Las Médulas—The Gem of the Roman Gold Mines
July 2018 by Alan J. Chenworth
This mine was a real wonder of engineering, and the water supply and drifts had to be carefully managed to keep it in operation. In fact, it didn’t close due to lack of gold, but instead closed with the fall of the Roman Empire.
An example of some of this extraordinary ore was a lot of about four tons from the Florence mine during the last days of a lease that averaged over 300 ounces of gold per ton.
...I decided to excavate the semi-frozen high-bank that was resting on a soft shale bedrock footing. Within three feet, I encountered an intrusive!
The holes were overloaded with explosives, but I didn’t know it. I was just a green mining engineer fresh out of school and told to watch as the experienced miners set the charge.
Liberty, Washington is located in the mountains near Yakima and Ellensburg. There is nothing much in Liberty except for about 20 houses on patented mining claims and a lot of dry holes.
A few quick calculations show that approximately 11 tons of gold are lost each year just in the manufacture of new cell phones.
Plumas County has a rich heritage of gold mining, much of it from placer deposits that can still be searched and panned today. Being at the far northern end of California’s famed Mother Lode, it is quite often overlooked by those searching for gold today—really a well-kept secret after all of these years!
The fact that mineral deposits can contribute specific types of heavy minerals is why the analysis of the heavy mineral concentrates in the streams of an area can be an important prospecting technique for finding undiscovered mineral deposits.
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