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Mining Lode Deposits

A lode is a metal-bearing deposit found embedded between layers of bedrock. Lode deposits occurring in igneous or metamorphic rocks commonly contain gold and silver, while lode deposits in sedimentary rocks often contain iron or uranium ore.

The extraction process for lode deposits is hard rock mining. If left alone, natural weathering and erosion will eventually disintegrate the lodes and displace the metals inside, usually via water. This process forms placer deposits.

Lode deposits commonly contain gold. These occur when hydrothermal solutions, i.e. heated fluids like hot springs, travel through gold-bearing rocks and carry some of the gold to other rock formations. Here, the gold is redeposited within new fissures, forming veins.

Underground mining techniques are used to mine lode deposits. In fact, lode mining is the method used to recover most of the world’s gold. This form of hard rock mining involves sinking vertical or horizontal shafts, and then drilling and blasting into solid rock formations in order to reach the deposits and extract the ore.

Key fact: The Muruntau mine in Uzbekistan produced two million ounces of gold in a single year

Benefits

  • Contains precious metals

  • Recovers majority of world’s gold supply

  • Supports global economy

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