Sulphur Mining In Gunung Merapi :

An active volcano in east java is the well known site for sulphur mining ,  in local language its known as gunung merapi meaning  “mount fire” .  the site is  the smoky atmosphere that billows around the mine  where the  sulphur  is mined 220 yards deep  , the mined sulphur is used in gun powder , matches and firework . when its in the native form it could be used for  medicine . The sulfur mined in East Java is used for  bleaching sugar, vulcanizing rubber and other industrial processes.

Where the miners walk in miles at the top of the crater wearing  any protection  though  it looks like steam, it’s actually highly concentrated hydrogen sulphide and sulphur dioxide gases that can burn a miner’s eyes, throat and lungs and even dissolve their teeth. Where the miners  break off large chunks of sulfur from the crater floor and carry the chunks out in light baskets made of rattan and walk nearly 7 kilometers to town .though  its an  labor intensive job they are paid  by the weight of sulphur between $5 and $13 per day (USD) where they risk their life to survive because of the limited job oppurtunities .

 

 

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Gold Mining Involves Several Steps

Many mining companies are following the following steps to extract gold from the earth surface. As technology improves more and more mining techniques are being discovered to make the work simple.

Literature Survey:
In India lot of government agencies are taking out verification surveys on gold mining. Among those agencies there are two main agencies. They are Geological Survey of India and Mineral Exploration Corporation of India. Already in many parts of India, these agencies have undergone surveys of extensive regional and underground exploration for gold. Collection of all these data forms the initial step in exploration process.

Geological Mapping:
This mapping is done by using the photographs of the geographical area where gold is presented.

Identification of Gold Bearing Zones:
This step is carried out by collecting the sample stones from the favorable places and it will be sent for gold mineralization. If the rocks are uncovered then some geochemical methods like stream sediment and soil sampling will be used to find the gold anomalous areas. Based upon the results of the sampling the target areas will be fixed for the further process.

Three Dimension Sampling:
This sampling method is carried out by using two types of drilling. They are Reverse Circulation (RC) and Diamond Core Drilling. The RC drill is easily movable and the sample rock is obtained in the form of chips but in the diamond core drilling the sample is obtained in the form of solid core.

Estimation of Global Resource:
Based upon the previous step result (i.e.) length, width, depth, etc. a global resource of the gold deposit is estimated.

Pre-feasibility exploration:
Based upon the result of global resource estimation, further process will be taken place by using “Close Spaced Diamond Core Drilling” along with the dip and sampling of ore body to improve the reliability. This also helps to predict whether the deposit is mineral or not.

Feasibility Exploration:
This involves additional extensive sampling on the earth surface and underground by using closed space drilling, bench cutting and bench sampling etc. to extract gold. And the ‘Sluice Box’ will be used to filter the extract gold from placer deposits. Then the filtered particles will be sent for further process.

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How the Ancient People Initiate the Mining Techniques

The process of mining the earth and finding the metals, minerals, etc and again making the earth to return back to its original state consists of different steps. Generally, mining techniques can be broadly classified into two types, they are Surface Mining and Underground Mining.

In pre-historic period, when the people had found metals like copper, iron on or close to earth surface, they used to manufacture some tools and weapons.

The ancient known mine is the Lion Cave which is in Swaziland. Ancient people used hammers, crude picks, etc. But they found very difficult to find the metals or any other precious stones which was in too deep. So they slowly started to invent new ideas to make the work simple. Since there is no blasting method available in that period, they first used to keep fire on the hard rocks to make it soft then they used water to cool it up and so they had broken those hard rocks easily.

The slaves, prisoners of war and the people who did criminal things had forced to work on the mining areas. And the kids were used to carry the ores from the underground mining area to the outer surface. Then the people who are so weak to work underground had made to separate the rich and poor metals.

In some countries they used Black Powder to disclose ore veins and earth to loosen. Then as the development occurs, the people have found a plenty of techniques to find the metals, minerals and other precious stones.

Some of the ancient mining techniques were,

  • Fire setting
  • Hydraulic mining
  • Reverse overshot water-wheels
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Metal ore mining

The metal ore mining industry segment covers the extraction of metal ores, primarily gold, silver, iron, copper, lead, and zinc. These naturally occurring minerals have a variety of industrial purposes: gold and silver are primarily used in jewelry and high-end electronics, iron is used to produce steel, copper is the main component of electrical wiring, lead is used in batteries, and zinc is used to coat iron and steel to reduce corrosion and as an alloy in the making of bronze and brass.

