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Thread: How is value extracted from a hard rock mine?

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  1. #1

    May 2013
    Oregon
    65
    33 times
    Prospecting

    How is value extracted from a hard rock mine?

    I'm curious about how miners capitalize on the values in their mines. I'm guessing it really depends on the types of deposits? Free milling gold makes sense to me, crush, mill and seperate. Leaching makes sense to me, crush, mill, leach, recover... But what about other mineral deposits? I stumbled across info for this mine for sale:

    https://bonanzaclaims.github.io/SunsetMineClaim/​

    The video was pretty neat. Anyway it got me thinking, how would people actually extract zinc or copper or some other mineral? I suppose each has its own process. Would folks mostly be hauling ore to some other plant somewhere and just letting them extract it? Are there many places like that in the US these days? Just a bit curious and thought folks here might be knowledgeable. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Charter Member
    us
    Nov 2010
    The Great Southwest
    3,217
    9289 times
    Prospecting
    There is no value there. The assay reports show that efforts to mine the higrade that was assayed would result in a loss.

    There is some value in the fact that if you purchased the claim you would have several active acid mine drains in Oregon. That's clearly illustrated in the pictures and video. Of course that would be a negative value when you are presented with the bill for clean up.

    Zinc and copper are only profitable to mine when the deposit is large, the time horizon is long and the owner has the kind of resources needed to build and maintain a purpose made processing facility. You aren't going to find that on eBay.

    Heavy Pans
    Mad Machinist likes this.

  3. #3

    May 2013
    Oregon
    65
    33 times
    Prospecting
    Quote Originally Posted by Clay Diggins View Post
    There is no value there. The assay reports show that efforts to mine the higrade that was assayed would result in a loss.

    There is some value in the fact that if you purchased the claim you would have several active acid mine drains in Oregon. That's clearly illustrated in the pictures and video. Of course that would be a negative value when you are presented with the bill for clean up.

    Zinc and copper are only profitable to mine when the deposit is large, the time horizon is long and the owner has the kind of resources needed to build and maintain a purpose made processing facility. You aren't going to find that on eBay.

    Heavy Pans
    I have no interest in purchasing it. I was more just curious about how minerals other than gold would be extracted and processed. It sounds like economically it makes sense to build special processing facilities on sight, as opposed to say shipping and selling ore to some pre-existing facility somewhere? What did you mean by acid mine drains? Just that moisture in the mines would likely be acidic?
    Clay Diggins likes this.

  4. #4

    Feb 2006
    968
    735 times
    I get a “404 file not found” when I click the link.

    Historically, there are over 100 mines called “sunset”, and over 80 called “bonanza” in Oregon. Since the link is not accessible to me, I can not comment, except to say “RUN!”.

    As to how different ores are processed, I would suggest perusing the many professional miners forums, plus looking at the websites of mining companies. The subject is far too long and complex for my stroke addled brain to explain most processes without screwing something up.

    Time for more coffee.
    Clay Diggins likes this.

  5. #5
    Charter Member
    us
    Nov 2010
    The Great Southwest
    3,217
    9289 times
    Prospecting
    Here's the link galenrog.

    Capricorn the color of the water, the types of ore and the pyrite coated samples all spell high acid drainage water. Mucho acid.

    Heavy Pans

  6. #6

    Feb 2006
    968
    735 times
    Thanks, Clay. I am familiar with several mines in that area, including the Sunset. Most, including this mine, will need far more remediation than most can afford. It was offered to me a few decades ago. I turned it down. Even had I been prepared to do something with it, the regulatory environment in Oregon, even then, was far to onerous for most small timers to make wages. Today, it is more so.

    As to processing ore from the area, the ores in most Bohemia area mines have a complex of both free milling and sulfide ores. This is where the problem lies. Natural groundwater, when it comes in prolonged contact with the sulfides, will form a weak sulfuric acid. If on the Willamette side, it becomes part of the drinking water for Cottage Grove. On the North Umpqua side, it becomes a problem for Roseburg. For the moment, dilution takes care of many of the problems caused by acidic water draining from area mines.

    The last time I visited the area, which was about a decade ago, the upper reaches of many creeks, especially those that had a tributary directly from a mine, had ample evidence of acidic water.

