Mines and Mining Methods

Joseph l.Cox By Joseph l.Cox, 23rd Sep 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Science>Rocks & Minerals

Here we talk about the method of getting gold using monsterous floating dredges. The rape of the land was not even considered if there was gold to be found, it was the same with the hydraulic mining, where they washed away mountains

How they got the gold

Previously we talked about different types of mines and how the gold was extracted from the earth there are still some we haven't talked about. In some areas the had enough water and the gravel was rich enough with ore, the miners used a floating dredge. A dredge is a floating gold processing plant, they dig the gravel from the stream bed or river as it comes in on the conveyor belts it is sorted and the large rocks are dis guarded, the finer gravel is then run through the on board sluices.

Then once the gold is extracted the left over gravel is off loaded by use of a conveyor and put into piles by the stream bank, these are referred to as tailing's. A dredge can dig as deep as it's bucket line is, some are said to be able to dig one hundred fifty feet deep and recover ever very small pieces of gold, even like a powder that they call “Gold Dust” because it is so fine.

There is prime example of a dredge at the “Sumpter Oregon State Park”, you can go on it and look at the machinery and equipment. You will marvel at how they built this “monster” with the tools and equipment they had at the time, remember now this was built and operational 150 years ago. Think about the conditions they lived in,and where. Look up Sumpter on your map or Google it and you can see what I am talking about.

Dredging the Yuba River

On the Yuba River near Marysville, Calif. ,where the river flattens out and is more gentle, the flood plain there is very wide and when the river stops moving fast the gold will settle into the gravel, there were huge deposits locked in the gravel until they built some gigantic dredges and worked the entire river bottom for miles. There was much gold taken from the river for several years, and like some other places the government made them stop because there were laws passed against it. The dredges were polluting the rivers with silt and killing fish and in the spring the farmland would flood, the farmers did not want their good land covered with silt.

There were huge tailing piles for miles along Highway 20 between Marysville and Grass Valley , and they also left many mini-lakes that became populated by Bass , they were some of the best fishing anywhere around. Some of the guys I know used go there and catch all the bass the family could eat. By the way those mini-lakes were call The Dredger Ponds.

Yankee Fork

To show you just how gold crazy they were they build a huge dredge on the Yankee Fork of the Yuba River. Believe it or not there was many dollars of gold taken out of there too.

A modern dredge is small,and efficient

There is a new modern method of dredging that doesn't pollute like the old way. Since most of the big deposits of gold have found, now the individuals and companies are going to a small compact dredge that is portable. It can be launched in the river or, creek by one or two men, it has a small gasoline engine, the whole thing can be carried to the river and floated to where they want to work, the engine is connected to a powerful high capacity pump with a long suction hose, one guy puts on scuba gear and takes the hose and more or less vacuums the cracks and crevices in the river bottom.

The result is a fast economical operation getting the gold they could not otherwise get. The water and gravel is sucked up on their mini-dredge, sluiced and gravel put back in the river where it came from. With very little impact on the environment.


Bucket Line, Dredge, Gold, Gravel, Monster, Tailings

Meet the author

author avatar Joseph l.Cox
started writing 2 yr ago, to help afriend with some research. i enjoyed it and decided i would do thi on my own, i still enjoy. i write alot of personal stories and health articles.

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
24th Sep 2012 (#)

Yes I am sure many toxins and silts were washed down the rivers and damaged the environments and coral reefs too. I think I would stick to goldpanning, if only I had a gold filled river running through my farm!

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author avatar Joseph l.Cox
24th Sep 2012 (#)

If you want to go there i will show you some amazing things.From the Makakoff Diggins to the hard rock mines.
but in spite of it all it is still a beautiful country.


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