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Table of Contents

NTRODUCTION........................................................................................................ 1
MINING TERMINOLOGY............................................................................................ 1
STAGES IN THE LIFE OF A MINE............................................................................... 4
Prospecting.............................................................................................................. 4
Exploration.............................................................................................................. 4
Development........................................................................................................... 4
Exploitation............................................................................................................. 5
Reclamation............................................................................................................ 5
UNIT OPERATIONS OF MINING................................................................................. 6
Underground Mining................................................................................................ 8
UNDERGROUND MINING TERMINOLOGY...................................................................8
Basic problems in underground operations.............................................................9
Means of access and egress..................................................................................10
Ground control in underground excavations..........................................................22
Natural support (room-and-pillar mining)..............................................................23
Artificial support.................................................................................................... 26
Underground mining methods...............................................................................29
unsupported methods........................................................................................... 30
Supported mining methods...................................................................................31
SURFACE MINING................................................................................................... 33
Surface Mining methods........................................................................................ 34
Conical pit (Open pit) Mining.................................................................................35
Open Pit Terminology............................................................................................. 36
Placer and Placer Mining....................................................................................... 40
Placer Mining Methods.......................................................................................... 41
Hydraulic Mining.................................................................................................... 43

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NTRODUCTION.
MINING TERMINOLOGY
There are many terms and expressions unique to mining that characterize the field
and identify the user of such terms as a mining person. The student of mining is
thus advised to become familiar with all the terms used in mining, particularly those
that are peculiar to either mines or minerals. Most of the mining terminology is
introduced in the sections of this book where they are most applicable. Some
general terms are best defined at the outset; these are outlined here.
Mine: an excavation made in the earth to extract minerals
Mining: the activity, occupation, and industry concerned with the extraction of
minerals
Mining engineering: the practice of applying engineering principles to the
development, planning, operation, closure, and reclamation of mines
Some terms distinguish various types of mined minerals. Geologically, one can
distinguish the following mineral categories:
Mineral: a naturally occurring inorganic element or compound having an orderly
internal structure and a characteristic chemical composition, crystal form, and
physical properties
Rock: any naturally formed aggregate of one or more types of mineral particles
Bedded Deposit - An ore deposit of tabular form that lies horizontally or only slightly
inclined to the horizontal, and is commonly parallel to the stratification of the
enclosing rocks.
Country Rock/Host Rock - The rock in which the ore deposit is enclosed. It is the
general mass of adjacent rock as distinguished from that of a vein, or lode.
Dip - The angle at which a bed, stratum or vein is inclined from the horizontal.
Exploration - The work involved in gaining knowledge of the size, shape, position
and value of an ore body.

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Fault - A discontinuity between two portions of the earth's surface that have moved
relative to each other. A fault is a failure surface and is evidence of severe earth
stresses.
Foot Wall - The wall or rock under a vein. It is called the floor in bedded deposits.
Hanging Wall - The wall or rock on the upper side of an inclined vein. It is called the
roof in bedded deposits.
Outcrop - Commonly considered as the surface exposure of a mineral deposit.
However, the uppermost part of a mineral deposit may be covered with soil or
overburden and thus the outcrop may be hidden.
Vein - A mineralized zone having a more or less regular development in length,
width and depth to give it a tabular form and commonly inclined at a considerable
angle to the horizontal. The term lode is commonly used synonymously for vein.
Economic differences in the nature of mineral deposits is evident in the following
terms:
Ore: a mineral deposit that has sufficient utility and value to be mined at a profit.
Gangue: the valueless mineral particles within an ore deposit that must be
discarded.
Waste: the material associated with an ore deposit that must be mined to get at the
ore and must then be discarded. Gangue is a particular type of waste.
A further subdivision of the types of minerals mined by humankind is also common.
These terms are often used in the industry to differentiate between the fuels,
metals, and nonmetallic minerals. The following are the most common terms used
in this differentiation:
Metallic ores: those ores of the ferrous metals (iron, manganese, molybdenum, and
tungsten), the base metals (copper, lead, zinc, and tin),the precious metals (gold,
silver, the platinum group metals),and the radioactive minerals (uranium, thorium,
and radium).

