Gold mining
Overview
 
Gold mining is the removal
Resource extraction
The related terms natural resource extraction both refer to the practice of locating, acquiring and selling natural resources....

 of gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

 from the ground. There are several techniques and processes by which gold may be extracted from the earth.
It is impossible to know the exact date that humans first began to mine gold, but some of the oldest known gold artifacts were found in the Varna Necropolis
Varna Necropolis
The Varna Necropolis is a burial site in the western industrial zone of Varna , Bulgaria, internationally considered one of the key archaeological sites in world prehistory...

 in Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

. The graves of the necropolis were built between 4700 and 4200 BCE, indicating that gold mining could be at least 7000 years old.

Gold objects are plentiful in the Bronze age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

, especially in Ireland and Spain, and there are several well known possible sources.

Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 used hydraulic mining
Hydraulic mining
Hydraulic mining, or hydraulicking, is a form of mining that uses high-pressure jets of water to dislodge rock material or move sediment. In the placer mining of gold or tin, the resulting water-sediment slurry is directed through sluice boxes to remove the gold.-Precursor - ground...

 methods, such as hushing
Hushing
Hushing is an ancient and historic mining method using a flood or torrent of water to reveal mineral veins. The method was applied in several ways, both in prospecting for ores, and for their exploitation. Mineral veins are often hidden below soil and sub-soil, which must be stripped away to...

 and ground sluicing on a large scale to extract gold from extensive alluvial deposits, such as those at Las Medulas
Las Médulas
Las Médulas is a historical site near the town of Ponferrada in the region of El Bierzo , which used to be the most important gold mine in the Roman Empire...

.
Encyclopedia
Gold mining is the removal
Resource extraction
The related terms natural resource extraction both refer to the practice of locating, acquiring and selling natural resources....

 of gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

 from the ground. There are several techniques and processes by which gold may be extracted from the earth.

History

It is impossible to know the exact date that humans first began to mine gold, but some of the oldest known gold artifacts were found in the Varna Necropolis
Varna Necropolis
The Varna Necropolis is a burial site in the western industrial zone of Varna , Bulgaria, internationally considered one of the key archaeological sites in world prehistory...

 in Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

. The graves of the necropolis were built between 4700 and 4200 BCE, indicating that gold mining could be at least 7000 years old.

Gold objects are plentiful in the Bronze age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

, especially in Ireland and Spain, and there are several well known possible sources.

Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 used hydraulic mining
Hydraulic mining
Hydraulic mining, or hydraulicking, is a form of mining that uses high-pressure jets of water to dislodge rock material or move sediment. In the placer mining of gold or tin, the resulting water-sediment slurry is directed through sluice boxes to remove the gold.-Precursor - ground...

 methods, such as hushing
Hushing
Hushing is an ancient and historic mining method using a flood or torrent of water to reveal mineral veins. The method was applied in several ways, both in prospecting for ores, and for their exploitation. Mineral veins are often hidden below soil and sub-soil, which must be stripped away to...

 and ground sluicing on a large scale to extract gold from extensive alluvial deposits, such as those at Las Medulas
Las Médulas
Las Médulas is a historical site near the town of Ponferrada in the region of El Bierzo , which used to be the most important gold mine in the Roman Empire...

. Mining was under the control of the state but the mines may have been leased to civilian contractors some time later. The gold served as the primary medium of exchange within the empire, and was an important motive in the Roman invasion of Britain by Claudius
Claudius
Claudius , was Roman Emperor from 41 to 54. A member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, he was the son of Drusus and Antonia Minor. He was born at Lugdunum in Gaul and was the first Roman Emperor to be born outside Italy...

 in the first century C.E., although there is only one known Roman gold mine at Dolaucothi in west Wales. Gold was a prime motivation for the campaign in Dacia
Dacia
In ancient geography, especially in Roman sources, Dacia was the land inhabited by the Dacians or Getae as they were known by the Greeks—the branch of the Thracians north of the Haemus range...

 when the Romans invaded Transylvania
Transylvania
Transylvania is a historical region in the central part of Romania. Bounded on the east and south by the Carpathian mountain range, historical Transylvania extended in the west to the Apuseni Mountains; however, the term sometimes encompasses not only Transylvania proper, but also the historical...