    There are are ways to mine and process ores of that area, causing minimal, short term, environmental problems. The State of Oregon, however, and many downstream residents of the area, do not want to deal with mining impacts. Hence, the regulatory burden imposed by various agencies of the State of Oregon.

    Time for more coffee.
    Clay Diggins likes this.

  7. #7

    May 2013
    Oregon
    65
    33 times
    Prospecting
    Thanks guys for your feedback, it's appreciated. And for sure I have no interest in that particular mine, it just got me thinking.

  8. #8
    se
    Sep 2006
    Sweden
    White's V3, Minelab Explorer II & XP Deus.
    6,420
    2015 times
    Prospecting
    In general, the topic of metal extraction, metallurgy is to wide to cover in a single thread let alone post. Besides that there's lots of chemistry and what not.

    There are though several general methods you could look into, a few examples:
    Heap Leaching,
    Flotation,
    Gravity concentration,
    Magnetic separation (as in iron ore - magnetite)
    Geologists are gneiss, tuff, and a little wacke.

  9. #9
    us
    Dec 2017
    Colorado
    Gold Bug II
    47
    70 times
    Prospecting
    Just to add to this subject, keep in mind that some small-scale miners like myself, also make good money on selling specimens. Crushing and extraction is good with volume obviously, but I have to say that the specimen business does very well. For example the below pieces:

    Click image for larger version. 

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  10. #10
    us
    May 2009
    Sailor Flat, Ca.
    SDC2300, Gold Bug 2 Burlap, fish oil, ACME handbook for TRUE prospectors (unread)
    5,015
    10694 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Banner Finds (1)
    yep specimins are where its at for small scale hard rock
    tamrock likes this.

  11. #11

    May 2013
    Oregon
    65
    33 times
    Prospecting
    Thanks Anna! What are the specimens of in your first and third picture?

  12. #12
    us
    Grant Brandenburg

    Jan 2013
    Colorado
    Bounty Hunter Tracker IV
    9,673
    14414 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Quote Originally Posted by Goldwasher View Post
    yep specimins are where its at for small scale hard rock
    The shot I took of these fellas driving a drift are solely mining for mineral specimens. They asked me to come up and see why they're busting so much drill rod. From what I gather, they'll be driving this drift parallel to a large slip in the mountain that has the rhodochrosite crystal specimens they hope to find. Then they drill a 3-1/2" hole into the rib and inspect the voids they encounter with a camera. If they get lucky and find a large void with crystals growing within it, they then excavate it very carefully so not to destroy the crystal specimens.They get a lot of money for the more primo specimens.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  13. #13
    us
    Dec 2017
    Colorado
    Gold Bug II
    47
    70 times
    Prospecting
    Quote Originally Posted by Capricorn View Post
    Thanks Anna! What are the specimens of in your first and third picture?
    First one is copper and Azurite and some free milling gold present.

    Third one is interesting...that’s actually an extremely rare mineral called “Coloradoite” - basically the solid form of mercury. It’s also mixed with gold and silver.
    tamrock and gold tramp like this.

  14. #14
    us
    Dec 2017
    Colorado
    Gold Bug II
    47
    70 times
    Prospecting
    Hit up the rock and gem shows...big one coming up in Denver here in September...several actually spread out over a few days. You can get in as a vendor if you signup early enough for these things...

    September 7th, 8th, and 14th

    https://www.google.com/search?q=rock...&client=safari
    Last edited by Treasure_Hunter; Sep 18, 2018 at 05:07 PM.
    arizau, gold tramp and tamrock like this.

  15. #15
    us
    May 2014
    AZ
    Sweep Jig, Whippet Dry Washer, Lobo ST, 1/2 width 2 tray Gold Cube, numerous pans, rocker box, and /home made fluid bed and stream sluices.
    1,795
    2524 times
    Prospecting
    The gem show in Tucson is one of, if not the largest and various vendors set up sales booths or sell out of motel/hotel rooms for at least two weeks previous to the main show. 2018-2019 Tucson Gem Shows Schedule
    gold tramp likes this.
    If it can't be grown, it must be mined!

 

 
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