Small Scale Placer Mining

Noble, James L.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1992
A small placer operation can be defined as one with a throughput capacity of 250 cubic yards an hour or less. The success of small placer operations after the values have been established, depend entirely on having the proper design. There are various types of placer deposits including marine, beach, desert, stream, bench, underground and even frozen placers. Each is unique and requires special considerations. Size distribution of alluvial placer ore varies from sand to large boulders. When boulders occur, they can become a problem to all types of excavating to a greater or lesser degree. Clay content and cementing are common in placer deposits. Some clay disperses easily in water while others, if not handled properly, will form clay balls that pick up gold and carry it to tailings. Overburden, depth of bedrock, vegetation, and ground and surface water must all be considered when designing a plant. Any equipment chosen should be capable of processing large volumes of material at a high efficiency. There are usually five steps to processing placer gravels, as follows:
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