 in what is now modern Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

 in the second century C.E. The legions were led by the emperor Trajan, and their exploits are shown on Trajan's Column
Trajan's Column
Trajan's Column is a Roman triumphal column in Rome, Italy, which commemorates Roman emperor Trajan's victory in the Dacian Wars. It was probably constructed under the supervision of the architect Apollodorus of Damascus at the order of the Roman Senate. It is located in Trajan's Forum, built near...

 in Rome and the several reproductions of the column elsewhere (such as the Victoria and Albert Museum
Victoria and Albert Museum
The Victoria and Albert Museum , set in the Brompton district of The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London, England, is the world's largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects...

 in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

).

Under the Eastern Roman Empire Emperor Justinian's rule, gold was mined in Balkans, Anatolia, Armenia, Egypt, and Nubia.
Gold was first mined in the area of the Kolar Gold Fields
Kolar Gold Fields
Kolar Gold Fields is a town in Bangarpet Taluk, in the Kolar District of Karnataka state, India. It includes the township of the same name, viz. KGF, where reside mainly the families of the employees of BGML. To the east of KGF is a ridge of hills of which Dod Betta hill, 3195 feet above sea...

 (KGF) in Bangarpet Taluk of Kolar District
Kolar district
Kolar district is a district in Karnataka state of India. The town of Kolar is the district headquarters. Kolar district is located in the southern region of the State and is the eastern-most district of the Karnataka State...

 of Karnataka
Karnataka
Karnataka , the land of the Kannadigas, is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act and this day is annually celebrated as Karnataka Rajyotsava...

 state, India, prior to the 2nd and 3rd century C.E. by the digging of small pits. (Golden objects found in Harappa
Harappa
Harappa is an archaeological site in Punjab, northeast Pakistan, about west of Sahiwal. The site takes its name from a modern village located near the former course of the Ravi River. The current village of Harappa is from the ancient site. Although modern Harappa has a train station left from...

 and Mohenjo-daro
Mohenjo-daro
Mohenjo-daro is an archeological site situated in what is now the province of Sindh, Pakistan. Built around 2600 BC, it was one of the largest settlements of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization, and one of the world's earliest major urban settlements, existing at the same time as the...

 have been traced to KGF through impurities analysis—the impurities include 11% silver concentration, found only in KGF ore.) During the Chola period in the 9th and 10th century C.E., the scale of the operation grew.

The tradition of mining gold started at least as early as the first millennium B.C. The Champion reef at the Kolar gold fields
Kolar Gold Fields
Kolar Gold Fields is a town in Bangarpet Taluk, in the Kolar District of Karnataka state, India. It includes the township of the same name, viz. KGF, where reside mainly the families of the employees of BGML. To the east of KGF is a ridge of hills of which Dod Betta hill, 3195 feet above sea...

 was mined to a depth of 50 metres (164 ft) during the Gupta period in the fifth century C.E. The metal continued to be mined by the eleventh century kings of South India, the Vijayanagara Empire
Vijayanagara Empire
The Vijayanagara Empire , referred as the Kingdom of Bisnaga by the Portuguese, was an empire based in South Indian in the Deccan Plateau region. It was established in 1336 by Harihara I and his brother Bukka Raya I of the Yadava lineage. The empire rose to prominence as a culmination of attempts...

 from 1336 to 1560, and later by Tipu Sultan
Tipu Sultan
Tipu Sultan , also known as the Tiger of Mysore, was the de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore. He was the son of Hyder Ali, at that time an officer in the Mysorean army, and his second wife, Fatima or Fakhr-un-Nissa...

, the king of Mysore state and the British. It is estimated that the total gold production in Karnataka
Karnataka
Karnataka , the land of the Kannadigas, is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act and this day is annually celebrated as Karnataka Rajyotsava...

 to date is 1000 tons.

