The Process of Assaying Black Sands

By John V Milewski

Rev. April 10 2008


These new experiments were first started in late December 2007. The details of the new assaying process for black sand are given below.

Before I start with these details, I want to comment on a few anomalies that occurred doing the development of these new and early assay attempts. I believe that these four anomalies all have the same cause which is that these new metals are not fully converted from the Ormus state.

The first anomaly is the disappearance of the first two beads overnight, the second is that two beads occurred during the cupelling process and the third is that these assays seem to be producing two different metal beads in the same assaying experiment—usually, in conventional assays, they alloy into one compound bead. I have not heard of any of these things happening before in the typical assay process.

Finally, the specific gravity of these new "metals" is quite low when compared to the type of platinum group metals I believe them to be.

My explanation for the observations above is that the metal beads that formed in two distinct shapes that were separate from each other, in the bottom of the cupel, were only partly converted Ormus materials.

My understanding of the Ormus atoms is that the outer electrons become whirlwinds of light and develop a Meissner field which is like a diamagnetic field that is repelled by all other fields. This repelling field might cause the different metals to repel each other. So if the conversion of the Ormus elements to their metallic form was not complete, then some of this repelling field may have been present. This might account for the metals separating in the lead solution as these solutions became saturated and the metal started agglomerating during the final stages of the cupelling process, when the lead was slowly disappearing, thus producing two separate beads.

The different shape of these beads, I believe, comes from the natural crystal structure of these different metals, their relative solubility in molten lead at the cupelling temperature, and the relatively large difference in melting points of the two metals. One of the beads was mostly round like a typical assay bead but it has a rough soccer ball like surface which I attribute to the fact that high melting point platinum group metals are not molten at the cupelling temperatures and therefore precipitate out of solution exhibiting some of their natural crystal structure which shows up as a rough surface on the metal bead. See more explanation for this in the Assay method report given below.

The second bead came out looking like a bundle of grapes which are extremely lustrous and shinny. This grape shape bundle of metal I believe to be Iridium and the larger soccer ball shape metal I believe to be Rhodium.

This first batch was finished late at night and I only had time to look at them under my binocular microscope to see their relative shape and size. The ball which I believed to be Rhodium was about 1500 microns in diameter and probably weighted about 15 to 25 milligrams. The grape bundle which I believe to be Iridium, was about 1100 microns long and about 300 to 400 microns in diameter with each individual grape being about 100 microns in diameter.

It was late and I did not take the time to photograph and weight them individually since I planned to do that in the morning. I put them together in a small 50 ml size, closed-lid bottle for overnight storage. In the morning they were gone. I believe that they were not converted enough to real metal and reverted back into the non metallic Ormus state as a gas. For more discussion on the idea see an article about Ormus is a gas see:

This was very disappointing but I was also running a parallel experiment using almost the same conditions and would have these samples in the next two days.

As described in the new assaying process for black sands below, it takes 4 to 5 firings and cupellings to get the entire yield from one starting assay run. This run gave five individual beads ranging in size from 400 microns in diameter to 900 microns in diameter. When completed, I put all five beads in one cupel and then I added 10 grams of Silver-free lead and cupelled them together. This time two beads also formed but they were not separated. They were bonded together and, under the microscope, looked like a small silver basketball with a bundle of shinny, silver marbles stuck on the side.

From earlier experiments in 1996, where this same grade of magnetite was reduced and then run through X-ray analysis, it was determined that the ratio of Rhodium to Iridium was about five to one in favor of the Rhodium and that the total amount of these platinum group metals together could be up to ten percent of the magnetite. See the details of this data in the report titled Discussions of X-ray data of reduced Magnetite, by John V Milewski, Revised June 16, 2007

These beads, when fused together, weighed 0.332 grams. That is a super tremendous yield and represents about ten percent of the starting magnetite. WOW, WOW. This is unheard of and almost impossible to believe, except for the fact that the beads are still here, because this time they did not disappear overnight.

However, this is when the fourth anomaly showed up: I can easily measure the diameter and weight and calculate the specific gravity of the new metal. I expected it to come out in the 14.5 g/cc range but, to my surprise, it came out to be about 8 g/cc. I explain this by assuming that these beads are still exhibiting some of their Ormus properties and have not fully gained their metallic weight.

