Alternative Dredging Methods

Piper, Douglas J.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 4
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1992
On reflection of certain overall circumstances which have pervaded the gold mining industry, it appears useful to point out some specifics which the writer hopes will improve the potential for success in the application of hydraulic dredges to gold mining activity. I will, prior to entering into that discussion, comment briefly on rule of thumb for the application of the three types of equipment. The three are bucket line, bucket wheel and drag line dredges. From a standpoint of high volume movement over a short distance, between 50 and 300 feet, the drag line dredge is historically the most cost effective type of machine to be utilized if bulk excavation is the single driving consideration. It is typical for this sort of equipment to operate in the 10 to 30 cents per cubic yard range, however, cost of operation is not the sole consideration. Typically the drag line mixes and remixes the material which it excavates. In the event that gold recovery is the object of the exercise, a strong potential for loss of the valued mineral exists. Additionally, drag lines do a poor job of bottom cleaning, particularly if there is a ridged or creviced bottom which must be cleaned and in some cases partially removed to assure recovery of the highest percent of valuable ore. The bucket line dredge has, until recently, been considered an extremely cost effective device. However, the high cost of manufacture of this type of equipment has mitigated against its use in the majority of
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