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Nonmetallic minerals (also known as industrial minerals): the nonfuel mineral ores
that are not associated with the production of metals. These include phosphate,
potash, halite, trona, sand, gravel, limestone, sulfur, and many others.
Fossil fuels (also known as mineral fuels): the organic mineral substances that can
be utilized as fuels, such as coal, petroleum, natural gas, coalbed methane,
gilsonite, and tar sands.
It should be noted that the mining engineer is associated with the extraction of
nearly all these mineral resources.
The essence of mining in extracting mineral wealth from the earth is to drive an
excavation or excavations from the surface to the mineral deposit. Normally, these
openings into the earth are meant to allow personnel to enter into the underground
deposit.
Note that when the economic profitability of a mineral deposit has been established
with some confidence, ore or ore deposit is preferred as the descriptive term for the
mineral occurrence. However, coal and industrial mineral deposits are often not so
designated, even if their profitability has been firmly established. If the excavation
used for mining is entirely open or operated from the surface, it is termed a surface
mine. If the excavation consists of openings for human entry below the earths
surface, it is called an underground mine. The details of the procedure, layout, and
equipment used in the mine distinguish the mining method. This is determined by
the geologic, physical, environmental, economic, and legal circumstances that
pertain to the ore deposit being mined.
Mining is never properly done in isolation, nor is it an entity in itself. It is preceded
by geologic investigations that locate the deposit and economic analyses that prove
it financially feasible. Following extraction of the fuel, industrial mineral, or metallic
ore, the run-of-mine material is generally cleaned or concentrated. This preparation
or beneficiation of the mineral into a higher-quality product is termed mineral
processing. The mineral products so produced may then undergo further
concentration, refinement, or fabrication during conversion, smelting, or refining to
provide consumer products. The end step in converting a mineral material into a
useful product is marketing.
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Professionally, the fields of endeavor associated with the mineral industries are
linked to the phase or stage in which an activity occurs. Locating and exploring a
mineral deposit fall in the general province of geology and the earth sciences.
Mining engineering, already defined, encompasses the proving (with the geologist),
planning, developing, and exploiting of a mineral deposit. The mining engineer may
also be involved with the closure and reclamation of the mine property, although he
or she may share those duties with those in the environmental fields. The fields of
processing, refining, and fabricating are assigned to metallurgy, although there is
often some overlap in the mineral processing area with mining engineering.

STAGES IN THE LIFE OF A MINE


The overall sequence of activities in modern mining is often compared with the five
stages in the life of a mine: prospecting, exploration, development, exploitation,
and reclamation. Prospecting and exploration, precursors to actual mining, are
linked and sometimes combined. Geologists and mining engineers often share
responsibility for these two stagesgeologists more involved with the former,
mining engineers more with the latter. Likewise, development and exploitation are
closely related stages; they are usually considered to constitute mining proper and
are the main province of the mining engineer. Reclamation has been added to these
stages since the first edition, to reflect the times.
Closure and reclamation of the mine site has become a necessary part of the mine
life cycle because of the demands of society for a cleaner environment and stricter
laws regulating the abandonment of a mine. The overall process of developing a
mine with the future uses of the land in mind is termed sustainable development.
This concept was defined in a book entitled Our Common Future (World Commission
on Environment and Development,1987 ) as development that meets the needs of
the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their
own needs.

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Prospecting
Prospecting, the first stage in the utilization of a mineral deposit, is the search for
ores or other valuable minerals (coal or nonmetallics). Because mineral deposits
may be located either at or below the surface of the earth, both direct and indirect
prospecting techniques are employed. The direct method of discovery, normally
limited to surface deposits, consists of visual examination of either the exposure
(outcrop) of the deposit or the loose fragments (float) that have weathered away
from the outcrop

Exploration
The second stage in the life of a mine, exploration, determines as accurately as
possible the size and value of a mineral deposit, utilizing techniques similar to but
more refined than those used in prospecting. The line of demarcation between
prospecting and exploration is not sharp; in fact, a distinction may not be possible in
some cases. Exploration generally shifts to surface and subsurface locations, using
a variety of measurements to obtain a more positive picture of the extent and grade
of the ore body.

