From the Mine to the Outside World
the ore was broken off the rock faces inside the mine, the
chunks were shoveled into a transportation system to get
it to the outside. If the mine was a shaft mine, the ore
was shoveled into
ore bucket which was hauled up to the top of the mine by
a winch. This winch or hoist was usually powered by the
steam or diesel engines and was also used to get the miners
and other equipment in and out of the mines.
was a tunnel mine, the ore was shoveled into an ore car
that ran on small train like track. The ore car was pulled
on these tracks all the way out of the mine.
From the Mouth of the Mine to the Mill
the ore was at the mine entrance, it was transported to
a mill for milling. The type of transportation used here
depended on how far the mill was. Many mines had mills in
the same town that were nearby the mine making transportation
easy. Most of the time, ore was deposited into an ore chute
that held tons of ore
to be processed. From this chute, the mill which was usually
located below the chute to take advantage of gravity, took
as much ore per hour as it could process. Sometimes the
mines were located on steep cliffs or near the tops of mountains.
Aerial Tramway Tower
cases, an aerial tramway system was developed, much like
a modern ski lift. The only difference is instead of carrying
skiers on a seat the tramway carried ore in giant ore buckets.
If the mill was located in another city or state, the ore
was loaded onto sturdy wagons for transportation.
From the Mill on
Most mills were not able to concentrate the ore
completely to the free metal. In other words, most mills
located at the mines and townsites were not able to put
a rock in one end and have a gold ingot come
out the other. Their job was simply to concentrate the ore
enough to save on the shipping. If the ore coming out of
the mill was ten times more concentrated than the ore going
in, then one wagon load of the processed ore would be equal
to 10 wagon loads of the unprocessed ore. This could greatly
reduce the riskiness and difficulty of shipping the ore
as the ore wagons were a favorite of bandits.