Gold Ore Mining
Mining gold from within rock is one of the hardest ways to get your gold, but it can also be one of the most rewarding.
The highest returning commercial gold mines in New Zealand are largely mining gold from ore.
In small scale ore mining the mines tend to be underground because of the huge expense involved with open cast mining. It is also common for the quartz reef containing the gold to run vertically, a result of the process of it being formed by being thrust up from the bowls of the earth.
To extract the gold the ore the rock is broken up and carried out of the mine. Then the rock is crushed into a fine dust. Once in dust form the gold is extracted from the rock. Historically this has been accomplished using mercury, or on larger scale operations using cyanide. Eventually the gold is extracted from these compounds.
Because gold is particular about what other elements it will combine with there are limited options for extracting it from the crushed ore and unfortunately they tend to be highly toxic chemicals that need to be used or that are produced as a by product of the operation. For small scale miners using these chemicals is an occupational health hazard, for larger scale mining operations it has often been an environmentally hazardous occupation.
All that said, it is also how the majority of the worlds gold originates.