The discovery of gold in the Witwatersrand
Witwatersrand
The Witwatersrand is a low, sedimentary range of hills, at an elevation of 1700–1800 metres above sea-level, which runs in an east-west direction through Gauteng in South Africa. The word in Afrikaans means "the ridge of white waters". Geologically it is complex, but the principal formations...

 led to the Second Boer War
Second Boer War
The Second Boer War was fought from 11 October 1899 until 31 May 1902 between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking Dutch settlers of two independent Boer republics, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State...

 and ultimately the founding of South Africa.

The Carlin Trend
Carlin Unconformity
The Carlin Unconformity or Carlin Trend is a geologic feature in northeastern Nevada which represents a period of erosion or non-deposition likely associated with a collision between a tectonic crustal block called a terrane and the North American Plate. The collision occurred during the...

 of Nevada, U.S., was discovered in 1961. Official estimates indicate that total world gold production since the beginning of civilization has been 4.97 billion troy ounces and total Nevada production is three percent of that, which ranks Nevada as one of the Earth's primary gold producing regions.

Panning

Gold panning
Gold panning
Gold panning, or simply panning, is a form of placer mining that extracts gold from a placer deposit using a pan. The process is one of the simplest ways to extract gold, and is popular with geology enthusiasts because of its cheap cost and the relatively simple and easy process involved. It is the...

 is mostly a manual technique of separating gold from other materials. Wide, shallow pans are filled with sand and gravel that may contain gold. The pan is submerged in water and shaken, sorting the gold from the gravel and other material. As gold is much denser than rock, it quickly settles to the bottom of the pan. The panning material is usually removed from stream beds, often at the inside turn in the stream, or from the bedrock shelf of the stream, where the density of gold allows it to concentrate, a type called placer deposit
Placer deposit
In geology, a placer deposit or placer is an accumulation of valuable minerals formed by gravity separation during sedimentary processes. The name is from the Spanish word placer, meaning "alluvial sand". Placer mining is an important source of gold, and was the main technique used in the early...

s.

Gold panning is the easiest technique for searching for gold, but is not commercially viable for extracting gold from large deposits, except where labor costs are very low or gold traces are substantial. Panning is often marketed as a tourist attraction on former gold fields. Before large production methods are used, a new source must be identified and panning is useful to identify placer gold deposits to be evaluated for commercial viability.

Sluicing

Using a sluice box to extract gold from placer deposits has long been a common practice in prospecting and small scale mining. A sluice box is essentially a man made channel with riffles set in the bottom. The riffles are designed to create dead zones in the current to allow gold to drop out of suspension. The box is placed in the stream to channel water flow. Gold bearing material is placed at the top of the box. The material is carried by the current through the box where gold and other dense material settles out behind the riffles. Less dense material flows out of the box as tailings
Tailings
Tailings, also called mine dumps, slimes, tails, leach residue, or slickens, are the materials left over after the process of separating the valuable fraction from the uneconomic fraction of an ore...

.

Larger commercial placer mining
Placer mining
Placer mining is the mining of alluvial deposits for minerals. This may be done by open-pit or by various surface excavating equipment or tunneling equipment....

 operations employ screening plants, or trommel
Trommel
A trommel is a screened cylinder used to separate materials by size - for example, separating the biodegradable fraction of mixed municipal waste or separating different sizes of crushed stone....

s, to remove the larger alluvial materials such as boulders and gravel, before concentrating the remainder in a sluice box or jig plant. These operations typically include diesel powered, earth moving equipment, including excavators, bulldozers, wheel loaders, and rock trucks.

Dredging

Although this method has largely been replaced by modern methods, some dredging is done by small scale miners using suction dredges. These are small machines that float on the water and are usually operated by one or two people. A suction dredge consists of a sluice box supported by pontoons, attached to a suction hose which is controlled by a miner working beneath the water.

State dredging permits in many of the United States gold dredging areas specify a seasonal time period and area closures to avoid conflicts between dredgers and the spawning time of fish populations. Some states, such as Montana, require an extensive permitting procedure, including permits from the U.S. Corps of Engineers, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, and the local county water quality boards.

Some large suction dredges (100 hp+ 10 inch) are used in commercial production throughout the world. Small suction dredges are much more efficient at extracting smaller gold than the old bucket line. This has improved the chances of finding gold. Smaller dredges with 2 to 4 in (50.8 to 101.6 mm) suction tubes are used to sample areas behind boulders and along potential pay streaks, until "color" (gold) appears.

