Definitions for the language of the gold mining industry

Blast furnace

A reaction vessel in which mixed charges of oxide ores, fluxes and fuels are blown with a continuous blast of hot air and oxygen enriched air for the chemical reduction of metals to their metallic state.


A mine employee responsible for loading, priming and detonating blastholes.


A drill hole in a mine that is filled with explosives in order to blast loose a quantity of rock.

Block caving

An inexpensive method of mining in which large blocks of ore are undercut, causing the ore to break or cave under its own weight.


A telescoping, hydraulically powered steel arm on which drifters, manbaskets and hydraulic hammers are mounted.

Box hole

A short raise or opening driven above a drift for the purpose of drawing ore from a stope, or to permit access.


Loosely used to describe a large scale regional shear zone or structural fault.


A working face in a mine, usually restricted to a stope.


A rock in which angular fragments are surrounded by a mass of fine grained minerals.

Broken reserves

The ore in a mine which has been broken by blasting but which has not yet been transported to surface.

Brunton compass

A pocket compass equipped with sights and a reflector, used for sighting lines, measuring dip and carrying out preliminary surveys.

Bulk mining

Any large-scale, mechanised method of mining involving many thousands of tonnes of ore being brought to surface per day.

Bulk sample

A large sample of mineralised rock, frequently hundreds of tonnes, selected in such a manner as to be representative of the potential orebody being sampled. Used to determine metallurgical characteristics.

Bull market

Term used to describe financial market conditions when share prices are going up.


Metal formed into bars or ingots.


A secondary metal or mineral product recovered in the milling process.

Cable bolt

A steel cable, capable of withstanding tens of tonnes, cemented into a drillhole to lend support in blocky ground.


The conveyance used to transport men and equipment between the surface and the mine levels.


An option to buy shares at a specified price. The opposite of a "put".


A method of recovering gold and silver from pregnant cyanide solutions by adsorbing the precious metals to granules of activated carbon, which are typically ground up coconut shells.


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