Most metals do not exist in concentrated form but rather in small traces in rock called “ore”. Indistinguishable from regular rocks to the untrained eye, some ores are currently mined that contain only a fraction of a percent of metal. As a result, a massive amount of rock must be extracted from the ground in order to obtain a useable amount of metal. As a result of this, and because metal ores are less common than coal, metal mines can be much larger than coal mines and operate in more extreme environments, while coal mines are rarely more than a few hundred feet underground, gold mines can be over a mile below the surface.

Like coal mines, metal ore mines are found in both surface and underground varieties, depending on where the ore deposit is located. In addition to strip mining, surface ore mines also use the open-pit mining technique. These mines are huge holes in the ground that are mined by blasting rock from the sides and bottom with explosives, carrying out the broken up material in trucks, and then repeating the process. Open pit mines can grow to be hundreds of feet deep and several miles wide. Underground mining of ore is less common, typically only occurring when rich veins of ore are discovered or mineral prices are high enough to justify the added expense.

A significant amount of processing is needed to convert ore into usable metal. The mining industry includes initial mineral processing and preparation activities that are located together with mines as part of the extraction process. Further processing is classified under the primary metal manufacturing industry.

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Oil and gas extraction mining

The oil and gas extraction segment produces the petroleum and natural gas that heat homes, fuel cars, and power factories. Petroleum products are also the raw materials for plastics, chemicals, medicines, fertilizers, and synthetic fibers. Petroleum, commonly called crude oil or just oil, is a liquid formed under ground from the decay of plants and animals over millions of years through extreme heat and pressure. Occasionally, this decaying material becomes trapped under a layer of impermeable rock that prevents it from dispersing and creates a pocket of oil. Similar processes also produce natural gas, which can be found mixed with oil or in separate deposits. Finding and extracting the oil and gas in these pockets is the primary function of this industry segment.

Using a variety of methods, on land and at sea, small crews of specialized workers search for geologic formations that are likely to contain pockets of oil or gas. Sophisticated equipment and advances in computer technology have increased the productivity of exploration. Maps of potential deposits now are made using remote-sensing satellites. Seismic prospecting a technique based on measuring the time it takes sound waves to travel through underground formations and return to the surface has revolutionized oil and gas exploration. Computers and advanced software analyze seismic data to provide three-dimensional models of subsurface rock formations. Another method of searching for oil and gas is based on collecting and analyzing core samples of rock, clay, and sand in the earth’s layers.

After scientific exploration studies indicate the possible presence of oil, a well must be drilled to prove oil is there. An oil company selects a well site and installs a derrick ”a tower-like steel structure” to support the drilling equipment. A hole is drilled deep into the earth until oil or gas is found, or the company abandons the effort. Similar techniques are employed in offshore drilling, except that the drilling equipment is part of a steel platform that either sits on the ocean floor, or floats on the surface and is anchored to the ocean floor. Advancements in directional or horizontal drilling techniques, which allow increased access to potential reserves, have had a significant impact on drilling capabilities. Drilling begins vertically, but the drill bit can be turned so that drilling can continue at an angle of up to 90 degrees. This technique extends the drill’s reach, enabling it to reach separate pockets of oil or gas. Because constructing new platforms is costly, this technique commonly is employed by offshore drilling operations.

Once the drilling reaches the oil or gas, extraction can begin as natural pressure forces the oil or gas up through the drill hole to the wellhead, where it enters separation and storage tanks. If natural pressure is not great enough to force the oil to the surface, pumps may be used. In some cases, water, steam, or gas may be injected into the oil deposit to improve recovery. The recovered oil is transported to refineries by pipeline, ship, barge, truck, or railroad. Natural gas usually is transported to processing plants by pipeline. While oil refineries may be many thousands of miles away from the producing fields, gas processing plants typically are near the fields, so that impurities ”water, sulfur, and natural gas liquids”can be removed before the gas is piped to customers. The oil refining industry is considered a separate industry, and its activities are not covered here, even though many oil companies both extract and refine oil.

