Dust Today, Gold Tomorrow
Though not quite as extraordinary as say, interstellar cosmic dust or remnants from a shooting star, dust in your store can reap unexpected rewards. In day-to-day activities like buffing, polishing, grinding, and so on, specks of fine metal dust can be spread here and there around your work space. Collecting this accumulation of dust and precious metal amounts to a considerable return and will help to put money back in your pocket.
Here are a few easy practices for getting the most out of your gold recovery:
Don’t let your gold walk out the door! A bench mat is essential to keeping your work space clean and tidy. This addition to your bench can help to collect small bits of precious metals and prevents debris from falling onto the floor and getting scattered.
The sticky adhesive of a Gold Mat placed at the entrance/exit of your work area will help to capture bits of gold and precious metal, helping to avoid tracking these tiny fragments on the bottom of your shoes. In fact, some large facilities even require employees to change their shoes when going in and out of their work spaces!
In order to maximize your returns, it is important to keep different grades of metal scraps separated for refining.
- Save cutoff/separating wheel pieces, old flex-shaft buffs, brushes, etc. and throw them in with the floor sweeps.
- Designate filings and trimmings from stone setting and seat cutting, for example, as clean filings.
- Use your bench mat to collect finishing wheel debris, buffings, pumice wheel, and other pre-finishing wheel debris. Keep this separate from your clean filings.
- Save old buffing wheels, used sand paper, or anything else that you think might contain gold…it probably does.
- Rather than a traditional vacuum cleaner, use a dust
collector with disposable bags to vacuum shop floors. This ensures the collection of 99.9% of debris and traps particles down to 0.3 microns in size in its collection chambers. Save the filled bags and keep them with your floor sweeps. These bags can contain a substantial amount of gold in the form of small solder snippings, filings, cut off disc powders, small pieces from ring sizings, etc. and can be sent to your refiner.
- Vacuum your buffer daily. It helps to keep the shop neat and decreases buffing dust from falling to the floor and being lost.
- Use a rinse bucket to rinse items coming from the ultrasonic. Also, save your ultrasonic solution, settle out, and pour off the clear top liquids. The sludge can be dried out and returned to your refiner with the buffing dust. Yield is typically about the same as buffing dust.
Don’t let your gold wash down the drain. By investing in a drain sweeper, you can easily capture precious metal sediment that would otherwise be flushed down the pipes. In fact, a Stuller tools study revealed that after nearly six weeks of using the drain sweeper, .082 oz. of gold was recovered, equating to roughly $77.67 at $947.25 gold. A product like this will pay for itself in no time.
- If you cast, rinse out your quench tank/bucket and pour off the suspended used investment. Keep the bottom sludge and put it in with the floor sweeps. This can contain a good amount of gold debris.
- Save old melting and casting crucibles and return with the floor sweeps as well; these also contain a good amount of finely divided gold particles.
How to Maximize Returns
- Save your filters, including those from air conditioners, dehumidifiers, and dust collectors. These can contain a good amount of fine gold dust from buffing.
- Segregate gold by karat from ring sizings, etc. If kept separate, you can remelt and roll these pieces out to make sizing stock, wire, etc.
- You’ll get a higher return from gold buyers if the karatage of your gold bits is known and not mixed.
- Also, save gold-filled and gold-plated pieces, along with silver watch batteries (throw out NiCd batteries, they have no value). These may have a very small amount of gold, but anything saved helps to pay the bills.
Approximate Gold Recovery Yields
Clean Filings: Approximately 40% fine gold by weight
Dirty Bench Sweeps: Approximately 5-20% fine gold by weight
Buffing Dust: Approximately 2% fine gold by weight
Floor Sweeps: (Including vacuum cleaner bags): Approximately 1% by weight
How do you get the most out of your gold recovery efforts? Share your wealth of knowledge by posting in the comments below!