The U.S. mining industry consists of the search for, extraction, beneficiation, and processing of naturally occurring solid materials from the earth. Materials and minerals can include coal, iron, copper, and zinc. Other mining sites focus on rock such as limestone, potash, and various gravel types. Depending on the material extracted, there are different types of mining processes that can be used to retrieve desired materials.
While there are numerous types of mining processes, the most common is surface mining. Other types of mining include underground mining, placer mining, and in-situ mining. There are advantages to each as each uses specialized equipment suited for a variety of purposes.
To give you an insight into the uses of mining techniques, this post will explore four different types of mining. American Mine Services provides unmatched services for a variety of mining sites. Contact us to learn more about our processes and company.
A mining asset is any item of machinery required to extract the ore. These may include trucks, drills, conveyors, crushers, loaders, haulage vehicles, and so on.
Some examples of mining assets include:
- Crusher – A machine designed to break down rock into smaller pieces.
- Conveyor belt – A long flat piece of metal that moves material along.
- Drill rig – A machine used to bore holes into the earth.
- Loader – A machine that picks up material and carries it to another location.
- Haulage vehicle – A vehicle that transports people or goods.
- Truck – A large vehicle that can carry many tons of cargo.
These assets, along with many others, are fundamental to the smooth running of mining operations and are effective for use in several types of mining processes.
The following will share core information on some of the most common types of mining methods.
Surface mining is a process where ore is extracted from the ground by digging it out with heavy machinery. The ore is then transported away from the mine site. This can be done either by truck or rail.
The main advantage of surface mining is that it is easy to set up as there are no tunnels or shafts required. However, the disadvantage is that the land has been disturbed which may cause environmental problems such as erosion and pollution.
In addition, the cost of setting up a surface mine is high because of the amount of land needed and the cost of installing the necessary infrastructure. The most common types of surface mining include:
- Strip mining
- Mountaintop removal
- Open-pit mining
Strip mining is when the land is cleared of vegetation and rocks before being dugout. It is mainly used for extracting coal and other hard materials. Mountaintop removal is where the tops of mountains are removed and the resulting area is mined. It is usually carried out on steep slopes so that the material can be easily moved away.
Open-pit mining is where large areas of land are excavated to create a hole. The ore is then brought to the surface via conveyor belts. Open-pit mines are often used to extract gold, silver, and copper. This method is advantageous as the process includes powerful mining assets such as trucks and shovels which hold the ability to shift large volumes of material and rock.
Underground mining is when the mineral deposits are located deep below the surface of the Earth’s crust. Underground mining requires a lot more preparation than surface mining as it requires additional safety measures.
It involves drilling holes into the ground using explosives and blasting them apart to make way for tunnels. Once the tunnels have been created they are filled in with concrete to prevent further damage to the surrounding environment.
Once the tunnels have been made, the miners use equipment such as drill rigs to dig through the rock and remove the ore. After the ore has been extracted, it needs to be transported away from the mine. This is done either by truck or train.
Underground mining is commonly used for the extraction of coal, iron ore, oil, and diamonds. A significant type of underground mining technique includes room and pillar mining.
Room and pillar mining is where a large space is carved out of the rock face. Then, pillars are built inside this space to support the roof. These pillars are left standing after the excavation is complete. This method is used to extract coal as the pillars hold up the weight of the overlying rock.
Other techniques include longwall mining and stopping.
Advantages of Underground Mining
The core advantage of underground mining methods is that it has a reduced environmental impact on the surrounding land as the methods cause minimal disruption to the soil around the mine site. Another benefit of this method is its lessened exposure to weather conditions.
Placer mining is the process of obtaining valuable mineral deposits from loose river sediments. This method involves mining stream beds for material deposits. Placers are formed when sedimentary rock layers are exposed to the earth’s surface due to tectonic movements. When placer deposits form, they are typically found near rivers or streams.
These deposits are composed of small particles of valuable minerals which were washed down river systems during periods of heavy rainfall.
The benefit of placer mining is that the process has a lesser environmental impact due to the fact that there is no need to disturb the existing topography. Also, the deposits are not very thick and therefore require little effort to extract.
In-situ mining, also known as in-situ leaching or solution mining, is a method used to recover valuable minerals from ores. It consists of injecting chemicals into an ore body to dissolve the metal and allow it to flow to the surface. In-situ mining can be performed above or below ground. The method consists of recovering minerals such as copper from boreholes.
The main advantages of this method are that it does not cause any disturbance to the surrounding area and it reduces the amount of waste produced.
Additional benefits of in-situ mining include its minimal noise and visual disturbance as well as its ability to recycle water.
In-situ mining is commonly used in the recovery of gold, silver, zinc, lead, uranium, and other metals.
Each of the four types of mining presented is considered to be a highly effective method of extracting resources from the Earth and each stands to have its own unique advantages. However, all of these processes share one common goal. These methods are most effective when they feature the right resources, equipment, and expertise to ensure a successful operation.
Solution: Mining with American Mine Services
Ensuring that the methods above run smoothly, it’s critical to have a reliable service provider. American Mine Services can help. At AMS, a mine servicies company, we provide leading mining services for both construction and industrial use. Our services offer everything from the evaluation, design, and construction of mines, excavations, and tunnels. For conventional and mechanical expertise to complete your project, American Mine Services can help.
The four different types of mining discussed here are effective ways to obtain raw materials from the Earth. Each method has its own set of strengths. If you’re looking for a way to get started with your next project, contact us today.