Other larger scale dredging operations take place on exposed river gravel bars at seasonal low water. These operations typically use a land based excavator to feed a gravel screening plant and sluice box floating in a temporary pond. The pond is excavated in the gravel bar and filled from the natural water table. "Pay" gravel is excavated from the front face of the pond and processed through the floating plant, with the gold trapped in the onboard sluice box and tailings stacked behind the plant, steadily filling in the back of the pond as the operation moves forward. This type of gold mining is characterized by its low cost, as each rock is moved only once. It also has low environmental impact, as no stripping of vegetation or overburden is necessary, and all process water is fully recycled. Such operations are typical on New Zealand's South Island and in the Klondike region of Canada.

Cradle

A cradle rocks back and forth while water was poured over it. The sand and gravel was washed through the screen of the cradle, leaving the gold behind.

Hard rock mining

Hard rock gold mining
Hard rock mining
Underground hard rock mining refers to various underground mining techniques used to excavate hard minerals, mainly those containing metals such as ore containing gold, silver, iron, copper, zinc, nickel and lead, but also involves using the same techniques for excavating ores of gems such as...

 extracts gold encased in rock, rather than fragments in loose sediment, and produces most of the world's gold. Sometimes open-pit mining
Open-pit mining
Open-pit mining or opencast mining refers to a method of extracting rock or minerals from the earth by their removal from an open pit or borrow....

 is used, such as at the Fort Knox Mine in central Alaska. Barrick Gold Corporation has one of the largest open-pit gold mines in North America located on its Goldstrike mine
Goldstrike mine
Barrick Goldstrike is a gold mine in North Eastern Nevada, Lynn District, Eureka County. It is located on the Carlin Trend where several other mines are found. Barrick Gold started mining Goldstrike in 1986. It is a part of the largest gold mining company in North America, Barrick...

 property in northeastern Nevada. Other gold mines use underground mining, where the ore is extracted through tunnels or shafts. South Africa has the world's deepest hard rock gold mine up to 3900 metres (12,795.3 ft) underground. At such depths, the heat is unbearable for humans, and air conditioning is required for the safety of the workers. The first such mine to receive air conditioning was Robinson Deep, at that time the deepest mine in the world for any mineral.

Byproduct gold mining

Gold is also produced by mining in which it is not the principal product. Large copper mines, such as the Bingham Canyon mine
Bingham Canyon Mine
The Bingham Canyon Mine, also known as the Kennecott Copper Mine, is an open-pit mining operation extracting a large porphyry copper deposit southwest of Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, in the Oquirrh Mountains. It is the deepest open-pit mine in the world. The mine is owned by Rio Tinto Group, an...

 in Utah, often recover considerable amounts of gold and other metals along with copper. Some sand and gravel pits, such as those around Denver, Colorado, may recover small amounts of gold in their washing operations. The largest producing gold mine in the world, the Grasberg mine
Grasberg mine
The Grasberg Mine is the largest gold mine and the third largest copper mine in the world. It is located in the province of Papua in Indonesia near Puncak Jaya, the highest mountain in Papua, and it has 19,500 employees...

 in Papua, Indonesia, is primarily a copper mine.

Gold ore processing

In placer mines, the gold is recovered by gravity separation. For hard rock mining, other methods are usually used.

Cyanide process

Cyanide
Cyanide
A cyanide is a chemical compound that contains the cyano group, -C≡N, which consists of a carbon atom triple-bonded to a nitrogen atom. Cyanides most commonly refer to salts of the anion CN−. Most cyanides are highly toxic....

 extraction of gold may be used in areas where fine gold bearing rocks are found. Sodium cyanide
Sodium cyanide
Sodium cyanide is an inorganic compound with the formula NaCN. This highly toxic colorless salt is used mainly in gold mining but has other niche applications...

 solution is mixed with finely ground rock that is proven to contain gold or silver, and is then separated from the ground rock as gold cyanide or silver cyanide solution. Zinc
Zinc
Zinc , or spelter , is a metallic chemical element; it has the symbol Zn and atomic number 30. It is the first element in group 12 of the periodic table. Zinc is, in some respects, chemically similar to magnesium, because its ion is of similar size and its only common oxidation state is +2...

 is to precipitate out residual zinc as well as the silver and gold metals. The zinc is removed with sulfuric acid
Sulfuric acid
Sulfuric acid is a strong mineral acid with the molecular formula . Its historical name is oil of vitriol. Pure sulfuric acid is a highly corrosive, colorless, viscous liquid. The salts of sulfuric acid are called sulfates...

