Serra Pelada Gold Mine, Brazil, c. 1988   …   Up to 100,000 diggers.  All manual labour.  400m deep pit.  Largest nugget declared:  6.8 kg.


Eldorado (Edgar Allan Poe, interpreted by Donovan)


El Dorado: The truth behind the myth   …   The dream of El Dorado, a lost city of gold, led many a conquistador on a fruitless trek into the rainforests and mountains of South America. But it was all wishful thinking. The “golden one” was actually not a place but a person – as recent archaeological research confirms.


The Eldorado Radium Silver Express (J.E. Arsenault, 2005)   …   Eldorado Gold Mines Limited was incorporated in 1926 but with the doubtful value of its claims associated with its mine at Long Lake, Manitoba, and the discovery in 1930 of pitchblende (uranium oxide) at Great Bear Lake, Northwest Territories, the company changed direction completely.   The point of land where the discovery was made by the company’s Managing Director, Gilbert A. LaBine (1890-1977), became known as Port Radium.   The ore consisted of both uranium oxide and silver in significant amounts.   At the time, the mining economies were driven by the world price of radium, which was extracted from uranium oxide and sold on the world market for US$ 50,000 per gram or, taking inflation into account, about US$ 500,000 today.


Pendant found in Tutankhamun’s tomb, with gemstone of desert glass.   …   Precious stones and metals played an important in Ancient Egypt.  Already in 3200 BC professional geological prospectors, called “sementi“, searched for deposits and veins, mostly of gold.

The Gold of Sakdrisi. Man’s first gold mining enterprise.   …   [At more than 5000 years old, this is the oldest known underground hard-rock gold mine in the world.] … if one looks to the general estimate of an annual yield of 1 kg of gold, one would estimate the need for 16 workers to produce this amount within 330 working days with eight hours of permanent work.

  • Question: Does this estimated rate of production seem reasonable, given the technology of the time?
  • Question: Given the labour costs suggested above, what would have been the approximate price per ounce of gold at that time, in today’s dollars? 


Gold leaves mark the spot for buried treasure   …   Trees growing above gold deposits 40 metres under ground incorporate the precious metal into their leaves.

…results show that trees can be used to find gold deposits in rugged terrain, where exploratory drilling can be difficult. 


Mining:  Extreme Prospects   …   E-scrap has 250–350 grams of gold per tonne, far more than the 1–5 grams of a typical mine.   …   …The United Nations Environment Programme estimates that just 15% of the gold in waste electronics is recovered properly.


The Ecstasy of Gold (Ennio Morricone, from The Good, The Bad & The Ugly)


Wishing you a golden day:  safe, productive, and enjoyable.