How is gold mined?

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How is gold mined?

People have learned to mine gold since time immemorial. The first mention of this precious metal belong to the V millennium BC. Bulk gold mining, according to archaeologists, began in the countries of the Middle East about 4,500 years ago.

Gold in the crust is found in fairly small quantities. However, gold deposits and sites where gold is mined are quite numerous. According to estimates made in 2011, for the entire period of human history, about 160 thousand tons of gold was mined. Today, the world leaders in gold mining are China, Australia and the USA.

Gold mining in Russia

Russia ranks fourth in the world ranking of gold-mining countries. It accounts for about 7% of all world gold production.

They began to mine gold in Russia industrially in May 1745. Then the Ural peasant Yerofey Markov announced that he had discovered ore gold not far from his village. So the first gold mine in Russia was opened, which later became known as Berezovsky.

Today in Russia there are 16 large gold mining companies.The leading position among them is occupied by Polyus Gold, whose share is 1/5 of the entire industry market. The main places where gold is mined in Russia are located in Chukotka, in the Khabarovsk Territory, the Amur and Magadan regions, as well as in the Krasnoyarsk Territory and in the Irkutsk Region.

Gold mining is a rather complicated and time-consuming process, and it is also very expensive. How is gold mined while reducing costs? To reduce the cost of mining the noble metal is possible due to the closure of unprofitable and low-profit mines. Effective measures are also the reduction of the total volume of preliminary exploration and the introduction of new capital-saving technologies.

Gold mining process

For many centuries and even millennia, the process of gold mining has changed significantly. In the old days, for example, prospectors washed gold sand using very primitive devices. Shaking the gold-bearing suspension in a stream of water made it possible to wash away the lighter river sand, while the heavier gold grains remained at the bottom of the tray. This method is often used in our days.

If the process of developing precious metals is interesting, then you can even see firsthand how gold is mined; A video on this topic can be found on YouTube.

Previously, gold nuggets were often found along the banks of rivers, which, eroding gold-bearing rocks, threw more or less large gold placers onto the land. By the beginning of the 20th century, there were practically no such rich gold deposits and gold began to be mined from ores.

Currently, ore gold mining is a mechanized process. However, it remains quite complicated and time consuming, often located deep underground. An economically viable deposit is a deposit whose ton of ore contains only 3 g of gold. If a ton of rock contains more than 10 grams of a valuable metal, then such a gold deposit is considered rich.

There are several ways to extract gold from ore.

  • Previously used amalgamation. It is based on the property of wetting wet, but it does not dissolve gold. In barrels, at the bottom of which mercury was placed, the finely ground gold-bearing rock was shaken. The smallest gold particles adhered to mercury, being covered from all sides with liquid metal.Then the mercury separated from the waste rock was strongly heated, which made it possible to separate gold from volatile metal. The disadvantage of this method is its high toxicity and incomplete release of gold, since very small gold particles are poorly wetted by mercury.
  • A more modern method of extracting gold from ores is leaching with sodium cyanide. It allows even the smallest grains of gold to be converted into water-soluble cyanide compounds, after which gold is extracted from them using certain reagents (for example, zinc powder). This method allows you to re-extract the remnants of gold from abandoned development, which actually turns them into new deposits, where you can extract gold.

Can I get gold at home?

In order to extract real gold, it is not at all necessary to flush river sand with tons of tons of exhaustion or work hard and hard in the gold mines. You can get gold at home.

We are surrounded by a huge number of items containing gold. For example, few people know that wrist watches produced in Soviet times in yellow cases are gilded with real gold! Some thrifty citizens still keep such watches.And if you figure out how to start buying up such old wristwatches in large quantities, consider that half of the work has already been done.

Next, you need to prepare some simple attributes: a plastic basin and bucket, a hot plate, razor blades, a pan of heat-resistant glass, cotton cloth for filtering, a brush, laboratory scales, a spray bottle and rubber gloves. You will also need chemicals: hydrochloric and nitric acid.

It is better to begin processing in the presence of at least 300 housing units. The process itself is simple, take about 4 hours. Acid consumption - 3-4 liters. So that processing does not cause difficulties, it is enough to recall school chemistry lessons or to look through the necessary textbook. The result can be stunning! With 300 cases it is quite possible to get up to 75 grams of high-grade gold! It is easy to calculate the economic benefit from such processing by multiplying the amount of gold received by its price for 1 gram (about 10 dollars) and subtracting the production costs from the amount received.