Development
In the third stage, development, the work of opening a mineral deposit for
exploitation is performed. With it begins the actual mining of the deposit, now called
the ore. Access to the deposit must be gained either (1) by stripping the
overburden, which is the soil and/or rock covering the deposit, to expose the nearsurface ore for mining or (2) by excavating openings from the surface to access
more deeply buried deposits to prepare for underground mining.
In either case, certain preliminary development work, such as acquiring water and
mineral rights, buying surface lands, arranging for financing, and preparing permit
applications and an environmental impact statement (EIS), will generally be
required before any development takes place. When these steps have been
achieved, the provision of a number of requirementsaccess roads, power sources,
mineral transportation systems, mineral processing facilities, waste disposal areas,
offices, and other support facilitiesmust precede actual mining in most cases.
Stripping of the overburden will then proceed if the minerals are to be mined at the
surface.
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Exploitation
Exploitation, the fourth stage of mining, is associated with the actual recovery of
minerals from the earth in quantity. Although development may continue, the
emphasis in the production stage is on production. Usually only enough
development is done prior to exploitation to ensure that production, once started,
can continue uninterrupted throughout the life of the mine.
The mining method selected for exploitation is determined mainly by the
characteristics of the mineral deposit and the limits imposed by safety, technology,
environmental concerns, and economics. Geologic conditions, such as the dip,
shape, and strength of the ore and the surrounding rock, play a key role in selecting
the method. Traditional exploitation methods fall into two broad categories based
on locale: surface or underground. Surface mining includes mechanical excavation
methods such as open pit and open cast (strip mining), and aqueous methods such
as placer and solution mining. Underground mining is usually classified in three
categories of methods: unsupported, supported, and caving.

Reclamation
The final stage in the operation of most mines is reclamation, the process of closing
a mine and recontouring, revegetating, and restoring the water and land values.
The best time to begin the reclamation process of a mine is before the first
excavations are initiated. In other words, mine planning engineers should plan the
mine so that the reclamation process is considered and the overall cost of mining
plus reclamation is minimized, not just the cost of mining itself. The new philosophy
in the mining industry is sustainability, that is the meeting of economic and
environmental needs of the present while enhancing the ability of future
generations to meet their own needs (National Mining Association,1998 ). In
planning for the reclamation of any given mine, there are many concerns that must
be addressed. The first of these is the safety of the mine site, particularly if the area
is open to the general public. The removal of office buildings, processing facilities,
transportation equipment, utilities, and other surface structures must generally be
accomplished. The mining company is then required to seal all mine shafts, adits,
and other openings that may present physical hazards. Any existing highwalls or
other geologic structures may require mitigation to prevent injuries or death due to
geologic failures.
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The second major issue to be addressed during reclamation of a mine site is


restoration of the land surface, the water quality, and the waste disposal areas so
that long-term water pollution, soil erosion, dust generation, or vegetation problems
do not occur. The restoration of native plants is often a very important part of this
process, as the plants help build a stable soil structure and naturalize the area. It
may be necessary to carefully place any rock or tailings with acid-producing
properties in locations where rainfall has little effect on the material and acid
production is minimized. The same may be true of certain of the heavy metals that
pollute streams. Planning of the waste dumps, tailings ponds, and other disturbed
areas will help prevent pollution problems, but remediation work may also be
necessary to complete the reclamation stage of mining and satisfy the regulatory
agencies.
The final concern of the mine planning engineer may be the subsequent use of the
land after mining is completed. Old mine sites have been converted to wildlife
refuges, shopping malls, golf courses, airports, lakes, underground storage facilities,
real estate developments, solid waste disposal areas, and other uses that can
benefit society. By planning the mine for a subsequent development, mine planners
can enhance the value of the mined land and help convert it to a use that the public
will consider favorable. The successful completion of the reclamation of a mine will
enhance public opinion of the mining industry and keep the mining company in the
good graces of the regulatory agencies.
The fifth stage of the mine is thus of paramount importance and should be planned
at the earliest possible time in the life of the mine.

UNIT OPERATIONS OF MINING


During the development and exploitation stages of mining when natural materials
are extracted from the earth, remarkably similar unit operations are normally
employed. The unit operations of mining are the basic steps used to produce
mineral from the deposit, and the auxiliary operations that are used to support
them. The steps contributing directly to mineral extraction are production
operations, which constitute the production cycle of operations. The ancillary steps
that support the production cycle are termed auxiliary operations.
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The production cycle employs unit operations that are normally grouped into rock
breakage and materials handling. Breakage generally consists of drilling and
blasting, and materials handling encompasses loading or excavation and haulage
(horizontal transport) and sometimes hoisting (vertical or inclined transport). Thus,
the basic production cycle consists of these unit operations:
Production cycle= drill + blast + load + haul
Although production operations tend to be separate and cyclic in nature, the trend
in modern mining and tunneling is to eliminate or combine functions and to increase
continuity of extraction. For example, in coal and other soft rock mines, continuous
miners break and load the mineral to eliminate drilling and blasting; boring
machines perform the same tasks in medium-hard rock.
The cycle of operations in surface and underground mining differs primarily by the
scale of the equipment. Specialized machines have evolved to meet the unique
needs of the two regimes.

