Glossary of Terms

Adit

A horizontal tunnel-like entrance into a mine.


Assay

The testing of a rock (ore) sample in a laboratory to determine the value of its mineral content.


Bedpan

A shallow container used as a toilet for people confined to their beds.


Blind Pig

An establishment that illegally sells liquor.


Bucket and /or Cage

An elevator like structure for lowering miners down a mineshaft. In the early mining camps, a wooden bucket on a hoist was used for this purpose.


Claim

A piece of land staked by a prospector or mining company in order to search for mineral wealth.


Company doctor

A doctor paid by a mining company to care for its workforce. Miners paid monthly sums to the mining company to pay for the service.


Cousin Jack

A nick-name for miners from Cornwall, England. These miners were in demand due to their expertise in hard rock mining.


Dividends

When a company makes a profit it divides a portion of the money up between the people who hold shares in the company.


Drift

A horizontal passage way underground in the mine.


Grubstaking

This refers to the practice of providing financial backing to prospector in exchange for a share of the profits.


Headframe

The tall structure erected over a mine. It contains the equipment that carries the men and ore down into the mine and then back up to surface.


Milling

The process of breaking the rock down and separating the valuable part from the waste (tailings).


Mine effluent

The toxic wastes leftover from the milling process.


Open cut

Excavations for ore that are on surface rather than underground.


Ore

Rock that has mineral worth in it.


Rush

A rush occurs when a great mineral discovery attracts thousands of people to an area to search for silver or gold.


Scavenging cart

Carts that were used to collect both garbage and human waste.


Shaft

A vertical tunnel dug into the ground in order to look for silver. Men travel down the shaft in the bucket or cage; drifts are dug and then explored off of the main shaft.


Shares and/or stocks.

An individual can invest money in a company by buying shares. If a company makes a profit the worth of a share goes up accordingly.


Stope

An underground cavern excavated by a miner as he searches for silver.


Trenching

An approach to searching for mineral wealth that involves digging long, narrow trenches in the ground.

BACK to TOP