People value gold because obtaining this metal is not easy. Gold does not exist in nature in the same form that it is available on the market. To produce gold, gold ores need to be excavated from gold mines first. Then, gold ores have to undergo other processes until the purest form of the metal is produced.
Despite the difficult processes as well as the dangers and costs that come with gold mining, the world still continues to produce gold. Throughout the gold mining history, people have been travelling great distances to discover where the gold deposits are and have also continually devised mining techniques to make the production of gold easier.
Types of Gold Mining Techniques
There are three common methods used to detect gold and these are: panning, metal detecting, and hard rock mining.
Panning is the traditional and simplest mining technique that has been used since the beginning of the gold mining industry. Done manually, this process makes use of wide, shallow pans stuffed with sand and gravel. The pan is submerged in the water so that gold can settle at the bottom of the pan and then be separated from the gravel.
On the other hand, the metal detecting technique involves using of a metal detector to detect gold. The detector may indicate positive readings to signal the presence of gold under the surface of the ground being scanned.
Meanwhile, hard rock mining is only used for rock-encased gold and it is often used by large mining companies around the world. Two of the methods used in hard rock mining are open-pit technique and underground mining.
Gold Mine Locations
To date, the biggest gold mines are located in China. The country has been the largest exporter of gold since 2007, replacing South Africa and Australia. Today, China is also fifth nation with the largest national gold reserve and the second-largest consumer of gold in the world.
South Africa is still famous for its productive yields; however, most of its mines are very deep, making mining very dangerous. One of its deepest mines, called South Deep, is estimated to be productive for up to 70 years.
Meanwhile, gold mines in Australia, which were discovered in the 1900s, are also among the biggest produces of gold in the world. These mine sites produce gold with the use of open-pit mining techniques. The gold mines in this region are still operating today.
Another mining location is Brazil, where the largest gold rush in the 1980s took place. At present, Brazil is known for using the chemical mining technique of extracting gold underground.
There are also a number of gold mines in Canada and the Western U.S. Moreover, because of the increasing demand for gold, people all over the world are still continually seeking for gold. Newly discovered gold deposits are located in Peru, Argentina and Chile.