Some of the major environmental effects of mining and processing of mineral resources are as follows: 1. Pollution 2. Destruction of Land 3. Subsidence 4. Noise 5. Energy 6. Impact on the Biological Environment 7. Long-term Supplies of Mineral Resources.
Mining and processing of mineral resources normally have a considerable impact on land, water, air, and biologic resources.Social impacts result from the increased demand for housing and other services in mining areas.
Mining operations often pollute the atmosphere, surface waters and ground water. Rainwater seeping through spoil heaps may become heavily contaminated, acidic or turbid, with potentially devastating effects on nearby streams and rivers.
Trace elements (cadmium, cobalt, copper and others) when leached from mining wastes and concentrated in water, soil or plants, may be toxic or may cause diseases in people and other animals who consume contaminated water or plants, or who use the soil. Specially constructed ponds to collect runoff can help but cannot eliminate all problems.
Huge volumes of dust generated by explosions, transportation and processing may lead to the death of surrounding vegetation. Chemicals used in the extraction processes, such as drilling muds, are often highly polluting substances.
Mining activity can cause a considerable loss of land because of chemical contamination, destruction of productive layers of soil, and often permanent scarring of the land surface. Large mining operations disturb the land by directly removing material in some areas and by dumping waste in others. There can be a considerable loss of wildlife habitat.
The presence of old, deep mines may cause the ground surface to subside in a vertical or horizontal direction. This may severely damage buildings, roads and farmland, as well as alter the surface drainage patterns.
Physical changes in the land, soil, water and air associated with mining directly and indirectly affect the biological environment. Direct impacts include death of plants or animals caused by mining activity or contact with toxic soil or water from mines. Indirect impacts include changes in nutrient cycling, total biomass, species diversity, and ecosystem stability due to alterations in groundwater or surface water availability or quality.
The economies of industrialized countries require the extraction and processing of large amounts of minerals to make products. As other economies industrialize, their mineral demands increase rapidly. The mineral demands of countries in Asia, such as Malaysia, Thailand and South Korea have grown phenomenally in the last twenty years.
Since mineral resources are a non-renewable resource, it is important for all countries to take a low-waste sustainable earth approach to dealing with them. Developed countries need to change from a high-waste throw away approach and developing countries need to insure that they do not adopt such an approach. Low-waste approach requires emphasis on recycling, reusing and waste reduction and less emphasis on dumping, burying and burning.
4. Reduce waste disposal costs and prolong the life of landfills by reducing the volume of solid waste. Reducing unnecessary waste of non-renewable resources can extend supplies even more dramatically than recycling and reuse because it reduces the need to extract more resources, thereby reducing the impact of extraction and processing on the environment.
Minerals provide the material used to make most of the things of industrial- based society; roads, cars, computers, fertilizers, etc. Demand for minerals is increasing world wide as the population increases and the consumption demands of individual people increase. The mining of earths natural resources is, therefore accelerating, and it has accompanying environmental consequences.
A mineral is a pure inorganic substance that occurs naturally in the earths crust. All of the Earths crust, except the rather small proportion of the crust that contains organic material, is made up of minerals. Some minerals consist of a single element such as gold, silver, diamond (carbon), and sulphur.
More than two-thousand minerals have been identified and most of these contain inorganic compounds formed by various combinations of the eight elements (O, Si, Al, Fe, Ca, Na, K, and Mg) that make up 98.5% of the Earths crust. Industry depends on about 80 of the known minerals.
A mineral deposit is a concentration of naturally occurring solid, liquid, or gaseous material, in or on the Earths crust in such form and amount that its extraction and its conversion into useful materials or items are profitable now or may be so in the future. Mineral resources are non-renewable and include metals (e.g. iron, copper, and aluminum), and non-metals (e.g. salt, gypsum, clay, sand, phosphates).
Minerals are valuable natural resources being finite and non-renewable. They constitute the vital raw materials for many basic industries and are a major resource for development. Management of mineral resources has, therefore, to be closely integrated with the overall strategy of development; and exploitation of minerals is to be guided by long-term national goals and perspectives.
Minerals in general have been categorized into three classes fuel, metallic and non-metallic. Fuel minerals like coal, oil and natural gas have been given prime importance as they account for nearly 87% of the value of mineral production whereas metallic and non-metallic constitutes 6 to 7%.
Proven coal reserves of the country as on January 1994 (estimated by GSI) is about 68 billion tonnes. We are mining about 250 tonnes annually and this rate is expected to go by 400 450 tonnes by 2010 A.D. If we could maintain our mining rate of 400 tonnes per year then the coal reserves might last for about 200 years taking proven reserves as 80 billion tonnes.
The calorific value of coal varies with percentage of carbon present in it. Coal depending upon variation in percentage carbon, can be divided into three categories as follows (bituminous / anthracite type is the most abundant form present in Indian coal):
It is believed that petroleum has been formed over a period of millions of years, through conversion of remains of micro organisms living in sea, into hydrocarbon by heat, pressure and catalytic action. The petroleum on fractional distillation and further processing provides us numerous products and by-products.
Some of the common products obtained on fractional distillation are given in Table 2.4, along with the temperature (just below the boiling point) at which they tend to liquefy after crude oil feed at the base is heated to about 400C. One million tonne of crude oil on fractional distillation provides about 0.8 million tonnes of petroleum products.
The percentage composition varies with the quality of crude oil or it could be varied up to a certain limit depending upon the requirement or demand. On an average the percentage composition of the common product with their number of carbon atoms is given in table 2.4.
We have very poor reserves for petroleum just limited to 700 million tonnes. About 40% of the total consumption of the overall petroleum products of the country is used in road transport sector (in case of diesel, consumption of road transport sector is to the extent of 70% of the total diesel consumption of the country).
Rest 60% of the petroleum products are used in industries including power generation, domestic and for miscellaneous purposes. In view of rapid growth of these vital sectors, the consumption of petroleum products has been increasing consistently over a period of last few years and is bound to increase at rapid pace in near future.
The proven reserve for natural gas on April 1993 works out to be approx. 700 billion cubic meter (BCM). As regard to production vis a vis utilization aspect in earlier years, more than half of gas coming out of the wells remained unutilized. However, in recent years, we have achieved a utilization rate of 80 90%. Keeping in view the future demands and proven gas reserves, it is unlikely that our gas reserves might last for more than 20 years.
India is poorly endowed with mineral wealth. Except for iron ore and bauxite our share of world reserves of every other mineral is one percent or less. However, there has been a phenomenal growth in production since independence. As per estimates if the present trend of production continues, we will exhaust our reserves of all the important minerals and fuels, except coal, iron ore, limestone and bauxite, in 25 to 30 years.
The use of minerals varies greatly between countries. The greatest use of minerals occurs in developed countries. Like other natural resources, mineral deposits are unevenly distributed around on the earth. Some countries are rich in mineral deposits and other countries have no deposits. The use of the mineral depends on its properties. For example aluminum is light but strong and durable so it is used for aircraft, shipping and car industries.
