July '08 Page 5 | back | index | forward |
Friday, July 18
Happy Birthday Caden - 6 years old!
Today, we went to Victor for a gold mine tour that Patty had arranged. It was a great tour that lasted two hours, and we got to see every facet of the operation. First, we saw these large trucks that can hold 315 tons of ore or overburden!
The trucks look small enough at a distance but the tires are 12 feet tall!
Patty enjoyed climbing up to the cab.
We went down 900 feet into the pit (actually the same pit we saw from above on June 23). To see how big this pit is, I zoomed in and you can see three of the big trucks. The final picture is of the holes in the mountain that were the original mine pits that followed gold seams.
So, all of the ore and overburden is removed form the pit (some 300 ft or more still possible under the current license), then crushed and extracted with cyanide (dissolves the gold and silver), passed over activated charcoal to recover the gold, then smelted to produce cones, 70 lbs or so, of very pure gold and silver. Some 10-15 cones are produced every week. Calculate, and you see over $10 million a week! The mine is owned by a South African firm, that sells the gold and sends the money home.
Here is one of those big trucks dumping into the crusher (right).
You can't believe the scale of the operation. See the mountain in the background below - that is the crushed ore, and the little blip on the top is one of this big trucks!
They didn't give out any samples. What a tour!
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