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Drift Mining

A term applied to working alluvial deposits by underground methods of mining. The paystreak, varying from 2 to 8 feet, sometimes greater, is reached through an adit or a shallow shaft. Wheelbarrows or small cars may be used for transporting the gravel to a sluice on the surface.Drift Mine

If relatively large, the deposit is removed in a system of regular cuts or slices taken across the paystreak, working generally in a retreating fashion from the inner limit of the gravel. Drift mining is more expensive than sluicing or hydraulicing; consequently it is used only in rich ground.

The drifts arc generally inclined and may be driven in rock or in a scam. Drift mining may be viewed as intermediate between open pit mining and shaft or deep mining.