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 specific gravity of chalcedony is 2.58 to 2.64. This is slightly lower than coarsely crystalline quartz because of slight porosity in chalcedony. Being so light, it will easily wash out of a gold pan.
The big interest to prospectors thinking about the effect of erosion is not what might happen long into the future, but what they might find in the rivers later this summer when the water levels go down.
Silver Peak is a small mining community in Esmeralda County in west-central Nevada, about 30 miles west of Goldfield. Although it’s fairly remote, it’s been an important mining center since the early days.
I didn’t know what to expect because the area we were working was not close to the water, but we were pleasantly surprised when we began to pan out some nice flakes and a few pickers.
You can learn a lot from a small mining operation because you have to become proficient in every job. Soon I was preparing fuses, placing powder (dynamite) and learning the ins and outs of drilling and blasting.
The area was mined intermittently from around 1900 to 1915, but was also mined in the late 1800s, with a total output valued at about $100,000, which is around $9.5 million at the current gold price.
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