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We have a "large" mini-Excavator and we have a major problem with large rocks and large mud/clay balls, 6" - 10" in diameter entering our 30" trommel resulting in a jams/stoppages.

We are trying to come up with a vibrating grizzly system like Angus Mackirk or Heckler.

I guess we really need a larger trommel but we are too far in financially to abandon the one we have.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2P7O-s1-fJU

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Hey experienced placer miners.  Looking for your 2 cents.

 

I have a small placer project I could possibly do next Spring.

I have a narrow gulch placer that has 2,000-plus yards of virgin gravels.  Yes, small potatoes.  

I have excavated by hand and dredged about 100 yards of it.  

Values look good enough to buy a used backhoe or excavator and step up the volume.  So, I have the usual questions of "buy or rent" the excavator and "how to process the gravels".  I'm thinking a small, used backhoe like a CAT 416 for under $20k, but I could possibly get away with just a mini excavator.  Backhoe has the benefit of being able to maintain roads.  Mini excavator is probably much better on fuel and if one is just digging and feeding in the same spot, then you wouldn't need a loader bucket.  I can rent a CAT 420 backhoe locally for about $2,500 a month, although that's bigger than I'd need.  Any brands and models you would suggest???

 

The water situation isn't ideal.  I only have seasonal and somewhat unpredictable water flow.  I'm not drilling a well.  An excavator can dig a deep enough hole to capture enough water to make things work.  Also, I can have a water truck come deliver 2,000 gallons if I need it.   

 

I like the "mini" trommel by Heckler Fab for its portability.  Yes, it's small.  I think it would work for one or two guys trying to mine and process 30 yards per day.  That's the level of production I am thinking of starting with.  Values recovered from just 30 yards per day should cover expenses and pay wages.   

 

The other option is to excavate and pre-screen the material and then dredge it with a 5" or 6" dry-land dredge.  I know this sounds unconventional, but I have a lot more dredging experience than I do with wash plants.  Dredging would likely be more labor, but could be done with less expense and moving parts.

 

Your ideas and suggestions are welcome.

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For the first step above a #2 shovel, I always though one of those tow-behind mini-backhoes might be the logical answer.

From my reading, it appears the buckets are about 1 cubic foot with digging depths to 7'-8'.

Looks to have about a 2-3CY capacity per hour.

Small gas engine so it sips fuel.

Well under $10K brand new.

Haul behind a pick-up or on a reasonable trail with a 4 wheeler.

Lots of plans out there if one wished to build their own over the winter.

Which could be good from the standpoint of knowing the machine when it comes to maintenance and repair.

 

But here comes the caveat.

I have no hands-on experience with the concept.

And that is the problem with book education. Looks good on paper, but can fail in reality.

 

eric

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Thanks Eric.  I have thought about that option.  It would be the cheapest, but I would like about double that capacity.

 

I guess I should have started a new thread as I'm looking for suggestions on both the excavator and small wash plant.

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I have a mid 90s hitachi ex40(9000lbs) 35hp diesel that only burns1gal/hr wide open, it will reach 18' and dig 11.5' deep. I don't think a backhoe sitting at a trammel would be as useful only being able to swing maybe 180 degrees. A slightly smaller mini in the 6000lb range could be hauled on a car trailer also and probably find one in excellent shape for half the cost of the 416.

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this trommel looks bullet proof, one thing I see is if you wanted to just throw a 1/4yd bucket from a mini in it that you probably would have a lot of the material 1/3 the way down the drum before it was soaked or tumbled good. Its going straight in instantly, referring to entry #16

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water can be a problem.  2000 gallons wouldn't hardly make a dent in a good sized pond. you need a pretty good sized pond(s) or you'll be running mud in your box.

 

It can be costly too.  2000 gallons delivered locally here(northern CA) is $200

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