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Friday, 27 February 2015

Know the Different Types of Mining Processes

Mining has become a controversial industry because of its "devastating" effect to the environment and the ecosystem. However, it has contributed so much to civilization that without it, we could never be where we are today in many aspects.

There are two basic methods of mining. These are the surface and the underground mining processes:

1. Surface Mining

This involves the mining of minerals located at or near the surface of the earth. This encompasses at least six processes and these are:

• Strip Mining - this involves the stripping of the earth's surface by heavy machinery. This method is generally targeted at extracting coal or sedimentary rocks that lay near the earth's surface.

• Placer Mining - this involves the extraction of sediments in sand or gravel. It is a simple, old-fashioned way of mining. This method is generally applicable to gold and precious gems that are carried by the flow of water.

• Mountain Top Mining - this is a new method which involves blasting of a mountain top to expose coal deposits that lie underneath the mountain crest.

• Hydraulic Mining - this is an obsolete method that involves jetting the side of a mountain or hill with high pressure water to expose gold and other precious metals.

• Dredging - it involves the removal of rocks, sand and silt underneath a body of water to expose the minerals.

• Open Pit - this is the most common mining method. It involves the removal of the top layers of soil in search for gold or buried treasure. The miner digs deeper and deeper until a large, open-pit is created.

2. Underground Mining

This is the process in which a tunnel is made into the earth to find the mineral ore. The mining operation is usually performed with the use of underground mining equipment. Underground mining is done through the following methods:

• Slope Mining - it involves the creation of slopes into the ground in order to reach the ore or mineral deposit. This process is generally applied in coal mining.

• Hard rock - this method uses dynamite or giant drills to create large, deep tunnels. The miners support the tunnels with pillars to prevent them from collapsing. This is a large-scale mining process and is usually applied in the extraction of large copper, tin, lead, gold or silver deposits.

• Drift mining - this method is applicable only when the target mineral is accessible from the side of a mountain. It involves the creation of a tunnel that's slightly lower than the target mineral. The gravity makes the deposit fall to the tunnel where miners can collect them.

• Shaft method - this involves the creation of a vertical passageway that goes deep down underground where the deposit is located. Because of the depth, miners are brought in and out of the pit with elevators.

• Borehole method - this involves the use of a large drill and high pressure water to eject the target mineral.

These are the basic methods used in the extraction of common minerals. There are more complex systems, but still, they are based on these fundamental processes.

Source: http://ezinearticles.com/?Know-the-Different-Types-of-Mining-Processes&id=7932442

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