Fairbanks
Alaska

Eldorado Gold Mine

A permafrost placer mining operation


First a short train ride for us through a permafrost mine tunnel demonstration and past some working mine equipment.....

The permafrost is essentially gravel and rocks that remains frozen beneath the ground year around at great depths. Water is used to melt and blast loose the gravel, which is then hauled to the surface in skip buckets or small train cars. In the summer, the gravel is then sent over a sluice to separate the loose gold from the gravel.



Courtesy Eldorado Mine website

Courtesy Eldorado Mine website

The sluice demonstration

The bottom of the sluice is an open corrugated metal , with Astroturf beneath it.

The gravel from the placer mining operations is washed into the sluice with a lot of water. The gold flakes (and nuggets, don't you wish!) are more dense than the rocks and gravel, so the gold tends to settle to the bottom, to be caught in the rough surface. Periodically the Astroturf is lifted and washed into a holding vat for further separation by panning.

And now on to the serious business of the day!


$26 worth!

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