Topic 5: Mining Methods-Part I-Surface mining

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Mining Methods, Surface Mining Methods, Mechanical and aqueous surface mining methods

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Topic 5: Mining Methods-Part I-Surface mining

  1. 1. Topic 5: Mining Methods Part I-Surface mining Hassan Z. Harraz hharraz2006@yahoo.com 2010- 2011 Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation This material is intended for use in lectures, presentations and as handouts to students, and is provided in Power point format so as to allow customization for the individual needs of course instructors. Permission of the author and publisher is required for any other usage. Please see hharraz2006@yahoo.com for contact details. The concepts indicated in these slides are considered common knowledge to those familiar with the field. Many of these ideas have been published in a variety of different texts and papers over time – no one of which was specifically used as an outline for this work.
  2. 2. After completing this unit, you should be able to:  Understand the geological factors for surface mining  Understand the engineering factors for surface mining  Explain what a placer deposit is  Understand the surface mining methods: We will explore all of the above in Topic 5. In this Topic, you will learn the various surface mining methods used to extract ore from near surface deposits. About This Topic  Open-pit mining.  Terrace mining.  Strip mining.  Contour strip mining.  Auger Mining  Glory Holing  Quarrying  Panning  Sluicing  Dredging  Hydraulic Mining  Heap Leaching  In-situ leaching (ISL) Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation
  3. 3. Anatomy of a mine: Grasberg, West Papua Figure from Spitz and Trudinger, 2009
  4. 4. Choice of mining and processing methods: “The simple aim in selecting and implementing a particular mine plan is always to mine a mineral deposit so that profit is maximized given the unique characteristics of the deposit and its location, current market prices for the mined mineral, and the limits imposed by safety, economy, environment” (Text book definition: Spitz and Trudinger, 2009, my italics) (Social “limits” are not mentioned specifically!) 2 February 2016 4Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation
  5. 5. What is Surface Mining? Surface mine - A mine in which the ore lies near the surface and can be extracted by removing the covering layers of rock and soil. Almost all surface mining operations are exposed to the elements and require no roof support. 2 February 2016 5Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation
  6. 6. The following outline lists the basic factors which must be taken into account for evaluation of a prospective surface mine :  Geography  Legal status of land and mining rights  Historical, political, and socialogical factors  Geology  Mining conditions  Ore treatment requirements  Economic analysis Geography: Topography, a function of location, affects cost of development and operation of a surface mine. Geographic location establishes climate. Location establishes the condition of remoteness from or proximity to civilization and its developed facilities such as transportation systems, power supply, labour pool, manufacturing and supply services, and specialty repair shops. Legal status of land and mining rights Land and other necessary rights should be checked, such as water use rights and the ability to acquire auxiliary land for plant site, roads, tailings disposal ground etc. Historical, political, and socialogical factors It is important to determine the extent and nature of national and local laws and regulations in regard to conservation, water use, water and air pollution, tailings disposal, reclaimation, handling of explosives, taxes, royalities, import duties, mining safety and health codes, wage and labour conditions, pension requirements, and unions. Evaluation of Surface Deposits
  7. 7. Geology Geological evaluation may include wide-spaced drilling, drill-sample logging, testing and processing, plotting of the data on maps and cross-sections, preparation of specialized interpretive maps, calculation of reserves by grades, calculation of stripping requirements, groundwater studies, and economic analysis. Mining conditions The geometry of an ore body and the topography of the land surface beneath which the ore body exists will affect the kind and cost of a surface mine. The depth and character of overlying rock and the physical characteristics of the wall rock also affect the configuration and cost of a surface mine. Ore treatment requirements Almost every potential surface mine must consider some phase of product upgrading (benefication). This may vary from a simple crushing and sizing operation to a complex operation including multiple stages of size reduction, concentration and agglomeration. In many cases, pilot-scale testing is deemed advisable. Economic analysis In the broadest sense, economic analysis for a surface mine involves the determination of market value of the product and all the elements of cost of production. By subtraction, a margin of profit (or loss) can be calculated. Many new surface mines require very high capital investments. There are 3 commonly used yardsticks to value investment worth : i) Degree of necessity, ii) Payback period, and iii) Rate of return (IRR) . Evaluation of Surface Deposits (cont.)
