Near Shore Mining

Competing Technologies

Sub-sea mining equipment
Current tech

A variety of technologies have been utilized in the mining of offshore placer gold.  In the late 1980’s, a bucket ladder dredge called the BIMA successfully mined gold offshore Nome. The most prevalent in Nome today is the excavator bucket driving in the surf zone or mounted on an offshore barge. The cutter suction head and clam-shell bucket methods have been considered for even deeper application but have not been successfully implemented to date. Each technology has its advantages and disadvantages which dictate where they can be deployed and where they will be economically viable[i].  Some of the factors that must be considered when selecting which technology will be utilized are:

  • Initial Spread Costs
  • Production
  • Spillage (Used for spilled and missed material)
  • Sea State Stability
  • Positioning/Manoeuvrability
  • Manning
  • Maintainability
  • Environmental Impact

[i] Vlasblom W.J. (2003, May).  Introduction to Dredging Equipment, WB3408B Lecture Notes. Retrieved from


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