The Different Types of Mining
The Mining Process
A lot of people do not know what goes into the mining process. During the mining process material is removed from the earth and is thoroughly processed. The beginning of the mining process starts with rock material that is mined using quarrying and explosives. The rock material that is mined is then crushed into smaller grain size pieces. Then the minerals are concentrated by removing unnecessary elements from the rock material. In the next phase, metal is extracted from the minerals. After the metal is extracted, the metals still contain impurities, so the metals are then purified.
There are two forms of underground mining: hard rock and soft rock underground mining. Hard rock mining refers to the techniques used to mine hard materials. These materials are usually Gold, Silver, Iron, Copper, Zinc, Nickel, Tin, and Lead. There are four different methods that are used in hard rock mining:
• Cut and Fill
• Drift and Fill
• Shrinkage Stoping
• Room and Pillar
Soft rock mining refers to techniques used to extract coal, oil shale and other minerals from sedimentary rocks. There are five methods used in soft rock mining:
• Longwall Mining
• Room and Pillar Mining
• Blast Mining
• Shortwall Mining
• Coal Skimming
Surface mining is a broad category of mining. It usually involves soil and rock with overlying mineral deposits being removed. Most surface mining occurs in North America and is a major form of mining in coal beds. There are five forms of surface mining:
• Strip Mining is the process of mining a seam of mineral.
• Open-Pit Mining is where rock or minerals are removed from an open pit or borrow.
• Mountaintop Removal Mining involves the mass restructuring of the earth in order to reach the coal seam.
• Dredging is a mining method to bring up underwater mineral deposits.
• Highwall Mining is where the coal seam is penetrated by a continuous miner, driven by a hydraulic pushbeam transfer mechanism.
What Can Be Mined?
There are many things that can be mined. Most elements need to be concentrated into amounts that can be economically mined from ore deposits. Some of these elements are: Aluminum, Arsenic, Barium, Beryllium, Bismuth, Boron, Bromine, Cadmium, Cesium, Chlorine, Chromium, Cobalt, Copper, Gallium, Germanium, Gold, Hafnium, Indium, Iodine, Iron, Lead, Lithium, Magnesium, Manganese, Nickel, Niobium, Phosphorus, Platinum, Potassium, Rhenium, Rubidium, Selenium, Silicon, Silver, Sodium, Strontium, Sulfur, Tellurium, Tin, Titanium, Tungsten, Uranium, Vanadium, Zinc and Zirconium. There are also a number of industrial minerals that are mined. Some of these minerals are: diamonds, garnets, corundum, barite, calcite, clay, feldspars, gemstones, gypsum, perlite, soda ash, and zeolites.
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