Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Retrofitting and commissioning a huge experimental Diamond and Gold 8 inch airlift dredge on the Caroni River in Venezuela

Retrofitting and commissioning a huge experimental Diamond and Gold 8 inch airlift dredge on the Caroni River in Venezuela
Retrofitting and commissioning a huge experimental Diamond and Gold 8 inch airlift dredge on the Caroni River in Venezuela

My two right hand men beside me, Mark and Rennie. They were both from Guyana. These men were suction dredgers on the Caroni River in Venezuela. I became acquainted with them during my first week in country and was able to hire these outstanding bushmen. I was hired by Mr. Hanson from Spokane Wa. to retrofit an experimental air lift dredge.

There are huge quantities of fine gold in the river sands of this river. I installed two large trapezoid jigs  for additional recovery as well as set of very efficient New Zealand style hydraulic riffles. This dredge was a first and only one of its kind I ever encountered. The design was very complex and had a lot of moving parts.

 Similar to a drilling rig we had sections of eight inch pipe that was lowered by a cable system hung from a forty foot derrick. A hydraulic pile drive system was the cap of the pipe string. This system had depth capable of plus 150 feet. I operated this dredge in water depth of 120 feet for about seven months. Diving down to the missile inlet was quite an adventure at that depth.

Rocks could not be back flushed at times and you had to go down and manually clear the inlet. There was a lot of huge creatures that loved to hang around the inlet. I have a video of some of my trips down and I will post it later along with some more of the
adventures I had here.

This was one of my most challenging events in my mining career. I loved this place and the men worked so hard for me and had absolute loyalty to me. We also recovered a lot of very small diamonds, and a lot of fine gold in the hydraulic riffles.

This Kiwi  invention I was introduced to me by Colon Tuck of New Zealand when I worked on another large bucket line dredge there in 1989. This was the richest area I ever had seen in my life for sheer numbers of small high quality diamonds.


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