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Small Mining Operations

The Fire Assay of Carbon

Carbon, activated charcoal, or “char,” as some old timers refer to it, can be an assayer’s nightmare.

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A Model Mining Operation


After he excavates the ore down to bedrock, he goes over the bedrock with a metal detector to ensure he didn't leave any gold behind before he backfills the area.

River Dredging vs. Creek Dredging—Part II


While river dredging in fast water, don’t be afraid of being swept out of your dredge hole by the current. If this happens—and it most certainly will in fast water—there is no need to panic. Don’t try to swim against the current because you will waste much energy in an effort to conquer the river. Just let it take you downstream.

Mining Company Pays Millions for Gold Dug From Mine Dumps


Through a program that began in 2011, Barrick Gold Corp.-owned Golden Sunlight has paid out more than $45 million to small miners in the last seven years...

Wilfley Tables—Repair, Rebuild & Set Up


I researched the Internet and found a number of table makers, but technology has changed in the last 25 years. No one could sell me a kit for a new deck with wooden riffles...

Refractory Gold Processing


After your excitement peaks when you first receive the high gold assay from the vein you just exposed, you ponder how you will extract and sell your gold. You will need to develop a flow sheet for your process to optimize your recovery and minimize your costs and permit requirements.

How to Refine Silver—Pt I


Silver refining has been used from ancient times to change the characteristics of the metal. Early metallurgists refined silver by heating it a couple hundred degrees above its melting point and holding the metal at an elevated temperature for a period of time.

Ask the Experts


Ore testing and other advice for starting up a mining operation.

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