Underground Mining.
UNDERGROUND MINING TERMINOLOGY.
Adit - A horizontal or nearly horizontal passage driven from the surface for
the working of a mine. If driven through the hill or mountain to the surface
on the opposite side it would be a tunnel.
Shaft - A vertical or inclined excavation in a mine extending downwards
from the surface. A shaft is provided with a hoisting apparatus at the top for

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handling men, rock and supplies, or it may be used only in connection with
ventilation operations.
Collar - The term applied to the timbering around the mouth or top of a
shaft.
Crosscut - A horizontal opening driven across the course of a vein or in
general across the direction of the main workings.
Drift - A horizontal opening in or near an ore body and parallel to the course
of the vein or long dimension of the ore body.
Tunnel - A horizontal or nearly horizontal underground passage that is open
to the atmosphere at both ends. The term is loosely applied in many cases to
an adit.
General
Recovery of mineral from subsurface rock involves the development of
physical access to the mineralized zone, liberation of the ore from the
enclosing host rock and transport of this material to the mine surface.
Excavations of various shapes, sizes, orientations and functions are normally
required to support the series of operations which comprise the complete
mining process.
A suitable design of underground excavations within the mineral body, and in
the rock mass adjacent to it, is critical in assuring an efficient and safe
mining performance.
The geometry of the mineral body and its rock mechanical properties should
be, as far as possible, known.
Mistakes in the choice of mine design and mining method may severely
jeopardize productivity and safety and may also lastingly sterilise mineral
reserves, i.e. render it impossible for extraction.
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An inexperienced mine operator / owner should, therefore, seek advice from


competent miners when selecting an appropriate mine design and mining
method which correspond to the condition of the mineral deposit.

Basic problems in underground operations


Access to the underground deposit is commonly provided by a single
adit/shaft. No alternative mean of egress from working faces to the surface is
available. Thus miners may be trapped underground in case the only
available underground opening will collapse.
Depending upon the geometry of the mineral body, underground excavations
are often randomly generated and are either very narrow or of great
extension. Confined and narrow passage ways and production openings
make winning and hauling operations as well as travelling of persons difficult
and inefficient.
Excessive large unsupported underground excavations are prone to roof falls
and uncontrolled rock movement. Heavy roof falls frequently endanger
miners and often result in abandonment of working faces.
Structural support is seldom provided. Even vital underground excavations
such as mine adits/shafts in potentially unstable ground are insufficiently
supported.
Basic requirements for a safe and successful underground mine are:
Providing and maintaining structurally stable means of access and egress
(at least two for

every working block / mining area).

Providing and maintaining stable underground excavations and working


faces which are to be kept open for as long as necessary.

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Means of access and egress


Small-scale mining activities often commence with open casting on
outcropping mineral deposits or at the bottom of a surface mine which has
arrived at the limit of economic depth.
Depending upon the nature and location of mineral deposits access to them
is provided by inclined or vertical shafts (placer and coal deposits) or by adits
- horizontal or nearly horizontal passages - driven from the surface (hard rock
gold or fluorspar mining).
Means of access from surface to underground are often located on steep
unconsolidated slopes or on high walls (even overhanging) and are thus
endangered by ground fall, landslide or cliff collapse. Such incidents may
result in a complete obstruction of the mine access, trapping miners
underground.

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As far as practicable any mine entrance or outlet should not be located at


potentially unstable and steep walls or slopes, and under no circumstances
beneath overhanging walls.
The overall slope angle should, in the long term, not exceed 70 in strong
competent rock and 45 in weathered rock, soil or gravel.
Fissures, fractures or cleavages dipping towards the mine entrance require
special attention, in particular when wet. Such dangers may be minimized by
applying a benching (terraced) system during open casting.
Where this is not provided, mine entrances or outlets should be so
constructed or secured as to prevent any loose ground or wet material from
falling or sliding towards or into the mine opening which may result in a
complete obstruction of it.
Structural support should be installed at the mine mouth (collaring), so
designed that the mine mouth reaches out of the danger zone of ground falls
or wall collapses.
The support could consist of sturdy timber sets or waste/sand filled bags
which should be tightly set around the mine mouth.

