2018 Mining History Association Tour

 

Northern Black Hills Tour - Coeur-Wharf Mine,
Gilt Edge Mine Site, and
the Historic Mining Town of Galena
June 10, 2018


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The Bald Mountain Mining District is the area shown in the center of this map of mine locations.  The Coeur-Wharf Mining complex, the first major stop on the tour, is in the shaded area extending from the center to the left (western) edge of the map.  In the southeastern corner are the historic mines located in Fantail Gulch. (USGS, MRDS-MILS data, annotations by Kaas)
 

The Coeur-Wharf Gold Mining Complex is shown in this aerial view. The distance from west to east is about 2.5 miles. Mining is currently taking place at the east end of the property (right) and heap leaching at the west end (left). (Google Earth Image)
 

Our host, Matt, welcomes the MHAers and describes what will be seen during the visit.


From a high point on the mine property it is possible to see the heap leaching pads where the gold is dissolved from the ore.

Five leach pads are at the extreme west end of the Coeur-Wharf Mine property.



Using an irrigation-like system of pipes, a dilute sodium cyanide solution is dripped on the heaps of ore.



The cyanide solution dissolves the gold in the ore as it passes down through the heap.  Liners under each pad collect the solutions which are pumped to the recovery plant.

Lined ponds located near the leach pads hold either the prepared cyanide solution before it is pumped to the heaps or the gold-laden “pregnant” solution from the pad.

This pond is covered by floating plastic balls to reduce evaporation and discourage waterfowl from landing there.



(Photos Courtesy of Johnny Johnson, Mark Langenfeld, and Silvia Pettem,.

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