RECOVERY OF GOLD WITH RESPECT TO THE ANGLE OF INCLINATION OF THE SLUICE BOX. CASE STUDY: ARTISANAL GOLD MINING ESEKA CAMEROON
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The mining of gold goes a long way in Cameroon and measuring the living conditions of its citizens, but there is a lot of negligence in this sector as many artisanal miners do not put in place proper methods to recover much gold.
This project is to describe artisanal gold mining by improving knowledge on the angle of inclination of the sluice box apparatus and also provide engineering solutions on how to improve artisanal gold mining in Eseka by applying theoretical knowledge in real life situations.
This project will focus on sluicing and the sluice box. Varying angles of inclinations were used, which were 18o, 10o, 9o, 12o, 6o.1-3 tons of alluvium were used for each angle of inclination. Water through the water pump and pies were onto the sluice box and sluicing done. Gold particles were then trapped at the carpet. Sluicing uses water to wash alluvium down a series of angled platforms in a sluice box made of wood placed at an inclined angle to facilitate downward movement of and washing to trap gold sediments in the carpet placed along the sluice box. The best angle of inclination was 110 with a recovery of 5.51%. Hence, varying and measuring recovery will shed light on the best possible angle on which to place the sluice box. It is also important to note the characteristics of alluvium that host gold and which will give a high percentage recovery.
There is a range of values for sluice box angles from 5° to 18° that are used by artisans to recover gold. Most of them do not know the values of such angles but measure them by intuition and by using past knowledge or changing one parameter over time which at the end influences the angle and hence gold recovery.
Key words: gold recovery, angle of inclination, sluicing, indigenous knowledge
Further reading: Engineering project topics with materials
Not all mining is done by large Companies deep below the ground or with expensive machinery in large open pits. Worldwide millions of people labor with primitive tools, picks, shovels, sluice box and pans to extract valuable natural resources from the earth. This is workforce of artisanal and small scale miners commonly itinerant, without much education and training. In Cameroon artisanal mining is very important particularly in the number of people employed. Artisanal mining refers to informal mining activities carried out using low technology or with minimal machinery. Artisanal mining is also called small scale mining and is conducted by a group of people, individual miners, so it plays a crucial role in poverty alleviation and rural development (Richard 1995). It is therefore essential to minimize the benefits brought by recovering gold with respect to the angle of the sluice box enabled by small scale mining. Sluice box have been use for gold recovery for over thousand years and is still been use in small scale gold mining operation.
In Cameroon at present, over 200 gold miners are involved in small scale operations, a majority of whom rely on this sluice box for the recovery of gold. There is a difference between artisanal mining and small scale mining most often people get confused, artisanal mining is defined as encompassing all non mechanized , low output extraction of minerals carried out by individuals and small groups frequently on intermittent basis, employing essentially traditional manual techniques(Noetstaller 1995) while small scale mining is mining by individuals, groups families or cooperatives with minimal mechanization often in the informal ( illegal) sector of the market (Emmanuel 2017) According to the mining code of Cameroon ( revised edition 2016) artisanal mining is mining involved in extracting and concentrating mineral substances by means of manual and less mechanized methods and techniques. Aside from supporting thousands of jobs, the mining industry provides raw materials, minerals and metals critical to our economy. They provide the foundation for modern living, innovation and engineering achievements. Today gold still occupies an important place on our culture and society, we use it to make our most prized objects like wedding rings, Olympic medals, money, jewelry, Oscars, Grammys, Crucifixes, arts and many more.
The focus on our work will be on placer deposits, deposits formed by the mechanical concentration of minerals from weathered debris (Adam 1960). The area of this project is artisanal mining of alluvial gold deposits in ESEKE, centre region Cameroon.
This study sets out to identify methods capable now or in the nearest future of recovering gold traditionally lost by placer gold mines and artisanal miners. The project will focus on the sluice box, varying the best angle of inclination will trap much gold grains to improve on recovery. Therefore varying and measuring recovery will show the best angle to trap gold grains. It is also important to know the characteristics of alluvium that host gold and which will give the best percentage recovery.
Varying the angle of inclination of the sluice box at different intervals of sediments placed in the box and measuring the percentage of the gold recovered at each interval to obtain the highest recovery will provide an optimum angle of inclination of the box. This project will help in the development of engineering solution to optimize gold based on indigenous knowledge and how to improve the method and recovery.
What is the best angle of inclination on the sluice box to recover gold?
How can I calculate the amount of gold recovered?
The angle of inclination of the sluice box and the type of carpets used are some of the factors that will determine the percentage of gold from the sluice box. Other factors include; acceleration due to gravity of sediments, water pressure and velocity, rate of washing manually by the worker, pulp density and other factors like man power and time. All this will be kept constant to determine the optimum angle of inclination of the sluice box
The main objective of this project is to investigate how gold can be recovered with respect to the angle of inclination of the sluice box.
To achieve the general objective, the following specific objectives have to be fulfilled.
- Obtain the angle of inclination of the sluice box that produces a high recovery of gold grains.
- Develop engineering solution to optimize gold recovery based on indigenous knowledge.