Though Wyoming is best known for coal and trona mining, Wyoming is not devoid of precious metals mining. Typically, four elements are considered primary precious metals: gold, silver, platinum, and palladium. Occasionally rhodium, ruthenium, iridium, and osmium are also included in this group depending on the context.
Mining during the boom-and-bust eras occurred across the country and gold fever eventually stretched into Wyoming. Areas like the South Pass region (25 miles south of Lander) are witnesses to the gold mining that came and went in the late 1800’s.
Placer mining is still practiced around the state most commonly for recreational/hobby mining. Current larger-scale explorations around the state include the CK Gold Project (U.S. Gold Corp.) in the Cheyenne area, various projects led by Relevant Gold Corp. (mostly located near the South Pass City/Carissa Mine area), and the Rattlesnake Hills Gold Project (GFG Resources Inc.) which plans to use cutting-edge chemistry for new ISR methods. Significant amounts of thought, time, and data collection have been dedicated to these projects, which could soon commence operations.
Beyond jewelry and expensive trinkets, precious metals are used in a surprising number of ways:
The highly conductive properties of gold and silver are sought after for electronics – even in outer space
In the medical industry, gold can be used in dental crowns and inlays
Platinum and palladium are well known for their use in catalytic converters
Silver’s antibacterial properties have been developed into creams and other antibacterial coatings
Some electronic capacitors utilize palladium, and platinum can increase the storage capacity in hard drives
With technological advances rapidly developing, this list will continue to grow in the future, and demand for precious metals will continue to increase.