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Gold Dredge Mining in California

May 16, 2012

Gold Dredge MiningA controversial and once-common method of gold dredging is the focus of both pro-mining and anti-mining groups. The method, which uses equipment to vacuum gravel and sift out gold, was temporarily banned in 2009 to protect water and fish quality in the state of California. Recently, the California Department of Fish and Game proposed lifting the band and imposing new regulations.


This could be good news for miners in the area, who have come up with new ways to mine once suction-dredge mining fell victim to a statewide ban. The ban put miners, like 75-year-old Jim Butler, who lives on a gold claim his father staked in 1935, out of business. If the state decides to lift the ban, he could make up to millions of dollars off the gold literally buried underneath his feet.


While the California Department of Fish and Game is working to have the ban lifted, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California’s State Water Resources Control Board are pressing to keep the ban. According to these agencies, mining from centuries ago left mercury deposits in the river sediment and dredging will stir up this mercury and contaminate the water. These agencies have written letters to the California Department of Fish and Game pleading with them to come up with safer, alternative methods of dredging before lifting the ban.


In 2008, California issued almost 4,000 suction-dredging permits and a state survey found that 18 percent of miners got a significant portion of their income form this method of mining. Although the proposal by the California Department of Fish and Game would lift the ban, it would limit the number of permits each year to 1,500 and wouldn’t be put into effect until 2016. This method of mining is allowed in eight Western states and appears to be more popular in the state of California than anywhere else.


For those who will once again be able to mine due to this method, a great way to calculate the worth of their gold is via the value calculator. The Gold Value Calculator is a quick and convenient way to measure the worth of your gold; the price is determined using the average price of gold in the current market. And, even better, the calculator can be used to determine the worth of your silver and diamond jewelry too, no matter how broken, used or tarnished they may be!


So whether you get the gold through suction-dredge mining or a family will, the Gold Value Calculator is the perfect tool for you!