Subtle and Not So Subtle Dangers of Hard Rock Mining
September 2020 by Ron Kliewer
I’ve been in enough mines to know better, and I mentally kicked myself several times. That was a close call…
Over the last several months, starting from before I left for Australia, I’ve been working on getting all the 2011 paperwork done for my mining claims. I will admit that some parts of the paperwork I let go until only a week or two before the due date.
This explains the large difference in particle sizes between placers and hydrothermal lode deposits, but also means that while the mining may be similar in some cases, the sampling and recovery techniques are usually quite different.
In an old mine that does not have stopes, you know the old miners did not take much if any ore out of that excavation. On the other hand, if you see large stopes within the mine you know that it is these places where the miners found profitable ore deposits within the vein.
Let’s set up a thought experiment: Suppose you had some material that ran one ounce per ton gold, which is generally considered high grade to fantastic grade depending on the circumstances.
Within the first 3 hours he and I had found pocket after pocket of gold and couldn't wait to tell Levi of our treasure.
Most prospectors understand placer mining a lot better than hard rock mining and don’t realize the amount of work that goes into processing different types of hard rock ore.
The next hurdle to jump was whether the trommel motor would start again after sitting on the desert for six years without being started. The last time it had taken a three foot pipe wrench to bust it loose.
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