Smelting and Gold Refining Part 2: Electroplating copper to recover gold and silver

Today I wanted to do a continuation video of our smelting series Today we are going to be looking at how to remove the copper from your copper button that we poured in the previous video and I will post a link to that on the video so you can check it out last video we smelted some black sands using copper to collect the metal. and I want to show you how I’m going to remove the copper to get the gold and the silver out this is about 7 or 8 of those little pyramids we made in the previous video I melted them all down in the same kiln we used for smelting and I poured them into a 4 inch piece of channel So I could increase there surface area, I want a lot of surface area For the electroplating solution can get to the copper I’m going to use this DC power source and mix up a solution of copper sulfate and sulfuric acid I have two pieces of stainless steal that will be connected to the cathode or the negative terminal and I’m going to hang the copper right down between the two pieces of stainless there and that will be the anode, so the copper is going to plate from the copper piece that will hang right here onto the stainless steal cathodes The gold and silver will not go into solution and they will fall out as the anodes slime into the bottom of our bucket here is the recipe I will be using about 30 ounces per gallon of copper sulfate about 8 ounces a gallon of sulfuric acid and volts between 1 and 3 Here is a gallon of water this is what i’m going to using as my copper sulfate its septic tank root killer but the active ingredient is 99% copper sulfate pentahydrate Which is just a hydrated form of copper sulfate and here is my sulfuric acid both of these I got at the hardware store this is for drain cleaner, drain opener here is what the copper sulfate crystals look like they are just gonna go right in the water and I’m just going to dump a whole bunch of it in there going to stir that around til all that dissolves if it all dissolves i’m going to poor more in and if it doesn’t all dissolve I’m going to decant the solution back into the 5 gallon bucket there so we don’t have any standing crystals on the bottom then I will add my sulfuric acid and we will start plating Now I’m going to take my copper bar here and break it in probably 3 pieces that weighs about 3.5 pounds so I’m going to break it into smaller manageable pieces to plate each one, one at a time There’s my copper piece we are going to plate out I have a good strong clamp on there and its just holding it you want to make sure your clamp doesn’t enter the solution or it will plate out I’ll switch on the power running about half a volt and about 9 amps We are going to check on our plating process here it’s been just about 24 hours since we put it in oh yeah, you can see our copper is all covered in black anode slimes there I’m going to try and just giver her a little dunk. get the camera in the right spot here You can see all the black anode slime washed off and you can see the copper coming through here is a look at our cathode that’s some nice copper getting plated on there. oh yeah, that’s some good copper there I pulled out one of the stainless steal cathodes I just gave it a little bend and bent the stainless you can see the whole a whole copper sheet comes right off you have a clean cathode and you can start over The copper from our 24 hour plating experiment we got 109 grams thats how much copper was plated out in 24 hours it will all depend on the voltage the current surface area of the anode but that just gives some kind of idea in the ballpark of what we can plate in a 24 hour period alright, it’s been 9 days since we started we have finished plating out all 3 pieces of the bar You can see here a whole bunch of copper and stuff we plated off the cathodes pealed off the cathodes here is some other copper, it got a little spongy towards the end You can see its not a nice solid plates, it’s kind of crumbly great part of this is now we can take all the copper here that we have a whole lot of surface area with and even some of this spongy copper we can break up into essentially copper powder and use it for the smelting process and just keep recycling the copper over and over again This is a little piece here of one of our anodes and what I did is as it sat in the solution plating there was a piece across the top that was out of the solution so it did not plate out when they got to about When they got to about 10% of the remaining copper in the soltuion I turned it over so that the big thick plate was in the solution so I could clamp it here at the top where it was real thin I’m left with, I don’t know about 20 grams of copper there and I can just put this back in with this stuff and use it as a collector metal and recycle it nothing is lost and we will use it all over again This is the solution we used for the plating, as you can see it’s gotten quite dark. due to impurities that came off the copper anode There is a bunch of black sludge in the bottom of that stuff that is the anode slimes That’s where all of our precious metals are going to be I’m going to filter the anode slime’s out using a couple of coffee filters and a funnel and after thats done we can smelt down the anode slime’s and get our precious metals out here is our funnel Put a couple pieces of copper wire down there to act as ribs so that the solution can drain down the filter a little faster Just going to use some coffee filters in there and now I can pour the solution through the coffee filters I found the best way to do this is to decant the stuff off the top using a little smaller jug and that way you can keep all the sediment at the bottom Until the end so it doesn’t clog your filter up I just pour my solution into the filter, let it drain and repeat until all the solution has been taken out We are getting down to the bottom of our solution here You can see I switched over to a shop towel here It will go a little bit faster, a little bit coarser filter we will get the majority of the large stuff out and filter it with coffee filters later here is the bottom of the solution You can see all the black sludge down there I don’t know if you can see in the video but there is some copper left that flakes off the cathode as your plating What I’m going to do i take a piece of probably 30 mesh stainless steal screen That I’m going to pour the the anodes slime’s through so that it will catch those big pieces of copper so were not fighting copper when we smelt down anode slime’s, because that’s counter productive It’s been a couple of hours and our stuff has drained through our filters here You can see all the black sludge that’s left over All clinging to the paper What I’m going to do over the next couple of days is get this dried out pretty good peel it off the filter paper we used and I will make another video here when I smelt this down with some oxidizing flux and get our precious metals out Thanks for watching this segment of our smelting and refining series I will be posting another video when I have a chance of the smelting of our anode slime’s here I will post a link to that at the end of this video when it’s available I appreciate you guy’s watching and stay tuned for more videos

