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Gold Mining with the Aid of Aeroplanes

    Abstract

    MESSERS FRASER AND CHALMERS, of Erith, Kent, have recently equipped a gold mine at Progresso in Peru, which is at a height of 12,800 feet above sea-level in an almost inaccessible district about ninety miles south-west of the city of Cuzco. A description of this mine and of some of the difficulties that had to be overcome in transporting the whole of the mine equipment, weighing 150 tons, and the buildings, weighing about 1,000 tons, to the site of the mine is given in the G.E.C. Journal (General Electric Co.) for May by W. Bullock. A railway line runs to within about seventy miles of the mine ; the connexion between them is a mountain track, which can only be traversed by mules and llamas, and the journey takes fourteen days to complete. As the track over the mountains is often merely a narrow ledge on the side of a steep hill, it is impossible to carry by animals pieces of machinery or equipment more than 10 feet long. Sectionalizing the plant to this extent rendered this mode of transport impracticable. The engineers therefore chartered and equipped two aeroplanes, each capable of carrying a load of two tons. In this way it was found possible to transport reasonable loads by air. The actual time taken by air was about one hour and that taken by a llama was 14 days. The cost of the latter method, if it had been practicable, would have been one third the cost of transport by air. The ore, after being mined, is reduced in a 'breaker' and brought into the mill on a belt conveyor. It is crushed to pieces of about 2 in. cube size and distributed into a 450-ton crushed ore bin situated behind the stamp mill, which is provided with 24 stamps each having a falling weight of 2,100 lb.

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