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7 SURFACE MINING:

Rodríguez Lavado Isaac Manuel

MECHANICAL
EXTRACTION METHODS
• Exploitation in which mining of ore, coal, or stone is carried out at the surface.
In this chapter, we turn our attention to the mechanical extraction methods. The
four methods in this class are as follows:
1.- Open pit mining 2.- Quarrying

3.- Open cast (strip) mining 4.- Auger or highwall mining

• These methods are responsible for more than 90 % of the surface mine
production in the United States and the bulk of the nation's total tonnage of
coal, ore, and stone. Two of these methods-open pit and open cast mining rank
as the most important surface methods.
• In this book, we define quarrying as the mining method associated with the
production of intact blocks of rock called dimension stone, typically for
architectural or decorative use.
• The open pit and open cast mining methods employ a conventional mining cycle
of operations to extract mineral.
Universidad nacional de Trujillo
Prof. Victoria Méndez Escuela profesional de Ing. Minas
• Open pit mining is the process of mining any near-surface deposit by means of a surface pit excavated
using one or more horizontal benches. Open pit mines are often used in mining metallic or nonmetallic
deposits and more sparingly in coal and other bedded deposits. Both the overburden (if present) and
the ore are typically removed in benches that vary from 30 ft (9 m) to 100 ft (30 m) in height. By adding
additional benches, a pit of any depth can be extracted. A thick deposit requires many benches and
may resemble an inverted cone, with the higher benches being larger than the lower benches.

Universidad nacional de Trujillo


Prof. Victoria Méndez Escuela profesional de Ing. Minas
• A single bench may suffice if the deposit and overburden are relatively thin (50-150 ft or 15-45
m), which is typical of some U.S. coal and nonmetallic ores. The purpose of the benches is to
control the depth of the blastholes, the slope of the pit walls, and the dangers of highwall faces.
The benches also provide enough length of face to allow sustained, uninterrupted production
After advanced stripping uncovers the deposit, stripping and mining are coordinated so that ore
revenues will reimburse waste costs, while at the same time long-range objectives are being met
Individual benches are designed to accommodate the materials-handling equipment utilized.
The reach of the excavator limits the height of the bench; a power shovel can trim a higher bank
than a front-end loader or a hydraulic excavator. The width must be sufficient to contain most of
the flyrock from a bench blast and provide maneuvering room for excavator and haulage units.
The slope of the bench and of the pit itself is the maximum dictated by rock or soil mechanics
concerns (see Section 7.7), Common practice is as follows:

Bench Dimensions
Mineral Height, ft (m) Width, ft (m) slope
Coper 40-60 (12-8) 80-45 (24-38) 50° - 60°
Iron 30-45 (9-14) 60-100 (18-30) 60° - 70°
Nonmetallics 40-100 (12-30) 60-150 (18-45) 50° - 60°
coal (Western U.S) 50-75 (15-23) 50-100 (15-30) 60° - 70°

Universidad nacional de Trujillo


Prof. Victoria Méndez Escuela profesional de Ing. Minas
• Open pit mining is a large-scale method in terms of production rate,
responsible for more than 60 % of all surface output. It continues to
produce more mineral resources at lower cost to enable the mining of
ever-decreasing grades of most metallic deposits. It permits the
utilization of highly mechanized, mass production equipment that is
capital intensive but labor conserving (Martin et al., 1982). Figure 7.2
shows some of the variations of open pit mining. Note that it can be
used on flat-lying seams (Figure 7.2a) and that it is often used where
several seams exist such as in some iron or coal measures. It also
applies to a number of other deposit types, as shown in Figures 7.2b
through 7.2e.

