Mineral exploration is one of the most vital work for mining operations. Copper and gold extraction involves various mining process and stages to extract the minerals. This all stages also called the stage that takes part to find out the life of mine.
Prospecting and exploration
We can denote the prospecting by searching for the mineral in the local region by using various advanced geological techniques. Mineral exploration is defined as the process of searching the evidence of valuable mineral that available in the host rock or country rock with the help of the advance geological exploration methods the process of mineral exploration starts with finding the host rock with the help of the topographic maps and aerial surveys to provide the potential information about the host rock in which mineral is available.
In search of mineral, geologists use various methods like surveying the is with the help of the geophysical, geochemical, and magmatic exploration. Geophysics uses an indirect method to identify the mineral beneath the earth by checking the physical properties of the ore body. While the chemical analysis of the rock has been done with the help of geochemistry by sampling analysis of rock in the laboratory.
The most widely used exploration method is using the drilling the probe holes. The holes are usually thousands of meters in height. The core has been recovered from the holes by the geologist to determine the location and type of the rock of mineral deposits. Diamond drills are usually used for the drilling. Mineral exploration is the first stage to start or carry out any mining operations. The mineral potential capacity of the country-rock has been found out by various methods and techniques and the plan for further work has been made.
2) Mine Designing process and planning
Mining designing is the process of making strategic planning for the operation that how the operation to carry out for the exploration of the mineral deposits. If the mine is located in the remote, undeveloped area, the project may need to start by clearing the land for the construction and staging areas that would have project personnel and equipment. The EIA must be assessed, separately, the impacts associated with site preparation and planning.
A potential mine planning and design provide a robust plan to mining companies that how to invest the capital efficiently and how to carry out the operation easily. Mining engineers and the project managers are the most responsible people to make appropriate mine design to extract the mineral easily. They are liable for the strategic planning of the project.
Main general steps that are involved in the mine planning and designing are..
1) Modeling and estimation of the resources again the capital.
2) Modeling and estimation for the new variables for deep mining and solutions related to various operation related problems.
3) To make a flexible mine plan so the risk of accident and hazard can be eliminated.
3) Development of the mine
Developing the mine site is the most crucial and most important element of mining operations. The planning changes drastically as the operation moves further and engineers have to make the best suitable decision for the safe and best operations procedure.
Development of the mine is also consists of the choosing the proper mining method in order to carry out the fully productive mining operations. Usually open-pit mining method is used when deposits are extends very deep in the ground and it is necessary the removal of the upper layer of overburden and ore. This operation sometimes may involves the clearing of the trees and vegetations for the removal of the overburden.
Placer mining is used when the metal of interest is associated with sediments in a stream bed or flood pain. Placer mining is usually aimed at removing golds from stream sediments and the floodplains. It also releases the large quantity of the water for several mines.
Mine development is all about the construction of the mining facilities and infrastructure to support the production project. This face of the mining project has several components that have been addressed in the latter part of the article.
Mine development usually carry out following activities.
1) Preparation of mine site by removing the trees and blasting rock.
2) Construction of the mining facilities like Administration office, mechanical workshop, Living and basic facility for workers, and all other necessary operation related services.
3) Gaining all types of permission from the Government, Mineral agencies, and local administration to run the project smoothly.
Access to the deposit is the main agenda of the Development stage of the mineral and mining. This is usually done by the two methods.
- By stripping the overburden which is the soil and rock a covering the deposits, to expose the near surface ore for mining.
- By excavating openings from the surface to access the more deeply buried deposits to prepare for underground mining.
The other main focus which carried out during the development process is acquiring the mineral and water rights, buying surface land and to gain all other legal and local permission in order to start the operation to start the operation smoothly.
The production process in the mining industry is all about getting maximum output from the imputed resources with minimum risk.
The estimated production depends upon the following factors in the mining industry.
1) Working capital.
2) Machinery used for the operation
3) A number of workforces.
4) Safety of the mining operations.
5) The type of method involves production like surface mining or underground mining.
Mine Closure and Reclamation Process
Mine closure and the reclamation is the final stage in the mining process in the life of mine. The reclamation process is usually discussed when the operation reaches half of the life cycle of a mine. A closure plan is set up for the redevelopment of the extracted soil so the habitat can develop again.
Reclamation is the process of fixing, removing, or counteracting an environmental problem. In rock, tailing ponds, leach piles, or from the mine must be treated before being released back to the natural system. Treatment of the acidic or contaminated water does not need to wait until the mine closes but should be part of the mining plan and be done as the mining happens. The process involves the stabilizing of the soils and slopes in an area through grading and planting trees and plants.
The best time to start the mining reclamation process is to start when the excavations have been done for the first-ever time. Once the mining operations do not remain economically feasible then the mining company must have to take initiative for the closure and reclamation process of the mine with the help of the local government and bodies. The step of stabilizing the soils can be started when before the mine close, reclamation can occur as sections close. This can helps in improving the aesthetics of the mine area while it is still open.
The common factors that considered while mine closure and reclamation process are :
1) Public health and their safety’s protection
2) Look after or highlighting the environmental damage
3) Returning land to its original state
4) To sustaining the social and economic benefits of mine.
One more important thing about the mine closure plan is that it must be approved by the government and the local authorities with all rules and regulations compliance.
As we can easily understand that the closure of the mine. can depend upon the size, shape, type, and location of the mine. You can also refer to the mine tailings and waste rock reclamation” method for more information about the reclamation processes.