A PRACTICAL TREATISE FOR PROSPECTORS, MINERS, AND STUDENTS.
By J. C. F. Johnson, F. G. S.,
MEMBER OF THE AUST. INST. OF MINING ENGINEERS;
AUTHOR OF "PRACTICAL MINING," "THE GENESIOLOGY OF GOLD," ETC.
This text was prepared from a 1898 edition, published by Charles Griffin & Company, Limited; Exeter Street, Strand, London. It is the second edition, revised. Numerous drawings and diagrams have been omitted.
Some six years ago the author published a small book entitled "Practical Mining," designed specially for the use of those engaged in the always fascinating, though not as invariably profitable, pursuit of "Getting Gold." Of this ten thousand copies were sold, nearly all in Australasia, and the work is now out of print. The London Mining Journal of September 9th, 1891, said of it: "We have seldom seen a book in which so much interesting matter combined with useful information is given in so small a space."
The gold-mining industry has grown considerably since 1891, and it appeared to the writer that the present would be a propitious time to bring out a similar work, but with a considerably enlarged scope. What has been aimed at is to make "Getting Gold" a compendium, in specially concrete form, of useful information respecting the processes of winning from the soil and the after-treatment of gold and gold ores, including some original practical discoveries by the author. Practical information, original and selected, is given to mining company directors, mine managers, quartz mill operators, and prospectors. In "Rules of Thumb," chapters XI. and XII., will be found a large number of useful hints on subjects directly and indirectly connected with gold-mining.
The author's mining experience extends back thirty years and he therefore ventures to believe with some degree of confidence that the information, original or compiled, which the book contains, will be found both useful and profitable to those who are in any capacity interested in the gold-mining industry.
LONDON, November, 1896.
Contents of the Book: Getting Gold
- Introduction to Gold
GOLD is a name to charm by. It is desired by all nations, and is the one metal the supply of which never exceeds the demand. Some one has aptly said, "Gold is the most potent substance on the surface of our planet."
- Gold Prospecting - Alluvial and General
Much disappointment and loss of time and money may sometimes be prevented if prospectors will realise that *all* alluvial gold does not come from the quartz veins or reefs; and that following up an alluvial lead, no matter how rich, will not inevitably develop a payable gold lode.
- Lode or Reef Prospecting
In searching for payable lodes, whether of gold, silver, copper, or even tin in some forms of occurrence, the indications are often very similar. The first prospecting is usually done on the hilltops or ridges, because, owing to denudation by ice or water which have bared the bedrock, the outcrops are there more exposed, and thence the lodes are followed down through the alluvial covered plains, partly by their "strike" or "trend," and sometimes by other indicating evidences, which the practical miner has learned to know.
- Genesiology of Gold - Auriferous Lodes
Among the theories which they discredit is that ore bodies may usually be assumed to become richer in depth. As applied to gold lodes the teaching of experience does not bear out this view.
- Gold Prospecting - Auriferous Drifts
Having considered the origin of auriferous lodes, and the mode by which in all probability the gold was conveyed to them and deposited as a metal, it is necessary also to inquire into the derivation of the gold of our auriferous drifts, and the reasons for its occurrence therein.
- Gold Extraction
We now come to a highly important part of our subject, the practical treatment of ores and matrixes for the extraction of the metals contained. The methods employed are multitudinous, but may be divided into four classes, namely, washing, amalgamating with mercury, chlorinating, cyaniding and other leaching processes, and smelting.
- Gold Extraction - Secondary Processes and Lixiviation
Before any plan is adopted for treating the ore in a new mine the management should very seriously and carefully consider the whole circumstances of the case, taking into account the quantity and quality of the lode stuff to be operated on, and ascertain by analysis what are its component parts, for, as before stated, the treatment which will yield most satisfactory results with a certain class of gangue on one mine will sometimes, even when the material is apparently similar, prove a disastrous failure in another.
- Calcination or Roasting of Ores
The object of calcining or roasting certain ores before treatment is to dissipate the sulphur or sulphides of arsenic, antimony, lead, etc., which are inimical to treatment, whether by ordinary mercuric amalgamation or lixiviation. The effect of the roasting is first to sublimate and drive off as fumes the sulphur and a proportion of the objectionable metals. What is left is either iron oxide, "gossan," or the oxides of the other metals.
- Motor Power and Its Transmition
It is unnecessary to describe methods by which power for mining purposes has been obtained—that is, up to within the last five years—beyond a general statement, that when water power has been available in the immediate locality of the mine, this cheap natural source of power has been called upon to do duty. Steam has been the alternative agent of power production applied in many different ways, but labouring under as many disadvantages, chief of which are lack of water, scarcity of fuel and cost of transit of machinery.
- Company Formation and Operations
All the world over, the operation of winning from the soil and rendering marketable the many valuable ores and mine products which abound is daily becoming more and more a scientific business which cannot be too carefully entered into or too skilfully conducted. The days of the dolly and windlass, of the puddler, cradle, and tin dish, are rapidly receding; and mining, either in lode or alluvial working, is being more generally recognised as one of the exact sciences.
- Rules of Thumb
This chapter has been headed as above because a number of the rules and recipes given are simply practical expedients, not too closely scientific. My endeavour has been to supply practical and useful information in language as free from technicalities as possible, so as to adapt it to the ordinary miner, mill operator and prospector, many of whom have had no scientific training.
- Mining Appliances and Methods a Temporary Forge
What prospector has not at times been troubled for the want of a forge? To steel or harden a pick or sharpen a drill is comparatively easy, but there is often a difficulty in getting a forge. Big single action bellows are sometimes bought at great expense, and some ingenious fellows have made an imitation of the blacksmith's bellows by means of sheepskins and rough boards.
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