So I am coming to the conclusion that all four of these strange anomalies, that we see when assaying magnetite black sand, are a byproduct of this Microwave process. (The Microwave process apparently does not completely convert these elements from the Ormus state to the new metallic state.

This Microwave process was repeated again and again and each time two metals were formed. However, the yields were not as high a before but still very significant for a black sand assay, and the metal beads still remain and have not disappeared to date.

The variations in yield may be attributed to the fact that when assaying in a microwave it is very difficult to control the temperature; which may vary as much as 50 degrees C from process to process. When the whole assembly is placed on the carrousel the temperature is always lower and more uniform and the yield is always lower.

It is obvious that, for future work, the equipment needs refining as well as an optimization of the full process; but I thought getting this out to more skilled processors may help this come about sooner. Since the metals do show a very reduce specific gravity in the 7 to 8 range where no platinum group metals come even close, we still have a mystery and clearly more exploratory work has to be done to understand what is going on here.


Using a standard assay for iron oxide on magnetite/black sand does not work well. The magnetite is too chemically inert to dissolve, to any relevant extent, in the standard assay flux. As a result, it mostly remains undissolved and severely thickens up the assay glass so it does not pour and separate from the lead. This also results in no significant detectable amount of platinum group metals being extracted from the black sand ore.

When you use the standard assay process, of about 30 grams of black sand and 90 grams of flux, you get a relatively smaller lead button which is about half the expected weight. When you cupel this lead you get a very small bead that can be seen with a 20 x microscope and which measures out to be in the 50 micron range. Looking at this bead at a much high power, one can see an unexpectedly different surface structure.

I have been doing fire assays for over 30 years now; so I know what these differences mean.

If the metal you are assaying is either Gold or Silver when the cupelling is complete you will get a small metal bead. If it is Gold you have the golden color that is unmistakable. But if it is Silver, Palladium, Platinum, Rhodium or Iridium the colors are all a silvery metallic color. With Silver the surface is mirror smooth like a shinny glass Christmas bulb. The reason for this is that the cupelling temperature is so close above the melting point of the Silver that it is essentially coming out in a molten state. However when assaying platinum group metals that have melting points considerably above the cupelling temperature then you get a significantly different surface structure. That is because you are precipitating the metal out of a saturated solution and its crystal structure begins to show as irregularities on the surface that make it look more like a soccer ball with a side growth of the second metal as seen in figures 1 and 2 below:

Figure 1
Figure 1

Figure 2
Figure 2


Because of the thickening process, as just discussed, 30 grams of starting ore is clearly too much ore. Also, because of my earlier work on x-ray analysis of reduced magnetite I became convinced that the black sand contains a very high percentage of platinum group elements—in the neighborhood of 10%. (See the separate report on this below.) This report shows that three grams of black sand would contain about 0.3 grams or 300 milligrams of platinum group metals which will be very easy to detect and make a very large assay bead. So my next assay was to try 3 grams of magnetite with the standard amount of flux. The glass poured okay with some dissolved magnetite in it and the lead button came out about standard size—approximately 32 grams. However the bead size after cupelling was very small only about 100 microns. Examination of the bead under high magnification did show that this had a surface structure of the higher melting platinum group metals with what I call a soccer ball surface as discussed before and shown in figures 1 and 2 above.

So I started a program of trying different ways to modify the assay process to get a greater yield. The first modification I made was to add carbon via charcoal to the assay mix. The reasoning for this is that at the high temperatures of the assay process the carbon will reduce the magnetite or iron oxide to form alpha iron. The reasoning behind this idea is the alpha iron is much more chemically active to work with that the very chemically resistant magnetite.

So the next assay contained three grams of charcoal plus the three of magnetite and ninety grams of flux. This gave a bead yield two to three times larger than the assay run with no carbon but still producing a very small yield in the range of 0.01 to 0.02 oz per ton. Even so, when the bead was examined under the microscope it was seen to have the soccer ball surface typical of a high melting silvery white bead. I then made a few more runs with more and sometime less amounts of carbon, all with the same results of a very small bead of a high melting platinum group metal.

