Since first discovered, the precious metal that is gold has been the foundation of wealth and as you would expect, the way we mine and produce this alluring yellow metal has changed a lot over the centuries. We have come a long way since the gold rush days, when panning a small stream was the most popular way to find this precious metal.
Gold was one of the first metals to be mined mainly because it is stable and was so easily found at the edge of streams and gravel. Early civilisations wanted gold for several reasons such as: its bright yellow colour was visually appealing, it did not corrode and was very malleable.
Ancient cultures saw gold as the perfect material for worshipping deities, working gold into statues, sculptures, candlestick holders and chalices; this began before gold was ever used as a currency. As time passed, the use of gold increased, especially when gold became a symbol of wealth.
Most experts would agree that gold first began to be used as a valuable commodity during the early Egyptian Pharaoh period, with the Nile River bringing large deposit of gold into the fertile lands of central Egypt. This led to mines being established along the banks of the Nile.
The global expansion of the Roman Empire was financed with gold and the Romans were the first to use a hydraulic method to mine gold. Using high pressure jets of water to separate rock and stone was a game-changer and ground sluicing was also implemented. By the time Rome had conquered Great Britain, gold was already the main way to store and transport wealth.
American Gold Rushes
There were several notable gold rushes in The Americas, the California Gold Rush of 1894 being one of the best known. When a lucky prospector found a huge nugget of gold, the word spread like wildfire and within a few weeks, there would be hundreds of eager people hoping to find a jackpot seam of gold.
For many centuries, men toiled underground using picks and other implements as they moved along a seam of gold. While this was effective, when steam arrived, this saw the invention of mining machines and conveyor belts came not long after to change the way gold was mined. The internal combustion engine boosted the production of all precious metals and mining and ore processing became mechanised. If you are looking to acquire gold bullion, check the gold price Australia or the leading gold bullion dealer in your country shares, and you can make your acquisition.
Hard Rock Gold Mining
This method is used to produce the majority. It could be open mine, whereby sections are loosened with explosives, then excavators dump ore into huge dumper trucks and the ore is taken to a processing plant. Underground gold mining involves locating seams of gold and tunneling along, following the seam until it expires. In parts of South Africa, there are gold mines almost 4km deep and the workers have a/c at the seam face.
By-Product Gold Mining
In some cases, substantial gold is found in copper or zinc mines, which is a bonus for the mining company, who set out to mine something less valuable. There have been a few cases whereby the discovery of gold changed the way the mine was processed and the by-product became the main goal.
Gold has always been the pillar of wealth and many small investors have gold as part of their portfolio. If you are looking to buy or sell gold, search online for a nearby gold bullion dealer where you will get the best service.