In the nineteenth century, gold was mined in a variety of ways. The long-standing tradition of panning for gold was commonly used by gold miners. The gold miners placed dirt with gold-bearing potential into a solid pan. The gold miners added water and swished the pan gently and shook it. This would bring smaller particles of gold to the surface.
Another technique gold miners used was cradling. Miners used a wood box that looked like a baby cradle. The cradle sifted out the larger pieces of dirt and sediment to find gold. This technique required two gold miners to operate the cradle. Gold miners also used a method called fossicking. The gold miners would pick at rock and stone using sharp tools until they found gold. Gold miners also used sieves which were pans with a mesh base. The water would drain through to separate out the gold.
Today, mining techniques incorporate different types of technology but some past methods are still used. When gold miners are evaluating or prospecting an area, they often use the panning technique to see if any gold is present in the area.
Most modern gold miners use a slice box to extract gold from placer deposits. The box is a channel with riffles in the bottom of the box. The box is placed in water or water is piped into the box. This creates a current. The riffles allow gold to drop out of the current and settle to the bottom.
Some gold miners use hard rock mining to extract gold from rock. This technique is the source of most of the world’s gold. This type of mining takes place underground. The mines feature spiral tunnels called declines or shafts which are vertical excavations. Some gold miners use adits which are excavations into the side of a hill. These techniques require heavy machinery to build and extract the gold. There are a number of other modern mining techniques that are adapted to the region and the type of equipment that is available. It goes without saying that modern techniques make use of machinery that was not available over 100 years ago.