Thursday, July 7, 2016
Gold Mine Tour
When I think of gold mining, I think of grizzled prospectors standing in a creek with a pan, or kneeling at the edge with a rocker, methodically washing away dirt and debris to find little flakes of gold, and possibly the occasional nugget.
That may have been the case in the 1800s, but gold mining has come a long way since then. My dad currently works at a gold mine, and while we were visiting him, he arranged for us to have a tour.
This giant hole in the ground is the mine. It goes down 1600 feet at this point. Each of those "steps" up the side is 40 feet high.
Those little spots down below are actually massive vehicles.
Like this one, which looks like a child's Tonka truck from a distance.
But is actually quite large.
See the blue outhouse for size comparison.
Aren't the clouds gorgeous? That's Jack, Eli, Sam, my Dad, Paul, our tour guide, and Josiah, taking in the view.
Oh yeah, I was there, too.
We were only able to go inside one of the many buildings. This is my dad explaining what we're seeing on the map of the entire mine site, which stretches 7 miles from one end to the other.
Imagine the drum of your dryer without the metal box around it. Now imagine it growing to the size of a whole room. Inside this building, we got to see just such a thing. This great big spinning... something or other.
This was one of the giant water trucks that sprays down the roads to help minimize the dust.
That's about 250+ tons of rock in the back of that dump truck. Modern day mining uses cyanide to separate the gold from the rock. Powdered lime gets dumped on the truckloads of rock to prevent cyanide gas from forming and harming the workers.
I refer to this as the "petting truck." You know how sometimes a zoo will have a petting zoo where you can get up close and personal with the more docile animals? Well, Round Mountain is a mining community, with most of the residents either directly or indirectly dependent on the mine for their livelihood, and the mine puts on a huge celebration for Independence Day every year. They take one of the big dump trucks to the park and let people climb up the stairs and see what the cab is like.
Paul liked seeing the variety of trucks the mines used and learning more about their specifications and operation. I enjoyed hearing the stories that our tour guide and my dad told, and getting a better idea of what he does at work. It was a really neat experience, and I'm glad I got the chance to go.
This post is part 2 of 4 parts about our Nevada vacation. You can read part 1 here.
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