentrates.
Regardless of the sluice box matting, you will find better fine gold recovery by classifying your material so only small material is run through the sluice box. If you are mining in an area with considerable fine gold is present then consider buying a good set of classifiers.
Quality matting is important not only in a basic sluice box, but also for the sluice on a suction dredge. It is a good idea to experiment with different water flows, angles of the sluice box, riffle types, and different matting to increase the fine gold recovery.
To prevent clogging of the riffles and matting, donít feed the riffles to fast. Slowly add gravel into the head of the sluice to allow the small gold to get down into the matting. Shoveling material in too quickly will make small gold blow out the back of the sluice and not work properly through riffles.
Also Read: Suction Dredging for Gold
And: Sluice Box Cleanup