Artisanal miners can be found around the world outnumbering the industrial mining population 14 to 1. From panning for gold in a stream to operating their own claim with their own elaborate processing system. Whether it is done as a hobby or a full-time job one thing is for certain: artisanal mining is a way of life for millions of people.
In the foothills of Arizona, an artisanal miner was looking to recover more from his efforts extracting gold and silver from his claim. For more than 40 years, the small-scale miner has cycled through every piece of technology he could get his hands on, attempting to adjust his process to maximize profit with various ore sources. The miner had a system in place consisting of a set of crushers to first reduce the ore size to 1-inch minus and then to ⅜ minus. The crushers are followed by a rotary impact mill outputting 30 mesh minus. The VIBRA-DRUM® Grinding Drum was placed at this point in the process outputting 300 mesh minus before sending material to the slurry tank and finally a centrifuge or wavetable for concentration depending on the ore type.
Sharing his new system with his fellow mining artisans, allowing them to test one ton of ore samples through his newly improved system, they have steadily seen an increase in recovery of up to 300%. The miner himself has seen a recovery increase from 35% to 93% by fire assay of gold and silver with a feed rate of 300 pounds per hour into the GK 2×6 mill.
When relaying his experience to his General Kinematics engineer he boasted:
“I have increased the recovery of my small one-man operation enough to recover the total cost of my VIBRA-DRUM® unit in less than one month.
I am a very happy little miner.”
The secret to success and reason for improved recovery after incorporating the VIBRA-DRUM® was attributed to reduced flattening in the grains of gold and silver. Subsequently, this leads to less float off in the downstream gravity concentrators caused by other forms of micro grinding such as ball mills.
On the results the miner has seen thus far, he remarked:
“I would have not believed this possible in my experience and would have thought such a claim to be not founded in reality but for me, it is now my new normal expectation for my operation.”