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Looking for Gold in Hidden Lake, North West Territories

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For an upcoming episode of Northwestel Community TV, Jeremy Macdonald and his diver buddies went looking for gold in a big way at Hidden Lake in the NorthWest Territories: with a floating gold sluice box and dredge.

Gold Dredge

A gold dredge is a type of placer mining machine that uses water and mechanical methods to extract gold from sand, gravel, and dirt.

The first gold dredges were large, multi-story machines built in the first half of the twentieth century. The fundamental concept of obtaining gold through placer mining has not changed since antiquity. Because gold is heavy/dense, gold in sand or soil will settle to the bottom, and dirt, sand, and rock will wash away, leaving the gold behind.

A large gold dredge excavates material (sand, gravel, dirt, etc.) mechanically using steel “buckets” on a circular, continuous “bucketline” at the front end of the dredge. Water is then used to sort/sift the material. The buckets on large gold dredges dump the material into a steel rotating cylinder (a type of trommel known as “the screen”) that is sloped downward toward a rubber belt (the stacker) that carries away oversize material (rocks) and dumps the rocks behind the dredge. Many holes in the cylinder allow undersized material (including gold) to fall into a sluice box. Tailings are the materials that have been washed or sorted. The rocks that are deposited behind the dredge (by the stacker) are referred to as “tailing piles.” The screen holes were designed to screen out rocks (for example, 3/4 inch holes in the screen sent anything larger than 3/4 inch to the stacker).

Hidden Lake

Hidden Lake is one of the most picturesque lakes east of Yellowknife. On a bright day, the lake appears aquamarine. The fish can be seen swimming in the crystal clear water.

Hidden Lake is a water-based park that has yet to be developed.

Dive Report

Jeremy reported the dive was around 50 feet and they “ground gold”. When asked if he was a millionaire, his response was “Nowhere close to breaking even”.

Follow Jeremy’s dive adventures on Shit, I found Diving in YK on Facebook and YouTube.


Blue Horizon

About Author

Kathy is the owner of Kirk Scuba Gear, a passionate Scuba Diver, Ocean Advocate and Managing Editor of The Scuba News Canada

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