Hard Rock Mining: the process

The science and technology of gold mining are the science and business of finding and removing gold and then putting it on the market. There are many places where gold can be found. Even seawater can contain small amounts of gold. It is more common to find it in veins that are associated with igneous rock like quartzite. These rocks are created by heat. Pockets are places where the gold is found deep in the earth. These pockets are filled gold, heavy ore and quartz.

Because the cost of mining and removing gold from rocks can be expensive, large companies are formed to raise funds for the development of hard-rock mines. This is in contrast to the small group of individuals or small groups associated with placer mining. (See “Lode Vs Placer Mining” to learn more about the various mining methods).

It is not financially viable to mine for gold if there is a high concentration in the ore. In 1934, the fixed price for gold rose from $20.67 to $35 U.S. Per troy ounce. It remained at $35 USD through 1968. Initially, gold mining was a lucrative venture in the 1930s. However, the fixed price of gold fell to $35 USD per troy ounce as inflation increased over the same time period.

Companies first explore the areas where gold might be found, and then analyse the rock. The technological process of hardrock mining begins when enough gold is found in the ore.

Mining was dangerous and labor-intensive in the 1930s. Miners worked by digging tunnels in solid rock. These miners were often at risk of their health digging tunnels into solid rock by hand with picks or shovels for long periods in dark tunnels.

The most common injuries in underground mines were caused by falling rocks, slips and explosions. However, workers had to inhale dust in their lungs before safety regulations, improved ventilation, and better ventilation. To provide for their families, the miners were willing and able to take risks.

The miners would transport the ore from the mine on wheeled carts that were pushed on rails, and then take it to the mill.

Three steps are required for gold milling:

(1) Sorting the ore according to its size (2) Crushing the rock

(3) Extraction of the gold

This post was written by Justin Tidd, Director at Becker Mining Communications! For over 15 years, Becker Communications has been the industry’s leader in increasingly more sophisticated electrical mining communication systems. As they expanded into surface mining, railroads, and tunneling they added wireless communication systems, handheld radios, tagging and tracking systems, as well as gas monitoring.