When we think of mining gold, we often picture a worker in a hard hat in an underground mine. However, the process of mining gold is much more intricate than that. Extracting gold from the ground is only the first step in a long and complex process that involves many steps.
Before any gold can be extracted from the ground, a considerable amount of exploration and development must be undertaken. This is done to determine the mineral deposit’s composition and how the minerals can be extracted and processed safely, efficiently, and responsibly. Accuracy is crucial in this stage to ensure that the mining process is carried out effectively.
How Is Gold Mined
As technology has continued to advance and the subsequent demand for gold has increased, various techniques have been developed to extract the precious metal. In the gold mining industry, there are currently two primary methods of mining gold: placer mining and complex rock mining.
Hard rock mining
The process of extracting gold from rocks rather than loose sediments at the bottom of streams. Almost all gold in the world comes from this type of mining. The extraction of gold ore from the ground can be done by surface mining or underground mining.
Placer deposits of valuable minerals like gold, diamonds, and tin can accumulate in stream beds, river beds, and even on beaches. Placer mining is the process of extracting gold from these deposits found in stream beds. There are several techniques used in placer mining, including:
- In the process of panning for gold, shallow pans are used to collect the gold. A placer deposit is added to the pan and is manually shaken underwater as the deposit is added to the pan. Since gold is much denser than rock, it will quickly separate from sand and gravel in a pan because it is denser than rock.
- A sluicing technique utilizes the use of a device called a sluice box, which is, essentially, an improvised tray placed at the bottom of a stream to remove sediment. The water and gravel go into one side of the tray, and the denser materials get trapped on riffles attached to it. In contrast, the water current flows above, similar to a filtering system, in that the denser materials get trapped on the riffles.
- A rocker box can be compared to a sluice box in terms of function. In the box, there are riffles where gold is settled inside while water exits through the top of the box where rifles are located.
The machine floats on the water. The stream bed contains a suction pump. The water and placer deposits get sucked in, but the denser materials, such as gravel and minerals (including gold), get trapped on the sluice box while the water is expelled.
Gold Mining History
The Lydian Empire issued gold coins in 700 B.C. There were already gold mines in the Mediterranean and the Middle East then. Gold’s long-term association with money is based on that basis and led to the creation of the first international currency. According to archaeological evidence, mining began during prehistoric times. Because of the conchoidal pattern on which flint breaks, humans were the first species to mine flint for use as scrapers, knives, and arrowheads because of its sharp-edged qualities.
Countries that invested resources and time in innovating and inventing their mining techniques have gained a notable advantage in their development. One of the most impressive empires in history, the Roman Empire… serves as an excellent example.
Mining Equipment Used for Extraction
To extract minerals efficiently, mining machinery is essential, as it aids in the transportation of all the extracted material. These machines come with a sturdy chassis and powerful engines to handle the demanding nature of mining operations.
- Using drills, miners can create access holes for descending underground or place explosive charges to bring material to the surface. A drill miner’s choice depends on how and what they are mining.
- Materials are moved around by earth-moving machines. It can be hauling material after blasting, moving other materials to access seams of minerals, digging underground mines, or getting down to bedrock.
- An underground mine uses crushing equipment to move materials. This equipment keeps materials flowing efficiently and saves money.
Other types of mining machinery are used to introduce the concrete into the rock wall, making it more consistent and safer.
How Is Gold Transported From Mines?
To extract gold from its ore, a chemical process that involves the use of cyanide is necessary- The ore used for this process is the gold rock ore, which has a significant amount of gold. The extraction process takes place at the mine site where companies purchase the gold bars from the mine’s ownership. The bars are then minted and handed over to highly trained security staff who use armored cars and other specialized security measures. Aside from gold bars- gold can also be sold and minted in a handful of other forms, such as gold coins.
There were times when the mint would send its chartered aircraft to pick up the gold from an African site staffed with armed guards. In Canada and the United States, armored cars are often used to pick up materials.
As a leading mining equipment supplier in South Africa – NSIMBI EQUIPMENT TRADERS offers the very best in safe, cost-effective, and efficient mining solutions.