Universidad nacional de Trujillo


Prof. Victoria Méndez Escuela profesional de Ing. Minas
FIGURE 7.2. Variations of
open pit mining. (a) Flat-lying
seam or bed, flat terrain.
Example iron, taconite. (b)
Massive deposit, flat terrain.
Example: iron. (c) Pitching
seam or bed, flat terrain.
Example: anthracite. (d)
Massive deposit, high relief.
Example: copper. (e) Thick-
bedded deposits, little
overburden. Example:
nonmetallics, western U.S.
coal.

Universidad nacional de Trujillo


Prof. Victoria Méndez Escuela profesional de Ing. Minas
Advantages.

• 1. High productivity (U.S. averages for copper and iron mines have been in the range of
100 to 400 tons or 90 to 360 tonnes per employee-shift, including both ore and waste)
• 2. Lowest cost of the broadly used methods ( relative cost about 5 % ) .
• 3. High production rate (in most mines, production can be increased by increasing the
number of excavation units)
• 4. Low labor requirement; can be relatively unskilled labor for the most part.
• 5. Relatively flexible; can vary output if demand changes
• 6. Ideal for large equipment, which permits high productivity
• 7. Fairly low rock breakage cost; superior to underground mining.
• 8. Simple development and access; minimal openings required, although advanced
stripping may be considerable.
• 9. Little support normally required; proper design and maintenance of benches can
provide stability 10. Good recovery ( approaches 100 % ) ; moderate to low dilution
• 11. Favorable health and safety factors; no underground hazards.

Universidad nacional de Trujillo


Prof. Victoria Méndez Escuela profesional de Ing. Minas
Disadvantages

• 1. Limited by depth to about 1000 ft (300 m) because of the technological limits of


equipment; deposit beyond pit limits must be mined under- ground or left in place.
• 2. Limited by stripping ratio (range of 1 to 5 yd'/ton or 0.8 to 4 m'/tonne) because of
economics
• 3. High capital investment associated with large equipment
• 4. Surface may require extensive reclamation, an expense added to the production cost.
• 5. Requires large deposit and large equipment to achieve lowest cost.
• 6. Weather detrimental; can impede or prohibit operations.
• 7. Slope stability is critical; proper design and maintenance of benches plus good
drainage essential.
• 8. Must provide waste disposal; provision of dump area and proper dump design is
essential
• 9. Pit may fill with water after mining; water may be polluted .

Universidad nacional de Trujillo


Prof. Victoria Méndez Escuela profesional de Ing. Minas
• 7.3 QUARRYING: Dimension stone quarrying produces rectangular blocks of rock that are
roughly sized and shaped. Surface quarries resemble open pits, but the benches (called
faces) are lower and generally vertical (see Figure 7.4). The highwalls of a quarry are
often of imposing height and steepness, some attaining a vertical dimension approaching
1,000 t (300 m). Although the term quarry is some- times applied to any surface mine
extracting a stone product, it is used here to mean the mining method employed to
produce intact blocks of dimension tone. Thus, crushed limestone may be mined in a
quarry, but it is produced by the mining method known as open pit mining. By the same
logic, dimension stone is extracted from a quarry using the mining method we call
quarrying. Dimension stone is used for architectural building blocks, stone monument
decorative building slabs, flagstone, curbing, roofing, and miscellaneous other uses.
However, the dimension stone industry is receding in importance. The tonnage produced
dropped about 30 % over a period of 15 years to about 1,080,000 tons (980,000 tonnes)
in 1998 (Antonides, 1999). The value of the stone was somewhat less than $200/ton
($220/tonne), making this mining method one of the most expensive. The reason is that
it is a highly selective, small-scale, method with low productivity. Quarrying and square-
set stoping are the most costly mining methods in use today, which accounts for their
being used only where other methods do not apply