Recovery of mineral resources has been with us for a long time. Early Paleolithic man found flint for arrowheads and clay for pottery before developing codes for warfare. And this was done without geologists for exploration, mining engineers for recovery or chemists for extraction techniques. Tin and copper mines were necessary for a Bronze Age; gold, silver, and gemstones adorned the wealthy of early civilizations; and iron mining introduced a new age of man.
Human wealth basically comes from agriculture, manufacturing, and mineral resources. Our complex modern society is built around the exploitation and use of mineral resources. Since the future of humanity depends on mineral resources, we must understand that these resources have limits; our known supply of minerals will be used up early in the third millennium of our calendar.
Furthermore, modern agriculture and the ability to feed an overpopulated world is dependent on mineral resources to construct the machines that till the soil, enrich it with mineral fertilizers, and to transport the products.
We are now reaching limits of reserves for many minerals. Human population growth and increased modern industry are depleting our available resources at increasing rates. The pressure of human growth upon the planets resources is a very real problem.
The consumption of natural resources proceeded at a phenomenal rate during the past hundred years and population and production increases cannot continue without increasing pollution and depletion of mineral resources.
The geometric rise of population as shown in Fig. 2.3 has been joined by a period of rapid industrialization, which has placed incredible pressure on the natural resources. Limits of growth in the world are imposed not as much by pollution as by the depletion of natural resources.
As the industrialized nations of the world continue the rapid depletion of energy and mineral resources, and resource-rich less-developed nations become increasingly aware of the value of their raw materials, resource driven conflicts will increase.
In Fig. 2.4., we see that by about the middle of the next century the critical factors come together to impose a drastic population reduction by catastrophe. We can avert this only if we embark on a planet-wide program of transition to a new physical, economic, and social world that recognizes limits of growth of both population and resource use.
This will pose problems in that industrialized nations are already feeling a loss in their standard of living and in non-industrialized nations that feel they have a right to achieve higher standards of living created by industrialization. The population growth continues upward and the supply of resources continues to diminish. With the increasing shortages of many minerals, we have been driven to search for new sources.
Mineral resources are the key material basis for socio-economic development. Statistical results show that more than 95% of energy used by mankind, 80% industrial raw materials and 70% raw materials for agricultural production are from mineral resources.
A mineral is a pure inorganic substance that occurs naturally in the earths crust. More than two-thousand minerals have been identified and most of these are inorganic, which are formed by the various combination of elements. However, a small proportion of the earths crust contains organic materials, consist of single elements such as gold, silver, diamond, and sulfur.
There are metals that are hard which conduct electricity and heat with characteristics of luster or shine. Such metals are called metallic minerals. For example Silver, Chromium, Tin, Nickel, Copper, Iron, Lead, Aluminum, Gold, and Zinc.
There is a group of chemical elements which when melted do not generate a new product. Such special groups are called Nonmetallic minerals. Example: Dimension stone, halite, sand, gypsum, uranium metal, gravel.
The use of minerals depends upon its deposits. Some countries are rich in mineral deposits, while others have no deposits. The greatest use of minerals depends on its properties. For instance, Aluminum is light, strong and durable in nature, so it is used for aircraft, shipping, and car industries.
Minerals are used in almost all industries. Gold, silver, and platinum metal are used in the jewellery industry. Copper is used in the coin industry and for making pipes and wire. Silicon obtained from quartz is used in the computer industry.
Mineral elements give fireworks colour. Barium produces glossy greens; strontium yields dark reds; copper yields blues; and zinc yields sodium. Mixing elements can make many colours: strontium and sodium create bright orange; titanium, zirconium, and magnesium alloys create silvery white; copper and strontium make lavender blue.
Minerals are compounds naturally produced on Earth. They have a clear structure and chemical composition. There are more than 3000 known minerals. Some, like gold and diamond, is rare and precious, while others, like quartz, are more ordinary.
Minerals are composed of atoms as are all compounds. There are just only a hundred components around us, and they are the fundamental building blocks in everything of us. They can be found in their pure form, or chemically combined with other compound-making elements. A compound is composed of two or more chemically united elements.
Over 99 per cent of the minerals that make up the surface of the Earth consists of only eight elements. Some of such elements are found as complexes in conjunction with other elements. Minerals are naturally occurring elements or compounds in the Earths crust. Rocks are minerally shaped mixtures. Much as the building blocks of rocks are elements, so the rocks form the rock building blocks.
The mineral biotite has basal cleavage which means that it has a complete cleavage. The cleavage plane on top of this sample is visible on the smooth, reflective surface. The flat surface at the bottom, in line with the top of the bowl, is similar to the rim and thus reflects the same cleavage axis.
The total volume of consumable mineral resources is just 1% of all the minerals present in the earths crust. However, the consumption rate is so high that these mineral resources which are non-renewable will get exhausted very soon. Here are some measures to conserve minerals:
Any minerals usually occur as well-developed crystals and are treated in their crystal types. A detailed nomenclature has emerged to classify crystal types, and may be familiar with some common names. Different properties aid in the detection of other minerals. For certain minerals these properties may not be distinguishable enough to aid for their detection. And, they can only be found in some minerals
Frequently Asked Questions FAQsWhat is the importance of mineral resources? Mineral resources are among the most important natural resources that determine a countrys industrial and economic growth by supplying raw materials to the economys primary, secondary and tertiary sectors. What are the uses of minerals? Calcium provides bones and teeth with stability and endurance. It also aids in blood coagulation, enzyme regulation, nervous system processing of signals, etc. In transporting oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body, iron is needed. How minerals are found? Minerals can be found all over the world in the crust of the earth, but generally in such small quantities that they are not worth extracting. Minerals are found in economically viable deposits only with the aid of certain geological processes. Just where they are located will mineral deposits be collected. What defines a mineral? A mineral is an inorganic solid which occurs naturally, with certain chemical composition and an ordered atomic arrangement. This may sound a bit mouthful, but it becomes clearer if you break it down. There are minerals that occur naturally. Theyre not made by people. What are the characteristics of minerals? Minerals are identified with eight main properties: crystal habit, lustre, hardness, cleavage, break, colour, line, and specific gravity. There is usually no specific diagnostic property that can be used to classify a mineral sample on its own.
Mineral resources are among the most important natural resources that determine a countrys industrial and economic growth by supplying raw materials to the economys primary, secondary and tertiary sectors.
Calcium provides bones and teeth with stability and endurance. It also aids in blood coagulation, enzyme regulation, nervous system processing of signals, etc. In transporting oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body, iron is needed.
Minerals can be found all over the world in the crust of the earth, but generally in such small quantities that they are not worth extracting. Minerals are found in economically viable deposits only with the aid of certain geological processes. Just where they are located will mineral deposits be collected.
A mineral is an inorganic solid which occurs naturally, with certain chemical composition and an ordered atomic arrangement. This may sound a bit mouthful, but it becomes clearer if you break it down. There are minerals that occur naturally. Theyre not made by people.