  8. 8. History The history of surface mining is essentially that of mining coal, copper, and iron ores, and the nonmetallic minerals - clays, gypsum, phosphate rock, sand, gravel, and stone. Changing public policy is exerting strong pressure favouring a reduction or elimination of surface mining; and, since the economic differences between surface and underground mining for the remaining mineral resources is narrowing, this increasing force may become the deciding factor in determining the future trend in surface vs, underground mining. 2 February 2016 6Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation
  9. 9. Surface mining: Surface mining is the predominant exploitation method worldwide. In the USA, surface mining contributes about 85% of all minerals exploitation (excluding petroleum and natural gas). Almost all metallic ore (98%) and non-metallic ore (97%), and 61% of the coal is mined using surface methods in the USA (Hartman and Mutmansky, 2002).  Mineral deposits are on or near the surface of the Earth and are removed.  This is the traditional cone-shaped excavation (although it can be any shape, depending on the size and shape of the orebody) that is used when the ore body is typically pipe-shaped, vein-type, steeply dipping stratified or irregular.  Although it is most often associated with metallic orebodies, (e.g., Palabora copper, Mamatwan and Sishen iron-ore), it can be used for any deposit that suits the geometry – most typically diamond pipes – (e.g., Venetia, Koffiefontein and Finsch). Surface mining requires large capital investment (primarily expensive transportation equipment), but generally results in:  High productivity (i.e., high output rate of ore).  Low operating costs.  Safer working conditions and a better safety record than underground mining. 2 February 2016 7Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation
  10. 10. Controls of Gold Mineralization - LCS Surface Mining methods 2 February 2016 Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation Mining Methods, Surface mining 10
  11. 11. Strip out overburden (becomes spoils) Traditional surface mining methods fall into two broad categories based on locale: i) Mechanical excavation methods {such as: Open-pit (or Open-cut or Open-cast); Terrace; and Strip mining}. ii) Aqueous methods {such as: Placer and In-situ leaching (ISL)/ Solution mining}.  Clean up (reclamation) Steps of Surface Mining Operation: 2 February 2016 Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation 11
  12. 12. Table : Subdivided surface mining methods (Bohnit, 1992) Method Subclass Method Mechanical excavation  Open-pit (or Open-cut or Open-cast) mining.  Terrace mining.  Strip (flat terrain) mining.  Contour strip (hilly terrain) mining.  Auger Mining  Glory Holing  Quarrying Aqueous Placer  Panning  Sluicing  Dredging  Hydraulic Mining Solution  Heap Leaching  In-situ leaching (ISL) 2 February 2016 Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation Mining Methods, Surface mining 10
  13. 13. Figure shows major surface mining methods
  14. 14. Mineral Extraction • Surface Mining: overburden (soil and rock on top of ore) is removed and becomes spoil. • 1. open pit mining – digging holes • 2. Dredging – scraping up underwater mineral deposits • 3. Area Strip Mining – on a flat area an earthmover strips overburden • 4. Contour Strip Mining – scraping ore from hilly areas
  15. 15. 1) Mechanical Extraction Method  a thick deposit is generally mined in benches or steps,  although thin deposits may require only a single bench or face. Of all the variations of mechanical surface excavation mining methods available, the three most common methods only will be described here, namely: 1.1. Open-pit (or Open-cut or Open-cast or quarry) mining. 1.2. Terrace mining. 1.3. Strip (flat terrain) mining. 1.4. Contour strip (hilly terrain) mining. 2 February 2016 Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation Mining Methods, Surface mining
  16. 16. Figure refers to Classification of Surface mining methods (Bullivant, 1987) 2 February 2016 Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation Mining Methods, Surface mining
  17. 17. OPEN PIT MINING
  18. 18. Open pit • Used when ore bodies lie near the surface • Large hole exposes the ore body • Waste rock (overburden) is removed • 2nd cheapest method, but has the largest environmental impact. Why? 2 February 2016 Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation Mining Methods, Surface mining
  19. 19. Although the basic concept of an open pit is quite simple, the planning required to develop a large deposit for surface mining is a very complex and costly undertaking. At one mine, it may be desirable to plan for blending variations in the ore so as to maintain, as nearly as possible, a uniform feed to the mill. At another operation it may be desirable to completely separate two kinds of ore, as for example, a low- grade deposit where one kind of "oxide" ore must be treated by acid leach, but a second kind of "sulfide" ore must be treated by different methods. The grade and tonnage of material available will determine how much waste rock can be stripped, and there is often an ultimate limit to the pit that is determined more by the economics of removing overburden than a sudden change in the ore deposit from mineral to non-mineral bearing material. The ultimate pit limit and the slope of the pit walls are therefore determined as much by economics and engineering as by geological structure. Material that is relatively high grade may be left unmined in some awkward spot extending back too deeply beneath waste The typical large open pit mining operation that has been in