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All surface and seepage water should be channelled in such way as to


prevent it from running into the mine opening. Wet rock, in particular when
fractured or decomposed is less stable than dry rock.
Shafts or inclined mine adits are often several tens of meters deep and their
entrances are not guarded. There is a high risk that a mine worker or
member of the public could fall in.

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Therefore, the surface entrance to every mine shaft and every other inclined
entrance should be securely fenced or otherwise barricaded to prevent
unauthorized entry and unintentional fall in. Clear warning signs indicating
area of danger should be posted.

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Shafts driven into loose ground are often insufficiently or not supported
causing ground fall into the shaft due to degrading material around the mine
mouth and in the shaft itself.
There is a high risk that such shafts may be obstructed or miners injured by
falling material. Complete shaft collapses are also not uncommon.

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Any entrance of a vertical or inclined mine shaft should be effectively


collared, by using timbering or sand bags, to secure the shaft against
dislodging loose ground.

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Shafts or other adits which are to be used for the full life of the
mine and in which miners frequently travel into and out of the mine
should be adequately lined by timbering (e.g. full cribbing or timber
sets), in particular when they are driven into unstable ground.
Many

serious

accidents

happen

in

small-scale

underground

mining

operations due to the fact that only one mean of access or egress is
provided. A mine adit or shaft may collapse or be obstructed, subsequently
trapping miners underground who cannot escape from the mine.
Therefore, it is a primary requirement to provide every underground mine as
soon as practicable with an alternative mean of access/egress to ensure that
miners can escape safely from the mine in case that one of them becomes
impassable.
Except

for

the

duration

of

development

work

the

mine

operator/owner should ensure that there are at least two outlets


providing at all times two separate exits to the surface.

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For the development of a mine, two means of access into the mineral deposit
should be driven simultaneously and as soon as possible interconnected
before continuing with production headings / working faces.

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As far as practicable, mine outlets should be so separated that anything


which happens to any of them will not affect the safety of the other. They
should be located at least 50 metres apart from each other.
No mining should take place in the vicinity of mine shafts or adits along their
whole length. To ensure their stability, safety pillars of adequate size and
strength should be kept in place.
Mineworkers often have to use difficult means of access to travel to and from
their work places underground (e.g. climbing or walking through steep and
narrow underground excavations where there may be a danger of slipping or
falling).

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Any mine shaft exceeding an inclination of 45 degrees from the horizontal


should be provided with fixed stairs or a ladder way.

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Every mean of access or egress, which is regularly used for the travelling of
mine workers to or from their working places in the mine, should be in such
height and width as to allow ease of travelling (not less than 1.7 m high and
1 m wide).
Sufficient clearance is also necessary to facilitate:
the installation of ventilation equipment, such as air ducting;
the use of means of support;
material transport and mineral haulage;
the rescue of injured persons ( e.g. use of a stretcher).

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If ever feasible and practicable, mineral haulage should be performed


mechanically. Manually operated windlasses or compressed air powered
small hoists may be used.

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Every mine where there are personnel hoisting shafts more than 5 metres
deep should be provided at all times with a hoisting apparatus (e.g. winch,
windlass) by which persons employed below ground have readily available a
mean of egress in an emergency.

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Ground control in underground excavations


Workers in underground stone mines have a high rate of injuries and
fatalities caused by falls of rock blocks from the roof or rib isolated by
discontinuities or as a result of mining activities.
Underground excavations in good solid strata (as typical for most small-scale
mines operating in hard rock gold or fluorspar deposits) are normally stable
and do not require structural support, provided that:
the open roof span between the host rock medium or pillars is not too
wide;
the adjacent strata is not weakened by excessive fractures / joints and
natural faulting; and
the rock is not destroyed by careless winning methods, such as careless
blasting operations.
In less stable broken or weathered ground with frequent jointing and poor
rock quality structural strata control is critical in assuring the stability of
underground excavations.
Adequately arranged pillars in a regular grid array or efficient means of
artificial support should be used.
Different methods of support may be applied to control/limit ground
movement into mine excavations, e.g.:
Natural support methods, such as mineral / waste pillars
Artificial support methods, such as timber sets, props, waste filled bags,
etc.
A critical factor is the time for which underground openings are to be kept
open. Main underground roadways or means of access to the mine require
radically different supports to those at working faces where the roof may be
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allowed to collapse (in a controlled manner) a few days after the mineral has
been extracted.

