Nick Allen - Terry Fox Secondary School

Even though it has been around for quite some time, hydraulic mining is still being used to move sediment or dislodge materials. The origins of this technique have been dated as far back as Ancient Rome. Back then, they would use water on soft underground areas to mine. Nowadays, “Hydraulicking” involves high pressured jets of water to be pumped through a nozzle called a monitor to acquire various deposits of resources. This pressurized form of hydraulic mining first surfaced during the California Gold Rush in the 1850s. The amount of damage it caused to the environment during it made it legally regulated since then.

Some of the environmental damage done a century ago is still visible to this day. Areas such as the Malakoff Diggins in California and the Oriental Claims by Omeo, Australia have been disrupted with the pressured water technique. In certain cases, it has caused erosion problems as well as floods during the California Gold Rush.

Even though it did such things to the land, during the California Gold Rush, hydraulic mining had hauled in approximately 11 million ounces of gold. In 2006, that was worth about US $7.5 billion! From a business stand point, hydraulic mining was a profitable business due to the amounts of resources it pulled in back then. Environmentally however, it was viewed negatively because of all the problems it had with erosion and flooding.

Now in more modern times, companies have improved hydromining by lessening fuel consumption and reducing dust left from the jets. Hydromining Australia is one of the top hydromining companies that deal with tailings recoveries/disposals. They state that hydromining is up to 400% faster than dredging or using a mining machine. With using less fuel and working faster, it brings in more money at a faster rate. With those benefits alongside its’ versatility, it seems as hydromining is a viable option nowadays more so than in the 1800s. With all of the automation technology being brought up lately, who knows if jets while be put on rails for hydraulic mining and remotely controlled to change the face of mining such as autonomous trucks have done and continued to do so.