Minerals are identified with eight main properties: crystal habit, lustre, hardness, cleavage, break, colour, line, and specific gravity. There is usually no specific diagnostic property that can be used to classify a mineral sample on its own.
Mineral exploration projects and environmental investigations have many common characteristics. Both require a familiarity with the geologic literature and both involve drilling, sampling, and laboratory analyses for anomalous compounds. Mineral exploration involves the search and evaluation of significant concentrations of economic metals and other elements found in naturally occurring deposits at or near the surface of the earth. Mining involves the removal of overburden and ore-grade materials to generate economic benefit. Mining of some minerals is also conducted via in-situ methods by the uranium industry, generally called solution mining (Campbell, et al., 2009, pp. 42-51). It is an environmentally friendly method of mineral extraction and can scientifically reduce production costs relative to those involved in surface and underground mining of the past.
Value is created by mining a mineral commodity for use by society in making a product of value to society. For example, gold has an intrinsic value as is, but uranium needs to be chemically combined into yellowcake which is then enriched to make pellets for use in nuclear power reactor cores. Successful mining projects consist of multidisciplinary activities, such as in heap leaching of precious metals, for example, and require a careful blend and balance of geological, chemical, geotechnical, engineering, financial, environmental and managerial expertise (Campbell, et al., 2007).
Gold is where you find it was the guide to prospecting prior to 1950 and the prospector used gold as a guide in locating mineral deposits that were partially eroded. Back then the prospector, usually alone with a jackass to carry his meager belongings, panned for gold in streams and knocked on outcrops until he found some valuable minerals, if at all. He probably let out a yell, staked his claim and recorded it in the local courthouse or mining district office, and started digging. Today, the professional exploration geologist, armed with two or three academic degrees, has to approach things differently because those exposed mineral occurrences of economic interest have likely all been found. Geologists have to work through hundreds to thousands of feet of cover using every geological, hydrochemical, geochemical, and geophysical method available to assist in the search.
Today, finding an ore deposit requires an indirect approach. All earth resources, even some common varieties, such as sand and gravel, require some form of concentration process to make a commercial mineral deposit because the natural abundance of the sought-after element in the earths crust is normally much too low to be an economic deposit. Fortunately, most of the mineral commodities, including uranium, precious and base metals, have a natural concentration process in the Earth that provides a much broader target for exploration than the mineral deposit itself. These processes leave evidence of their presence over an area a few times to a few hundred times the size of the mineral deposits themselves. That is why such activities as geochemical surveys, geophysical surveys, and drilling, are conducted. With some luck, this allows the exploration team to sometimes locate the actual mineralization much more efficiently in both time and money than every before.
Finding some evidence of gold or other mineralization is only the beginning. The geologist must then determine by drilling and sampling if there exists sufficient grade and tonnage to make a mine under the anticipated economic conditions. (One of the senior principals of I2M published a well-known text on drilling (more)). If the determination is made, it is only then that the mineralization found becomes ore; but should the market price fall below a certain level, the ore is no longer economic to mine and process.There are big risks in mineral exploration, but big rewards if exploration is successful in finding and defining an economic orebody. There are big mining companies and so-called junior mining companies, the former look for world-class deposits of high value and high cost to produce (such as the Pebble discovery in Alaska), while the latter attempt to make profit from smaller deposits. Some of the latter also have discovered world-class deposits in the past (such as those exploring in the Athabaska Basin in Canada), but these are usually bought-out by the large companies (often retaining royalties) because only they can handle the large scale, high costs, and long payout involved in developing the large deposits.
I2M Consulting has an outstanding team who are already knowledgeable in the prospective uranium, gold and silver, base metal areas around the United States and overseas, and who are ready and able to manage substantial programs to acquire known mineralization with a combination of classic techniques we and others developed in the 1960s and 70s and of those available today. Then, once significant mineralization has been found, we would further define the horizontal and lateral extent of the economic portions of the mineralization and then make recommendations for the next phase of the project for a client that often involves sale of the property, a merger or additional acquisitions (more).
In general, mining and mineral resources are also directly linked to the environmental field, hence our mantra Natural Resources Development with Environmental Protection. The former is the first stage of supplying society with its building blocks while the latter is the last stage of cleaning up after societys needs have been met. As society learns to mine its needed raw materials in more environmentally sound ways, so too will society learn to produce the products it needs in more environmentally friendly ways by improving handling and storage techniques and by reducing waste. In the process of making a product, wastes are produced and which have occasionally been improperly handled and expediently disposed of at locations that often threatened the health and well being of humans and the environment. Now, environmental investigations search for and evaluate the residual concentrations of anthropogenic waste or by-products such as metals, hydrocarbons, solvents, pesticides, herbicides, and other industrial waste constituents found in and around industrial centers in concentrations considered, in many cases, to be potentially dangerous to human health and the environment, i.e., to other fauna, flora and other natural resources. I2M is fully cognizant of the need for both natural resource development and environmental protection.
The mining and mineral resources disciplines involve a number of activities, ranging from developing or reviewing mineral exploration programs for potential financial investors through developing mining plans to environmental permitting. When disagreements arise in such projects they usually are because some aspect of the project has failed. This may be a result of an ambiguous agreement between two parties, agreed to originally for the sake of project expediency. Now, each claim is based on their interpretation of the original agreement. Often, an investigation conducted to underwrite the project is later found to be allegedly flawed and a partner wishes to withdraw from the project, without financial malice or obligation. But litigation can result as a common course of business to rectify some misdeed or other perceived wrongdoing.
Litigation will continue to thrive on projects where expectations are not based on reality, but on an interpretation of apparent reality. The highly subjective and speculative nature of many investigations which support mining-project development are part of the risk of the undertaking, but prudent, independent investigations, conducted by appropriately trained, experienced personnel holding the appropriate professional geological certifications and state licenses are required to minimize potential loss, not to eliminate it. The distinction between the two forms the basis for much litigation. Other forms involve economic analysis of the ore reserves, and range from the projected cash-flow to environmental permits of a proposed or existing mining project, to mine dewatering, water-supply development, and mine environmental impact statements prepared for state and federal regulatory approval.The costs to pursue such, however, are large with outcomes uncertain. For additional information, see Litigation Support (more).
Tasmania, Australia, Large Tailings Lake Contains Significant Gold and Silver: I2M provided independent assessment of mine tailings from a large base- and precious metal mine to remediate some 10 million tonnes of waste after zinc and lead were removed by multi-stage processing. The waste consists of 70% sulfide minerals (of pyrite, arsenopyrite, sphalerite galena, chalcopyrite, and tetrahedrite), all of which would oxidize to form acidic mine drainage if allowed to sit in piles open to the atmosphere and oxidizing rainfall. To minimize oxidation, waste is currently being stored below a large engineered lake. Subsequent analysis by I2M personnel of sampling laboratory results showed that significant concentrations of gold and silver are available within the minerals in the submerged waste tailings. I2M made recommendations based economic modeling for removal and transportation with offsite recovery of the precious metal. After the waste tailings are removed offsite, and lake-water chemistry adjusted, the lake could be drained and the water released to the original stream without environment damage returning the area for multiple use. By physically removing the tailings by dredging while covered by the lake water, this eliminates potential damage from potential acid mine drainage and potential release of iron sulfate, arsenic and lead to an especially sensitive wildlife area of central Tasmania, Australia.