20 thoughts on “Smelting and Gold Refining Part 2: Electroplating copper to recover gold and silver

  1. good job!!!
    To save time on dissolution in an acid – alloy may be melted and poured into water through a metal mesh !
    It turns out small metal beads that dissolve rapidly in acid !
    maybe in the future you useful advice

  2. One thought and question, would it make more sense if you were to repeatedly use the same copper pyramids after using them as a collector in the conical molds? I mean you mentioned that in that single bar you had 7 or 8 pyramids of the copper collector drops from the black sands, if you were to re-melt them and pour them into a large stainless steel container of ice water that was agitated it would create some corn flake type shot that you could then use again in the black sands as a collector a few more times to increase the gold/ precious metal content a few fold. so instead of running this cell with a bar that contains about 1-2% gold you could run it with a bar that contains more?

    If the black sands were to contain trace amounts of palladium after making a few runs of melting and re-using the same copper without refining further until a few smelts cycles were complete you could treat the pyramids with nitric acid to separated the copper,silver, and palladium with addition steps leaving you with a sludge that would be very high in gold content with possible trace amounts of platinum in it (if the source material contained any that is). You would be then left with a very fine copper precipitate that you could reuse again after thorough rinsing and drying.

    Lastly mind if I ask what the name of the booklet you were using is for the procedure you used in this video? (always handy to have something in paper when an internet connection is not available) πŸ™‚

    Great Video , Can't wait for the follow up's!

  3. I wanted to throw this out there to see if any of you had any comments on it. I heard from a source that if you keep your copper pour just under the melting point, lets say at 1900 F, for about 24 hours after you pour, the gold atoms will migrate in the copper bar and form larger pieces of gold. During the electroplating process the gold comes out in much larger grains, like fine sand, as opposed to micron black smoke. Does anyone have any experience with this or think it will work?

  4. hi
    good job ,but i want to ask if u use nitric acid wouldint be more effecent and fast ,and i think 9 days is int it too long to do this

  5. Another quick question about this process, and thank you for the link to the booklet!
    from your work with this process is the solution you create reusable? does it need top ups of sulphuric and copper sulphate or is it pretty much a one shot deal? (can you run this process, then save the solution for future reuse)

  6. Why is it always such a low voltage??? I would love to simply use a 12V battery charger but I know it wont work BUT I DON'T KNOW WHY?

  7. When the copper gets spongy you should stop and melt it down again to expose more pure copper. Sponge copper carries precious metals with it.

  8. The piece of initial metal mix (from 8 pyramids containing ~1,71% gold) is equivalent to ~7.3 g of pure gold. 22 grams of end product (containing 9.47% gold) is equivalent to ~2.083 g of pure gold. Where are the missing ~5.2 grams of gold???? It appears, that this method is really inefficient in multiple ways (energy usage, chemicals, time etc.) πŸ™

  9. I was wondering where you got your Stainless Steal I was looking at doing your same process this summer with a bunch of copper I have lying around.

  10. I set up the apparatus with DC power supply that dishes out 20 Volts; but I can't get the volts above 2.5 volts. Does that mean the DC power supply is faulty?

  11. I wouldn't reuse the copper for this process as after electrolysis it should be about the purest state of copper that you could possibly get. Why not smelt it into bars and sell it? Or keep it for whatever reason? But mixing it down again does not seem reasonable after all the effort to clean it up…

  12. copper sulphate is a little cheaper by the 50 or 100 lb bag, available at the feed store… they walk cattle through it to disinfect hooves, i think

  13. Who made your plating machine and what is the model. Does it have a control for Amps? Did you figure a better way to filter the slimes like different meshes?

  14. Sir pls help me
    I am prosses for copper purification but one problem ganrete continues this process to be after my coper pleting solution contamited Zink plz advice me how is solution

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