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Roger's Gold Page



This web page is bening writen and dedicated to the memory of a dear friend and mentor William (Scrappy) Collins, who not only shered his friend ship with a young wet behind the ears soldier but passed on a wealth of knowledge about gold minning. He inflicted me with gold fever and it for ever changed my life and ensured it to be a most enjoyable one. Thanks Scrapy for every thing. You may read of how scrapy and I met by going to ( My frist intro to gold) on this web page.


Born October 31,1943 in Fleming co Ky. to the Parents of Waltham B. and Ruby B. Clark. Most of my child hood days were spent in and around the location of Maysville Ky.After compleating High school at Mason Co. High I intered the United States Air Force On the 28 day of September 1962. After basic training I was stationed at Maxwell A.F.B. at Montgomery Alabama,Their I met my frist wife Katherine s.Wyatt. We were married on June6 1965.On Sept.6 1966 we were blessed with the birth of a beautifull daughter, Kimberly Ann Clark. Shortly their after I recieved orders for Vietnam.After returning from Vietnam I was station in Marquet Mi. at K.I. Sawyer A.F.B.I arived their just befor Christmass 1968 spent two years their then moved to Kentucky In 1970.In 1972 MY frist wife and I proceded to get a divorce.With in the next year I had met my second wife and then were married Nov 1 1974 we were blessed with two children Ronnie and Tiffany,at the present time I live in Winchester Ky and I,m 55 years old.I retired from the Ky.Army National Guard with 31 years service and am also retired from Southern States coop. At present I'm working on another retirement with Military Affairs Of Kentucky


It was a cool foggy morning in late febuary of 1963;I was doing some late bowhunting just off the Coosa River in the kimberly Clark leas holdings just south west of Rockford Al.The air was dry and crisp, with no breeze at all,the hardwood trees that stood before me were quite and serene. You could hear squirrels chattering 100 meters or more with ease.As the darkness started to turn into the light of the early morning I picked up the movement of a young doe, easing her way from tree to tree,feeding on acorns as she went.At one point she was with in 20ft of me,By the time she had gone out of my sight,the sun had become bull blown in the eastern sky. I settled in under a big oak tree to wait for a big buck that I had seen in the area.

While sitting their I thought to myself,that I had never seen it so quite before,then all of a sudden the ground shook,and a gust of wind took my hat off ,then I heard the thunderous sound of an explosion. Rocks and debri rain down for what seemed like a minute or so. after sitting their for a while and regaining my wits,I came to the Conlusion that wherever that blast was ,someone could be injured or killed.

After a minute or so I got up and dusted myself off and started off in the direction of the blast.I walked very slowly over the end of the ridge point that I was on,not knowing what caused the blast it was in my mine that their could be another so I proceded very deliberit with every step, expecting the worst.After two or three hundred yards of walking I came to a flat bench about half way down the hill,so I stoped to rest a little and survey the area.After standing, looking, and listing forabout five minutes, I started to pick up some faint sounds in the ravine ,which lay another two hundred or so yards down the slope a head of me.I continue to move very slowly down the hill and the sounds grew louder with each step,but now the sounds became somewhat fimilar and sounded like rocks being shovled into a wheelbarrow.As I got closer I began to make out the shape of a man doing just that,shoveling dirt and rock into a metal contraption with legs on it and water running through it.

Not knowing what this man was doing,I continued down to wher he could see me. After gaining his attention, I ask him,are you all right mister? and he said " sure why wouldn't I be"?I said " well I heard that explosion and I though some one might be hurt ".He said ," Shucks boy that little explosion was mine."I aske him what kind of work he was doing .He chuckled to himself,shook his head and said gold mining son; ain't you ever seen anybody mine gold before?

Well I explained to the man ,I didn't know that their was any gold left and that I never really though about it.We talked about it for a few minutes and we finaly got around to introducing ourselvesto each other."William Collins is the name" He said "Folkes around here just call me Scrappy Collins" I shook is hand, told him mine. Scrappy told me that if I wanted to see what gold look like,be back there around 4:O'clock and he would be cleaning up(what ever that ment)So with that I picked up my gear and moved off back into the woods and continued my hunt.

Througout the rest of that day I could not get my mine off the old gentlement that I had met. How genuine and sincere he was and so friendly. as the day worne on I filled with excitement that 4:O'clock was growing near and that in a few moments I may get to see something that most men only get to dream about.Gold the real thing.

