Pouring Gold at Homestake Mine - 1938 -2002

Last Updated by Brian Gevik on
All film and images courtesy: Historical Footprints Inc., Lead, SD
Homestake Gold Ingots

The processes of extracting gold ore from the earth and extracting gold from the ore has changed over time but the end result, gold bullion of greater or lesser purity, has always been a product of pouring molten metal into forms of various shapes and sizes.

This film shot at Homestake Mine in Lead, South Dakota, in 1938 describes the stages of milling and grinding, mercury almagamation and cyanidation, and the pouring of the gold to make bullion.

Images of the Past Gold Recovery at Homestake Mine: 1936 - 2002 Film and video shot over the years shows changes in gold recovery methods at Homestake.

 

This film shot at Homestake Mine in 1954 shows that some of the processes have changed. Stamp mills, which had been in use at the mine since 1878, were replaced in 1953 by much larger, heavy-duty milling machines.

Images of the Past Gold Recovery at Homestake Mine: 1954 Film from 1954 shows how methods of gold recovery evolved at Homestake Mine.

Homestake Mine ingots were poured as very nearly 100 percent pure gold until the late 1990s. For the last three years of its working life, Homestake poured dore' (door-A) gold, an alloy of about 80 percent pure gold mixed with silver. Homestake's dore' gold was sent to a Utah refinery for further purification.

This video shot in the late 1990s shows that not much had changed in over forty years in terms of the ore milling and the cyanidation processes. The video does not mention mercury amalgamation, but does show gravity concentration machinery working at an industrial scale. By the 1990's Homestake had also moved to a "coke-to-pulp" process, which allowed recovery a very high percentage of gold from ore. The final minutes of this video show the very last gold pour at Homestake. The mine was shut down in 2002.

Images of the Past Gold Recovery at Homestake Mine: The Last Pour - 2002 Video from the 1990s shows gold recovery at Homestake Mine. Includes final pour in 2002.

 

An estimated 40 million ounces of gold were extracted from the Homestake Mine during its working lifetime.

Homestake Mine is now the site of the Sanford Underground Research Facility. Sanford Lab is a world leader in particle physics discovery and experimentation.

Dakota Midday Interview

Interview with Wayne Paanenen, video producer and former Homestake employee, talking about the films and video.


With Cara Hetland, Dakota Midday host.

Related:

Homestake Adams Research and Cultural Center (HARCC) 

Sanforud Underground Research Facility: http://sanfordlab.org/

 

"Personalities with Chuck Anderson"

Vintage radio interviews with well known and not so well known South Dakotans.

Personalities: A Wagon Ride Through the Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant

For over 49 years, De Smet, South Dakota has been the home of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant, attracting tourists...

Personalities: Wynn Speece, Our WNAX Neighbor Lady

For 54 years, the friendly greeting “Hello there, good friends” resonated over WNAX radio waves throughout the...

Personalities: Kyle Evans, a Company Cowboy

Prior to his unfortunate death in 2001, Kyle Evans, a South Dakotan country music recording artist and entertainer...

Personalities: Cheryl Ladd, Pride of Huron

She was one of Charlie's Angels, portrayed Grace Kelly in Princess Grace , and most recently played Robert Shapiro's...

Personalities: South Dakota Soldiers, Sailors, War Memorials

On July 16, 1994, Chuck Anderson visited Pierre to attend an event called "South Dakotans in WWII." It took place at...

Personalities: The Great Flood of 1993

The Great Flood of 1993 hit the American Midwest from May to September, running along the Mississippi and Missouri...

Personalities: At Home with Baxter Black

In Chuck Anderson's first interview with Baxter Black, the duo had a strong rapport. So, Chuck had to visit Baxter...

Personalities: How to Survive A Death March

When you're drafted into the military, you have a chance of being on the front lines. When you're on the front lines,...