Dredging for Monazite in Idaho
October 2003 by Sharon A. MurrayThe advent of the nuclear age, after World War II, aroused concerns in government circles when officials realized the United States was entirely dependent upon foreign sources of supply for rare earth elements. This prompted the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) to enlist the US Bureau of Mines Special Minerals Investigation Branch to evaluate monazite-bearing placers in the United States in 1948.
There were nice sections of vein material at the end of several drifts, like they just stopped work one day and walked away.
The Phoenix Gold Mine is located approximately 7 miles south of Concord, North Carolina, and was discovered in about 1836, some 37 years following the first discovery of gold in the United States and a few years following the discovery of gold in quartz veins by Joseph Barringer.
If you do the math, it equates to about $1,500 of heavy metal value per three-hour dive. This is good wages, and you are doing a service to the environment by removing this toxic metal.
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I thought it might be worthwhile to take a look at the basics of this important mineral separation technique and how a miner can use it to recover the values out of an ore.
Before going into an analysis of the ore composition, two other major factors will affect the result. These are the accuracy of the assay and the effectiveness of the mill for the gold recovery.
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