, leaving a silver or gold sludge that is generally smelted into an ingot then shipped to a metals refinery for final processing into 99.9999% pure metals.

Advancements in the 1970s have seen activated carbon used in extracting gold from the leach solution. The gold is absorbed into the porous matrix of the carbon. Activated carbon has so much internal surface area, that fifteen grams (half an ounce) has the equivalent surface area of the Melbourne Cricket Ground (18100 sqm). The gold can be removed from the carbon by using a strong solution of caustic soda and cyanide, a process known as elution
Elution
Elution is a term used in analytical and organic chemistry to describe the process of extracting one material from another by washing with a solvent ....

. Gold is then plated out onto steel wool through electrowinning
Electrowinning
Electrowinning, also called electroextraction, is the electrodeposition of metals from their ores that have been put in solution or liquefied. Electrorefining uses a similar process to remove impurities from a metal. Both processes use electroplating on a large scale and are important techniques...

. Gold specific resins can also be used in place of activated carbon, or where selective separation of gold from copper or other dissolved metals is required.

The cyanide technique is crude and is commonly used in low grade gold and silver ore processing. There are many environmental hazards associated with this extraction method in addition to the high toxicity of the cyanide itself. An acute example was demonstrated in the 2000 Baia Mare cyanide spill
2000 Baia Mare cyanide spill
The 2000 Baia Mare cyanide spill was a leak of cyanide near Baia Mare, Romania, into the Someş River by the gold mining company Aurul, a joint-venture of the Australian company Esmeralda Exploration and the Romanian government....

 environmental disaster when a break in a waste pond dam gold mine reprocessing facility near Baia Mare
Baia Mare
Baia Mare is a municipality in northwestern Romania and the capital of Maramureş County. The city is situated about 600 kilometres from Bucharest, the capital of Romania, 70 kilometres from the border with Hungary and 50 kilometres from the border with Ukraine...

 in northern Romania released approximately 100000 cubic metre of waste water contaminated with heavy metal sludge and up to 120 LT of cyanide into the Tisza
Tisza
The Tisza or Tisa is one of the main rivers of Central Europe. It rises in Ukraine, and is formed near Rakhiv by the junction of headwaters White Tisa, whose source is in the Chornohora mountains and Black Tisa, which springs in the Gorgany range...

 River.

Small operations

While most of the gold is produced by major corporations, tens of thousands of people work independently in smaller, artisan operations, in some cases illegal. In Ghana, for instance, the galamsey
Galamsey
A galamsey is a local artisanal gold miner in Ghana, West Africa; such workers are known as orpailleurs in neighboring francophone nations. Galamseys are people who do gold mining independent of mining companies, digging small workings by hand.-Background:Generally the galamseys can dig only to a...

s
are estimated to number 20,000 to 50,000. In neighboring francophone countries, such workers are called orpailleurs. In Brazil, such workers are called garimpeiros.

The high risk of such ventures was seen in the collapse of an illegal mine at Dompoase
Dompoase
Dompoase, a suburb of Kumasi, Ashanti Region, is a town of 30,000 people in Ghana. Kumasi is the capital of the region, considered the wealthiest and most powerful in the nation. It is the area of most cocoa production, as well as gold mining....

, Ashanti Region
Ashanti Region
The Ashanti Region is the third largest of 10 administrative regions in Ghana, occupying a total land surface of 24389 square kilometers or 10.2 per cent of the total land area of Ghana. In terms of population, however, it is the most populated region with a population of 3,612,950 in 2000,...

, Ghana, on 12 November 2009, when 18 workers were killed, including 13 women. Many women work at such mines as porters. It was the worst mining disaster in Ghanaian history.