At 4:O'clock sharp I walked into his camp and he hollered and said that I was just in time that he was runing the last few shovels full of dirt through the highbanker and in just another minute or two he cut off his engine.

As I walked over to where he was working on his equipment he told me to hand him a tub, (#2 wash tub maid of metal) that was setting on the ground and I did. With out hesitation he went right to work taking apart his machine.He took out what he called the riffle section and washed in the tup.then then suddenly he said ,look here son now that is what gold looks like! Bending over I looked in to the top porion of the box and saw some of the most beautiful yellow metal that I had ever seen.Their were several pices the size of a dime and several more close to half that size.After he picked out all that he could with his fingers , He emptied the rest of what he called "concentrates" into the tub.Then he took his tub and went down to a small creek ,from which he pumped his water and begain to work with his cons,screening them down and looking for nuggets as he went. He found a couple more and some pickers,as he called them. When he got to the bottom of each pan their would be a lot of real fine gold mixed with black sand and it would cover a about falf the bottom of the pan after He finished he said, looked like he had about three ounces,maby a little more.Well needless to say I wanted to find out more about this gold business and I asked him how would a person go about getting in to this gold mining.

He kinda stared off into the surrounding woods,like he was in deep though.I didn't say a word for a minute or so, hoping that I had not offended him, I just stood their waiting for a reply. Finaly he turned to me and ask if I was a hard worker. I told him that I was.then he ask ifI was serious about learning? Again I answered yes.He said he would give me a try because he could use the helpbut their would not be any pay,it would be a trade of,he would teach me about gold and I would work.I agreed.

AT this time I was in the air force and with the way I workedat night I could meet him every day except Sunday.That was Fine with Scrappy because he did not work on Sunday he went to church.The next morning I showed bright and early.Scrappyhad told me how to find the little trail so that I could drive whithin a 100 yard of the site.We worked hard all day,dinner time came and went and be fore you knew it,it was 4:30 in the afternoon and we was shutting down.when the cleanup started,it was about the same as the day before.alot of nuggetsand pickers were found,but this time I had a lot to do with putting them their,and that made me realize,that the only eyes to ever see that goldwere mine and Scrappy's and of course the eyes of the one whoput it their(Gods).That maid it perty special to me that day and still and still dose.

Well I worked like that for about 4 or 5 mounths and I realy had learned alot .severals times I had ran things by My self,when Scrappy was feeling bad with a cold or something.One day He said that I was catching on real good and that I was going to be a frist rate miner someday, and with that he handed me a little bottle and said "Heres your cut you've earned it",and from that day forth I got and even split.

I worked like that Until September of 1966 when I got orders for Vietnam and had to ship out. I never saw scrappy after that,He Passed away durning the time I was in Vietnam, but I'll allways remember his wit,his warmth,and his valued friend ship and most of all the knowledge that he handed down to avery young man , who had found a dream. Roger Clark


The modern day prospector and placer gold miner is becoming aware of the value of the black sand concentrates he finds in his sluice box, rocker box,dredge, dry washer,pan or whatever method used to seperate the gold from the waist rock,sand orgravel. Wher once it was though to be a nuisance and often discarded as of little value,it is now recognized that they may be a major source of the gold available in a placer operation. The old time prospectors threw away fortunes Because they didn't know a large proportion of the gold was in the black sand concentrates.

The practical approach is to mine the gold bearing sand and gravel at the site-sizing,and reducing it down to the black sand concentrates which are then placed in five gallon buckets, coffie cans ,or or what ever type of containers you would like to use to transport it back to your home or where everyour headquarters might be.It is a waist of time to process your cons at the mine site. This is to be done on weekends or in the winter time or other times when you can,t work the mine site.

The Information or medthod presented in this study is not new .Rather with local ,is is except as stander practice by gold prospectors and miners through out the world.the method out lined is recommeded by the Gold Propsectors Ass. of America.

The study is in two parts.The frist deals with the handling of the Black sand and concentrates from a very small pan size operation. The second part discuesses steps ,and nethods and equipment involved in larger operations and quanties of concentrates developed from a pratical two man operation.The principles are the same, the medthods and equipment are adapted to the size of the operation.



While the principle is the same in the processing of the black sand, gold concentrates, in small and larger quantities, the method, and equipment is adapted to the quantities involved. Both sample size, and production size, are discussed in this study.

First, let us deal with the small quantity, or pan, sample situation where you have only a limited amount, perhaps the result of a half dozen pans, and where you wind up with approximately a pint of concentrates. This will give us a method and demonstrate the same principles that will be Involved in the larger quantities.


