Gold mining on the Criş Alb River (Baia de Criş, Căraci, Ţebea)
Autori: Constantin Nichitean, Coralia Maria Jianu
Gold mining is an old activity in the area. The mines were described firstly by Plinius the Old (24-79 A.D.).
During two millennia of activity, large quantities of gold were mined, all going to royal courts.
The gold bearing ore, mined either from the river beds or from underground, was crushed in grinding mortars or in stamps then washed over fleece, where the gold grains were caught, recovered from the fleece by washing.
The Austro-Hungarian rulers encouraged this activity, providing privileges for those engaged in mining. In the second half of the 18th century, The Tezaurariat had 49 mines in the area, all having special privileges.
In Baia de Criş there was a gold exchange office, and a mint.
During 1776-1780 the quantity of 5708 gold „pisete”, ca. 27.4 kg of gold was produced.
Afterwards, without the help of the state, the gold mining activity was continued by shareholders’ associations. Between 1932-1940 The Societatea „Mica” Brad bought all the available shares, and began geological research and exploitation. In 1948 all the work ceased as it was no longer financially viable.
When rich gold deposits were discovered on other continents, the gold price fell, finally forcing The Tezaurariat to cease its mining activities in 1958, as it they were no longer profitable.