Vietnam, i B District, Ha Bnh Region SW of Hanoi Independent Evaluation of Gold and Silver Mines and Processing Plant: I2M conducted onsite independent investigations of small operational gold and silver mines consisting of sampling ore working face via adits extending some 2,500 feet for the purpose of determining if the ore deposits being produced in the two mines visited could support expanded production. And, if the sulfide processing plant, located some 25 miles down from the mine and adjacent to a valley,was operational. The processing plant consisted of the primary of crusher, floatation, and cyanide recovery, and final filtration recovery. I2M determined that the tailing pond that received waste from the final filtration circuit had been breached, emptying into an adjacent stream (dry season). Both tailing sediments and stream sediments were sampled and the sediments were found to contain very high arsenic, lead, and cadmium. I2M personnel recommended that a comprehensive follow-up investigation be conducted by the local government for taking samples of the stream water (when not dry), associated sediments downstream, adjacent shallow rural water wells and in the area where the subject stream enters the rice paddies in the valley below for the purpose of assessing environmental concerns.
Eureka County, Nevada Open-Pit Mining and Gold-Silver Heap Leach Recovery: I2M personnel purchased a mining property from a major mining company (Amselco) for a consortium of Norwegian-Italian-Swiss investor groups. and served as mine management. After conducting extensive drilling and coring, designed mine plan, designed and constructed 9-mile haul road from mine to pads, the decision was made by the consortium to initiate mining. The new leaky-pipe cyanide leach system, and existing electrolytic recovery and smelting systems to recover precious metal dore were upgraded. I2M personnel managed day-to-day mining, heap-leaching operations, provided oversight of dore production and senior I2M personnel transported dore to refinery in Salt Lake City, Utah. I2M also conducted environmental monitoring of groundwater in plant area, and initiated and implemented a comprehensive safety program. I2M personnel also provided liaison with state and federal regulatory agencies.
Queensland, Australia Magnetite Mine Development License Application Preparation: I2M Consulting was selected by an Australian mining company to prepare an MDL application to be submitted to the Queensland government in preparation for mining. I2M personnel were relocated to Townsville, Qld. to coordinate and assemble the permit application. The process required 8 months in-country meeting with governmental regulatory agencies, researching requirements, and assembling geological, environmental, and mining data for assessment and description.
Brooks County, Texas In-Situ Uranium Solution Mining and Processing: I2M Consulting was engaged to conduct a comprehensive independent evaluation of the uranium production system in operation for the purpose of preparing a NI 43-101 report for the client and the Vancouver Stock Exchange and other exchanges. This investigation included a review of the uranium resource drilling and logging data used by mining company to characterize the uranium roll-front orebodies in the primary and secondary zones, and of the consumption rates by processing plant chemical systems, wastewater injection well condition and history, combined with a review of state and federal permits Associates, LLC Environmental, Inc. and associated filings and reports. Conducted comprehensive economic modeling of ore grade, market price, and multi-case sensitivity to potential changes in project-price conditions.
Wayne County, Utah Coal Mine and Loading Facility (Green River, Utah): I2M personnel conducted independent assessment in due diligence for funding agencies of the subbituminous coal resources present in the shallow subsurface amenable for open-pit mining involving drilling, coring, geophysical logging, mapping of faulted coal beds. Completed calculations of pit-recoverable reserves available for transportation 70 miles by road to a new 25,000 ton stockpile for transferring at a railroad facility with automatic loading for transportation to coal-fired power plants near Las Vegas. I2M personnel determined that coal reserves were approximately 25% of that estimated by project consultants and approved by associated banks funding the fast-tracked project.
Monroe County, Louisiana Investigation to Address Lignite Beds Disruption During Mining Resulting from Excess Pore Pressure: I2M personnel were engaged to conduct a comprehensive groundwater flow-net analysis of the future mining blocks to determine areas of excess pore pressure causing lignite bed movement as overburden was removed in advance of bucket-wheel mining of lignite. This activity was conducted for the purpose of minimizing mining of underclay that would decrease lignite quality by increasing ash levels to the coal stream sent by conveyor to the mine-mouth power plant nearby. 250 groundwater monitoring wells were drilled and installed with designed screen lengths, and logged (both to record lithology and by geophysical logging of gamma, SP and resistivity). Top of well casings were surveyed for elevations and slab section flow net maps and surface elevation maps of anomalous areas were constructed and keyed to master mining maps for future reference by the operator. Results identified mining areas of high-, medium-, and low-pore pressure that were directly related to permeability differences present within the underclay and its thickness. Small-diameter pore-pressure relief wells were installed throughout the areas mapped as exhibiting high-pore pressure. Within 6 months, the local monitoring of pore-pressure (water levels) in wells indicated a marked decrease in pore pressure. Three years later, mine management indicated to I2M that the lignite-bed movement after removal of overburden had be reduced to near stability, as planned, and that they were moving high-quality lignite to the power plant by conveyor now after passing the anomalous subsurface areas of the mine.
Feel free to contact us to discuss your project needs or to arrange a speaking engagement by one of our Associates for a professional training session, a technical conference, society meeting, or for a graduation ceremony or other function where the knowledge and experience of our Associates may be of interest to your group.
I2M Consulting, LLC offers experienced geologists, hydrogeologists, other scientists, and managers with many years in environmental assessments, including remediation management, mineral exploration and mining, project management, and mergers and acquisitions. Related areas of expertise include forensic and feasibility studies in the environmental and mining industries, and environmental site assessments, due diligence assessments, and impact assessments in addition to brownfield redevelopment and management (as well as grant application assistance) in the U.S, and for state and the U.S. governments, and the legal community around the U.S.
I2M Consulting, LLC offers experienced geologists, hydrogeologists, and other scientists with many years in environmental assessments, including remediation management, mineral exploration and mining, project management, and mergers and acquisitions. Related areas of expertise include forensic and feasibility studies in the environmental and mining industries, and environmental site assessments, due diligence assessments, and impact assessments in addition to brownfield redevelopment and management (as well as grant application assistance) in the U.S, and for state and the U.S. governments, and the legal community around the U.S.
Vancouver, British Columbia--(Newsfile Corp. - July 6, 2021) - Battery Mineral Resources Corp. (TSXV: BMR) ("Battery" or the "Company") is pleased to announce the results of the Company's annual general meeting of its shareholders held on June 30, 2021 (the "2021 AGM"). Shareholders approved all motions put forth at the 2021 AGM.
A total of 73,280,000 shares were voted, representing 54 percent of the common shares that were issued and outstanding on the record date of the AGM. All of the directors received the support of 100 percent of the votes cast at the AGM.