In order to maximize gold extraction, mercury
Mercury (element)
Mercury is a chemical element with the symbol Hg and atomic number 80. It is also known as quicksilver or hydrargyrum...

 is often used to amalgamate
Amalgam (chemistry)
An amalgam is a substance formed by the reaction of mercury with another metal. Almost all metals can form amalgams with mercury, notable exceptions being iron and platinum. Silver-mercury amalgams are important in dentistry, and gold-mercury amalgam is used in the extraction of gold from ore.The...

 with the metal. The gold is produced by boiling away the mercury from the amalgam, a hazardous process due to toxicity of mercury vapour. Mercury is effective in extracting very small gold particles, but should be reclaimed, instead, in an effective and safe process.

Large companies

Barrick Gold
Barrick Gold
Barrick Gold Corporation is the largest pure gold mining company in the world, with its headquarters in Toronto, Ontario, Canada; and four regional business units located in Australia, Africa, North America and South America...

, Goldcorp
Goldcorp
Goldcorp Inc. is a gold producer headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Goldcorp has 16 operations and development projects in 6 countries across the Americas....

, AngloGold Ashanti
AngloGold Ashanti
AngloGold Ashanti Limited is a global gold mining company. It was formed in 2004 by the merger of AngloGold and the Ashanti Goldfields Corporation.AngloGold Ashanti Limited is now a global gold producer with 21 operations on four continents...

, and Newmont Mining Corporation are the world's four largest gold mining companies.

Adverse effects

Even relatively low concentrations of cyanide, which is used in the recovery of gold from ore, can be highly toxic to people and wildlife.

See also

  • Gold extraction
    Gold extraction
    Gold extraction or recovery from its ores may require a combination of comminution, mineral processing, hydrometallurgical, and pyrometallurgical processes to be performed on the ore....

  • Gold rush
    Gold rush
    A gold rush is a period of feverish migration of workers to an area that has had a dramatic discovery of gold. Major gold rushes took place in the 19th century in Australia, Brazil, Canada, South Africa, and the United States, while smaller gold rushes took place elsewhere.In the 19th and early...

  • Gold prospecting
    Gold prospecting
    Gold prospecting is the act of searching for new gold deposits. Methods used vary with the type of deposit sought and the resources of the prospector...

  • Ore genesis
    Ore genesis
    The various theories of ore genesis explain how the various types of mineral deposits form within the Earth's crust. Ore genesis theories are very dependent on the mineral or commodity....

  • Peak gold
    Peak Gold
    Peak gold is the date at which the maximum rate of global gold extraction is reached, after which the rate of production enters terminal decline. The term derives from the Hubbert peak of a resource...

  • Quartz reef mining
    Quartz reef mining
    Primary gold typically occurs in quartz veins. The extraction of gold ore from these hard quartz veins was historically referred to as quartz reef mining....

  • Recreational gold mining
    Recreational gold mining
    Recreational gold mining and prospecting has become a popular outdoor recreation in a number of countries, including New Zealand , Australia, South Africa, Wales , in Canada and in the United States especially in western states but also elsewhere...



  • Gold mining by country:
    • Gold mining in Australia
      Australian gold rushes
      The Australian gold rush started in 1851 when prospector Edward Hammond Hargraves claimed the discovery of payable gold near Bathurst, New South Wales, at a site Edward Hargraves called Ophir.Eight months later, gold was found in Victoria...

    • Gold mining in the United States
      Gold mining in the United States
      Gold mining in the United States has taken place continually since the discovery of gold at the Reed farm in North Carolina in 1799. The first documented occurrence of gold was in Virginia in 1782...

      • Gold mining in Alaska
        Gold mining in Alaska
        Gold mining in Alaska, a state of the United States, has been a major industry and impetus for exploration and settlement since a few years after the United States acquired the territory from Russia. Russian explorers discovered placer gold in the Kenai River in 1848, but no gold was produced...

