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About the Author

Dr. A.K. Williams grew up on the edge of the Okefenokee Swamp in South Georgia. He attended the University of Georgia where he received a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degree in microbiology. He won a two year post-doctoral fellowship to The Oak Ridge National Laboratories where he pursued studies in molecular biology. These studies, primarily, involved research on de novo synthesis of protein and genetic coding of DNA.

He served as chief of the Aquatic Ecology Section of the Southeastern Water Pollution Laboratory (now EPA). He also worked (regrettably) at the Richard B, Russell Agricultural Research Laboratory.

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Acids and Bases

Introduction
Everyone who has worked with and/or prospected for gold has on at least a few occasions been forced to use acids or bases in one form or another. These chemicals can be indispensable for cleaning concentrates, cleaning mercury, recovering mercury, gold, silver from solutions of the salts and hundreds of other applications, many of which most of us are not even aware. I am going to try to explain some of the characteristics, uses and precautions that everyone should be aware of when using these chemicals.

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Assaying and Smelting

O.K. guys, we are going on a little excursion into the world of titration. What is "titration"? Well, it’s a method of finding out something that you want to know by setting up an experiment in graded steps so that we can know when a certain event takes place. For example, If you are near deaf, like me, and go for a hearing test one the things that they test for is the frequency range that your ears respond to. A person with normal hearing can detect frequencies of about 20 to 20,000 cycles/sec.

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Black Sand & Tellurides

There are a few things that everyone who has done any prospecting or mining has learned to hate. Floured mercury, lack of water, and black sand. O.K. there are a few others but black sand is in the same class as floured mercury. It is very difficult to deal with. It is very heavy. Its density is about 5. That is it is about 5 times heavier than water.

Your average "dirt" with small stones etc. has a density of about 2-21/2. Gold has a density of 19.3.

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Colorimetric Assy of Gold

Introduction
I know this website is getting a little confused. Why didn’t I put this page on the same one with the other assay page? Well, it’s your fault. Es culpa de ustedes! I never dreamed you wanted to know this much about chemistry. Every time I put up a sort of simplified method of doing something you SLAM me with requests for more info, more methods. I’m proud o ya! I’m going to try my damndest to keep giving it to you until you guys yell "STOP" or I run out of anything more to write.

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Cyanide in Solution

O.K. guys, we are going on a little excursion into the world of titration. What is "titration"? Well, it’s a method of finding out something that you want to know by setting up an experiment in graded steps so that we can know when a certain event takes place. For example, If you are near deaf, like me, and go for a hearing test one the things that they test for is the frequency range that your ears respond to. A person with normal hearing can detect frequencies of about 20 to 20,000 cycles/sec.

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Cyanide Leaching

The first chemical leaching of gold occurred in the late 1800’s with the introduction on the market of "DuPont Mining Salts". It did extract gold as gold chloride. It was slow and cumbersome to utilize. Just a little later, around the turn of the century, it was discovered that gold could be dissolved in solutions of sodium cyanide. This method was superior because of its simplicity, availability of chemicals, and low cost. After all, who knew what "Mining Salts" were composed of?

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Halide Leaching

The group of chemicals known as halides is composed of the elements fluorine, chlorine, bromine, and iodine. We will ignore fluorine because it does not dissolve gold. The elements listed above are in order of their molecular weights, density, cost, and reactivity. Chlorine is the lightest, cheapest and least reactive while iodine is heaviest, most expensive, and fastest reacting. Iodine is classified as a rare element. There are no ores containing iodine. It is obtained primarily from extracting seaweed, hence, the high cost.

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Melting and Smelting

Hey, I never thought I would have to put up a page on this subject but it seems there is a lot of confusion on this point. At least it will be short. Probably a one or two beer page.

There is a whole bunch of difference between melting and smelting. We are gonna try to put this subject to rest. It is simple but I seem to have a big problem trying to explain the difference. I think we all understand pretty well what it means to melt something.

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Rules of Solubility

Introduction
This will be a very short page. It could also be a very important page in that it applies to all the other pages on this site.

As is most fields or endeavors there are certain rules that apply. In many cases, I don't like rules. Rules that are imposed for no good reason are, in my opinion, not only worthless, but also despicable. As we used to say in the military, rules are for damn fools and second lieutenants. This referred to useless or counter-productive rules.

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Super Clorox

How Clorox Works
You guys all know that I use Chlorine bleach (Clorox or other) for all sorts off magical transformations in the basement. Nothing magic about it. It just happens to be a pretty good, cheap, and easily available oxidizing agent that usually gets the job done.

Lets talk just a little about Clorox. What it is, what it is not, what it can and cannot do for us. The chemical that makes it work is Sodium Hypochlorite (NaOCl). This stuff is sort of unstable. It would rather be something other than what it is. The thing(s) that it wants be are caustic soda, Chlorine gas, and "nacent" Oxygen, monatomic Oxygen, or as we usually say now, "Ozone".

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Using Mercury

Mercury is the only metal which occurs as a liquid at ordinary temperatures and is one of only two metals which occurs naturally in both its metallic and oxidized state, The other being copper.

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