The Classifier

The Classifier

A classifier is a device that is used to screen out large and usually worthless rock into more manageable and hopefully more profitable gravels. Classifiers usually come as standard within gold panning kits. Larger rocks rarely contain gold (although it can be stuck to them), most of the gold will be found embedded within the smaller gravels. Classifiers can screen out rocks and pebbles from a diameter of 1/4 of an inch all the way down to sixteenths of an inch and below (always be sure to place all discarded materials in a single pile if possible and run over it at the end of the day with a metal detector if you have one, you don’t want to be throwing away large nuggets). Classifying gravels is ideal if you are testing out an area of ground to see if it contains gold, you can fill several large buckets with gravel and bring them home with you for panning –  always remember to mark each bucket and take note of where the gravels were taken from that are in that bucket ;).

Gold prospecting Classifier

Gold prospecting Classifier

 

Classifying gravels before panning can save you a lot of time and hassle – classifiying before panning increases the efficiency of the pan and saves you the hassle of picking out the larger rocks. Classifiying before sluicing increases the efficiency of the sluice box – larger rocks and stones passing through a sluice box interrupt the flow patterns of the passing water and can kick gold out of its position behind the riffles.

Most classifiers will slot into each other one on top of the other. This way you can place a shovel full of material into the top classifier, smaller particles will pass down through it and be screened into smaller particles by the classifier below it and so on and so on. The classifiers will need to be turned in quick twisting motions to ensure they gravels pass down through them. The stacking of classifiers can be seen in the image below –

Gold prospecting Classifiers stacked

Gold prospecting Classifiers stacked

 

Most gold prospectors will place a large empty painting bucket beneath a classifier, that way they can gather a lot of material in the bucket and when full, they can pass it slowly through the sluice box or bring the contents home and pan it all out. I would recommend this process to prospectors that are checking new locations in their area, if you find gold after panning you can return at a later date with your sluice box. Find out more about these and the rest of the basic gold prospecting equipment here – Gold panning Kit.

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