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Location: Nor Cal
|Gold Dredge in Yuba County|
< on 4/6/2011 2:01 AM >
|Alright so in my silo post we started discussing gold dredges. I came across this the other day in a local paper and figured id share it with you all who are interested. Iv gotta type it all out so bare with me. Here is the picture that was with the article as well of dredge #17 that still runs to this day.|
GOLD MINING IN YUBA COUNTY
by Don Rae
Gold dredge number 17, launched in 1917, is alive and well and making money in the yuba goldfields. It can be seen from the Hammonton-Smartsville Road Teichert's materials property.
Number 17 has been operating in its renewed configuration since 2008 after cal sierra development brought it back to life, according to Teichert Business development manager, Alberto Ramirez. "The rise in gold prices made it economically feasible to resume mining in the sand and gravel deposites."
Dredging in the gold fields had been a significant economic engine for many years. The first dredge to work on the yuba river was in 1904. Eventually there were more than 21 built. As time progressed, dredges broke down, sunk, or otherwise ceased operations. Number 17 operated for 20 years, it was retrofitted in 1937 and ceased operation in 1967. The derelict dredge was brought down from its resting place in section 32 near the old Hammonton town by a series of canals and locks to its present operation location. Dredge 21 was also brought down stream, but later sank. Parts of #21 still remain buried on the ponds bottom.
Most of the other dredges operating on the yuba river, either in operational condition or parted out, were shipped over the years to Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, and Colombia.
Ramirez said that some of the yuba river history has been returned home as number 17 was refurbished using parts of those dredges, which had fallen into disuse in south america.
Teichert own number 17 but leases it to cal sierra gratis. He said that gold prices hovering around $1380 an ounce, the dredge makes 3 times its operating costs.
The gold is found in "black sand" which includes several other minerals. If prices for those other minerals increase, the black sand will also be sold after the gold is extracted, thus increasing profitability.
Sand and gravel operations by Teichert are long standing. in fact, teichert has California State Contractors License #8. "New contractors have license numbers in the six figures," Ramirez says proudly. " Teichert has been around since the inception of licensing by California."
Dredges of this type were first developed around 1870 in New Zealand and New Guinea for mining in those nations. The first use of bucket line dredges in the United States was in 1884 in Montana, soon to be followed by units in the other western states and Alaska. In a paper written by John Wells, in 1999, it was reported that california's gold dredging began in 1898 with a small dredge operating on the Feather River near Oroville. By 1981 larger and more sturdy dredges were on the yuba river able to dig down some 140 feet into the gravel beds. By 1941, there were 123 dredges in operation in the United States, Wells said.
The fixed price of gold and the inflated economy, wells reports, brought dredge operations down to 2 machines. By 1999, dredge #21 operation on the yuba was the last operational piece of equipment.
Called a bucket line dredge, dredge #17 operates with a continuous chain of steel buckets, screening and washing stations, gold processing sections, and waste rock conveyer. the equipment is mounted on a floating hull. The buckets pull up the gravel from the front of the dredge and lift it to a hopper, where the gravel passes through a screen. The product then goes through the gold capturing equipment. Before the 1930's, this equipment consisted of riffled sluices containing mercury. In later years jigs were added to grab fine sized gold. the remaining gravel is returned to the gravel beds from the rear.
the dredge itself floats in a pont, which it carrs along with it as it digs. Since the gravel is returned to its bed there is no open pit behind as it travels.
Location: Back in New Mexico where I belong
Dressed for a scarecrow ball.........
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|Re: Gold Dredge in Yuba County|
<Reply # 1 on 4/6/2011 2:08 AM >
|Very cool! Thanks for the look! |
I have changed my personal exploring ethics code. From now on it will be: "Take only aimed shots, leave only hobo corpses." Copper scrappers, meth heads and homeless beware. The Jonsered cometh among you, bringing fear and dread.
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