production for 10 years and more is operating under conditions that could not possibly have been foreseen by the original planners of the mine. Metal prices, machinery, and milling methods are constantly changing so that the larger operations must be periodically reevaluated, and several have been completely redeveloped from time to time as entirely different kinds of mining and milling operations. Sometimes the preliminary stripping of the waste overburden is contracted to firms specializing in earthmoving. Mining is usually done by track-mounted electric shovels in the large operations, and by rubber-tired diesel front-end loaders in the smaller operations. Scrapers are sometimes used in special situations. Large bucket-wheel excavators of the kind used in European coal mines have not been applied to metal mining, because this equipment is best adapted to softer bedded, relatively flat-lying strata. Basic Concept
  20. 20. • Mine working open to the surface. • Funnel shaped hole in ground, with ramp spiraling down along sides, allows moderately deep ore to be reached. • Operation designed to extract minerals that lie close to the surface • It is used when the orebody is near the surface and little overburden (waste rock) needs to be removed. • It is usually employed to exploit a near-surface deposit or one that has a low stripping ratio. • Waste is first removed, then the ore is broken and loaded. • Generally low grade, shallow ore bodies. • Non-selective  all high and low grade zones mined • Mining rate > 20,000 tons mined per day (tpd). • It often necessitates a large capital investment but generally results in high productivity, low operating cost, and good safety conditions. • Design issues: Stripping overburden Location of haul roads Equipment  size of trucks and fleet Pit slope angle and stability Surface Mining methods (Open pit Mining method) 1.1) Open pit Mining method 2 February 2016 Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation Mining Methods, Surface mining
  21. 21. 2 February 2016 Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation Mining Methods, Surface mining 21 Typical Bench Wall Typical Haul Road Typical Non-haul Road benchOutside Dump Catch Berm Typical Open Pit Mine Drill rig Drilling Out a New Pattern Empty haul truck returning to shovel Shovels loading haul trucks Drilled out pattern about to be charged with explosives Top of Main Ramp Out of Open Pit Loaded Haul Truck Going to Run of Mine Stockpile
  22. 22. open pit mining: funnel shaped hole in ground, with ramp spiraling down along sides, allows moderately deep ore to be reached. Initial mining for zinc at Franklin and Ogdensburg, New Jersey-USA. Photo I took at Bingham. 4 km in diameter 1 km in depth, at its zenith 400000 tons of rock per day
  23. 23. Open-pit mine: Chuquicamata copper mine, Región de Antofagasta, Chile Locality: Región de Antofagasta, Chile. Pit dimensions: 4.3 km long x 3 km wide x 850 m deep. Mining dates: 1915 -present Total production: 29 million tons of copper to the end of 2007 (excluding Radomiro Tomić production). For many years it was the mine with the largest annual production in the world, but was recently overtaken by Minera Escondida (Chile). It remains the mine with the largest total cumulative production. Production 2007: 896,308 fine metric tons of copper (Codelco, 2007). Mining cost in 2007: 48.5 US¢ per kg (2006), 73.0 US¢ per kg (2007) (Codelco, 2007). Employees: 8,420 as of 31st 2007 (Codelco, 2007). Pre-tax profits: US$ 9.215 billion (2006), US$ 8,451 billion (2007) (Codelco, 2007). Dust Slope failure Benches Access ramps http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2a/Chuquicamata_panorama.jpg 2 February 2016 Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation Mining Methods, Surface mining 23
  24. 24. Overburden Removal 2 February 2016 Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation Mining Methods, Surface mining
  25. 25. Removing Overburden
  26. 26. A Dragline Shovel Loading ore in pit Some photos and machinery used in open-pit mining
  27. 27. Haulage is usually by truck, although railroads, inclined rails, and conveyor belts have been used. The conveyance unloads directly into a primary crusher and crushed material is stored in coarse ore bins prior to shipment to the mill. Blastholes are usually drilled vertically by self- propelled, track-mounted pneumatic or rotary drills. Bulk explosives are loaded in the holes and large volumes of ore are broken in a single blast. Sometimes the drill holes are routinely sampled and assayed to help plan the position of the shovels in advance of mining. Blasthole assay control is especially desirable when exploration data are incomplete or lacking as in the case in the older pits which have long been mined past the limits of "ore" used in original planning.
  28. 28. Mining Trucks *To the left is a photograph of a Liebherr 360 ton (327 metric ton) haul truck. This unit is powered by a 2750 horse power engine and weighs 443,000 pounds (177 tons) empty... Crushing in pit Drilling in pit 2 February 2016 Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation Mining Methods, Surface mining
  29. 29. 2 February 2016 Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation Mining Methods, Surface mining
  30. 30. Figure shows Open pit Mining method 2 February 2016 Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation Mining Methods, Surface mining Benching Bench level intervals are to a large measure determined by the type of shovel or loader used, and these are selected on the basis of the character of the ore and the manner in which it breaks upon blasting and supports itself on the working face.
