A tale of Fairmined gold, part II

A tale of Fairmined gold, part II

A tale of Fairmined gold, part II 

For billions of years, gold formed inside the Earth's crust dissolved in hot fluids that have seeped in-between rocks, cracks and fractures. When the fluid cooled down, veins containing some amount of finely distributed gold-mineralized quartz solidified, forming what's called veins.

Gold can occur as a pure mineral but most often it's naturally combined with other metals and substances associated with the host rock.

But, in the vast mountain ranges, where could these veins be?

The journey begins with prospecting, a treasure-hunting expedition with nature to identify potential gold-rich areas. Gold is extremely rare and it's only economically feasible to mine it under certain mineralogical conditions including access and infrastructure considerations. This requires lots of geological studies, engineering, mapping and sample-taking as well as a bit of luck.

 

Miners loading the trolley with blasted gold-bearing rock, ready to be carried outside for processing. Photo: © Desirée Binternagel, Fairever.

Once a potential vein is identified, a whole process of excavation and processing starts. The place is accessed through a tunnel, hard rock undergoes controlled blasts to reach the gold-bearing ore, and further processing breaks it down into manageable pieces that can be transported outside the tunnel for milling.

Think about how these miners are basically following a crack in the Earth's crust, laden with microscopic amounts of gold.

They might see the first glimpse of the vein, but it's very hard to know and follow a crack with its erratic twists and turns... That's why mining gold is a science as well as an art.

Once the ore is carted out of the tunnel, it's transported to the processing site where it undergoes more crushing to liberate the gold.

Top Photo: Fairmined merch © Cecilia Echeverri

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