What Is the Process for Extracting Gold?

There are four different ways to mine gold. Various methods of gold mining, including hard rock and byproduct mining, as well as gold ore processing.

Mining For Gold In The Form Of Placers

The process of obtaining gold from a placer deposit by means of placer mining. Water or dredging are the most common extraction methods for placer deposits, which are made up of loose matter that makes tunnelling difficult.


To separate gold from other materials, gold panners use a manual process known as gold panning. Gold-bearing sand and gravel are poured into large, shallow pans. In order to separate the gold from the gravel, a pan is submerged & shaken in water. Gold is so much denser than rock, so it falls to a bottom of pan much more quickly.

A type of gold deposit known as a placer deposit can be found in streambeds where the density of the gold allows it to be concentrated, including at the internal turn with in stream or on the stream’s bedrock shelf. See Here to Know about The Gold History.


Using such a sluice box to extract gold from placer deposits has long been standard procedure for prospecting and small-scale mining. It is a man-made channel, with riffles just at bottom, that is used to sift through material. Dead zones are created by the riffles in order to enable gold to fall out of suspension.

The box is positioned in the stream in order to direct water. Gold-bearing material is positioned at the center of the box. Gold or other dense material settle behind the riffles as the current moves through the volt. Tailings flow out of the box as if it were less dense material.


Small-scale miners continue to use suction dredges despite the widespread adoption of modern methods. 1 or 2 two people are usually all that is needed to operate small water-based machines. An underwater miner controls a suction hose attached to a pontoon-supported sluice box.

Several gold dredging areas in the United States have seasonal time periods and area closures specified in their state permits in order to avoid dredger-fish population conflicts during spawning season. A comprehensive licencing process is required in some states, such as Montana. The Montana Environment Protection Department and the local water quality boards of the various counties in the state.

Rocker box

A cradle, also known as a sluice box, uses riffles to catch gold like a high-walled box’s sluice box. For locations with minimal water, a rocker box is preferable to a sluice box. The water flow required to remove gold from placer material by gravity is provided by a rocking motion.

The Extraction Of Minerals From Hard Rock

The majority of the world’s gold is mined from hard rock deposits rather than sand or gravel. The Fort Knox Mine in central Alaska employs open-pit mining techniques. The Goldstrike mine estate in north-eastern Nevada is home to one of North America’s largest open-pit gold mines, operated by Barrick Gold Corporation.

Other gold mines extract the ore from the ground via tunnels or shafts. The innermost heavy rock gold mine with in world is located in South Africa at 3,900 metres (12,800 ft). An air conditioning system is essential for workers’ safety at these depths because the heat is unbearable.

Mining Gold As A Byproduct

Gold can also be mined, but this is not the primary product. Bingham Canyon, a large copper mine in Utah, recovers gold and other precious metals along with copper. A small amount of gold can be recovered from washing operations at some sand  & gravel pits in the Denver, Colorado area.

The Grasberg mine in Indonesia, Papua, which is the world’s largest gold producer, is mainly a copper mine.

Processing Gold Ore

Process By Which Cyanide Is Produced

Using cyanide to extract gold from fine gold-bearing rocks is possible. Gold and silver cyanide solutions are made by dissolving sodium cyanide solution in finely ground rock which has been demonstrated to contain silver or gold. Zinc is used to precipitate remaining zinc, silver, and gold metals. Silver and gold sludge is usually melted down to form an ingot, which is then transported to a metal processing plant where it is further processed into 99.99999% pure metals.

The alkaline cyanide dissolving technique has been greatly improved in recent years. Gold ore with less than 5 parts per million (ppm) gold, for example, is particularly well-suited to this method of processing. Due to the acute toxicity of the cyanide compounds involved in this extraction method, there are many environmental hazards associated with this process.


A mercury-gold amalgam to smaller gold particles has traditionally been in placer gold mining to accelerate the amount of gold recovery. In the 1960s, the use of large amounts of mercury was phased out. Gold prospecting in small-scale artisanal & small-scale gold mining (ASGM) still involves the use of mercury. Placer mining in California is thought to have used 45,000 metric tonnes of mercury, much of which has not been recovered.