Battery is a multi-commodity resource company which provides investors with exposure to the world-wide trend towards electrification. Battery is engaged in the discovery, acquisition, and development of battery metals (cobalt, lithium, graphite, nickel & copper), in North and South America and South Korea with the intention of becoming a premier and sustainable supplier of battery minerals to the electrification marketplace. Battery is the largest mineral claim holder in the historic Gowganda Cobalt-Silver Camp, Canada and continues to pursue a focused program to build on the recently announced, +1 million pound cobalt resource at McAra by testing over 50 high-grade primary cobalt silver-nickel-copper targets. In addition, Battery owns 100% of ESI Energy Services, Inc., a pipeline equipment rental and sales company with operations in Leduc, Alberta and Phoenix, Arizona. Finally, Battery is currently developing the Punitaqui Mine Complex, and pursuing the potential near term resumption of operations at the prior producing Punitaqui copper-gold mine. The Punitaqui copper-gold mine most recently produced approximately 21,000 tonnes of copper concentrate in 2019 and is located in the Coquimbo region of Chile.
Scientific and technical information pertaining to the cobalt resource at McAra was extracted from the Company's NI 43-101 "Technical report on Cobalt Exploration Assets in Canada," dated as of May 26, 2020 with an effective date of March 31, 2020, prepared by Glen Cole (P. Geo) of SRK Consulting (Canada) Inc.
The securities offered pursuant to the Private Placement have not been, and will not be, registered under the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the "U.S. Securities Act") or any U.S. state securities laws, and may not be offered or sold in the United States or to, or for the account or benefit of, United States persons absent registration or any applicable exemption from the registration requirements of the U.S. Securities Act and applicable U.S. state securities laws. This news release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy securities in the United States, nor shall there be any sale of these securities in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful.
This news release includes certain "forward-looking statements" under applicable Canadian securities legislation. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate, and actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Forward-looking statements reflect the beliefs, opinions and projections of the Company on the date the statements are made and are based upon a number of assumptions and estimates that, while considered reasonable by the Company, are inherently subject to significant business, economic, competitive, political and social uncertainties and contingencies. Many factors, both known and unknown, could cause actual results, performance, or achievements to be materially different from the results, performance or achievements that are or may be expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements and the parties have made assumptions and estimates based on or related to many of these factors. Such factors include, without limitation, the ability of the Company to obtain sufficient financing to complete exploration and development activities, risks related to share price and market conditions, the inherent risks involved in the mining, exploration and development of mineral properties, government regulation and fluctuating metal prices. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Battery undertakes no obligation to update publicly or otherwise revise any forward-looking statements contained herein whether as a result of new information or future events or otherwise, except as may be required by law.
K2 Gold is focused on its 100% owned Mojave property in California, a 5,830 hectare oxide gold project with base metal targets. The location of Mojave enables the Company to have year-round news flow on multiple previously recognized... LEARN MORE
In this chapter we build on what was done in the previous two chapters. After learning that rocks contain minerals, we now explore how the minerals may be extracted so that they may be utilised. Mining plays an important role in the wealth of a country. Learners will therefore learn about the mining industry in South Africa and the impact that mining may have on a country and the globe.
The mining industry is an important industry in South Africa. It involves a number of industries working together. Exploration is followed by excavation, which is followed by crushing and milling to reduce the size of the rocks. This is followed by extraction (removing the valuable minerals from the ore) and finally refining. Each of these processes are discussed in this chapter. The idea is not that learners should know all the terms off by heart, but rather that they grasp the bigger picture. A number of different processes are needed with each one dependent on the efficiency of the step before. The flow diagram exercise towards the end of the chapter is meant to consolidate the chapter content and help learners realise the continuous nature of many industrial processes.
A research project is also included in this chapter. Let the learners choose one industry and research the different aspects of mining covered in this chapter for their chosen industry. The following mining industries can be researched: gold, iron, copper, diamond, phosphate, coal, manganese, chromium or platinum group metals (PGMs). Learners could also choose their own.
The projects need to be handed out in the beginning of the term/chapter. Learners can then present their projects at the end of the chapter, by doing a poster or an oral, or both. For the orals, we suggest you work with the language department so that learners can be assessed there as well. If posters are done, then we suggest you put these up for display for the whole school to see. Learners can stand at their posters during breaks where learners from other grades have the opportunity to come and have a look at their work and ask questions about it.
The project has a two-way purpose, firstly for learners to continue learning about doing research, finding information and presenting the information to others, and secondly, for learners to explore careers in this industry. Part of what they should include in their research is a section on careers in mining.
In the previous two chapters you have learnt about the spheres of the Earth especially the lithosphere. The lithosphere consists of rocks, which contain minerals. Minerals are natural compounds formed through geological processes. A mineral could be a pure element, but more often minerals are made up of many different elements combined. Minerals are useful chemical compounds for making new materials that we can use in our daily lives. In this chapter we are going to look at how to get the minerals out of the rocks and in a form that we can use. This is what the mining industry is all about.
You already know that minerals in rocks cannot be used. Many processes are used to make minerals available for our use. We need to locate the minerals. We must determine whether these concentrations are economically viable to mine. Rocks with large concentrations of minerals, are called ores. Mining depends on finding good quality ore, preferably within a small area.
The next step is to get the rocks which contain the mineral out of the ground. Once the ore is on the surface, the process of getting the mineral you want out of the rock can start. Once the mineral is separated from the rest of the rock, the mineral needs to be cleaned so that it can be used.
This project should be handed out in the beginning of the chapter so that learners have time to work on it. Information for the project is provided in the sections in the chapter, but learners also need to find information on their own. Guiding questions are provided to help learners.
One of the most important steps in mining is to find the minerals. Most minerals are found everywhere in the lithosphere, but in very, very low concentrations, too low to make mining profitable. For mining to be profitable, high quality ore needs to be found in a small area. Mining exploration is the term we use for finding out where the valuable minerals are.
Today technology helps mining geologists and surveyors to find high quality ore without having to do any digging. When the geologists and surveyors are quite sure where the right minerals are, only then do they dig test shafts to confirm what their surveying techniques have suggested.
In all these methods we use the properties of the minerals and our knowledge of the lithosphere to locate them underground, without going underground ourselves. For example, iron is magnetic so instruments measuring the changes in the magnetic field can give us clues as to where pockets of iron could be.
Exploration methods are used to find, and assess the quality of mineral deposits, prior to mining. Generally a number of explorative techniques are used, and the results are then compared to see if a location seems suitable for mining.
Remote sensing is the term used to gain information from a distance. For example, by using radar, sonar and satellite images, we can obtain images of the Earth's surface. These images help us to locate possible mining sites, as well as study existing mining sites for possible expansion.
Rare earth elements are a set of 17 elements on the Periodic Table, including the fifteen lanthanides and scandium and yttrium. Despite their names, they are found in relatively plentiful amounts in the Earth's crust.
