At one point, gold mining was done by finding rich veins of the mineral in the ground, then excavating that particular area. During the gold rushes, most panned for gold individually, but the method isn’t effective to large-scale commercial development, though it’s probably the least hurtful to the environment. Today, large gold deposits have been largely depleted, so the industry relies on blasting open and taking in large amounts of earth and filtering the gold out of it. It’s then treated with cyanide to extract the gold from the surrounding dirt. Obviously, this newer method is much more environmentally destructive than the historical ones, but there’s not much that can be done about that.
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