The extraction of valuable resources from the Earth is known as mining. Any resource that cannot be grown or manufactured artificially is the object of this practice.All the more explicitly, mining is utilized to separate non-sustainable assets like petroleum products, minerals, and even water. There are four primary mining methods: underground, surface, in-situ, and placer. The kind of resource that will be mined, the location of the deposit below or on Earth’s surface, and the ability of each method to extract the resource profitably all influence the mining technique that will be used. Additionally, each method of mining has varying degrees of safety and environmental impacts, both of which are concerns for legitimate mining operations.
The following is an explanation of each of the four mining techniques.
Involves digging down into the earth and creating tunnels and shafts that lead to the resources’ deposits. It is relatively expensive and is frequently used to get to deeper deposits. After that, waste rock can be removed for disposal, while ore and other resources can be brought to the surface for processing. Underground mining is categorized according to the kind of shafts used, the method of extraction, and the method of getting to a deposit. Slope mining, on the other hand, makes use of diagonal shafts to gain access to deposits, whereas drift mining makes use of horizontal tunnels. The geology of the area, particularly the amount of ground support required for safe mining, typically determines the method of underground mining used.
To gain access to resource deposits, surface mining requires the removal of plant life, soil, and possibly even bedrock. Most of the time, it’s used for non-precious deposits that aren’t very deep. Open-pit mining and strip mining are the two most common types of surface mining. The process of extracting resources from an open pit or borrow pit is known as open pit mining. A large ramp for mining equipment and sides with steps to reduce collapse danger are typical features of open pit mines. In most cases, a water management system is required to prevent a working mine from becoming a lake. Typically, open-pit mines are worked until the mineral deposit is exhausted or until a number of factors render the mine unprofitable. The open pit is frequently transformed into a solid waste landfill as a result of this. Most of the time, strip mining is used to get out of shallow, “bedded” deposits, which have a mineral layer covered by soft topsoil and weathered rocks. To uncover a deposit, either a dragline or an industrial shovel is used to remove the relatively soft top layer of the earth.
Placers are resources that haven’t consolidated and are usually formed by weathering from water or wind. Sifting valuable materials from sediments is the primary method of placer mining, which typically takes place in riverbeds, sands, or other sedimentary environments. The famous practice of “panning for gold” is an aspect of placer mining. The extracted sedimentary material is rinsed and sluiced in placer operations to extract the desired minerals. Placer mining can be used to extract gemstones, platinum, tin, and other materials in addition to gold. This kind of mining operation accounts for at least 50% of the world’s titanium production.
In-Situ Mining also known as solution mining does not involve extracting intact ore from beneath the surface of the earth. Instead, chemicals are pumped underground to dissolve resource-containing ore, and the “pregnant solution” is pumped back up to the surface to be processed to recover minerals. Uranium mining is the main application for this method. This method does not produce a lot of waste rock and causes very little surface disturbance. The ore body needs to be able to absorb the extraction liquids, and it also needs to be possible to finish the process without significantly threatening the groundwater in the area.
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