Assume you have already picked out the nuggets and coarse gold, and have just the black sand and ftne gold remaining. Here is one way to proceed:

1. Spread it all out in your pan, a pie tin, or a plate, and set it in the sun, or on a source of heat such as a radiator or stove to dry.

2. When dry, you can put a small quantity at a time on a piece of stiff cardboard and blow across the material, perhaps tapping the card board a little, gently, and you will ftnd that a good share of the lighter-weight sand will blow off at once. As you stir it around and blow again, you will get rid of a little more, but there will still be a quantity left. That remaining is probably one or more of the iron containing black sands.

3 . Since most of these compounds are magnetic they can be readily picked up with a magnet. Some of the black sand will stick to the magnet in spite of every thing you can do. Fortunately, this can be prevented by wrapping the magnet with a sheet of plastic before using. The black sand will cling to the plastic but will drop off as soon as the magnet is removed.

4. If there is still black sand of a non-magnetic type mixed with the gold, then your next step is to separate the gold with the aid of mercury by a simple process called amalgamation.


Before proceeding to the second step of separating the gold from the black sands, the concentrate must be thoroughly cleaned. The necessity for this preliminary step before amalgamation is attempted cannot be overemphasized. In discussing the amalgamating powers of mercury in a placer gold washing plant with a consulting engineer recently, I was surprised when he said, "from my experience, the amount of fine gold crossing a mercurycoated plate that is actually recovered is comparatively small - perhaps 10 to 15 percent. He explained the reason the percentage is so low is that practically all placer gold has a protective coating of some kind, perhaps pine oil, if in a mountain country. Unfortunately, gold is often coated with various substances, such as iron sulfide, magnesium, rust, or other inorganic amalgamation. Explaining further he said, the answer is to treat the sand containing the gold with a cleaning substance before it comes into contact with mercury." This is extremely valuable Information and has to do with the over-all recovery ratefrom any placer gold recovery system or operation.There are other ways of cleaning gold, but one very simple method employs the use of nitric acid. First,place the concentrated, gold-bearing sands into a plastic gold pan or other container that will not be affected by strong acids. Cover the concentrates with about a half inch of water and add the acid in small amounts until a slight boiling action occurs. This boiling begins when about a 90 percent concentration is reached. In some cases, no dilution is necessary. Add straight acid. Mix the acid solution around for several minutes, making sure all the material is well saturated. Even better, let it stand a while. The acid solution is then poured off and the concentrate rinsed by dipping- the pan in the stream. The gold is now ready for amalgamation.


Amalgamation is one of the oldest and simplest methods for recovering free gold from the black sand concentrates from placer mining. When clean particles of gold are brought into contact with mercury, they unite, or merge, into a single new substance known as amalgam.

Amalgamation takes place when the two metals are brought into contact with each other by mldng or blending, and even the smallest particles of flour gold is gathered up and absorbed by the mercury. This special affinity for gold makes mercury an invaluable aid in separating the gold from the black sands.

It takes only a few drops of mercury to gather the gold in the black sand found in an average pan of sample. The mercury should be agitated with the concentrate under water until every portion has been contacted and all the slall globules and BBs of mercury absorbed by the one ball of amalgam. It now contains all the flne, and flour gold that would otherwise have been lost.

Part # 1: Quite frequently, more mercury win be applied than is required for the amount of gold to be absorbed, in which case the ball of "amalgam' will actually be a mixture offree mercury and the amalgamated substance. In fact, it is desirable that an excess of mercury be used to assure that all the free gold in the sample is absorbed. However, in the interest of economy, and the conservation of mercury, a preliminary step is required before beginning the separation of the gold from the amalgam. This consists of removing as much of the free mercury from the amalgam as possible. This can be accomplished in several ways.

Historically, the mcrcury-amalgam mixture was squeezed through a piece of chamois skin, or a sflk cloth, but this created problems. More recently, a syringe, with a thin, cotton pad in front of the plunger head, is being used with great success. The mercuryamalgam mixture is placed in the syringe and, upon pressure, the mercury is squeezed through the cotton pad into a container, leaving the small, round, cake or wafer of amalgam in the syringe. The cake of amalgam is now ready for further treatment.

PART #2: The next step is to be conducted out-of-doors, as toxic fumes are produced. It is suggested that you set up a stool, chair or small table in your back yard, or other open area, then place an electric hot plate, with a long extension cord attached, on the table. Place a Pyrex dish 2/3 full of 25 to 65 percent nitric acid on the hot plate. Ordinary glass will break upon heating, so the dish must by Pyrex, which is made to withstand heat.

