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Golden RulesThe Origins of California Water Law in the Gold Rush$
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Mark Kanazawa

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226258676

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226258706.001.0001

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Water and the Technologies of Mining

Water and the Technologies of Mining

Chapter:
(p.45) Chapter Three Water and the Technologies of Mining
Source:
Golden Rules
Author(s):

Mark Kanazawa

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226258706.003.0003

Chapter 3 describes the prosecution of placer mining, with a special emphasis on the water-based technologies used to separate out gold from the dirt and debris in which it was found. The chapter begins by describing the discovery and early spread of gold mining throughout the gold fields, including the river mining industry and the spread of mining from the initial strikes at or near surface waterways to the deep diggings in the hills and flats. It then goes on to describe the technologies used for mining, and characterizes the temporal progression of technological advance, which entailed the increasing use of water and capital. The growing water- and capital-intensity of mining was associated with changes in the way that mining was financed, organized, and managed. This included a movement away from partnerships and joint-stock companies to heavier reliance on incorporation.

Keywords:   placer mining, river mining, prospecting, technological change, hydraulic mining

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