Geophysical methods make use of geology and the physical properties of the minerals to detect them underground. For example, diamonds are formed deep in the Earth at very high temperatures, in kimberlite pipes of igneous rock. The kimberlite pipe is a carrot shape. The first kimberlite pipe to be detected was in Kimberley in South Africa. The pipe was mined, eventually creating the Big Hole.
Geochemical methods combine the knowledge of the chemistry of the minerals with the geology of an area to help identify which compounds are present in the ore and how much of it is present. For example, when an ore body is identified, samples are taken to analyse the mineral content of the ore.
When colonialists arrived, they realised the potential mineral wealth of South Africa as gold, and later diamonds, were discovered. They ruthlessly took land from the local people wherever minerals were found, completely ignoring their right to ownership and access.
De Beers purchased the mining rights and closed all access to diamond mining areas. Anyone entering the area would be prosecuted and the sale of so-called 'illegal' diamonds was heavily punished. Other large mining companies have tried to claim the right to the minerals that they mine.
Once the ore body has been identified, the process of getting the ore out of the ground begins. There are two main methods of mining - surface mining and underground mining. In some locations a combination of these methods is used.
Surface mining is exactly what the word says - digging rocks out from the surface, forming a hole or pit. In South Africa, this method is used to mine for iron, copper, chromium, manganese, phosphate and coal.
Let's look at coal as an example. For surface mining, the minerals need to be close to the surface of the Earth. Most of the coal found in South Africa is shallow enough for surface mining. Usually the rocks are present in layers. To expose the coal layer, the layers above it need to be removed. The vegetation and soil, called the topsoil, is removed and kept aside so that it can be re-deposited in the area after mining. If there is a layer of rock above the coal face, called the overburden, this is also removed before the coal can be excavated. Once all the coal has been removed, the overburden and topsoil are replaced to help in restoring the natural vegetation of the area. This is called rehabilitation.
There is a growing emphasis on the need to rehabilitate old mine sites that are no longer in use. If it is too difficult to restore the site to what it was before, then a new type of land use might be decided for that area.
When you mine you are digging into solid rock. The rock needs to be broken up into smaller pieces before it can be removed. Holes are drilled in the rock and explosives, like dynamite, are placed inside the holes to blast the rock into pieces. The pieces are still very large and extremely heavy. The rocks are loaded onto very large haul trucks and removed. Sometimes the rocks (ore) are crushed at the mining site to make them easier to transport.
Mining trucks are enormous. They are up to 6 meters tall, that's higher than most houses. These trucks can carry 300 tons of material and their engines have an output 10-20 times more powerful than a car engine.
Often the minerals are not found close to the surface of the Earth, but deeper down. In these cases underground mining, also called shaft mining, is used. Examples of underground mining in South Africa are mining for diamonds, gold and sometimes the platinum group metals (PGM).
The PGMs are six transition metals usually found together in ore. They are ruthenium (Ru), rhodium (Rh), palladium (Pd), osmium (Os), iridium (Ir) and platinum (Pt). South Africa has the highest known reserves of PGMs in the world.
Sometimes the ore is very deep, which is often the case with diamonds or gold ore. In these cases mine shafts go vertically down and side tunnels make it possible for the miners and equipment to reach the ore. A structure called the headgear is constructed above the shaft and controls the lift system into the vertical shaft. Using the lift, it can take miners up to an hour to reach the bottom of the shaft.
The TauTona Mine in Carletonville, Gauteng is the world's deepest mine. It is 3,9 km deep and has 800 km of tunnels. Working this deep underground is very dangerous. It is very hot, up to 55C. To be able to work there, the air is constantly cooled to about 28 C using air-conditioning vents.
South Africa is a world leader in the gold mining industry. We have been doing gold mining for more than a century and our mines are the deepest in the world. Until 2010 we were the leading producer of gold in the world. Gold is a lustrous, precious metal which has a very high conductivity.
Yes it is, the mines are very deep, of the deepest in the world. Mining deep underground is difficult and dangerous because of the heat and lack of oxygen. Rocks can also collapse because of the pressure.
One of the methods used in underground mining is called room and pillar, and is often used for mining coal. Part of the mine is open to the surface and part of it is underground. The coal face is dug out, but pillars of coal are left behind to keep the tunnels open and support the roof. Machines called continuous miners are used to remove the coal. The coal is loaded onto conveyor belts and taken up to the surface for further crushing.
This section looks at methods to get very large rocks crushed and ground until it is as fine as powder. The first concept that needs to come across here is that minerals are inside rocks and by crushing rocks, the minerals are exposed at the surface of the rock fragment. Only then can chemicals be used to extract the mineral. An analogy with a choc chip biscuit is used to demonstrate this principle. The second concept is that a lot of energy is needed to break rocks. This is a very energy-intensive step in the mining industry, and one of the reasons why mining is so expensive.
This lesson can be introduced by demonstrating the principle explained above to the class. Use choc chip biscuits and crush them with your fingers. This is to get the minerals (choc chips) out. The next step is to separate the choc chips from the crumbs - also a step in the mining process.
Mineral crystals are spread throughout rocks, just like chocolate chips are spread throughout a choc chip biscuit. Sometimes we can see the chocolate chips from the outside, but most of the time the chips are not visible because they are inside the biscuit.
The only way to find out how many choc chips there are is to crush the biscuit. In the same way we can sometimes see mineral crystals from the outside of the rock, but mostly we don't know what minerals there are and and what concentrations are inside the rock. The only way to find out is to break the rock into smaller and smaller pieces.
Once we have crumbled the choc chip biscuit, the chocolate pieces can be separated from the crumbs. In the same way in the mining process the valuable minerals can be separated from the unwanted rock. The unwanted rock is called waste rock.
Let's look at an example. You have learnt in the previous chapter that copper minerals are found in rocks. In South Africa, the Bushveld Igneous Complex is an area which stretches across the North West and Limpopo Provinces. Igneous rock with high mineral content is found here. Here they mine for PGMs, chromium, iron, tin, titanium, vanadium and other minerals using open pit and underground mining. The rocks from the mines are transported by conveyor belts to crushers. Jaw crushers and cone crushers break the huge rocks into smaller rocks.
You can demonstrate this to your class by placing some pieces of broken up biscuit into a plastic container with some marbles or ball bearings. Place the lid on the container and then shake it so that the marbles help to crush and break up the biscuit pieces even further.
This process of reducing the size of the rocks requires a lot of energy. Just image how hard it is to break a rock. How much more energy do you think is needed to crush a rock until it is like sand? This is one of the steps in the mining process that is very expensive because energy is needed to drive the process.
Most minerals are found as compounds in rocks. Only a few minerals are found in their pure form, in other words not bound to any other element. Examples of minerals found in their pure form are gold and diamonds (diamonds consist of the element carbon).
Some rocks are used as is, and do not need to be crushed into powder, or involved in minerals extraction. For example phosphate rock itself can be used as a fertiliser, or it can be used to make phosphoric acid. Sand, or the mineral silicon dioxide (SiO2) is used in the building industry. Coal found in sedimentary rock, is crushed into the appropriate size and used as fuel for electricity generation or the iron-making process.