  31. 31. Figure 2.8 Open-pit mining sequence (for pipe-like orebody) 2 February 2016 Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation Mining Methods, Surface mining
  32. 32. Various open-pit and orebody configurations Massive deposit, flat terrain (Example iron-ore or sulphide deposits). Thick bedded deposits, little overburden, flat terrain (Example iron ore, coal). Massive deposit, high relief (Example copper sulphide). Dipping seam or bed, flat terrain (Example anthracite). Flat lying seam or bed, flat terrain (Example platinum reefs, coal). Figure from Hartman and Mutmansky, 2002. 33
  33. 33. 1.2) Terrace Mining • Where the overburden is too thick {or the floor of the pit (i.e., The ore inclination) is too steeply dipping} to allow waste dumping directly over the pit (as is the case with a dragline and strip mining), it is necessary to use intermediate cyclic or continuous transport (e.g., trucks or conveyors) to transport the overburden to where it can be tipped back into the previously mined void. • It is a multi-benched sideways-moving method, the whole mine moves over the ore reserve from one end to the other, but not necessarily in a single bench. The number of benches used is usually a function of the excavation depth and type of machinery used (typically between 10-15m bench height and 1-32 benches in the terrace). • Where steeply dipping orebodies are encountered, the modified method is most often applied, a more typical 3 waste bench terrace operation with steeply dipping orebody. In this case, the pit dimensions are limited by seam exposure (pit length) and available working area (for mining and dumping faces) (pit width). 2 February 2016 Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation Mining Methods, Surface mining
  34. 34. 1.3) Strip Mining Used for near-surface, laterally continuous, bedded deposits such as coal, stratified ores such as iron ore, and surficial deposits (nickel laterite or bauxite). When orebodies are flat-lying and close to surface, it is sometimes economical to remove the overlying rock to expose the orebody. Strip mining is ideally applied where the surface of the ground and the ore body itself are relatively horizontal and not too deep under the surface, and a wide area is available to be mined in a series of strips. The surface soil is stripped off and stockpiled for later land reclaimation. A stripping dragline with a long-boom or long reach shovels are common. The pits are shallower that open-pit mines, and the overburden is “hind-cast” directly into adjacent mined out panels. It is a very low-cost, high-productivity method of mining. Typical examples of this type of mining are the larger tonnage coal mining operations in Mpumulanga. Favourable conditions are:  Relatively thin overburden (0-50 m maximum otherwise stripping ration and cost of stripping becomes too high).  Regular and constant surface topography and coal layers (not more than 20º variation from horizontal on the coal seam –topography can vary more since pre-stripping can be used to level it – but this is expensive to apply).  Extensive area of reserves (to give adequate life of mine (LOM) and to cover all capital loan repayments – typically more than 20 years life at 4-14mt per annum production). 2 February 2016 Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation Mining Methods, Surface mining
  35. 35. Production 1) Electric drills prepare the overlying strata for blasting. 2) Removal of broken ore. 3) Removal of broken rock. 4) Extraction of upper ore seam. 5) Removal of upper ore.
  36. 36. Why……………..?  The ore is close to the surface of the land (30m) but has one or more layers of rock and dirt on top of it. To mine the ore, these layers have to be taken off.  This mining is done in long, narrow strips. When the ore is done in one strip, the miners begin to create another strip next to it. The waste, dirt, and rock that they take off of the top of the next strip is put on top of the last one. Strip Mining: The cheapest and safest method, but can have a significant impact environmentally on the surface. 2 February 2016 Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation Mining Methods, Surface mining 1) Electric drills prepare the overlying strata for blasting. 2) Removal of broken ore. 3) Removal of broken rock. 4) Extraction of upper ore seam. 5) Removal of upper ore. Strip Mining:
  37. 37. Strip Mining 2 February 2016 Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation Mining Methods, Surface mining Large-scale continuous bucket excavators are gaining popularity. These large scale machines are designed for high capacity output and are tremendous in size, highly productive, and very expensive.
  38. 38.  Strip-mining: Blast, scoop off rock overburden, and then scoop out ore material. Fairly shallow.  Economics of strip mining depend on stripping ratio  Large land area can be involved, especially for coal and bauxite. Strip mining. Example: Alcoa’s Sierra de Bahoruco Aluminum mining in D.R. Southern Peninsula until 1985
  39. 39. "Strip mining" is the practice of mining a seam of mineral by first removing a long strip of overlying soil and rock (the overburden). It is most commonly used to mine coal or tar sand. Strip mining is only practical when the ore body to be excavated is relatively near the surface. This type of mining uses some of the largest machines on earth, including bucket-wheel excavators which can move as much as 12,000 cubic meters of earth per hour. There are two forms of strip mining. The more common method is:- i) "Area stripping", which is used on fairly flat terrain, to extract deposits over a large area. As each long strip is excavated, the overburden is placed in the excavation produced by the previous strip. ii) "Contour stripping" involves removing the overburden above the mineral seam near the outcrop in hilly terrain, where the mineral outcrop usually follows the contour of the land. Contour stripping is often followed by auger mining into the hillside, to remove more of the mineral. This method commonly leaves behind terraces in mountain sides. Among others, strip mining is used to extract the oil-impregnated sand in the Athabasca Tar Sands in Alberta. It is also common in coal mining. Bucket-wheel excavators are widely used for this purpose, however, they are prone to damage and require many millions of dollars to repair. 2 February 2016 Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation Mining Methods, Surface mining
  40. 40. • Significant “permanent” waste dumps are not needed. • Mine rehabilitation can be carried out progressively at the same rate as mining. Area Strip Mine (Coal) Schematic of strip coal mine Figure from Hartman and Mutmansky, 2002. Coal strip mine in Wyoming http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Coal_mine_Wyoming.jpg 2 February 2016 Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation Mining Methods, Surface mining
