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Author: Subject: Mine platinum from the dust next to highways
deltaH
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[*] posted on 5-6-2016 at 23:16


I wonder who owns this dirt from roads? Is it the government's because they own the roads? What if it's a toll road?

If so and if there's any money in it, they would lay claim to it ASAP, but I imagine that it would be hard to enforce it.

A new kind of poaching would spring up. Roadside poaching or roaching. People doing it would thus be called roaches, which fits as presumably they would come out at night to sweep up the dirt.

I can just see the reality TV series in my mind...

Unfortunately, this is all fantasy for now lol

[Edited on 6-6-2016 by deltaH]




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[*] posted on 6-6-2016 at 12:33


It's Mine all Mine.

That's why us 'roaches call it 'mining'.

Here's what the top layer of the dust/mud/NaOH looks like after 24hrs or so :

24hrsinNaOH.JPG - 121kB

[Edited on 6-6-2016 by aga]




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deltaH
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[*] posted on 6-6-2016 at 21:07


This looks super fantastic aga! Now you just need to boil it down or if it's hot and sunny outside, put it in a tray to evaporate for a few days.

If you do go the heating route, be wary not to lose it by splattering as it might get thick at the end.

What's it's volume btw?

You could probably get more of it out with a couple of repeated wash and decants if you really wanted to, but you're probably not to hung up on getting maximum recovery just now.

Well done!

PS. Sorry, didn't mean to call you a roach, tactless moment, just thought it was funny that road poaching = roaching.

[Edited on 7-6-2016 by deltaH]




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deltaH
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[*] posted on 6-6-2016 at 21:48



WARNING:

Please people take great care not to be hit by cars, drivers don't always pay to much attention to the shoulder of the road and at night it gets worse! High visibility is key, wear reflectors and bright colours if collecting the dirt and be vigilant of traffic at all times! Working at night is not advisable and if you really must, attach signal lights to your body for maximum visibility.


[Edited on 7-6-2016 by deltaH]




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[*] posted on 7-6-2016 at 00:32


Pt miner's safety manual :-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BrivBSv20Y

The liquid is a kind of murky suspension of a lot of the fine material, which will have included quite a lot of organic material.

Do you think it should be coarse-filtered before evaporating off the water ?

If not, the result will probably be a mud cake.

[Edited on 7-6-2016 by aga]




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deltaH
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[*] posted on 7-6-2016 at 00:57


I wouldn't filter it, the fines may also contain PGMs. I'd just get rid of the water, i.e. oven, sun, boil etc.

Then time to smelt the sucker in an arc.

When you get to that stage, make sure to leave it in the arc long enough. You need extremely high temperatures to melt PGMs (1800C), which isn't achieved quickly. Also, insulate, insulate, insulate. A small box design of refractory bricks is best.

[Edited on 7-6-2016 by deltaH]




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[*] posted on 7-6-2016 at 13:11


Just out of idle curiosity, what do you plan to use as a crucible?
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[*] posted on 7-6-2016 at 13:37


I've got 1 of these :

http://artisanfoundry.co.uk/product_info.php?products_id=110

Embarassingly i cannot remember if it's an A1, A2, A3 etc.

NaOH certainly chews through whatever that material is : i used to have two ...

For this particular melt i plan on making something from fire bricks.

Whether any particular available brick works well for this (or not) is totally unknown at this time, at least to me.




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deltaH
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[*] posted on 10-6-2016 at 11:00


Any update on the evaporation of the colloidal concentrate?






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[*] posted on 10-6-2016 at 11:27


The thick brackish brown liquid got poured off and left out in a bucket.

Over the past 2 days it's been 36 C+ during the day.

I'll go take a photo. 1 sec.

Edit:

This is the liquidus in the specialised evaporation apparatus ;)

liquid.JPG - 151kB

Approx 4.3cm reduction in height of the liquid over the past 4 days :

evap.JPG - 166kB

The mud left in the original bucket :
mud.JPG - 197kB


[Edited on 10-6-2016 by aga]




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[*] posted on 10-6-2016 at 11:40


Quote: Originally posted by aga  
Where did 3.42 x 10<sup>23</sup> ions of the OH<sup>-</sup> go ?

This is a bit old to jump in, but remember that hydroxides can have quite a bit of water of hydration; KOH in particular can be up to 15% water by weight. I always use more hydroxide than calculated to account for this unknown.
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[*] posted on 10-6-2016 at 11:58


Quote: Originally posted by MrHomeScientist  
This is a bit old to jump in, but remember that hydroxides can have quite a bit of water of hydration

Better late than never !

