It was the first week in May and we decided to go to our Kanaka Bar claim and check it out. We packed up the truck and headed out first thing in the morning for our three hour trip. A long trip for one day, but we were eager to test a new high-banker design.
The water level had risen about 5 metres since early spring, but upon our investigation, we still found plenty of bedrock to explore. We sampled out an area that showed good signs of gold, and proceeded to bring the high-banker down the mountain.
We were about 50 metres above the river, and fortunately there was a small flood pool about 10 feet from where we were going to dig. Mike set up the high-banker, making sure it was level, and at the correct pitch. Mike designed this high-banker as a winter project, spending weeks researching mats and plans. He wanted to design a system that was good for Fraser River gold. Neither one of us were happy with the commercial set-ups that were available, and Mike figured he could design one better. Needless to say, we were both anxious to see how it would perform.
We started to stockpile “pay”, which was about six inches above bedrock.. The morning proved to be a little on the cold side, but as the afternoon sun crested the hills, we were able to take off our jackets. After accumulating about six buckets, we turned on the high-banker. I fed the high-banker one shovel full at a time, while Mike continued to dig more pay-dirt. We soon ran out of pay and we both started shovelling directly into the high-banker. We ran for 4 hours and shut it down.
Now for the test. We could see several pieces in the top mat, but it was loaded with black sand and small stones. Of coarse, I quickly volunteered to pan out the cons. Mike indicated he would clean out the bottom mat.
Above is the first pan from the cons. We were both amazed. The top mat worked like a charm. As Mike started to pan the cons from the bottom mat, I finished panning out the top mat. The final count came in at just under 4 grams. Not bad for a four hour run.
The bottom mat held small quantities of flour gold, so we decided to take these cons home for processing as it would be too time consuming to do at the river. The high-banker was a huge success and performed exactly as we hoped it would. The majority of the gold was caught in the top mat, with only a very small amount of gold in the lower mat.
The final test was to pan our tailings. Our tailings test showed NO visible signs of gold. Mike’s hard work and research had paid off. We were very pleased with how the high-banker performed. We can’t wait to test it out again on a longer trip.