I went to a Gold Prospectors of America Association fair today in Deer Valley, Az. On display were a number of machines for processing placer gold. I enjoy panning, but have wanted to be able to process more material at our claims so have shopped for a drywasher or highbanker.
A drywasher jiggles and shakes material down a a sideways V-shaped sifter while blowing air up and through to blow away any light material mixed in. That way you have a concentrate at the end that you can pan – and it will have, in theory, more gold in it than if you just dumped a shovel of dirt in a pan and went from there.
A highbanker looks a lot the same except it pumps water at the top which carries the light material away down a sluice. You clean riffle pads that collect the placer gold after operating awhile.
What I learned is that you can buy a MINI HIGH BANKER for around $340, much more in my price range. I saw it run today and am impressed. I think I will wish for it for Christmas! HA