Yes, the NaOH i get locally is of dubious purity, let alone hydration state.




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[*] posted on 10-6-2016 at 23:22


This is looking very good, looks like it might be done in a few more days.

I have been thinking about the smelting step. I am a bit dubious whether 1800C can be uniformly reached without flushing a graphite crucible with argon gas. (like what they did in that clip when they arc smelted tungsten). So since you probably don't have argon gas to prevent the crucible from enflaming, I suggest using a lower melting alloying metal which can be dissolved out later, say with nitric acid, to leave behind a PGM residue

The problem is that the only metal I can think of that would do the job well is silver. Furthermore, you need the silver to be thoroughly deposited evenly over the catalyst. Fortunately, this is easy to do with silver nitrate. So I would wet the residue with a concentrated solution of silver nitrate, let dry, then smelt. The silver nitrate would rapidly decompose to silver particles within the material depositing everywhere internally.

Silver has a low melting point and is inert, so it's easily smelted in an amateur context. A large silver bead is also easily collected.

Then the silver bead can be dissolved in boiling nitric acid to once again make a solution of silver nitrate (which can be re-used in the process) and leave behind a residue of PGM powder which can then be dissolved in hot aqua regia to yield an orange solution if successful.

If you don't have silver nitrate, you can prepare it easily from a small piece of silver and nitric acid.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6hPgGV_qAg




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[*] posted on 10-6-2016 at 23:36


I am watching this all with interest.
Actually though, my thoughts are trending in a different direction. I think I might follow Cody's procedure to the letter and end up with a little pinhead of PGM. This will be good for the element collection -- after all, for my collection what I want is the story behind each element. And a little impure bump dragged off the road edge says a lot more than a cm of Pt wire.




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[*] posted on 10-6-2016 at 23:51


Still got that mol of AgNO3 i bought from hegi.

Hitting 1800C+ with a rigged up arc should work.

More worrying is silver's boiling point ...




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[*] posted on 11-6-2016 at 02:25


i think you might need to look at magnesia or zirconia crucibles to stand up to the molten alkali.
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[*] posted on 11-6-2016 at 02:59


Yes, the magnesia was mentioned already due to the basiscity of the concentrate.

I think it's a must if you're smelting straight.

As for the silver, yes, useless in an arc. That version would be for a improvised gas or charcoal furnace.

Aga, I really think you need to make yourself a magnesia crucible.




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[*] posted on 11-6-2016 at 03:02


Quote: Originally posted by j_sum1  
I am watching this all with interest.
Actually though, my thoughts are trending in a different direction. I think I might follow Cody's procedure to the letter and end up with a little pinhead of PGM. This will be good for the element collection -- after all, for my collection what I want is the story behind each element. And a little impure bump dragged off the road edge says a lot more than a cm of Pt wire.


Welcome jsum! :)




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[*] posted on 11-6-2016 at 08:49


It's been sunny for a couple days and the ponds are slowly drying (very slowly since lately it hits 17ºC outside at best).
Anyone has experience with those gravimetric concentrators used in mining? I've seen mentioning of Falcon Concentrators in a platinum extraction patent and I'm curious about how these work.




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[*] posted on 12-6-2016 at 16:30


Only Cody's Lab would have thought up something like this. :P
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[*] posted on 13-6-2016 at 05:55


Quote: Originally posted by minstarmin  
Only Cody's Lab would have thought up something like this. :P

Quote: Originally posted by MeshPL  
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2976623/Road-dust-can...

Cody wasn't the first one to think about it.

Here's a paper on a subject:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15050388

But it is 12 years old and since that amount of platinum in exhaust catalysts may have increased.


Edit:

Drawn a blank on 'lantern batteries' out here, so had to order some graphite rods from ebay :

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/162029034602?_trksid=p2057872.m274...

[Edited on 13-6-2016 by aga]




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[*] posted on 14-6-2016 at 23:26


Rods look good. How's the concentrate evaporation proceeding? Should make masses of sodium carbonate at the end because of the high soda content. Hoping all that alkali will act as a flux to melt the silica content of the concentrate, forming sodium silicate rich melts.



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[*] posted on 15-6-2016 at 03:30


Heatwave ! 41 C yesterday, and very windy.

There's about an inch left to evaporate off.

ptmush.JPG - 231kB




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[*] posted on 15-6-2016 at 11:04


Quote: Originally posted by aga  
Heatwave ! 41 C yesterday, and very windy.

There's about an inch left to evaporate off.



What's evaporating off there?




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[*] posted on 15-6-2016 at 11:50


Water.

It's an old paint bucket: the flaky bits are paint.




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