The ABC of Mining
A Handbook for Prospectors
TREATING FULLY OF EXPLORATORY AND PREPARATORY WORK OF THE PHYSICAL PROPERTIES OF ORES, FIELD GEOLOGY, THE OCCURRENCE AND ASSOCIATIONS OF MINERALS, METHODS OF CHEMICAL ANALYSIS AND ASSAY, BLOW-PIPE TESTS, PROMISING INDICATIONS, AND SIMPLE METHODS OF WORKING VALUABLE DEPOSITS, TOGETHER WITH CHAPTERS ON QUARTZ AND HYDRAULIC MINING AND ESPECIAL DETAILED INFORMATION ON PLACER MINING, WITH AN ADDENDA ON CAMP LIFE AND MEDICAL HINTS.
CHARLES A. BRAMBLE, D.L.S.,
Late of the Editorial Staff of "The Engineering and Mining Journal," and formerly a Crown Lands and Mineral Surveyor for the Dominion of Canada.
CHICAGO AND NEW YORK: RAND, McNALLY & COMPANY, PUBLISHERS.
Copyright, 1898, by Rand, McNally & Co.
Owing to recent rich discoveries in more than one mining field, hundreds of shrewd, intelligent men without experience in prospecting are turning their attention to that arduous pursuit--to such this book is offered as a safe guide.
A complex subject has been treated as simply as its nature permitted, and when a scientific term could not be avoided, the explanation in the glossary has been offered.
CHARLES A. BRAMBLE, D.L.S.
PREFACE TO SECOND EDITION.
A steady demand for this work has shown that it fills a want, and serves the purpose for which it was written. In issuing this second edition, a few compositors' errors that had crept in, owing to the author being in a very remote region while the book was going through the press, have been corrected, but no material changes in the text were found desirable.
A few simple tools and a not very deep knowledge of assaying, with an observant eye and a brain quick to deduce inferences from what that eye has seen, are the most valuable assets of a prospector. In time he will gain experience, and experience will teach him much that he could not learn in any college nor from any book. Each mining district differs from every other, and it has been found that certain rules which hold good in one region, and guide the seeker after wealth to the hidden treasure that has been stored up for eons of time, do not apply in another region.
- How to test for minerals
When silver must be separated from gold, it is sometimes convenient to increase its proportion by the addition of some known weight of the inferior metal. After fusing, the globule is placed in nitric acid, and the silver parted from the gold, which may then be weighed. This result subtracted from the weight of the original globule gives the amount of silver.
- Blow-Pipe Tests
As a means of readily detecting the presence of minerals in their ores the blow-pipe, in the hands of a skillful operator, is unrivaled. Nor is this skill at all hard to come by; two or three weeks' patient study under a good master should teach a great deal, and subsequently proficiency would come by practice in the field. Unfortunately, some very clever men have become so enthusiastic as to blow-pipe work that they have devised methods by which the amount of metal in an ore as well as its nature may be determined, but in so doing have so enlarged the amount of apparatus, and complicated the tests so seriously that the simplicity of the blow-pipe outfit is in danger of being lost, and its chief advantage of being forgotten.
- Economic Ores and Minerals
Aluminum is derived from two ores, cryolite and bauxite. This metal has made rapid strides into favor during the past half-dozen years. Although known since 1827, it remained a rare substance in the metallic form, though it is the most abundant of any of the metals in its ore. In ordinary clay there is an inexhaustible source of aluminum. But the ores that yield the metal cheaply are few. Until recently, cryolite, found abundantly in Greenland, was the chief source of the metal, but now bauxite is used in its place.
Although the scope of this work does not include the very complex problem involved in the working of a great mine, prospecting and the simpler mining operations are so intimately connected that it would not be desirable to make mention of the one and ignore the other, because the prospector must perforce become a miner as soon as he discovers mineral, even though his operations should not go beyond a shallow trial shaft.
- Camp Life
The Indian truthfully observes: "White man make heap big fire; keep far off. Indian make little fire; get close. All same." The small fire does best in the circular tepee tent, made of canvas or leather, in use on the plains. The tepee is quite an institution, but it is generally as full of smoke as a kitchen chimney, and for that reason cannot truthfully be recommended. In theory, the smoke should all pass out of the opening in the top.
A man, to make a success of prospecting, must have what is known as "a good eye for a country." Given that faculty he will readily pick up the little knowledge of surveying that is sometimes almost indispensable. A tape measure, and a prismatic or surveying compass, are all that he is likely to require in laying off to his own satisfaction the extent of his claim, or any similar simple operation. The surveying compass has two fixed sights, and a Jacob staff mounting, into which a wooden support is inserted. The north end of the compass is always pointed ahead, while the needle, which of course indicates the magnetic north, gives the bearing of the line run toward that north.
- Floating a Company
Should the prospector discover mineral that increases in amount as the mine is opened, and shows that it is likely to prove a profitable deposit, he will have little difficulty in selling out to some wealthy syndicate. But if his mine is likely to become a big producer he should try rather to organize a company, of which he should be a shareholder--the controlling one if possible--as then the output of the mine will probably make him a rich man. It is rare that a prospector selling outright obtains anything but a fraction of the value of a good mine.
- Medical Hints
Miners as a rule are a healthy, hardy lot of men, but nevertheless they are occasionally taken ill, and there is very seldom a doctor near at hand. Moreover, by the very nature of their work they are particularly liable to accidents. The so-called miner's consumption is caused by want of fresh air. The miner passes most of his life in places where there is a great deficiency of oxygen. Deep down in the mine the air is usually very bad, being full of smoke and damp, and the hut in which he sleeps is too often overcrowded, while the places in which he seeks his amusement, should he live in a mining camp, are usually little better.
Dynamite should be stored in a magazine which must be dry, cool, and well ventilated. Bricks are best, but when built of wood, the frame should be covered inside and out with boards allowing the air to have free circulation between the walls, so that the inner wall may not be heated by the sun.
- Atomic Weights
The atomic weight of a mineral is the proportion in which its elements are united, i.e., they represent the weights of the different atoms in the minerals. Hydrogen, being lightest, is made the unit.
- Odds and Ends
A miner's inch of water varies in different States, and is, therefore, not a fixed quantity. In some States it means the quantity of water that will flow through an orifice one inch square on the bottom or side of a box under a pressure of four inches. Under these conditions a miner's inch will discharge 2259 cubic feet, or 17,648 gallons every twenty-four hours, which is at the rate of 12 gallons a minute.
Glossary of mining terms used in the book The A.B.C. of Mining, it is alphabetical list of technical terms in some specialized field of knowledge; usually published as an appendix to a text on that field.
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