Picks & Pans: Gold Recovery in Placer Mining Operations
August 1999 by StaffTwo of the major factors affecting the profitability of a placer mining enterprise are the relative efficiency of the mining equipment, and the rate and percentage of recovery obtained while conducting mining operations.
The placer deposits of Utah occur in two distinct types of environments. These are 1) placers found adjacent to, and derived from, gold, silver and base-metal deposits; and 2) placers found in major rivers and derived from unknown, distant sources.
We descended hunched over, down a long, steep, wooden staircase to the 1,000-level.
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.
The truth is that cemented gravels are really not all that complex. There is no mystery of how gold grew there or somehow wormed its way into these solid gravels.
Until just recently, platinum-group metals (PGMs), especially palladium, had been holding their own on the market. But, Russia has now resumed shipments and it has brought prices down.
Gold can potentially be found in all the glaciated areas of the Midwest, but to find it in any appreciable amount one needs to look to areas where the gold gets concentrated by more recent water flows.
We just completed a trip to another river, and yes, there was definite movement and redistribution of gravels, and other prospectors have seen this as well.
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