Universidad nacional de Trujillo


Prof. Victoria Méndez Escuela profesional de Ing. Minas
Open cast (strip) mining is a surface exploitation method, used mainly for coal and other bedded deposits,
which resembles open pit mining. However, it differs in one unique respect: The overburden is not
transported to waste dumps for disposal but cast directly into adjacent mined-out panels. Casting is the term
commonly used in mining to indicate this process of excavation and dumping into a final location. Materials
handling thus consists of excavation and casting generally combined in one-unit operation and performed by a
single machine. Sometimes overburden is loaded into conveyances and deposi-ted in mined-out areas; at
other times, the stripping is done partly by casting and partly by haulage. It is casting in the pit, however, that
makes this method distinctive, achieving for it the highest productivity and often a low cost as well Open cast
mining is classed as a large-scale mining method and is one of the most popular surface methods. In U.S. coal
mining operations, more than 50 % of all the tonnage is produced by open cast mining. The emphasis on
stripping overburden in open cast mining has led to the use of a colloquial term for the method, strip mining.
However, open cast mining is a more descriptive generic term for the method and will be used here It is not
just the replacement of haulage with casting that makes open cast mining attractive. The depositing of spoil
(overburden) in mined-out areas means that the mining activity is concentrated in a relatively small area and
that reclamation can immediately follow mining. This is shown in Figure 7.7 (both top and bottom), where the
reclamation is performed as soon as possible after mining Another advantage is that the pit is kept open a
relatively short time, permitting a steeper slope to the overburden bank (called a highwall),

Universidad nacional de Trujillo


Prof. Victoria Méndez Escuela profesional de Ing. Minas
FIGURE 7.7. Open cast
mine in single-seam
components of stripping
and mining. (After U.S.
Department of Energy,
1982). (Bottom) Plan
view of pit, showing
access roads to highwall
and cut. Road interval on
the highwall is limited to
the maximum length of
power cable for the
dragline that can be
handled readily. (After
Bucyrus-Erie Co, 1976.
By permission from
Bucyrus International
Inc., South Milwaukee,
wI.) area mining. (Top)
Nomenclature and main.

Universidad nacional de Trujillo


Prof. Victoria Méndez Escuela profesional de Ing. Minas
7.5 AUGER MINING Auger mining is a mining method that recovers coal or other minerals from under the
highwall when the ultimate stripping ratio has been achieved in open cast mining operations. An augering
machine or a continuous mining device that bores parallel holes or entries into the highwall extracts the
coal. While the equipment goes underground, the crew remains on the surface and operates the
equipment remotely: hence, we classify the method as a surface mining procedure. The method is used
primarily in Appalachian contour mines, where the long highwalls permit recovery of a significant
additional tonnage from the coal seams.

Universidad nacional de Trujillo


Prof. Victoria Méndez Escuela profesional de Ing. Minas
VOCABULARY:

• Dragline: is a large excavating machine, used in mining and civil engineering, to move large quantities of
materials a large excavating machine, used in mining and civil engineering, to move large quantities of
material.
• Blasting: is the action of fracturing or fragmenting rock, hard soil, concrete or releasing any metallic
element, through the use of explosives.
• Hydraulic excavator: used for the excavation of rocks and soil, however, thanks to its numerous accessories
it can also be used for steel cutting, concrete breaking, drilling holes in the soil.
• Haulage:short transfer of broken material in the mine, i.e. this transport has limitations, or has a certain
radius of action, and will be located on the operation fronts.
• Excavation: is the process of analysing the natural and anthropic stratigraphs that settle in a given place.
• Open pit: is a surface mining technique of extracting rock or minerals from the earth by their removal from
an open pit or borrow.
• Auger: a mining term that refers to the drill bit of hand hammers used in mining to drill holes in rock.
• Operation underground:is the explotation of mining resources that takes place below the surface of the
land.
• Rail: each one of the metallic bars on which the wheels of the material transporting bagons move.
• Mining operation: are opencast or underground work, thereby achieving a successful work performance in
the complex productive environment.

Universidad nacional de Trujillo


Prof. Victoria Méndez Escuela profesional de Ing. Minas
Universidad nacional de Trujillo
Prof. Victoria Méndez Escuela profesional de Ing. Minas