Finding the mineral is one of the first steps to mining. The majority of minerals can be found in all parts of the earth’s lithosphere but at very low levels, which are too low for mining to be profitable. To make mining profitable, it is necessary to find high-quality ore in a limited area. We use the word mining exploration to find out where valuable minerals can be found.
The technology of today allows mining geologists to locate high-quality ore, without the need to dig. Only when geologists or surveyors have a good idea of where to find the minerals do they start digging test shafts. All these methods rely on the mineral properties and the knowledge richard w warke we have of the lithosphere in order to find them without having to go underground. Iron is magnetic, so measuring changes in magnetic fields can provide clues about where iron pockets may be.
Prior to mining, exploration methods are employed to locate and evaluate the quality of minerals deposits. In general, a variety of exploration techniques is used and then the results are compared in order to determine if an area seems appropriate for mining. The term remote sensing refers to the process of gathering information at a distance. Radar, sonar, and satellite imagery, for example, can be used to obtain an image of Earth’s surface. The images can be used to find possible mining locations and study current mining sites in order to expand them.
Geophysical methods use geology to determine the location of minerals underground. Diamonds, for example, are created deep within the Earth, at high temperatures in kimberlite tubes of igneous rocks. Kimberlite pipes have a carrot-shaped shape. Kimberley, South Africa was the first place where a kimberlite tube had been detected. It was eventually mined to create the Big Hole.
Geochemical methods use the knowledge about the mineral chemistry and the geology to identify the compounds present in ore, as well as the amount of each compound. When an orebody is discovered, it’s analysed to determine its mineral composition.
As gold and diamonds were found in South Africa, colonialists realised that the country was rich with mineral resources. The colonialists took the land of local people, wherever mineral deposits were discovered. They did not respect their rights to access and ownership.
De Beers bought the mining rights, and shut down all access to areas where diamonds are mined. The sale of so called ‘illegal diamonds’ was severely punished, as well as anyone entering the mining area. The minerals mined by other large mining firms have been claimed as theirs. Selecting the right mining technique is influenced by the location, shape, rock strength, grade of ore, cost of mining, current price and market of the product.
Underground mining is a more cost-effective way to mine higher grade metallic ore found deep beneath the Earth’s crust. Underground mining is also common for large tabular ore masses or those that are more than 300 m (1,000 feet) beneath the Earth’s surface. Rock is first drilled, then blasted and finally moved up to the surface via truck, conveyor belt, or elevator. The material, once it reaches the surface is then sent to a crusher to separate out the ore and waste.
Surface mining is a cost-effective way to mine lower grade metal ore that’s found near the Earth’s surface. This method is also used to mine industrial minerals, which are low-value ores that were found at the surface or close by. Surface mines require blasting and drilling of hard rock, but some minerals can be mined without this.