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Mine Planning and Production Guide 101

comprehensive guide for mining companies

Mine Planning and Production Guide

Good mine planning leads to high productivity by both optimizing the ability to work and when the work to be undertaken. This guide by Grid will provide you with insights into Mine Planning and Minerals Production. It covers topics including the challenges both on-site and off-site faced by miners, steps for successful implementation of mine plan, and overview of mine production and mineral processing. Download the free e-book today and get the Mineral Exploration Guide!

Underground mining

Ores that are deposited towards the core are extracted with the help of underground mining. Usually, underground mining is used to extract metals like gold, silver, iron, copper, etc. A tunnel or shaft is made to reach the deposit which is later loaded into trucks for further processing.

Principal phases of underground mining

Underground mining principally has two phases - development mining and production mining.

Development mining is undertaken to reach the orebody. It is the process of excavating non-precious waste rocks. The mining process typically involves 6 steps which are - mock out round, scaling, installing support, drill face rock, load explosives, and blast explosives.
Production mining is the final phase, the point of extracting the ore. It can further be divided into two more methods - long hole and short hole. Nonetheless, short hole mining is very similar to development mining, except the process happens in the ore. Long hole mining can be done in various ways and require excavation at two different levels. The holes are blasted and the ore is removed from the bottom excavation.

Mining methods

The selection of the mining method is based on the type, size, shape, and orientation of the orebody. The dip of the body also plays an important role in determining the mining method. Nonetheless, advanced technologies have enabled a safer mining process and also helped in decreasing the total cost.

  1. Cut and fill

Cut and fill underground mining method is one among the common support techniques used today. A horizontal void created during the mining process is backfilled with waste rocks and tailing depending on the support required.

  1. Shrinkage stoping

Shrinkage stopping is closely related to the cut and fill mining method. However, the initially broken ore is left to create a platform for the workers and support to the wall in this method. After blasting all the required levels, the ore is then removed to process further.

  1. Room and pillar mining

The room and pillar mining method is the most commonly used underground mining method. It can be used for both coal and non-coal mining. Typically, the method is suitable for flat-lying or slightly horizontal mineral deposits. An opening/room is created on a single level which is further supported by rock pillars at regular intervals to smoothly extract the minerals.

  1. Block caving

Block caving is an underground mining technique used to mine large, low-grade orebodies. Such methods are undertaken to extract large amounts of ores at once. Moreover, block caving matches the production level of surface mining, which is 10,000 tonnes per day. The process is fairly simple, orebody is drilled and blasted, making it collapse under its own weight. Later, the collapsed ore is removed through haulage. Block caving is best suited to extract large amounts of ores at fairly low production costs.

Cost of underground mining

It is no doubt that mining is an expensive business, but can also lead you towards great profits. However, there are certain parameters you need to consider before choosing a mining technique. Determining the cost of your particular underground mining project is one of them. There are certain factors which can shoot up your budgets if proper analysis is skipped. Below listed are some factors that help in calculating the cost of a mining project.

  1. The duration of mining.
  2. The depth of mineral deposit
  3. Machinery and labor cost

This is a brief list, a lot many factors affect the cost of your underground mining project. Moreover, underground mining is considered costlier than surface mining, there are a variety of reasons behind such statements. Firstly, underground mining exposes workers to greater risks which hike the labor cost. The capital intensive nature of underground mining is yet another reason for being a costly alternative.

Detailed analysis of underground mining

Advantages

  • Underground mining can be done as deep as land development allows. Mines accessed through declines can be continued as long as it’s economically possible.

  • Underground mining produces less amount of waste and tailings as compared to other mining methods.

  • Underground mining is easier in many terms. It works fine with smaller mil capacity and establishing grade control is not tricky as well.

Disadvantages of Underground Mining

  • Workers are exposed to extreme conditions in underground mining. Fatal accidents happen in mining all the time but it is often in case of underground mining.

  • Underground mining is not only hazardous to workers but is all heavy on the pockets of miners.

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