Mining is the process of digging into the earth to find minerals such as coal, diamond, gold, or any other mineral that is found valuable for humans. Mining requires the extraction of any material that cannot be grown through a process of agriculture. The oldest mine is said to be around 43,000 years old. Since mining has been around for so long, it is not a surprise that many mines become abandoned or forgotten. Miners used hand tools and stones for digging in the past. Today the industry has made a vast investment in mine development after a mineral deposit has been identified.
Components of Mining
1) Surface Mining
A mine in which the ore lies near the surface and requires no roof support is surface mining. The traditional cone-shaped excavation of any shape can be used (depending on the size and shape of the ore body), it is used when the ore body is pipe-shaped, vein-type, or irregular. Companies like Collective Mining do it very well. Surface mining requires higher productivity and a safety record than underground mining. There are two steps of surface mining.
Mechanical Excavation Methods
Open Pit Mining
It is used when ore bodies lie near the surface and a funnel-shaped hole in-ground, with a ramp spiraling down along sides, allows moderately deep ore to be reached, and overburden is removed. It is the cheapest method.
Terrace mining is done when the overburden is too thick or the inclination is too steeply dipping to allow waste dumping directly over the pit, it is necessary to use continuous transport. e.g. trucks to transport the overburden to where it can be tripped back into the previously mined void.
It is used for near-surface or bedded deposits such as iron ore, coal, and surface deposits. It is ideally done when the ore body is horizontal and a wide area is available to be mined in a series of strips.
Contour mining is like strip mining that allows for the extraction of coal from mountainous areas. Contour mining is used when it is not feasible to extract the entire seam. Contour mining allows for the partial removal of the coal seam and the overburden is removed in smaller and custom-shaped excavations.
Aqueous Extraction Methods
It is used to exploit deposits that are consolidated like diamonds, gems, titanium, common sand; they must be near water so that drilling is not necessary.
In–Situ Leaching or Solution Mining
It is used in evaporating (salt and potash), it includes borehole mining methods used to extract sodium chloride and leaching through dumps or drill holes.
Under Sea Mining
It is also called ocean mining. It is used to extract minerals from water and minerals are degraded from the ocean floor. It is not a viable method as it releases toxic metals that could enter the food chain.
2) Underground Mining
The extraction of ore beneath the surface with little waste is known as Underground mining. The entry of underground mining involves drilling in a vertical or horizontal tunnel also known as shaft and adit. It is used when surface mining is not available. You may read from Collective Mining for more useful knowledge in this regard.