  41. 41. Strip Mining Coal Mine Shovel-Truck Operation Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation Mining Geology, Introduction 42 200 T Haulage Truck 2 February 2016
  42. 42. Strip Mining Kansas Geological Survey Example: coal, placer 2 February 2016 Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation Mining Methods, Surface mining
  43. 43. Figure shows Strip mining with dragline (on overburden) and rope shovel (below, loading coal) The Bagger 288 is a bucket-wheel excavator used in strip mining. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bagger-garzweiler.jpg 2 February 2016 Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation Mining Methods, Surface mining
  44. 44. Large bucket wheel extractor being moved through Germany. Moves 10 meters per minute. Takes 5 people to operate. Used in strip mining
  45. 45. Contour Mining in KY “Highwalls” 1.4. Contour strip (hilly terrain) mining or Contour (Bench) Strip Mining 2 February 2016 Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation Mining Methods, Surface mining
  46. 46. Drill machines (rotary/percussive) | SMS, emulsion, Primer, Nonel, etc | Shovels, Draglines, etc | Front-end loader, etc | Dumpers, Conveyors, etc | Coal washeries… Mining Process Drilling | Blasting | Loading | Hauling | Transporting | Processing/Washing OPEN CAST DRAG LINE SURFACE MINER IN-PIT CRUSHING & CONVEYING 2 February 2016 Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation Mining Methods, Surface mining
  47. 47. Selection of Mining Equipment • Stripping Ratio – in case of Opencast. • Life of the mine. • Infrastructure available. • Proposed annual output. • Technology available. 1. Shovel + Dumper 2. Dragline 3. Surface Miner 4. Bucket Wheel Excavator 5. In-pit crushing + Spreader Different OC Machinery 2 February 2016 Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation Mining Methods, Surface mining
  48. 48. 1.4) Glory Holing This kind of operation is uncommon, as it involves a mine opening at the surface, from which ore is removed by gravity through raises connected to adit haulage ways beneath, and by tramming the ore to the surface on the haulage level. The glory hole method is best suited to mining on a hillside, and irregular deposits can be cleanly mined without dilution by waste wall rock. Narrow veins have been mined by glory hole; in these cases the “hole” becomes narrow and long. The benches are mined away as work descends to the bottom of the deposit or to the haulage way, so that spectacular steep side walls may result if the walls do not slough in. Mining can be quite selective, and little waste rock is thrown on the surface dumps. The principal environmental objection to the method is difficulty in reclamation of the surface of the mine area. 2 February 2016 Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation Mining Methods, Surface mining
  49. 49. AUGER MINING refers to a method of removing coal, clay, phosphate, oil-shale, etc. from thin seams exposed in deep trenches or high-walls in strip mines. The auger consists of two principal pieces. The first is a cutting head, generally from 1.5 to 8 feet in diameter. It may be single or multiple. The second is a prime mover, usually a skid mounted carriage, providing a mounting for the engine, drive head, and controls. As coal arrives at the surface it is transported via a conveyor belt or a front- end loader to a waiting truck. Operations are usually low- cost and highly productive, but recovery ranges from 40 to 60%. It can be implemented with relatively low capital costs. 1.5) Auger Mining 2 February 2016 Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation Mining Methods, Surface mining
  50. 50. QUARRYING or Quarry Mining is usually restricted to mining dimension stone - prismatic blocks of marble, granite, limestone, sandstone, slate, etc. that are used for primary construction of buildings or decorative facing materials for exterior and interior portions of buildings. Quarries generally have benches with vertical faces from a few feet to 200 feet in height. Blocks are drilled and wedged free in a highly selective manner using time consuming and expensive methods. Planning of the excavation is based primarily on geological factors such as the direction and attitude of bedding and joint systems. 1.6) Quarrying 2 February 2016 Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation Mining Methods, Surface mining
  51. 51. Depend on water or another liquid (e.g., dilute sulfuric acid, weak cyanide solution, or ammonium carbonate) to extract the mineral. 2.1) Placer mining: 2.1.1) Hydraulic mining 2.1.2) Dredging mining 2.2) In-situ leaching (ISL)/ Solution mining 2.3) Undersea Mining Placer and solution mining are among the most economical of all mining methods but can only be applied to limited categories of mineral deposits. 2) Aqueous Extraction Methods 2 February 2016 Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation Mining Methods, Surface mining
  52. 52. 2.1) PLACER MINING
  53. 53. Placer deposits are concentrations of heavy minerals, usually within loose alluvium that can easily be excavated and washed. Placer minerals such as gold, tin, and tungsten minerals, are of relatively high value, but the value of the placer gravel itself may be very low, often less than a dollar per cubic yard. For deposits of such low grade to be worked they must be near water, on or near the surface of the ground, and should be only loosely consolidated so that drilling and blasting are not necessary. Placer mining affects large surface areas for the volume of material mined, is highly visible and has serious environmental problems with surface disturbance and stream pollution. Placer mining is used to exploit loosely consolidated deposits like common sand and gravel or gravels containing gold, tin, diamonds, platinum, titanium, or gems. There are two types of placer mining:- 2.1.1) Hydraulic mining: Generally used for weakly cemented near-surface ore deposits. Hydraulic mining of a placer gold deposit. Hydraulic king utilizes a high-pressure stream of water that is directed against the mineral deposit (normally but not always a placer), under-cutting it, and causing its removal by the erosive actions of the water. 2.1.2) Dredging mining: Generally used most often for mineral-sands and some near-shore alluvial diamond mining operations. Dredging performed from floating vessels, accomplishes the extraction of the minerals mechanically or hydraulically. "Dredging" is a method often used to bring up underwater mineral deposits. Although dredging is usually employed to clear or enlarge waterways for boats, it can also recover significant amounts of underwater minerals relatively efficiently and cheaply. 2.1) Placer mining 2 February 2016 Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation Mining Methods, Surface mining
  54. 54. The “Stang Intelligiant” monitor (operator controlled high pressure water discharge point) mounted on a skid Figure shows Hydraulic mining of a placer gold deposit Figures from Hartman and Mutmansky, 2002.
