The Assay Process
How did the individual prospector roaming the hillsides with his burro, pan, and pick know if he had found economically valuable ore? How did a mining company know if the ore produced could earn a profit for the company? They both depended on chemical assays. Every prospector knew how to do a “field assay” to determine the worth of his ore. Mining companies employed an assayer working in a well-equipped assay office to complete the task.