Mining is an essential industry that has been around for thousands of years. It involves the extraction of valuable minerals and ores from the earth’s crust. Varying extraction methods are used to mine the different types of minerals and resources. Read on to discover four different types of mining.
1. Surface mining
Surface mining is the most common method used to extract minerals and ores that are located close to the surface of the earth. It involves the removal of overlying soil and rock, thereby facilitating access to the mineral deposits. Surface mining can be further sub-divided into strip mining, open-pit mining, and mountaintop removal.
Strip mining involves the removal of strips of soil and rock to expose the mineral deposits. While open-pit is similar, the excavation is much deeper, and the mining is done on a larger scale. Mountaintop mining, however, involves the use of explosives to remove the top of a mountain and enable access to the minerals underneath.
2. Underground mining
Located deep beneath the earth’s surface, certain mineral deposits can only be reached by the construction of tunnels and shafts. Categorized as underground mining, this extraction method can be further divided into hard rock mining and soft rock mining.
3. Placer mining
Placer mining is a type of surface mining that is used to extract minerals and ores that are found in alluvial deposits, such as sand and gravel. This method involves the use of water to wash the minerals and ores from those deposits.
4. Solution mining
Solution mining is a technique that is used to extract water-soluble minerals and ores, such as salt. It involves the injection of a solution into the ground. As the water circulates, it dissolves the mineral and becomes saturated, forcing, in this example the brine, up a separate pipe string to the surface. Once pumped to the surface, the minerals and ores are extracted.
Each mining technique has its advantages and disadvantages. The choice of method depends on the type of mineral or resource being extracted, as well as the location and depth of the deposit.