  55. 55. i) Hydraulic Mining (or Hydraulic king) 2 February 2016 Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation Mining Methods, Surface mining  Hydraulic Mining involves directing a high- pressure stream of water, via a MONITOR or nozzle, against the base of the placer bank.  The water caves the bank, disintegrates the ground and washes the material to and through sluice boxes, and / or jigs, and / or tables situated down-slope.  Hydraulic mining totally disturbs large areas and puts much debris into the drainage system. Presently, hydraulicking is used primarily in Third World countries. It is closely controlled or prohibited in the U.S.
  56. 56. Dredging mining "Dredging" is a method often used to bring up underwater mineral deposits. Although dredging is usually employed to clear or enlarge waterways for boats, it can also recover significant amounts of underwater minerals relatively efficiently and cheaply. 2 February 2016 Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation Mining Methods, Surface mining
  57. 57.  Large alluvial deposits are mined by floating washing plants capable of excavating the gravel, processing it in the washing plant, and stacking the tailings away from the dredge pond.  A Dredge floats in water and digs the gravel by an endless string of buckets. Coarse material is screened out and dumped out the back. The fine material passes into a series of sluices where the gold in recovered.  Several types of excavation methods are in use: DRAGLINE and BACKHOE PLANTS.  Dragline use in placer mining with washing plants is limited to shallow digging depths. Its bucket is less controllable on the bottom than the backhoe, and it is less able to dig into the bottom to clean up all the ore that may be there. However, it has the advantage of a longer reach.  The digging reach of the backhoe extends to as much as 70 feet below the surface. It has the advantage of relatively low first cost, excellent mobility, and an ability to excavate hard material. ii) Dredging
  58. 58. i) Bucket Wheel Hydraulic Dredges are becoming more popular for underwater excavation, except where a high content of soft clay exists or where excessive oversize material occurs. It is dependent upon flooded pump openings that convey the material mined to the washing plant, and therefore it cannot work above water level. Placement of the pump suction is critical. ii) Bucketline Dredges are capable of continuous excavation and are very efficient. They mine, process, and discard tailings to waste in one continuous stream. However, no storage opportunities exist, and the stream moves through the system by the force of gravity. Buckets, supported by a LADDER, dig the mine face. Material moves up the ladder and dumps into a hopper that feeds the washing plant. They are capable of high excavation rates. iii) Suction Cutter Dredges are similar to the Bucket Wheet Dredge except the digging device consists of a series of cutting arms rotating in a basket about a suction intake. The rotating arms break up the bank material, slurrying it so it can be drawn into the dredge suction. It has proven to be successful in mining unconsolidated beach sands and offshore placers. Various methods are used to position the dredge --anchored by wire ropes or piling (SPUDS) at the rear of the dredge. Boulders can cause serious problems. Types of Excavation Methods Using Dredging:
  59. 59. Placer Mining Costs Capital Cost of Bucketline Dredge (1990): Operating Costs (1990): Because large placer deposits can be thoroughly explored before floating a dredge, such operations can lend themselves to thorough planning, and it is possible to carry out reclamation as mining progresses at only a slight increase in operating costs.
  60. 60. SOLUTION MINING
  61. 61. Solution Mining Basic concept  The theory and practice of leaching are well-developed because for many years leaching has been used to separate metals from their ores and to extract sugar from sugar beets. Environmental engineers have become concerned with leaching more recently because of the multitude of dumps and landfills that contain hazardous and toxic wastes. Sometimes the natural breakdown of a toxic chemical results in another chemical that is even more toxic. Rain that passes through these materials enters ground water, lakes, streams, wells, ponds, and the like.  Although many toxic materials have low solubility in water, the concentrations that are deemed hazardous are also very low. Furthermore, many toxic compounds are accumulated by living cells and can be more concentrated inside than outside a cell. This is why long-term exposure is a serious problem; encountering a low concentration of a toxic material a few times may not be dangerous, but having it in your drinking water day after day and year after year can be deadly.  The main theory of leaching neglects mechanisms for holding the material on the solid. Although adsorption and ion exchange can bind materials tightly to solids, we will simplify the analysis and consider only dissolving a soluble constituent away from an insoluble solid. An example is removing salt from sand by extraction with water.  Countercurrent stage wise processes are frequently used in industrial leaching because they can deliver the highest possible concentration in the extract and can minimize the amount of solvent needed. The solvent phase becomes concentrated as it contacts in a stage wise fashion the increasing solute-rich solid. The raffinate becomes less concentrated in soluble material as it moves toward the fresh solvent stage.