After a few days, at about 4 AM in the morning, the idea came to try graphite. So my next run was made using this mix: 3 grams of black sand/magnetite ore, 3 grams of carbon charcoal, 3 grams of graphite and 90 grams of flux. See figure 3 below:

Figure 3
Figure 3

This new mix proved to be very fruitful but at the same time much more difficult to complete. The graphite made the assay glass very thick and difficult to process, so during the first pouring only about 1/3 of the lead came out in the button and the glass was heavily thickened with the graphite. However, as I said before, this was extremely fruitful, producing a very large bead that weighed 14 milligrams. Upon examination of the glass it was seen the each of the graphite flakes was heavily coated with a myriad of tiny balls of lead. So the next step was to take the glass filled graphite lead mix and put it in an open dish and burn off the graphite and collect some more of the lead. This was done and a second lead button was collected and cupelled resulting in a very large bead that was almost the same size as the first bead. This one weighed 13 milligrams.

At this point in the process there still was a lots of lead coated glass, which I believed still contained a lot of platinum group metals in the lead and unconverted ormus elements in the glass. A second assay like run was made on this residual mix with 10 grams of lead and 25 grams of boric anhydride added to make the mix more fluid during the pouring. This assay process was also a success. The lead button produced another large bead; this time about 11 milligrams. See all three beads in figure 4 below:

Figure 4
Figure 4

When I added all three beads together and cupelled them with ten grams of lead, a large bead was produced as shown earlier in figure 2. This bead now produced a very significant yield of 38 milligrams which, in a standard assay, would represent about 38 oz of platinum group metals per ton. This is a very high number but remember that this assay was run on only 1/10 of the standard amount of ore. So, correcting for this, we now have a yield of about 380 oz per ton of high melting temperature, silver colored, platinum group metals.

A positive identification of these metals has not yet been obtained but from my experience I strongly believe them to be Rhodium and Iridium. A close look at the photos in figures 1 and 2 shows a round ball with a rough surface, which I believe to be Rhodium, and a side growth, with many very small balls attached to the side of the bigger bead, which I believe to be Iridium.

From my earlier work, as reported in the x-ray testing done several years ago, it was calculated that the ratio of Rhodium to Iridium is about 5 to 1, and this looks like the approximate amount of the two different looking metals found in the combined metal bead that came from the final cupelling in the process I just described.

I believe that the much higher melting point of the iridium causes it to saturate and precipitate sooner into the smaller crystal balls making it look different when compared to the larger Rhodium ball which comes out later in the cupelling process.

So, in conclusion, a process has been developed for assaying black sands by using a much lower amount of ore, processing it in a microwave and adding materials to the flux to help convert the platinum group elements, that I believe are in the Ormus form in the black sand, into metals which only show up as metals in the in the final cupelling stage of the assay process.


The microwave process that I am using is described in the following photo sequence. Figure 5 below shows the insulation blocks all cut to 6x6 inch squares. The thicker 2 inch blocks have a 3 inch diameter hole in the center that holds the crucible.

Figure 5
Figure 5

In the microwave processing, these are covered top and bottom with a one inch thick insulating block as seen fully assembled into the microwave furnace in figure 6 below:

Figure 6

Figure 7 shows the 15 gram size clay crucible loaded with the 90 grams of flux, ore and additives—ready to go into the insulation assembly:

Figure 7

Figure 8 shows the assembly after it was taken out of the furnace, for a look at the temperature, after 5 minutes of processing in the microwave at power setting 10. It is just starting to get red in color and exhibit some melting.

Figure 8

Figure 9 show the same crucible after 20 additional minutes at power setting 8. It is fully melted with a red to orange color:

Figure 9

The unit was then left in the microwave for an additional 10 minutes at power setting 7 to allow more mixing and processing to take place. At this time the unit is taken out of the furnace and the crucible is poured into a cast iron cone mold so the lead and glass can be separated as illustrated in figure 10 below:

Figure 10

Figure 11 shows the lead button at the bottom of the glass cone and figure 12 shows it separated after being weighed:

Figure 11

Figure 12

It then it goes into the cupelling furnace as seen in figure 13 to complete the process:

Figure 13

Finally the platinum group metal beads are collected as seen in the earlier figures 1 and 2.