Day 29: Extracting
For the third day
running the weather is just like in the UK, but more so. It is very grey
and very, very wet - miserable. Added to this, just about everybody is
ill. Jonathan, Kathy, John, Sophie, Drew and I have all got a weird bug.
Mikey is back but feeling very rough after his accident. So many of us
are tired it's untrue. Franz Josef is wonderful but I'm ready to go home
and brave the bills and junk mail. Somehow I think that I'll feel different
when the sun comes out.
brave the 'Possum Flu' or whatever it is that we are suffering from and
press on. The ore that has been ground to powder is combined with the
mercury that Mikey has made in a glass vessel. We mix it around under
water to avoid the poisonous fumes then recover the mercury, some of which
should have dissolved any gold present using a spoon. We then take the
mercury/gold/ore mixture and filter it through a piece of chamois leather.
It's very hard forcing the mercury through the leather but it doesn't
take very long before any mercury with no dissolved metals is forced through
and drops into a dish. What is left in the chamois should be mercury/gold
amalgam. There is a fair bit, which is encouraging.
sluice is also coming up trumps and she is separating loads of fine gold
from the black sand that she collected at the beach. There has only been
one mishap - the material that she lined the sluice with is man-made and
when she attempts to burn it to salvage the last of the gold it just melts.
next step also includes an element of burning. The amalgam from the leather
has to be placed in a potato of all things, which is then heated on a
fire. The theory is that the mercury will evaporate off and diffuse into
the spud leaving some relatively pure gold in the pan. It works. We get
a little nugget. Cool! Time to finish the programme and get back to the
huts before celebrating in the pub. Mikey has been doing really well.
He has been working hard regardless of the pain but is now totally knackered.
The rest days will hopefully help but he is in a pretty bad way.
The night is a good
one. I know loads of locals now and we have a great chilled out evening