Before the minerals can be used, they need to be separated from the waste rock. A number of different separation techniques are used. These techniques are based on the properties of the minerals. Different minerals are often found together, for example copper and zinc, gold and silver or the PGMs. A combination of techniques are used to separate the minerals from the waste and then the minerals from each other.
Sorting by hand is not a very effective method to separate out the minerals you want. It can only be used in exceptional situation or by individuals, for example many people mine for alluvial diamonds by hand in rivers in Angola. It is a cheap and easy process to do individually, but it is not feasible on an industrial scale.
Iron is a metal with magnetic properties. Iron ore can be separated from waste rock by using magnetic separation techniques. Conveyor belts carry the ore past strong electromagnets which remove the magnetic pieces (containing the iron) from the non-magnetic waste. How do you think this works? Study the following diagram
The magnetic iron ore will fall into the container on the right as it is attracted to the magnetic roller and travels around the bend of the magnet for a longer period, whereas the non-magnetic waste drops straight down due to gravity, as the magnet turns, and falls into the first container on the left.
One of the first methods for mining gold was that of panning, a technique where ore is mixed with water and forms a suspension. When it is shaken, the dense particles of gold sink to the bottom and could be removed.
Let the learners work in groups of three. The value of the activity is the process of doing it, and not so much the end product. Learners will want to separate every single bead in the process and this is not possible, nor does it happen in the mining industry. Valuable materials do end up as waste.
When choosing beads to separate, ensure that there are a variety of shapes, round and flat, small and large. Most plastic beads will float on water, but metallic ones will sink. The piece of carpet is provided to make the tray rough, but still smooth enough for round beads to roll off, and flat beads to stick. Choose the smallest flattest beads to represent the valuable materials.They will remain on the carpet in the tray more easily.
To separate by density, learners can drop the beads into water - some beads will float and others will sink. To separate by size, learners can use the mesh and let the smaller beads fall through into the cup, with the larger ones staying behind.
As an extension, include some beads which are identical in shape and size, but different colours. At this point, learners will want to hand sort them. Tell learners that hand sorting, although effective and is used by individuals, it is a very time-consuming process and therefore almost never done in the mining industry. Ask learners if they have any other ideas. This is where chemical properties come in. For example, tell learners that one colour bead reacts with an acid and the other does not. Get learners to discuss how they would then separate the beads knowing this. A real world example is that silver reacts with chlorine, but gold does not.
As you have seen in the activity, separating a mixture can be done using different properties, depending on the different properties of the beads. There could be a number of different ways to separate the beads depending on which type of bead you want to select (considered to be the most valuable ones).
Size separation is used frequently in mining to classify ore. For example, when iron ore is exported, it needs to be a certain size to be acceptable to the world market. Coal that is used in power stations also needs to be a certain size so that it can be used to generate electricity effectively.
Flotation makes use of density separation, but in a special way. Chemicals are added to change the surface properties of the valuable minerals so that air bubbles can attach to them. The minerals are mixed with water to make a slurry, almost like a watery mud. Air bubbles are blown through the slurry and the minerals attach to the bubbles. The air bubbles are much less dense than the solution and rise to the top where the minerals can be scraped off easily.
The focus of this activity is to illustrate the principle of flotation and for learners to practice explaining their observations. They will have to apply what they know about density to be able to explain what they see. This activity can also be modified by letting the learners predict what they think will happen before they add the peanuts and raisins to the tap water; and again before they add it to the soda water. The outcome might not be what they expected and the value of the activity is for them to try to explain what they see.
The activity can be done as a classroom demonstration, but it is more effective if done by the learners in pairs. The one learner can use the tap water, and the other the soda water. A suggestions is to buy packets of peanuts and raisins separately, otherwise oil from the peanuts can coat the raisins, causing some of the raisins to rise. The raisins can also be rinsed in acidulated water because they are often dressed with oil before sale for visual enhancement.
Learners should observe that the peanuts and raisins sink to the bottom in the tap water and remain there since they are more dense than water. However, in the soda water, the peanuts and raisins initially sink to the bottom, but then the peanuts start to rise. Small bubbles from the soda water attach to the peanuts' oily surface and cause them to rise to the surface.
The methods mentioned so far are all physical separation methods. Sometimes they are sufficient to separate minerals for use, like coal or iron ore. But more often the element that we are looking for is found as a chemical compound, and so will have to be separated by further chemical reactions. For example, copper in Cu2S or aluminium in Al2O3. What is the name for the force that is holding atoms together in a compound?
Once the compound is removed from the ore, the element we want needs to be separated from the other atoms by chemical means. This process forms part of refining the mineral, as you will see in the next section.
There are many different methods used to concentrate and refine minerals. The choice of methods depends on the composition of the ore. Most of the methods however, make use of chemistry to extract the metal from the compound or remove impurities from the final product. We will discuss the extraction of iron from iron ore as an example.
Iron atoms are found in the compounds FeO, Fe2O3 and Fe3O4 and in rocks like haematite and magnetite. South Africa is the seventh largest producer of iron ore in the world. Iron has been mined in South Africa for thousands of years. South African archaeological sites in Kwa-Zulu Natal and Limpopo provide evidence for this. Evidence of early mining activities was found in archaeological sites dating mining and smelting of iron back to the Iron Age around 770 AD.
The first iron mining techniques used charcoal which was mixed with iron ore in a bloomery. When heating the mixture and blowing air (oxygen) in through bellows, the iron ore is converted to the metal, iron. The chemical reaction between iron oxide and carbon is used here to produce iron metal. The balanced chemical equation for the reaction is:
This extraction method is still used today. The bloomery is replaced with a blast furnace, but the chemistry is still the same. Iron ore, a type of coal called coke (which contains 85% carbon) and lime are added to the top of the blast furnace. Hot air provides the oxygen for the reaction. The temperature of a blast furnace can be up to 1200C. The reaction takes place inside the furnace and molten iron is removed from the bottom. Lime (calcium carbonate or CaCO3) is added to react with the unwanted materials, such as sand (silicon dioxide or SiO2). This produces a waste product called slag. The slag is removed from the bottom and used for building roads. Iron is used to make steel. Hot gases, mainly carbon dioxide, escape at the top of the furnace.
For safety reasons, this experiment should rather be demonstrated. Ensure that you wear safety glasses when performing this experiment. It is quite easy to do, but takes a long time to actually react. The blow pipe needs to redirect the flame into the hollow in the block. Blow through the top of the blue part of the flame. Use a straw to extend the blow pipe so that you can stand a bit further away from the flame. Ensure that a steady stream of heat gets right into the middle of the mixture so that it glows red hot for a while. The video link in the Visit box also shows how the experiment is performed (and the mistakes made). The product can clearly be seen in the video.
