The word “Gold” conjures up an array of emotions. Children know it as a colour, woman love to wear it, men buy and sell commodities based on its monetary value, it symbolises wealth and good health, it drives prospectors and miners crazy and has been the catalyst for some of the greatest robberies around the world.
Gold the element – It’s a precious and highly sought after metal that has been around since recorded history, possibly as early as 3000BC. It’s a soft, yellow, corrosion-resistant element, which has good thermal and electrical conductivity. It’s very malleable and ductile and is generally alloyed to increase its strength. It has a melting point of 1064 °C, with an element symbol of AU and atomic number of 79.
Uses of Gold – Pure gold is measured in troy weight, but when gold is alloyed with other metals the term carat is used to express the amount of gold present. The purist of gold is measured as 24-carat gold. Some of the main uses of gold include;
- Monetary exchange – Gold coins etc
- Investment – Many investors have gold in the form of bullion bars.
- Jewellery – The most common use of gold. Rings, bracelets, chains etc. It is often hardened by the introduction of other metals. Eg Copper or Silver.
- Medicine – In medieval times it was seen as a healing power. Today its used in dentistry.
- Food & Drink – Gold leaf or dust is used in cooking, while Goldwasser is a Polish drink.
- Industry – Gold solder, gold thread for embroidery, F1 team McLaren use gold components.
- Electronics – USB and data cables, electrical connectors & spacecrafts use gold components.
- Chemistry – Gold cyanide is used in electroplating while gold oxide is used in some glass.
Gold Mining – Gold occurs as nuggets or grains in rocks, in veins and in alluvial deposits as part of the Earth’s crust. It is widely distributed and almost always associated with pyrite or quartz. Today, gold mining output is declining, the gold rushes of the past have long gone. In today’s society its not economically viable to mine gold on mass. Back 1889 when gold was found at Peak Hill
Peak Hill – Is located in central NSW. It lies between Parkes and Dubbo on the Newell Hwy and has a population of approx’ 1400 people. In an area once inhabited by the Wiradjuri people, the first Europeans were the party of John Oxley who passed within a few kilometres of the current townsite in 1817. Thomas Mitchell explored the Bogan River in 1835. While in 1889, gold was discovered in the Peak Hill region. A mining town quickly grew and for next 25 years Peak Hill thrived as a gold mining town. Today, Peak Hill is a diverse rural area focused principally on sheep, wheat and cattle.
Earthcache – This cache invites you to the open-cut gold mine which operated till 2002. The mine is open for self guided inspections from 9–4 daily. The posted coords will take you to the main viewing platform. From here you will need to walk anti-clockwise around the edge of the mine, following the walking trail. The walk is approx 500m each way and will take you to the highest viewing platform. Here you will have views into the second pit and the leaching heap. Along the way you will notice various information boards and viewing platforms. To log this Earthcache you will need to email me the answers to the following questions and upload a photo of you and your gps overlooking the mine with your log. Any logs that don’t comply may be deleted.
The questions are in no particular order.
- In the aerial photo of 1990 there were 2 factors that led to the hill reaching this state. What is the first factor?
- To extract the gold from the heap what solution was sprinkled over the stack?
- Between 1996 and 2001 how many ounces of gold was taken from here?
- When blasting, how deep were the holes drilled?
- How many litres did the water cart hold? and what percentage of water consumption was used on dust suppression?
- Where have the native trees been planted?
- Name 3 animals that inhabit Peak Hill.
- In the flow sheet. What product is used in the silo? (After fine ore bin)
- The batters were laid back at approx' what angle?
- What is the boiling point of gold - in °C. (google will help here)
We hope you enjoy this earthcache