It is no news that deposits are located in the soil; however, some are deposited in the deeper ground. Nonetheless, it requires hard labour using the conventional method. Underground mining refers to the specific methods of extracting different minerals, usually those that have metals such as Gold, Zinc, Cobalt, Nickel, Silver and Uranium. This procedure is not different from the extraction of other types of minerals.
Usually, the mining method to use depends on the shape, size and description of the mineral, the grade and concentration of the ore, and the strength of the rock properties. There are four forms of mining processes which are
This process is costly and is often utilised to reach deeper mineral deposits. It requires energy and consumes much. Also, it may contribute to environmental degradation.
It is used for a less deep (shallow) deposit. It doesn’t require much energy and thus costs less.
It is a method of sorting out valued metals from residues in river passage, beach sand or other locations.
This method would last for a long time. It is used initially to extract uranium only and involves dissolving ore bodies before processing it at the surface without shifting the rock.
Mining deeper grounds involves crushing rocks and a lot of digging up, which contribute to environmental degradation. Hence, this section considers how biomining can solve these problems.
How It Works
Microbes sent to the underground to extract the metal, and the leachate result is pumped to the surface for metal recovery. The benefits include being cost-effective, protecting the environment from waste and further degradation, and not consuming much energy.
Other times, one may use the ferric or ferrous iron in place of microbes to collect metal, and your choice will depend on whether the metal is sulphides or oxides.
Another innovation concerning deep mining undergrounds is the development of fracking technology. It is invented to extract oil from rocks that are deeply rooted in the ground. No doubt, this innovation has significant impacts on the future of metallurgy. Johnson explained that although it is not in use and may take longer, it may be our mining tool for so many years to come. He also stated that the best and most suitable biomining process that would be employed is in-situ bioleaching.
Development Mining Vs Production Mining
There is two-division of underground mining, which are development and production mining. Development mining involves the extraction of waste rock to access the mineral body. The necessary steps of development mining are removal of waste, scaling, installation and reinforcement.
On the other hand, production mining is subdivided into long holes and short holes. The short holes method is similar to development mining except that it deals with ore. The long hole method has to do with two evacuations. Usually, a hole passes through the two evacuators and is loaded with explosives. The ore is collected from the bottom evacuation once it is blasted.