The Mining Process From Start To Finish

the mining process

Much of the energy and commodities we use come from the mining process. The steps of the mining process have not changed much throughout the years, making mining an essential aspect of the American economy.  However, for the mining process to be successful and efficient at ore-mining, the process must demand a high degree of care and attention. Because of this, we’ve divided down the mining process into six different phases.

Mineral exploration

The process of mining gold is when the magic occurs in each mining process. Mineral exploration is an essential step in the mining process. Companies hire geologists and other experts to study the terrain and look for mineral reserves in distant places. Geological mapping, geophysical measurements, and chemical analysis are often used to identify probable deposits from the outset.

Water, oil, and soil are examined, and corporations begin to assess the social and economic impacts in the new mining region.

In the next phase of the mining process, airborne or ground geophysical surveys are used to read the Earth’s magnetic field, radiation, and electrical conductivity under the surface of the Earth, among others.

Companies might begin drilling after doing these studies to see what is under the surface. Miners may get a rough idea of how large a deposit could be by drawing out a 2D or 3D model of the geological ore they’ve drilled and sampled, which gives them an idea of the potential scale of the deposits.

The design and planning of a mine location

The second step of the mining process is the design and planning of mine site selection. As soon as the miners have mapped the area and gathered data on mineral resources, the project may proceed to the design and planning stage. Typically, this involves a company looking at various plans and deciding which one is the greatest fit for their needs.

When it comes to mining, a corporation may develop two plans, one for 20 years and the other for ten years. By using this kind of analysis, mining companies may estimate how profitable their future projects could be and how they might be done in a safe, environmentally sound, commercially viable, and socially responsible way. The mining process is very cautious.

Construction

This is the third step of the mining process. Depending on the material being extracted and the extent of the project’s construction, this step may take longer than the exploratory and design stages.

This is because the project’s regulatory, financing, and technical issues must be handled before construction can begin. This includes road construction, the mining process facilities and environmental control systems, and the construction of staff housing.

Mining Activity

Open-pit mining

The information gleaned from exploratory drilling is then utilized to create a resource model. This gives us the knowledge we need to figure out the process of mining gold.

To distinguish between ore (rock that contains gold) and waste (rock that does not contain economically significant amounts of gold), large, broad steps called benches are drilled, and then the region is blasted. As a result, the rock is more easily transportable.

lack of high-grade ore has prompted the development of new and cutting-edge technology and engineering, which has made the operation more efficient. Because the quantity of ore mined to the amount of waste rock excavated in the Macraes Operation is 1:10, low unit costs are critical (also known as the stripping ratio). To put this in perspective, an open-pit mining operation needs to move 11 tonnes of rock to get one to two grams of gold.

Subsurface Mining

Mining is the process of taking minerals from the earth. There must be a sequence of exploratory drilling and extensive economic analyses before developing an underground mining. Scoping, pre-feasibility, and feasibility studies are all included in the thorough studies (12 months).

Surface mining facilities are built as soon as the mining area has been thoroughly characterized (up to six months). Lateral access drives follow decline and return airways to access the ore (two months to several years). After the main tunnel is built, the normal mineral development and production cycles may begin.

Along with the lateral development drives, drilling and stopping (ore mining) are used for grade control. Infill drilling is used to improve the accuracy and resolution of the geological model on which the mine design is based by further defining the location of the orebody at greater precision.

Material samples are used to identify the ore’s grade and type. The tunnels are developed by the mining process of drilling, blasting, bogging, and ground support.

The rock must be fragmented (broken up) before being excavated using low-profile excavators known as boggers. Remotely controlled boggers are utilized as soon as stope production starts to protect operators from rockfalls and other risks.

The material is delivered to the ROM (Run of Mine/Mill) pad, milled by trucks. Before the material is sent into the mill, an excavator eliminates any remaining steel or explosives.

Processing and Extraction

Refractory gold, which is ultra-fine and resistant to standard cyanide leaching processes used in most gold processing facilities, may be found in the mining site.

In the past, the ore’s refractory character resulted in inefficient gold extraction. As a result, a three-stage processing cycle has been implemented to guarantee that the gold can be economically recovered.

Crushing and grinding

Extraction of minerals is carried out by the process of crushing and grinding. The primary crusher at the processing facility receives ore from both underground mining and open-pit mines.

The 125mm space at the bottom of the jaws compresses the rock so that it fits.  The mill is the last destination for the rock that has been crushed. Crushed rock is mixed with water to create slurry at the same time. The main cyclones receive the slurry (used to size the material).

The mining process repeats itself repeatedly, with coarser material returning to the bottom and lighter material spinning up to the top and being pushed over to the next stage.

Oxidation and flotation

The flotation cells are the first place where gold-bearing ore may be separated from waste rock. At Macraes, sulfide ore is the primary commodity extracted there (containing gold particles). Sodium Isobutyl Xanthate (SIBX) is used in an acidic solution to get the gold particles to stick together. The gold bonded sulfur is floated to the top of the tanks using air agitation.

Once the gold-bearing ore has been separated from the waste rock, this procedure is repeated (increasing the grade of the ore). In some areas, the flotation units capture 70% of the gold, while the primary roughers recover 30%.

Absorption and Leaching

To extract the gold from the rock, the oxidized slurry is sent to the carbon leach circuit. Gravity-fed tanks containing sodium cyanide are filled with increasing poison, which weakens towards the end.

To remove the gold from the rocks, sodium cyanide is used. A rock particle may move through the tanks in three to four days. 98.5 percent of the gold is collected by the time the rock particle reaches the final tank.

Reclamation

Closure and reclamation are the sixth and final stages of mining process. Many mines have the potential to produce profitably for a long time, yet mining is nevertheless a short-lived endeavor.

Almost all businesses now have to figure out how to shut down before they even start construction since governments want guarantees that operators have a strategy in place and the money to do so before granting licenses.

The mine closure and rehabilitation plan rely heavily on the findings of the environmental assessments undertaken throughout the project.

Many explicitly defined goals are part of a complete mining rehab (rehabilitation) program, some of which include:

  • Guaranteeing the health and safety of the general public
  • Reducing the negative impact on the environment
  • Protecting water quality by eliminating garbage and dangerous materials
  • Protecting land from erosion by stabilizing it
  • New land form and vegetation creation

The extent to which a mine’s closure plan aims to rehabilitate the site varies:

  • Remediation: Removing all traces of the hazardous material and disinfecting the space.
  • Reclamation: To return nature to its original use, the land must be stabilized, landscaped, and topsoil replaced.
  • Restoration: Plants and animals affected by the mine will be restored to their pre-mine condition.
  • Rehabilitation: Making the land stable and self-sustaining, either as it was before the mining or in a new ecosystem of the same kind.

The following are some of the mining process used by mining corporations when closing down a mine:

  • The mine shut down: Workers are laid off, equipment is shut down, and production is suspended.
  • Decommissioning: The operation and equipment are dismantled, the trash is disposed of, buildings are destroyed or repurposed, and the site is cleaned up thereafter.
  • Remediation, reclamation, or re-use: While eliminating harmful or contaminating elements from the land and surrounding ecosystems so that they may be restored to their natural form.
  • Post-closure: There are efforts made to keep the mining activity shutdown and identify any further activity that needs to be done.

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