    • City of Gold in Canada
      Canada
      Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

    • Gold mining in China
      Gold mining in China
      Gold mining in the People's Republic of China has recently made that country the world's largest gold producer. For the year 2007, gold output rose 12% from 2006 to 276 tonnes to become the world's largest for the first time -- overtaking South Africa, which produced 272 tonnes. South Africa had...

    • Gold mining in Pakistan
      • Reko Diq Mine
        Reko Diq Mine
        Reko Diq is a large copper-gold porphyry mineral deposit on the Tethyan belt.-External links:****...

      • Saindak Copper Gold Project
        Saindak Copper Gold Project
        Saindak Copper-Gold Mine is located in Saindak town, district Chaghi Balochistan, Pakistan. The discovery of copper deposits at Saindak was made in the 1970s in collaboration with a Chinese engineering firm...

    • Welsh gold
      Welsh gold
      Welsh gold is highly prized because of its origin and scarcity, and occurs naturally in two distinct areas of Wales. One area is in North Wales in a band stretching from Barmouth, past Dolgellau and up towards Snowdonia. This was mined at several mines, the largest of which were the Gwynfynydd Gold...

    • Alsukari
      Alsukari
      Alsukari is a Gold Mine located in the Nubian Desert/Eastern Desert near the Red Sea in Egypt, 30 km south of Marsa Alam. It is exploited jointly by the Egyptian Ministry of Mineral Resources and Centamin Egypt...

       new gold mine in Egypt
      Egypt
      Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

  • Gold rushes:

United States:
    • Georgia Gold Rush
      Georgia Gold Rush
      The Georgia Gold Rush was the second significant gold rush in the United States. It started in 1828 in the present day Lumpkin County near county seat Dahlonega, and soon spread through the North Georgia mountains, following the Georgia Gold Belt. By the early 1840s, gold became harder to find...

       (beginning 1828)
    • California Gold Rush
      California Gold Rush
      The California Gold Rush began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. The first to hear confirmed information of the gold rush were the people in Oregon, the Sandwich Islands , and Latin America, who were the first to start flocking to...

       (1848–1855)
    • Pike's Peak Gold Rush (1858–1860)
    • Holcomb Valley gold rush
      Holcomb Valley
      Holcomb Valley, located in the San Bernardino Mountains about five miles north of Big Bear Lake, was the site of the most gold mined in Southern California. It was named after William F. Holcomb, who discovered gold there in 1860. That year started the largest gold rush in Southern California to...

       (1860s)


British Commonwealth:
    • Australian gold rushes
      Australian gold rushes
      The Australian gold rush started in 1851 when prospector Edward Hammond Hargraves claimed the discovery of payable gold near Bathurst, New South Wales, at a site Edward Hargraves called Ophir.Eight months later, gold was found in Victoria...

       (1850s)
      • Victorian Gold Rush
        Victorian gold rush
        The Victorian gold rush was a period in the history of Victoria, Australia approximately between 1851 and the late 1860s. In 10 years the Australian population nearly tripled.- Overview :During this era Victoria dominated the world's gold output...

         (1851-1860s)
    • Fraser Canyon Gold Rush
      Fraser Canyon Gold Rush
      The Fraser Canyon Gold Rush, began in 1858 after gold was discovered on the Thompson River in British Columbia at its confluence with the Nicoamen River. This was a few miles upstream from the Thompson's confluence with the Fraser River at present-day Lytton...

       (late 1850s), Canada
    • Klondike Gold Rush
      Klondike Gold Rush
      The Klondike Gold Rush, also called the Yukon Gold Rush, the Alaska Gold Rush and the Last Great Gold Rush, was an attempt by an estimated 100,000 people to travel to the Klondike region the Yukon in north-western Canada between 1897 and 1899 in the hope of successfully prospecting for gold...

       (1896-1899), Canada
    • Central Otago Gold Rush
      Central Otago Gold Rush
      The Central Otago Gold Rush was a gold rush that occurred during the 1860s in Central Otago, New Zealand...

       (1860s), New Zealand
    • Witwatersrand Gold Rush
      Witwatersrand Gold Rush
      The Witwatersrand Gold Rush was a gold rush in 1886 that led to the establishment of Johannesburg, South Africa. It was part of the Mineral Revolution....

      (1880s), South Africa

External links

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