Over the course of centuries and decades, advancements have been made in mining processes and equipment, such as the machinery developments created at General Kinematics.
These advancements, coupled with the progress made in mining technology, have provided for a great deal of growth in the industry of gold mining. Historical documents reveal that gold was being mined in the area of Bulgaria as far back as 7000 years ago. The once primitive, cumbersome mining methods used during that time has developed into compact, efficient modern-day equipment that makes gold mining a more cost-effective, efficient process.
Likewise, the mining equipment used today helps reduce waste and chemical exposure throughout the various phases of gold mining.
The Basics of Gold Mining and Processing
Placer deposits, such as streambeds where people can pan for gold, are not the typical locations used by commercial gold mining companies.
The process begins when geologists take ore samples to determine the best places for companies to mine. Once mining engineers know where gold is located and what other materials surround it, the mining process can begin. If the gold is located close to the surface, it’s mined with open-pit mining techniques.
Gold that’s located farther below the surface is collected with underground mining methods. Large pieces of ore are made into smaller pieces, and then the sand grain-sized pieces are mixed with a cyanide solution to create a watery, mud-like mixture.
What is Gold Used For?
- Finances, such as gold bars or bullion
- Conductor for electronics
- Computer edge connectors and memory chips
- Dental fillings or crowns
- As part of a radioactive solution for some medical diagnoses
- Awards or decorative gilding
Where is Gold Found?
Gold mining takes place in countries such as South Africa, Australia, the United States, Canada, China and Pakistan. One of the largest gold mines known worldwide is the Aurora Gold Mine located in Guyana, Africa. As of the year 2013, the Aurora Gold Mine has an estimated reserve of 6.54 million ounces.
The Gold Mining Process
In addition to cyanide processing, gold ore is also processed with gravity separation. Advanced technology has enabled the amount of gold mined and processed to steadily increase over the years. For example, the worldwide production of gold in 2006 was 2360 metric tons. As of 2013, that number had climbed to 2770 metric tons. With continued advancements in mining technology, this growth trend is likely to continue.