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|Technical and managerial innovations in the minerals industry have allowed continuing mining activities in the United States, and elsewhere, as gold orebody quality has diminished or has become more refractory. Of course, world markets, permitting requirements, and political processes also have created a need for innovative practices that contribute to the survival of the mineral industry. The gold industry has been transformed, during the past approximately 40 years, from a predominantly underground mining and milling type of exploitation and extraction to the large-scale, relatively low-grade type of extraction that is common in the United States today. Indeed, with the introduction of gold heap-leaching technology and the development of mines that produce from large, relatively low-grade gold orebodies in the western United States, a "new" industry was born and continues to prosper today. It is worthwhile noting, however, that Dobra (1997) has reported that one of the major trends in the North American gold industry is a movement back toward underground developments.|