Mining Today in an active Gold Mine
An underground mine starts on the surface and can take up quite a lot of real estate. Surface requirements include blacksmith shops, dry rooms, dynamite storage, mule and horse pens and sometimes bunkhouses.
Gold is everywhere on Planet earth; it's just more concentrated in certain places and that is what mines are for. There are several gold veins in the mine where gold is more concentrated. To save time an money; go after the "good stuff." In the North tunnel, gold has been collecting in the rock, mud and water for years. This is how we get it out today.
This is where it begins. Instead of panning a few ounces of dirt per pan, you funnel tons of pay- dirt through a modern sluice box. The sluice box will filter and trap the heavier valuable material on the riffles. The debris goes down a series of boxes and riffles to trap the heavier gold. Gold is 8-10 times heavier than most rock, so it will sink to the bottom of the box.
Water/mud running over the sluice box and hopefully gold getting trapped in the sluice riffles.
A wider view showing the length of this sluice box. Big-time mines of hundreds of years ago would have sluice boxes hundreds of feet long.
Once the concentrate has been collected from the riffles in the sluice box, the material is put onto a "shaker table." This table is mechanically operated to shake the table to further induce the heavy gold to fall into smaller riffles, depending their weight.
This small shaker table will reduce the concentrate into almost pure gold. The heavy gold is to collect on the left side through the tube and into the collection tray. Lighter material, like silver, will not sink as fast and collect into the other trays through the tubes. After you collect your concentrate you send it to the smelter for processing. Nearest large-scale smelter is in Canada. Whoops! Their go all your profits!
After blasting in the tunnel, this mucker scoops up the blasted rock and lifts its bucket over itself onto the ore cart behind it. It is designed not to lift very high due to the small size of the tunnels.
Visitors learn how to gold pan after the tour. Even with today's technology, the gold pan is still used.