  62. 62. In-situ leaching (ISL)/ Solution mining Solution mining (in-situ recovery) = resources in a deep deposit are dissolved in a liquid and siphoned out. Salts, lithium, boron, bromine, potash, copper, uranium. Less environmental impact than other methods: Less surface area is disturbed. Acids, heavy metals, uranium can accidentally leak. 2 February 2016 Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation Mining Methods, Surface mining 63
  63. 63. Used most commonly on evaporite (e.g. salt and potash) and sediment-hosted uranium deposits, and also to a far lesser extent to recover copper from low-grade oxidized ore. The dissolving solution is pumped into the orebody from a series of injection wells, and is then pumped out, together with salts dissolved from the orebody from a series of extraction (production) wells. Aside: The same reagents are often used for processing mined ores in hydrometallurgical plants Metals and minerals commonly mined by solution mining methods. Dissolving agent specified in each case. (From Hartman and Mutmansky, 2002, and references therein). Metal or Mineral Approximate Primary production Dissolution Agent/ Method Gold 35% Sodium cyanide (NaCN) Silver 25% Sodium cyanide (NaCN) Copper 30% Sulphuric acid (H2SO4); Ammonium carbonate (alkali) {(NH4)2CO3} Uranium 75% Sulphuric acid (H2SO4); Ammonium carbonate (alkali) {(NH4)2CO3} Common Salt 50% Water Potash 20% Water Trona 20% Water Boron 20% Hydrochloric acid (HCl) Magnesium 85% Seawater, lake brine processing Sulfur 35% Hot water (melting) Lithium 100% Lake brine processing 2.2. In-situ leaching (ISL)/ Solution Mining 2 February 2016 Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation Mining Methods, Surface mining 64
  64. 64. In-situ leaching (ISL)/ Solution Mining Solution mining includes both borehole mining, such as the methods used to extract sodium chloride or sulfur, and leaching, either through drillholes or in dumps or heaps on the surface. 2 February 2016 Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation Mining Methods, Surface mining 65 ISL salt mine ISL sulfur mine Hot water Compressed air Sulfur, Water & air Brine out
  65. 65. In-situ leaching (ISL)/ solution mining: Advantages:  No solid wastes.  Liquid wastes (low concentration brines with no market value) can be re-injected into the stratum being leached. Also reported that wastes are sometimes injected into a separate acquifer (not good practice). Problems:  Little control of the solution underground and difficulty in ensuring the process solutions do not migrate away from the immediate area of leaching.  Main impact of evaporite ISL is derived from surface or shallow groundwater contamination in the vicinity of evaporation ponds. Pregnant solutions can be highly corrosive and pyhto-toxic, and can react with the soil materials used in pond construction, and may migrate to surrounding areas through seepage, overflow (both bad practice),and windblown spray.  Surface subsidence and the development of sink-holes may also occur after prolonged solution mining if inadequate un-mined material is left to support the overburden (bad practice). 2 February 2016 Prof. Dr. H.Z. Harraz Presentation Mining Methods, Surface mining 66
  66. 66. Example Evaporite deposits Has been used for many decades to extract soluble evaporite salts such as halite (NaCl), trona (3Na2O · 4CO2), nahcolite (NaHCO3), epsomite (MgSO4 · 7H2O), carnallite (KMgCl3 · 6H2O), borax (Na2B4O7 · 10H2O) from buried evaporite deposits in UK, Russia, Germany, Turkey, Thailand and USA). A low salinity fluid, either heated or not, is injected underground directly into the evaporite layer; the “pregnant” solutions (brines) are withdrawn from recovery boreholes and are pumped into evaporation ponds, to allow the salts to crystallize out as the water evaporates. Evaporation ponds, Arizona Figure from Spitz and Trudinger, 2009. Old underground mines, consisting typically of room- and-pillar workings, are often further mined using solutions to recover what remains of the deposit, i.e., the pillars (with associated surface subsidence risk).
  67. 67. Heap Leaching Heap leaching is also used in recovering metals from their ores. Bacterial leaching is first used to oxidize sulphide minerals. Cyanide solution is then used to leach the metals from the mineral heap. 'Heap leaching' is a countercurrent process where the solid is in a stationary heap and the solvent percolates through the solid. An example is a dump or landfill. This leaching is essentially countercurrent. In industrial leaching, solvent and solid are mixed, allowed to approach equilibrium, and the two phases are separated. Liquid and solids move counter currently to the adjacent stages. The solvent phase, called the extract, becomes more concentrated as it contacts in stagewise fashion the increasingly solute-rich solid. The raffinate becomes less concentrated in soluble material as it moves toward the fresh solvent phase.