Natural support (room-and-pillar mining)


The objective of room-and-pillar mining methods is to extract the mineral as
completely as possible, leaving mineral/waste as pillars to support the roof,
without jeopardising working conditions or safety.
It is applicable to relatively flat-lying stratiform or lenticular mineral bodies,
although the method can accommodate a mineral dip up to 30.

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To ensure the integrity of any vital shaft or adit of a mine, a part of the strata
should be left in place as a safety pillar of such size as to provide adequate
protection for them.
A safety pillar of mineral layer should be left along the intersection of a
mineral deposit and host rock, unless such bedrock is adequately strong and
solid.
Along the boundary between different mining areas/working blocks a mineral
layer of adequate size should be left as a safety pillar. This is also important
to reduce the danger of any inrush of water/mud or outburst of gas from old
workings into the active mine area.
Drives and working faces in solid rock would be stable provided about 3040% of the mined areas are remaining as pillars. The open span of the roof
between pillars or the host rock medium should be so designed as ground
condition warrant and pillars should be of sufficient size to safely support the
roof (The open roof span should not exceed 5 metres in flat and medium
dip).

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In less stable ground, such as pay gravel or coal deposits, pillars left as
support should be not less than 50 % and up to 75 % of the mined area. The
open span of the roof between pillars or the host rock medium should not
exceed 2 metres (1m in pay-gravel).

Pillars should never be randomly robbed or reduced, since the immediate


roof may be liable to collapse, either during robbing or shortly thereafter.

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Since personnel operate continuously under exposed roof spans,


close observation of the performance of roof and pillars is required
and dangerous conditions should be immediately corrected .

Artificial support
The operator/owner of every mine where ground support is necessary should
ensure that support of suitable material is provided and readily available for
use. If for any reason the necessary support material is not available and the
working place presents a hazard, the work at such place should be stopped.
Timber sets or props, waste filled bags, chocks (square sets of timber packed
with rock), or other suitable means of support should be installed
immediately after the roof has been exposed and poor ground conditions
indicate that it is necessary.
Vital underground excavations, such as mine shafts or adits should be
structurally supported by regular timber sets (every 1 or 1,5 m), especially
when they are driven into loose ground.

So called chock-support may be used at working faces of greater extension


or where supporting pillars are being recovered.

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Any means of support should be of adequate strength, be securely set on


proper foundation and blocked/wedged as to achieve a tight fit to the
exposed ground.
Any damaged, loosened or dislodged means of support which creates a
hazard to persons should be repaired or replaced prior to any work or travel
in the affected area.

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Any roof or rib in underground excavations where persons normally travel or


perform work should be regularly examined for cracks or other signs of stress
or weakness, in particular:
prior to commencing any work;
immediately after blasting;
as ground conditions warrant.
Where the undercutting of a working face is essential, a sufficient means of
support (e.g. sturdy wooden props) should be properly installed to prevent
overhanging material from collapsing.

Under no circumstances should any working face be worked in a way


that causes unsupported overhanging or undercutting.

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Where ever loose ground at any underground excavation could create a


danger to persons, it should be scaled down or supported in a safe manner
before other work or travel proceeds in the affected area.

Scaling bars should be of such a length and design that will allow the
removal of loose material without exposing the person performing this task
to injury.
Scaling should be carried out from a location which will not endanger persons
by falling material.

Underground mining methods.


Underground

methodsunsupported,

supported,

and

cavingare

differentiated by the type of wall and roof supports used, the configuration

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and size of production openings, and the direction in which mining


operations progress.

unsupported methods
Used to extract mineral deposits that are roughly tabular (plus flat or steeply
dipping) and are generally associated with strong ore and surrounding rock.
These methods are termed unsupported because they do not use any
artificial pillars to assist in the support of the openings. However, generous
amounts of roof bolting and localized support measures are often used.
Room-and-pillar mining is the most common unsupported method used
primarily for flat-lying seams or bedded deposits like coal, trona, limestone,
and salt. Support of the roof is provided by natural pillars of the mineral that
are left standing in a systematic pattern.

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Sublevel stoping provides sublevels from which vertical slices are blasted.
In this manner, the stope is mined horizontally from one end to the other.

Supported mining methods


Are often used in mines with weak rock structure.
Cut-and-fill stoping
This is the most common of these methods and is used primarily in steeply
dipping metal deposits. The cut-and-fill method is practiced both in the
overhand (upward) and in the underhand (downward) directions. As each
horizontal slice is taken, the voids are filled with a variety of fill types to
support the walls. The fill can be rock waste, tailings, cemented tailings, or
other suitable materials. Cut-and-fill mining is one of the more popular
methods used for vein deposits and has recently grown in use.

