While many associate gold mining with the great gold rushes of the late 19th century, the reality is that the gold rush never really ended in the United States. Even today, you’ll find dedicated miners hard at work, looking to strike it rich by finding a literal treasure trove of this valuable mineral. The motivation to find gold may be the same, but the techniques have changed dramatically in the years since the 49ers first set out to California. As U.S. Aqua Services offers mine dredging services, we thought we would discuss how dredges play a role in modern gold mining practices.
The First Gold Dredges
The first gold dredges were enormous towers, standing several stories high, and laden with heavy machinery that required dozens of people to operate. These dredges were erected alongside rivers and streams and essentially stripped the area of any resources, be they gold or otherwise. While these machines were considered effective at the time, today they are relics, and they can still be found dotted across the landscapes of places like Alaska and the hills of the Rocky Mountains.
Gold Dredges Today
Today, however, dredging technology has grown more precise and more compact. The result is that dredge operators often use smaller suction cutters or hydraulic dredges to displace mined materials and sort through it for gold. In some cases, some miners make use of small backpack sized dredges to quickly clear through material that larger machines would not be able to access.
Where Gold Dredging Occurs
Dredging operations of old simply placed a dredge on top of an area that was thought to have gold and strip-mined the area until nothing remained. Today, miners recognize that this isn’t an efficient or even effective way to mine for gold, not to mention the immense environmental impacts. Miners now focus their efforts on specific areas. Typically, miners will look in the bends of rivers and streams, as gold can be pushed up against the bank walls. Similarly, miners have found luck in exploring the mouth of rivers, as the water slows down here, allowing the gold to settle. For nearly the same reasons, many miners focus on the base of waterfalls as a place to dredge for gold. Finally, miners also search the river for debris like logs and large rocks which essentially act as natural pans that separate gold from other minerals in the river.
Where Can You Find A Modern Day Gold Rush?
One thing that hasn’t changed in the gold dredging field is where it takes place. Just like the 19th century, you’ll still find miners mostly panning and dredging in states like Colorado, California, and Alaska, as the streams and rivers that course through these areas are still flush with gold. As such, these prolific mining areas are well-documented, and with a little research, potential miners can identify a profitable area.
Rent Your Dredging Equipment Today
Start panning for gold on an industrial level with the dredging equipment available from U.S. Aqua Services. We can help your mining operation sift through materials to find the treasures hidden within the earth. Contact us today to find out more about our dredging equipment rental services.