  68. 68. Uranium heap leaching  Occurs in tetravalent and hexavalent forms  Tetravalent uranium requires oxidation during leaching  Leaching in acid or carbonate medium, depending on gangue acid consumption. Lower recoveries in carbonate medium.  Addition of suitable oxidising agent such as, H2O2, MnO2, NaClO3 for regeneration of Fe3+, or by bacterial oxidation. Typically 0.5g/L Fe, ORP 475-425 mV, which may be produced from gangue dissolution.  Bacterial leaching offers advantage of reduced oxidising agent cost and generation of acid from sulphide minerals such as pyrite, as well as liberation of mineral from sulphide host.  “Readily leachable” minerals are acid leached at pH 1.5-2.0 and 35-60oC, which are suitable conditions for bioleaching. “Refractory” minerals require higher temperature (60-80oC) and stronger acid (up to 50g/L).
  69. 69. Common Uranium minerals Mineral Formula Operation leachable oxides UraniniteTL U+4 1-xU+6 xO2+x Rossing, Dominion Reefs, Ezulwini PitchblendeTL UO2 to UO2.25 Narbalek, Kintyre leachable silicates CoffiniteTL U(SiO4)1-x(OH)4x Rystkuil refractory complex oxides Brannerite TR (U,Ca,Fe,Th,Y)(Ti,Fe)2O6 Elliot Lake DaviditeTR (La, Ce, Ca)(Y, U)(Ti, Fe3+)20O38 Radium Hill hydrated oxides BecquereliteHL 7UO2.11H2O Gummite HL UO3.nH2O Silicates Uranophane HL Ca(UO2)2Si2O7.6H2O Rossing UranothoriteTL (UTh)SiO4 Dominion Reefs Sklodowskite HL (H3O2)Mg(UO2)2(SiO4)22H2O Vanadates Carnotite HL K2(UO2)2(VO4)2.3H2O Langer Heinrich Tyuyamunite HL Ca(UO2)2(VO4)2.8H2O Phosphates Torbernite HL Cu(UO2)2(PO4)2.10H2O Rum Jungle Autunite HL Ca(UO2)2(PO4)2.11H2O Rum Jungle Carbonates Schroekingerite HL NaCa3(UO)2(CO3)3(SO4)F.10H2O Arsenates Zeunarite HL Cu(UO2)2(AsO4)2.10-12H2O Hydrocarbons ThucholiteTL HL- hexavalent readily acid leachable without oxidation TL - tetravalent readily acid leachable with oxidation TR - tetravalent refractory
  70. 70. Uranium deposits Uranium minerals are soluble in acidic or alkaline solutions. The production (“pregnant”) fluid consisting of the water soluble uranyl oxyanion (UO22+) is subject to further processing on surface to precipitate the concentrated mineral product U3O8 or UO3(yellowcake). 2 February 2016 71 Acid leaching fluid sulphuric acid + oxidant (nitric acid, hydrogen peroxide or dissolved oxygen) or Alkali leaching fluid ammonia, ammonium carbonate/bicarbonate, or sodium carbonate/bicarbonate The hydrology of the acquifer is irreversibly changed: its porosity, permeability and water quality. It is regarded as being easier to “restore” an acquifer after alkali leaching. Figure from Hartman and Mutmansky, 2002.
  71. 71. Heap Leach Operation Installing a Plastic Membrane Liner
  72. 72. Layout of copper bio-heap pilot plant Heaps Auxiliary, Ponds PLS, Raffinate Ponds Crushing, Agglomeration SX-EW (off photo) Drum agglomeration Humidification layer with drainage pipes
  73. 73. Advantages/disadvantages of heap leaching •Advantages • Low capital and operating costs • Absence of milling step, may require crushing and agglomeration • Simplicity of atmospheric leach processes • Can be used to treat low-grade ores, wastes and small deposits • Absence of liquid-solid separation step allows counter-current operation • Metal tenor may be built up by recycling solution over heaps •Disadvantages •Lower recoveries than mill/float or mill/leach •Long leach cycles and hold-up •Lengthy experimental programmes •Large footprint •Acid-mine drainage of wastes Advantages/disadvantages of heap leaching
  74. 74. Undersea (or Oceans) Mining • We extract minerals (e.g., magnesium) from seawater • Minerals are dredged from the ocean floor  Sulfur, phosphate, calcium carbonate (for cement), silica (insulation and glass), copper, zinc, silver, gold • Manganese nodules = small, ball-shaped ores scattered across the ocean floor  Mining them is currently uneconomical  Manganese Nodules (pacific ocean)– ore nodules crystallized from hot solutions arising from volcanic activity. Contain manganese, iron copper and nickel. • Hydrothermal vents may have gold, silver, zinc • Mining would destroy habitats and organisms and release toxic metals that could enter the food chain 1) Minerals are found in seawater, but occur in too low of a concentration 2) Continental shelf can be mined 3) Deep Ocean are extremely expensive to extract (not currently viable)

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