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SURFACE MINING.
Advantages of surface mining over underground mining.

Higher productivity.

Greater concentration of all operations and simplified management of


men and machines.

Greater output per mine.

Lower capital cost per annual tonne mined.

Lower operating cost per tonne.

Possibility of moving a higher ration of waste to mineral and the


exploitation of lower grade reserves.

Greater geological certainty.

Less limitation on size and weight of machines.

Simpler auxiliary operations and services.

Increased recovery of mineral and less dilutions.

Greater reserves available for mining.

Simplified planning and control

Increased safety (working environment).

High grade control.

Flexibility of operations.

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Disadvantages.
The main disadvantages of surfacing mining are due to adverse climate
conditions and thec effect on the environment.

Rainfall, snow, fog, sever heat or cold result in a drop in efficiency of


labour and machines.

Large open pit mines require large areas of land for mining and spoil
heaps which are lost at least temporarily, to agriculture.

For night working large areas must be illuminated.

Where operations start from the outcrop the weathered zone might
yield a low grade product for example coking coal may be oxidized.

Surface Mining methods.


The main mining methods may be classified as follows:

Conical pit mining.

Strip mining.

Terrace mining.

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Conical pit (Open pit) Mining.


The picture below shows a conical pit mine.

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Open Pit Terminology.

Bench-a ledge that forms a single level of operation above which mineral or
waste materials are mined back to a bench face. The mineral or waste is
removed in successive layers, each of which is a bench. Several benches
may be in operation simultaneously in different parts of, and at different
elevations

in

the

open

pit

mine.

Bench height-vertical distance between the highest point (crest) of a bench


and the lowest (toe) of the bench. The bench height is normally governed by:

The specifications of operating machines, such as drills and shovels,

Government mining regulations.

Bench slope- the angle, measured in degrees between the horizontal and
an

imaginary

line

joining

the

crest

and

the

toe

of

the

bench.

Pit limits- the vertical and lateral extent to which the open pit mine may be
economically conducted. Factors controlling the limits of the pit are:
SAFE MINE DESIGN AND MINING METHODS FOR SMALL SCALE MINING. Page 40

The cost of removing overburden and waste material vs the minable


value of the ore ( is usually the prime factor.)

Existing surface infrastructure such as town ships rivers etc.

Berm- a horizontal shelf or ledge within the pit wall slope that is left for
stability of the slope and safety reasons.
Overall pit slope angle- is the angle at which the wall of an open pit
stands, as measured between the horizontal and imaginary line joining the
top

bench

crest

with

the

bottom

bench

toe.

Haul road- its a road that provides access for haul-trucks to move from
surface to the bottom of the pit. This will save for the duration of the open pit
mine. Below is a picture of a haul road.

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Types of haul road systems:

A spiral system is an arrangement whereby the road is arranged


spirally along the perimeter walls of the pit so that the gradient of the
road is more or less uniform from the top to the bottom of the pit.

A zigzag or switchback is an arrangement in which the road


surmounts the steep gradient of the pit wall by zigzagging, generally
on footwall side of the pit.

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Placer and Placer Mining.


Placer mining (Alluvial mining) - It is an aqueous extraction method intended
for the recovery of heavy minerals from placer or alluvial deposits, using
water to excavate, transport, and concentrate the mineral.
Placers are defined as deposits detrital material with the valuable mineral
liberated and recoverable as discrete grains. They usually occur as
unconsolidated sediments, but a certain amount of induration can be
present. With the passage of time, undisturbed, unconsolidated sediments
consolidate through physical and chemical process, becoming consolidated
rocks.
Placers are formed by weathering processes that liberate and concentrate
some valuable portion of the rock relatively closer to the surface. They occur
at

that

stage

of

the

rock

forming

cycle

between

weathering

and

reconsolidation into sedimentary rock where the matrix can be excavated


readily and the desired mineral can be concentrated to point where it has a
relatively high value with little expense, that is, without incorporating
processes like flotation or crushing.
Examples of Placer deposits.

Stream or fluvial placer-formed by running water that transport


away the lighter material more rapidly than heavier materials, thus
concentrating them.

Wind-formed or eolian placers- formed by the action of wind


removing lighter material.

Beach placers- formed by shore wave action, sometimes acting on


preexisting or currently forming stream placers.

