March 5, 2024

From the ground to your safe – The process of mining and processing gold

Gold mining is basically the extraction of gold from the earth using modern mining methods. The process of mining gold from the earth has evolved for centuries with new methods and innovations being used in the industry. Gold mining in modern times involves some very intense methods. In earlier times most gold mining happened on the surface of the earth but according to experts, most of the alluvial gold that lay on the earth’s surface has been discovered and recovered. Nowadays most gold mines use equipment to go deep underneath the earth to draw the gold that lies deep in the earth’s crust. For Gold to make its way to gold buyers to sell as gold bullion it first goes through several phases.

The first phase of the gold mining process is prospecting. This means, finding gold deposits. It is believed that since the mining rushes from the 1800s, a lot of surface gold was discovered in California, Australia and South Africa. Back then people would stumble upon gold nuggets. For example, Australia’s famous Welcome Stranger nugget was found under 3-cm of dirt by someone who was simply trying to find the roots of a tree. Discovery of such nuggets spawned a lot of “gold rushes” across the globe and prompted more prospecting. Since then geological maps showing where gold might still be found have been drawn and redrawn. These days, stumbling across a nugget is almost a rare as being struck by lightning. It might happen; if it does it will probably happen once in a lifetime.  

How gold makes it from the ground to refined gold bullion

Geology maps are used to find places that might have gold. Once such a place is found, the chemical and physical characteristics of the gold that is found above the ground then a decision of whether to set up a full scale mining operation is made. 

Gold Mining Techniques

Deposits that are found in rocks are called lode deposits. When these are discovered on the surface a mining company will use open-cast mining techniques.  Next a variety of holes are dug the area and explosives charged to loosen the soil. This soil is then scraped off the ground and loaded into trucks and transported where the next process is conducted. Gold is also found in sediment on streams. This is called placer gold and it is recovered different from lode deposits. Most of what happens in water. Because of its density, gold will sink in water, which then makes it easy for miners using water-based techniques to collect the gold after it has settled to the bottom. 

Processing Gold

Once the gold has been collected, the process of turning it into pure gold. There are different methods that are employed by different mining companies like carbon-in-pulp, electro winning and then smelting. These processes involve dissolving the ore so gold can be extracted. The liquefied gold is the made into solid bars also known as doré. These bars are then sent to refineries all over the world for further purification. Once gold has been refined it can be used to cast gold bullion. The importance of gold in our works has given rise to an ever growing industry of gold buyers who buy and sell gold bullion to investors that use gold or invest in gold as a safer haven than stocks and bonds.