You are now ready to place the cake of amalgam in the solution. Almost at once, you will note a reaction taking place as fumes begin to rise. These fumes may not be fatal, but are toidc and, ifinhaled, may make you sick andcause damage to your lungs, so stay away from them. Take no chances. Next, you turn the current on to the hot plate, and let the solution boil for 5* minutes. What is the mercury from the amalgam is being taking place is, absorbed, or taken into solution by the nitric acid an leaving the free gold in a natural form. At the end of 5 minutes, turn off the current and, after the dish has cooled and no more fumes coming off, walk over and inspect your cake Of gold- Pick it out of the solution with and drop it into a cup Of water with a pair of pliers natc of soda in it to neutralize the acid on ordinarybicarbo r, or cake, of gold is not solid, it. you will note the little wafer but rather looks like a sponge After the mercury was absorbed by the nitric acid, it left empty spaces where the mercury had been, giving the remaining gold a sponge-like appearance, drab and rusty or. In fact, it'-s calledtsponge gold and is ready to be in col melted down into a bar, or used for any purpose desired. Heating the sponge blowtorch temperature will bring out the natural, bright gold color. Incidentally, you should have a half gallon or more of water and bicarbonate of soda mixture available in case you get some of the acid on your hands and clothes. If you should get acid on your hands, dip them in the soda water immediately.

Part #3: The remaining nitric acid solution now contains the small amount of mercury which came from the amalgam. This mercury can be recovered by placing a small sheet or bar of copper in the solution. The mercury will collect on the copper and can be scrapped off and saved for future use.

The used nitric acid solution should be diluted and neutralized by adding soda water then flushed away.Itmust not be put through the plumbing system unless diluted and neutralized. The acid solution can be saved and re-used again, but nitric acid is not so costly that this seems necessary.Boil gently; don't deplete the quantity of acid more than a third. Put a Pyrex dish 2/3 full of 25 to 65 per cent nitric acid on a table in your back yard, or other open area. The fumes are very toxic-take no chances.


IN MY OPINION As a prospector I have seen equipment of all shapes and size some of it good and some not so good. As a rule the simpler it is the better it works. In most cases the makers of high bankers and dredges will get so rapped up in making the almighty dollar that they louse sight of what keeps a product selling. There are three things that you should first look for when you choose a piece of equipment.

1. Will this equipment do what it is suppose to do, and do it in an efficient manner?

2. Is the equipment maid with Quality materials and workman ship, and will it be durable and last for many years?

3. How versatile is this equipment, and how portable is it?

Once you have studied a piece of equipment and answered these Questions, you will usually walk to another and start the procedure all over again. Because there are only a hand full of products on the market to day that will let you answer yes to all those Questions with out hesitation. Now if I may I would like to give you MY OPINON on such a piece of equipment. THE HONCOOP HIGHBANKER The HONCOOP HIGHBANKER is the only highbanker, on the market that employees all the basic concepts which will allow you not only to catch the fine microscopic gold but it also lets you find nuggets and coarse gold better than any thing on the market. The materials that this highbanker is maid of are all aircraft aluminum and Uses stainless steel screws and fasteners. Parts that well get broken from time to time are maid of materials that you can easily pick up at your local hardware, you won’t have to worry about weather you can find them or not. The percentage of recovery is so great that after you have done a week or so of high banking and gather your concentrates you can run them through your bottom tray and concentrate them down even father with out fear of lousing gold or black sand making less material to take home, but making your recovery rate much higher. This highbanker can be used in several various situations .You can Take out the top tray and use it in a creek as just a sluice box and will catch both course and fine gold better than any other on the market, but dose run a smaller amount of material per hour due to its smaller size. Once you have finished using it in that manner you may take out the riffle section and the miners moss and use it as mini sluice and separate your visible gold from your black sand. If you happen to be in Alaska or any beach along the Organ and California coast line or where ever you think that their might be beach gold You have the best beach box on the market to day, If you want to go dredging you can convert it over to a dredge with the dredge kit for a small fee and have the same percentage of recovery as in the highbanker mode. I know of no other highbanker on the market that will do all these things and do them efficiently. I highly recommend this Honcoop Highbanker, for the serious prospector.


History of goldmining in Tallapoosa county,alabama.url
Tom Ashworth's Prospectors