Gold mining was rough, physical work. Where alluvial gold was very rich, it could be obtained with a shovel and pan. However, pans were used mainly for prospecting. Simple machines known as cradles often made from wooden liquor boxes were rocked back and forth the heavier gold collecting on matting on the cradle base.
Modern gold mining involves excavating a series of geologic veins that are rich in gold. Then the rocks are pulled to the surface to be ground into dust. Large boulders can result in just a few teaspoons of gold powder. After the powder is melted down you get the color and weight of an ounce of solid goldon todays market, worth about 1,700.Send Inquiry