Dirt to Dore—Gold Mining Technology and Economics For the Lawyer and the Investor
Since its revitalization in the early 1980's, the gold mining industry has experienced more change in mining, milling and extraction techniques than any other primary metal extraction business.
In countries such as Australia, the rapid change was most evident because of a new generation of smaller mining companies who had small-to-medium sized prospective mines that required only a relatively short schedule to develop into a viable operation provided that capital investment and operating costs would be minimized and recoveries maximized.
In a traditionally conservative industry where change was achieved very slowly due to mine owners' reluctance to accept new equipment, new processes and new mining methods, this new breed of owners sought rapid change to give them an opportunity to generate cash flow for public companies that had limited funds and credit worthiness with traditional resource financiers.
Furthermore, the Australian gold mining industry enjoyed a corporate tax free status which attracted many mining entrepreneurs and explorers to “have a go” when all other base metals in the world were at all time lows.
Over a period of five years the gold mining industry made changes on many parallel fronts:
Open pit mining by selective mining techniques was introduced using large excavators with strict grade control to
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