6th Article Alluvial Gold Mining in West Africa

Commercial Viability of Alluvial Gold Mining in West Africa

For those who want to delve into Alluvial Gold small scale mining would want to be certain that the Goldmine is commercially viable. What it simply means is that the cost of operations must be minimal relatively to the quantity of gold mined per ton of Au (Gold) bearing materials such that the miner will make good profit that will worth the miner’s effort. For example, mines with 2gpt (2 grams per ton could be the cut off mark for a miner), anything less than this might not be a viable mine. Let me first explain how this works. The Au gold bearing materials are the soil materials where the gold are found, that is, the layer that contains gold dust or nuggets mostly mixed with clay, reddish brown gravels and or whitish red gravels and sand. In order to attain this the Miner must first carry out test to see if the mine is rich enough to contain the minimal quantity (2gpt). Instead of engaging local test method which is neither inconclusive nor reflect the actual quantity of gold per ton, we recommend that the Miner carry out what we call Bold Test. Now let’s talk about the local test method. This method involves using locals with a tools like diggers, shovels and others to dig a hole until they get to the layer where gold is found. They would dig deeper as far as they can do this manually but would hardly get to the end of the Au bearing materials as it becomes more difficult as they encounter the materials mixed with gravels. If the locals manpower method couldn’t get to the end of the gold layer they will not arrive at an accurate calculation as the depth is a determining factor to calculate the viability. Usually they collects some samples at the beginning of the layer, the middle and at the bottom. These three samples or more are thereafter sent to the laboratory SGS for testing to arrive at an average (Grams per ton) gpt. Let’s take for example, first layer is 1.5gpt middle 2gpt and bottom 2.5gpt of course the deeper you go the higher or richer the Gold deposit, Miner might arrive on 2gpt average. This might be somewhat near accurate only if, the diggers were able to get to the end of the deposit. Another disadvantage is that this method is very tedious and cumbersome. Aside from that the Miner is yet to arrive at a conclusion whether the mine is viable. Why, the reason is because this value is for just a particular spot which means the Miner needs to carry out such test on several spots to actually arrive at an accurate calculation which might turn to be more expensive than the Bold test method and less productive. Rest assured the value of a spot does not accurately reflects the value of an area of the mine. What we mean is that, the whole mine might be sub-divided into four zones, the eastern part, west, south and the northern part, just spots in any of these zones cannot reflect it’s true value unlike the Bold Test. Before we will discuss the Bold Test method the question arises, how do miners measure approximately a ton of Au Gold bearing materials? A ton of Au Gold bearing materials can be estimated as materials contained one bucket in this size of bucket shown below. So with Au bearing materials that fully contain this one bucket shown below after running it on a sluice or Alluvial Gold washing machine, if Miner recovers let’s say 2 grams of gold then the mine is approximately 2 grams per ton rich on that particular zone. However, this is not conclusive as the miner needs to know the depth of overburden and calculate the cost of removing the overburden to the ratio of gold recovered from each zones. This will be discussed in Article 9. Now let’s talk about the Bold Test method of testing the Gold mine in the next Article 7. Enjoy reading for equipping oneself with sufficient knowledge is a basis for successful.