The Process of Large-Scale Gold Mining Using Mining Equipment

April 26, 2018

Gold, a lustrous and valuable metal, is excavated from mines in large quantities. No doubt, there was a time when prospectors acquired the burnished yellow ore by pulling out rusty sifting pans, but that’s no longer the case. No, heavy duty mining equipment is now used to extract massive loads of gold. That mechanized process begins on the day diggers arrive at the open-face mine.

Prepping the Ground 

After the vegetation and loose dirt is removed, pit benches are shaped by explosive charges and hulking excavators. Access roads form atop these graded terraces. Here comes the second phase of the mining operation, the installation of the crushing equipment. The rock faces have been abraded and cut. Now there’s a messy pile of rocks scattered on the ground. Channelled into feeder mechanisms, the raw material reaches the mechanical jaws of crushing machines. These are the hydraulic cone crushers and jaw smashers whose only job is to pulverize the broken rocks.

Funnelled Towards Milling Stations 

The gold mining process is gaining momentum. Those boulder-sized chunks are now manageable. They’re progressing along a conveyor line and entering a mill. It’s in here that water and steel balls smash into the ore-containing rocks until they’re nothing more than a soup made of gold, grit, and water. Considering the fluidic forces in motion here, the equipment housings must be built from the most robust alloys in the industry. Looking closer at the process, the equipment is focusing on ore crunching and milling. Expensive crushers and carefully designed feed hoppers prevent stream losses, which is fortunate because this precious ore is worth its weight in, well, gold.

Chemo-Mechanical Processing 

Primary and secondary crushers do their job. They require copious quantities of rock crunching energy, so the equipment designers deliver mechanisms that are as efficient as possible. From here, the gold-tinged soup encounters a pressurized ball mill, then it continues towards a final sizing and screening line. The slurry is sized by trommel screening machines and hydrocyclones, and the fluid load is unlikely to break down any further. That’s a cue for the chemical processing line. Undoubtedly dangerous, this ore leaching stage uses mercury or cyanide to completely dissolve the bonds between the gold and rocky tailings.

Reduction, separation, and dissolving processes rule large-scale gold mining operations. The equipment line starts with a durable primary crushing phase, moves onto hoppers and secondary crushing lines, and it pauses at a pressurized steel ball milling machine. Reduced until the slurry can be screened and separated by hydrocyclones and sizing decks, the sluiced ore finally receives its separation orders inside a chemically loaded array of leaching tanks.

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