Dig a pit 5 feet square by 3 feet deep and fill with fuel. After lighting, see that the pit is kept full. The hot embers will gradually sink to the bottom. The fuel should be kept burning fiercely until the pit seems almost full, when more fuel should be added, raising the heap about a foot above the level of the ground. The earth dug out of the pit should then be shovelled back over the burning mass. After leaving it to cool for 24 hours the pit will be found nearly full of charcoal. About one-quarter the weight of the dry fuel used should be recovered in charcoal.
Rough smelting on the mine is effected with a flux of borax, carbonate of soda, or, as I have often done, with some powdered white glass. When the gold is smelted and the flux has settled down quietly in a liquid state, the bulk of the latter may be removed, to facilitate pouring into the mould, by dipping an iron rod alternately into the flux and then into a little water, and knocking off the ball of congealed flux which adheres after each dip. This flux should, however, be crushed with a pestle and mortar and panned off, as, in certain cases, it may contain tiny globules of gold.
One of the most common sources of accident in mining operations is due either to carelessness or to the use of defective material in blasting. A shot misses, generally for one of two reasons; either the explosive, the cap, or the fuse (most often the latter), is inferior or defective; or the charging is incompletely performed. Sometimes the fuse is not placed properly in the detonator, or the detonator is not properly enclosed in the cartridge, or the fuse is injured by improper tamping. If several shots have been fired together, particularly at the change of a “shift,” the men who have to remove the broken material may in so doing explode the missed charge. Or, more inexcusable still, men will often be so foolish as to try to clear out the drill hole and remove the missed cartridge. When a charge is known to have missed all that is necessary to do in order to discharge it safely is to remove a few inches of “tamping” from the top of the drill hole, place in the bore