Placer Miners use Black Sand Magnets
By: The Working Man
Miners who work in placer mining know to carry a couple of black
sand magnets with them when on the job site. The magnets help him
to discover black sand, which is a glossy, heavy, partly magnetic
mix of fine sands that usually indicates a placer deposit.
A placer deposit is a deposit of valuable minerals formed as
dense mixture collects in a crevice or other trap. "Placer" is
not from the English word "place" but a Spanish word meaning
"Alluvial Sand". Alluvial Sand is a combination of alluvium,
beach placers, paleoplacers and eluvium.
Black sand is a very dense material made up of minerals that in a
crevice or crack, constantly pounded by moving water, become very
densely packed and eventually broken down to finer pieces of the
original materials. You can find placer deposits in natural
hollows, bends of rivers and creeks, the base of a cliff face,
sand dunes, waterfalls, gravel beds, and water lines of rivers,
seas and oceans.
A placer miner uses a Black Sand Magnet to separate the black
sand from non-magnetic material. Often what is left over from
separating the magnetic material is valuable minerals such as
gold, gems, titanium, tungsten, precious metals, thorium and rare
Using the black sand magnets which are very powerful magnets a
miner can define where a placer deposit is and then can collect
the deposit into a sluice in order to filter out the rare
minerals, precious gems and rare earth elements.
Some black sand magnets are designed to collect all the black
sand and then allow him to depress a plunger or pull a lever and
the magnet will release the black sand into whatever container he
has ready for it, leaving only the non-magnetic bits in the pan.
Black sand magnets can be purchased from most places that sell
prospecting tools. These are also handy for finding veins of iron
and other magnetic materials when underground in the mine.
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