Mining is an industrial process of extracting valuable minerals or other geological materials from underneath the surface of the earth, from a lode, vein, ore body, reef, seam or any placer deposit. This will bring economic benefits to the miner. Mining is required to obtain any material that is not grown through agricultural processes or created artificially in laboratories and factories. It includes extraction of any non-renewable resource including natural gas, petroleum and even water.
Industrial Machines Used in Mining
Heavy machines are needed in mining to explore and develop sites, to remove and stockpile overburden, to remove or break rocks of different hardness and toughness, to process the ore and to carry out reclamation projects after the mine is closed.
- Bulldozers – they prepare the overburden to make it sturdy for other equipment to stand on,
- Huge Trucks – they carry or pull other equipment used in mining
- Large Drills – they bore holes deep into the depth of the earth to locate placer deposits.
- Trams are used to transport miners, minerals and waste.
- Lifts carry miners into and out of mines, move rocks and ore out of the mine.
- Shovels and cranes are used on the surface to move large amounts of overburden and ore.
- Large crushers, mills, reactors, roasters and other equipment are used by processing plants to consolidate the mineral-rich material and extract the desired compounds and metals from the ore.
- Surface Mining – Removing or stripping of surface vegetation, dirt, and, if needed, layers of bedrock so that the buried ore deposits can be reached.
- One of the techniques involved in surface mining include open-pit mining. This is recovering materials from an open pit in the ground. Another technique is quarrying. Like open-pit mining, it recovers sand, stone and clay. There is also the strip mining where surface layers are stripped off to reveal ore or seams underneath. Some technique calls for mountain top removal. This is associated with coal mining where ore deposits are shallowly buried.
- Underground Mining – This type of mining involves digging tunnels or shafts into the earth to reach ore deposits that are buried. Both ore and waste rock are brought to the surface through shafts and tunnels. Drift mining uses horizontal access tunnels. Slope mining uses diagonally sloping access shafts. Shaft mining uses vertical access shafts. Different techniques are used when mining hard and soft rock formations.