In this experiment carbon was used to remove the oxygen from the lead(II) oxide. The carbon and oxygen form carbon dioxide, and the lead is left behind as a metal. This is the same process that is used in iron extraction in the blast furnace, that we discussed above. Coke, which is mainly carbon, removes the oxygens from the iron(III) oxide to form carbon dioxide and leaves behind the iron metal.
The iron that is formed in the blast furnace often contains too much carbon - about 4% where it should contain not more than 2%. Too much carbon makes the iron brittle. To improve the quality of the iron, it needs to be refined by lowering the amount of carbon. This is done by melting the metal and reacting the carbon with pure oxygen to form carbon dioxide gas. In this way the carbon is burned off and the quality of the iron improves. The iron can now be used in the steel-making process. Carbon reacts with oxygen according to the following chemical equation:
Most minerals go through chemical extraction and refining processes to purify them for use in making materials and other chemical products. These are then distributed to where they are needed, for example, coal is distributed to coal power stations and slag is distributed to construction groups for building roads. The mining industry supplies the manufacturing industry and the chemical industry with its raw materials, for example iron is distributed to steel manufacturing industries.
Long before diamonds were discovered in the Kimberley area and the Gold Rush in Pilgrim's Rest and Witwatersrand areas in the late 1800s, minerals have been mined in South Africa. At Mapungubwe in the Limpopo Province evidence of gold and iron mining and smelting was found which dates back to the early 11th century AD. However, it was the large scale mining activities that accelerated the development of the country.
South Africa has a wealth of minerals. We are the world's largest producers of chromium, manganese, platinum, vanadium and andalusite; and the second largest producer of ilmenite, palladium, rutile and zirconium. We are the third largest coal exporter, fifth largest diamond producer and seventh largest iron ore producer. Up to 2010 we were the world's largest gold producer, but our gold production has declined steadily over a number of years. We are currently fifth on the list of gold producers.
The Bushveld Igneous Complex has the world's largest primary source of platinum group metals, indicated on the map in light blue. It is one of the most important mining areas in South Africa due to its abundance of minerals.
Learners need to develop their own symbols for each mineral that is mined, and also colour code the map. The map is blank and so they must find out where each town is located and add it to the map. Let them also fill in the name of the city/town/area in which they live. If there are mining activities in your area which is not indicated on this table, let the learners add it to the list. The list provided is not exhaustive, but it is still fairly long. If you want to make the activity simpler, learners can also chose a certain number of minerals to represent.
There are two types of diamond mining, alluvial (which is found on the coast or in inland rivers which have washed through kimberlite pipes) and kimberlite (which is found inland). What is the link between these two types of diamond mining?
This activity is meant to consolidate the knowledge from this chapter. Each industry will have its own unique flow diagram. The idea is for the learners to realise that it is a continuous system where the one process feeds into the next one to produce a useful end product. This activity links up with the research project and should give learners a good guide for doing and presenting their research projects.
Coal mining: Finding coal seams through exploration in Mpumalanga, Free State and KwaZulu Natal mining for coal using open pit mining removing the coal by blasting and drilling loading onto haul trucks and removing from mine crushing the coal sorting into different sizes distribution to power stations electricity generation
Mining has played a major role in the history of South Africa. It accelerated technological development and created infrastructure in remote areas in South Africa. Many small towns in South Africa started because of mining activity in the area. It also created a demand for roads and railways to be built. Most importantly it created job opportunities for thousands of people. Even today many households are dependent on the mining activities for jobs and an income. Mining is an important part of our economic wealth. We export minerals and ore to many other countries in the world.
Mining activities also have a negative impact on the environment. In many cases the landscape is changed. This applies particularly to surface mines (open pit mines), where large amounts of soil and rock must be removed in order to access the minerals. The shape of the landscape can be changed when large amounts of rocks are dug up from the Earth and stacked on the surface. These are called mine dumps. Open pit mines also create very large unsightly and dangerous holes (pits) in the ground that change the shape of the land.
Air and water pollution can take place if care is not taken in the design and operation of a mine. Dust from open pit mines, as well as harmful gases such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, could be released from mining processes and contribute to air pollution. Mining activities produce carbon dioxide. Trucks and other vehicles give off exhaust gases.
If the mining process is not monitored properly, acid and other chemicals from chemical processing can run into nearby water systems such as rivers. This is poisonous to animals and plants, as well as to humans who may rely on that water for drinking.
An example are pollutants (dangerous chemicals), called tailings, left over from gold mining which pose a threat to the environment and the health of nearby communities. Dangerous waste chemicals can leak into the groundwater and contaminate water supplies if the tailings are not contained properly.
There are no specific answers for this activity. It is an open discussion. We suggest that you discuss the impact of mining in South Africa through this activity. The idea is that learners should come up with all the issues and think about the impact of what we as humans do. The answer to solving the issues is not necessarily to close down all mining activity.
Use the following concept map to summarise what you have learnt in this chapter about mining of mineral resources. What are the three types of mining that we discussed in this chapter? Fill these into the concept map. Remember that you can add in your own notes to these concept maps, for example, you could write more about the environmental impacts of mining.
Phalaborwa is home to one of the largest open pit mines in the world. The original carbonate outcrop was a large hill known as Loolekop. Archaeological findings at Loolekop revealed small scale mining and smelting activities carried out by people who lived there long ago. An early underground mine shaft of 20 meters deep and only 38 centimeters wide were also found. The shafts contained charcoal fragments dating the activities to 1000 - 1200 years ago.
In 1934 the first modern mining started with the extraction of apatite for use as a fertiliser. In 1946 a well known South African geologist Dr. Hans Merensky started investigating Loolekop and found economically viable deposits of apatite in the foskorite rock. In the early 1950s a very large low grade copper sulfide ore body was discovered.
In 1964 the Phalaborwa Mine, an open pit copper mine, commenced its operations. Today the pit is 2 km wide. Loolekop, the large hill, has been completely mined away over the years. A total of 50 different minerals are extracted from the mine. The northern part of the mine is rich in phosphates and the central area, where Loolekop was situated, is rich in copper. Copper with the co-products of silver, gold, phosphate, iron ore, vermiculite, zirconia and uranium are extracted from the rocks.
The open pit facility closed down its operation in 2002 and has now been converted to an underground mine. This extended the lifetime of the mine for another 20 years. The mine employs around 2500 people.
2000 million years ago this area was an active volcano. Today the cone of the volcano is gone and only the pipe remains. The pipe is 19 km2 in area and has an unknown depth, containing minerals like copper, phosphates, zirconium, vermiculite, mica and gold.
This mine was a leader in the field of surface mining technology with the first in-pit primary crushing facility. This meant that ore was crushed by jaw crushers before taken out of the mine. They also used the first trolley-assist system for haul trucks coming out of the pit. Today the mine has secondary crushing facilities, concentrators and a refinery on site.
In 1982 a series of cavities with well-crystallised minerals were discovered, for example calcite crystals up to 15 cm on edge, silky mesolite crystals of up to 2cm long and octahedral magnetite crystals of 1-2 cm on the edge.
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