Methods of Gold Mining
As new technology has become available, the gold mining industry has gained the benefits of a more efficient process of removing gold from the earth. Gone are the days when individual miners were prospecting for gold in rivers and the side of mountains. While these techniques are still used, the vast majority of gold is discovered by mining companies that use scientific information and technical tools to return locations that will have a high likelihood of having gold. A closer look at the different methods of gold mining will show the disparity in production levels.
For an individual, learning how to mine for gold is relatively easy. On the other hand, a large part of the work is a guessing game, with the miner finding gold by chance rather than by a full examination of the land to determine where gold will be. The most popular and easiest way for an individual to mine for gold is with panning, a manual way of separating gold from ordinary rocks. This is done by filling a pan with sediment from a river bed or piece of land. Water is added to the mixture and the pan is swirled to allow the heavier elements to go to the bottom of the pan. As the lighter sediments are removed, gold pieces will stay at the bottom of the pan where they can be easily identified.
For mining companies, the most common method of extracting gold is through hard rock mining. In this process, the prospecting for gold is done on a large scale, with many workers working in a larger and deeper mine. The largest of these mines is in the country of South Africa and measures nearly 4000 meters under the ground. At these depths, air conditioning must be used to protect the workers from heat exhaustion. In hard rock mining, workers use motorized drills and other equipment to look for large sections of gold in the walls of the mine.