Your Montana Outlook

Don't act like a dude out here, Dude!

Gold Mining Update: Safety in Mining Country Vital.

Miner's Back Hoe

Looking over some re-claimed mining areas, it occurs to me, there are unseen dangers lurking on mining reclamation and active operating sites. Innocent people need to be warned of this, before endangering their lives, when in Gold Country, I will describe a few of these. Concern number one, in my mind, are the settling ponds standing on many claims, –active or reclaimed. Also included in this category, are deep dredge holes found along rivers and streams in resource-rich lands. Children wading, chasing frogs, or fishing near these water bodies are in a dangerous situation-if they try to wade into the ponds, or dredge-holes with water. The decomposed granite from gold mining will act like quicksand. In very short time, it will be impossible to get out without assistance. There have been instances, of adult men, trying to dredge from these ponds, unable to extricate themselves from them without help. A lone dredge operator is very unlikely to escape one of these death traps, unless help is close. Dredge-holes are dangerous because they have been scooped out by huge buckets, leaving steep banks beside deep holes of water.

A deadly practice of inexperienced people in Gold Country-delving into banks of decomposed granite, hauling out buckets of pay-dirt to wash in nearby streams. Eventually, these banks are undercut so badly, someone is crushed by a multi-ton overhang landing on their body.  No amount of Gold is worth One Life! This has happened in our mining district-and there are worse dangers, in over-worked underground mining sites. Areas have been tunneled into by so many seekers of wealth, that mountains become honeycombs. Those venturing about such places, are in danger of falling into old mine shafts.

It is Critical that people use common sense, when approaching active mining operations. There are many things going on at once, the roads are minimally passable, and it is in your best interest, to exercise extreme caution,  in these areas. Approaching too close to operations is dangerous for more than one reason. Miners have problems with weird yahoos that drop by, so they are armed and serious. Don’t startle miners-don’t go near their sluicebox– and do NOT get in way of equipment. Also, remember wildlife, of all kinds, are living in the area. See my preceding article to avoid deadly encounters with some of these.  A few common sense practices, will serve to keep you safe and sound-in Gold Country. Exploring Ghost Towns and old diggings of miners is fun and fascinating.


June 12, 2011 - Posted by | Gold Mining in Montana, Visitor's Tips

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