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Arrastra

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Gold ore processing

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Gold

arrastra
arrastra graphic
arrastra
arrastra
   What is an "arrastra"? Basically it's a way to crush gold/silver ore by rotating (dragging) a rock or ingot inside a cirular contained area to crush the ore then remove the gold/silver. Often mercury was used to gather the gold at the bottom of the "arrastra". The oldest ones were powered by humans then later by mules or horses. The name "arrastra" (or arastra) comes from the Spanish Language "arrastre" meaning to drag along the ground. This was a cheap and effective way of processing the gold/silver ore with only a small capital investment. -- see the individual photos.
   Arrastra's are often times hard to find as they get overgrown and torn apart by people looking for "leftovers". They are a good sign to look for if you want to find older areas that have been worked by miners.
   This is a perfect example of an old "arrastra" used by the Spanish in New Mexico to mine gold.
Here's a graphic showing how the "arrastra" would have worked.
   In the early 1900's Chinese worked the Gold Butte Mine in Nevada using this "arrastra"
   This one was found in the Gold Basin just off of Rt. 78 in Southeastern Ca. This is a gold mining area not often visited (hard to find). The "arrastra" here was probably built back in the early 1900's. What powered it?
   These are interesting finds and can lead to more finds, maybe even a few pieces of gold. Finding the really old "arrastra's" could lead to the old Spanish mines in the area. Now you know what to look for!
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