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Of-shore

marine placers- formed by bottom current and wave

action on preexisting placers or mineralized bedrock sea level.

Placer Mining Methods.


Hand Mining.
The simplest and probably the earliest mining and recovery method is panning, where material
thought to contain valuable heavy mineral is scooped into a pan and covered with water. The pan
is shaken to get the heavier particles to settle toward the bottom and swirled to wash the lighter
particles over the side.
Coarser light particles are brushed out of the pan by hand, and coarser heavier particles are saved
by hand picking. This settling, washing and picking process continues until there is a satisfactory
concentration of the desired heavy mineral in the bottom of the pan. The picture below shos a
pan used for gold panning operations.

Dredging.

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Once a placer operation reaches the scale where a larger plant is warranted, a hydraulic or
dredging plant can be set up. Dredges operate either on:
Land, in which case they float on self constructed pond in the mineral bearing stream or plain.
Sea-going dredges which work in a lake or offshore.
A dredge consists of:
A floating hull with a mining control system.
Excavating and lifting mechanism.
Beneficiation circuits.
Waste-disposal systems.
All designed to work as a unit.

Cutter-Suction dredge.

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Made up of a series of cutting arms rotating in a basket about a suction


intake. This cutter head is generally toothed and is swung back and forth
through the bank ahead of the dredge. It can operate with a treatment plant
in a separate vessel or on land. the cutter-suction dredge with transport
(trailing dredge) is much used in Japan and Europe to recover sand and
gravel offshore.
The rotating arms break up the bank material, slurrying it so it can be drawn
into the dredge suction. The rotating cutter head is more efficient at cutting
and slurrying material for the pump intake when swing in one direction than
the other.
The pump of the suction cutter brings relatively large amounts of water to
the surface for the mineral processing plant, and the feed to the processing
plant must dewatered before the material is distributed to most kinds of
mineral recovery machinery.

Hydraulic Mining.
Hydraulic mining, or hydraulicking, is a form of mining that uses highpressure jets of water to dislodge rock material or move sediment. In the
placer mining of gold or tin, the resulting water-sediment slurry is directed
through sluice boxes to remove the gold.
Hydraulic mining encompasses the following three distinct modes of
operation:

Hydraulicking- the process of breaking up and suspending the


subject material into a slurry.

Sluicing- the process of moving the slurry.

Educing- the process of introducing the slurry into a contained


circuit.

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Hydraulic mining is generally understood to be the application of these


applications when open to the atmosphere. If applied to similar materials
underwater the process becomes one of dredging.
Hydraulicking.
This is the breaking up of material at a mine face with energy in a stream of
water, and peptizing the material into a slurry.
The pressures utilized vary in practice from gravity flow down a slope to
mega pascals or bars, ranging from unraveling a bank of silt having no
cohesion to breaking up consolidated rock. Any particular material requires a
specific energy for slurrification. This can be supplied in numerous
combinations of water quantity and pressure, producing different slurry
densities.
The principal hydraulicking machine element continues to be the traditional
giant or monitor, a water connon developed from a simple nozzle on the
end of a hose. Below is a picture of the giant or monitor.
The picture below shows hydraulicking operation.

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Sluicing.
This is the movement of slurry that may proceed by gravity alone for several
kilometers or require frequent or even continuous water or energy addition
to move more kilometers.
Most mining operations use the hydraulicking monitor for sluicing, but may
use a separate monitor. In nearly all instances sluicing detracts from mine
productivity and objectionably reduces slurry density. The flow of slurry is
hampered by unfavorable gradients and by dilution with low energy water.
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Thus the sluicing path should be as short as possible, and water addition and
pond formation should be minimized. An adequate sluicing gradient should
always be maintained, which favors a short sluice run. The picture below
shows a sluicing box.

Educing.
This is the lifting or pumping of slurry from its sluicing delivery point into a
contained or enclosed circuit.
Hydraulic mining is possible without educing but normally employs pumps,
less frequently eductors (water-jet-pumps), and rarely hydraulic elevators.
These devices have physical constraints that limit the maximum particle
SAFE MINE DESIGN AND MINING METHODS FOR SMALL SCALE MINING. Page 50

sizes they can handle. This usually requires that they be used with screening
apparatus.
The eductor is frequently moved to keep up with the face, thereby keeping
sluicing and educing ponds to a minimum. In turn, the short sluicing path
prevents the low-pH water from migrating through the tailing pile and
contaminating ground water.

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