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Coal mining industry

The coal mining industry segment produces coal, a fossil fuel that is used primarily for electric power generation and in the production of steel. Like oil, coal is formed over millions of years from plant and animal matter, but unlike oil, coal is a solid, and therefore miners must go into the earth to recover it. Many coal seams are located close to the surface, however, which makes the extraction of this resource easier.

Surface mining of coal typically uses the method known as strip mining, which is usually more cost-effective than underground mining and requires fewer workers to produce the same quantity of coal. In strip mining, workers use huge earthmoving equipment, such as power shovels or draglines, to scoop off the layers of soil and rock covering the coal seam. Once the coal is exposed, it is broken up by using explosives, and then smaller shovels lift it from the ground and load it into trucks. Mining companies are required by Federal, State, and local laws to restore the mined land after surface mining is completed; as a result, the overburden and topsoil are stored after removal so that they can be replaced and native vegetation replanted.

Underground mining is used when the coal deposit lies deep below the surface of the earth. When developing an underground mine, miners first must dig tunnels deep into the earth near the place where the coal is located. Depending on where the coal seam is in relation to the surface, tunnels may be vertical, horizontal, or sloping. Entries are constructed so that miners can get themselves and their equipment to the ore and carry it out, while allowing fresh air to enter the mine. Once dug to the proper depth, a mine’s tunnels interconnect with a network of passageways going in many directions. Using the room-and-pillar method, miners remove sections of the coal as they work the coal seam from the tunnel entrance to the edge of the mine property, leaving columns of coal in place to help support the ceiling together with long steel bolts. This process is then reversed, and the remainder of the ore is extracted, as the miners work their way back out. In the case of longwall mining of coal, self-advancing roof supports, made of hydraulic jacks and metal plates, cover the area being mined. As coal is removed, the entire apparatus advances, allowing the ceiling in the mined area to cave in as the miners work back towards the tunnel entrance. Underground mining does not require as extensive a reclamation process as surface mining; however, mine operators and environmental engineers still must ensure that ground water remains uncontaminated and that abandoned mines do not collapse.

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How is opal mined?

Opal:

Opal has been a mystery for centuries. No two opals look alike. The word “opal” was derived from a Greek word opallos, meaning ‘to see changes of color’. Opal is derived as a precious gemstone which is formed from non-crystalline silica gel. It consists of 6 to 10 per cent water and small silica spheres are arranged in a regular pattern. It generally measures 5.5 to 6.5 on MOH’s hardness scale with diamonds measuring 9 to 10 and pearls 4 to 5. It is a birthstone for October.

Opal dates back to 1849 where it was found at a cattle station named Tarrawilla, near Angaston some 80 km outside Adelaide in Australia. Nearly 95% of the opal is found in Australia. A small number is found in other countries like Mexico, Brazil and USA. There are three major opal mining regions in Australia that produce different types of opal.

White opal also known as ‘milk’ opal is found in and around the towns of Coober Pedy, Mintabie and Andamooka in South Australia. The most famous opal is the black opal which is found in Lightning Ridge in the state of New South Wales. Boulder Opal is found in Central Queensland, Quilpie, Winton and Opalton. Other opals include Light Opal, Doublet, Triplet, Common, Synthetic and Imitation.

Most of the opal deposits are found in New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland. At present, mining of opal is done in the following areas and each produces solid Opal with specific characteristics and color patterns.

Lightning Ridge, NSW, is famous for glorious black opal. This town is situated 770 kilometers northwest of Sydney. Black opal was first discovered at Lighting Ridge in the late 1880’s.

White Cliffs is Australia’s oldest commercial opal field. This is situated around 295 kilometres northeast of Broken Hill. Opal was first mined at White Cliffs about 1889. For nearly 30 years, White Cliff opal fields produced opal for the world market.

The real development of Queensland’s vast opal deposits began in 1873 with the discovery of fine quality opal north of Thargomindah. Opal mines are concentrated in certain regions like Yowah, Quilpie, Eromanga and Jundah.

Coober Pedy is famous for White or milky opals. At present, opal fields encompass an area of approximately 45 kilometres. Andamooka is found southwest of Coober Pedy in harsh desert country. Andamooka is one of Australia’s most famous opal fields, having produced some of the most beautiful pieces of opal. The opal fields in and around Andamooka produce top gem, crystal, light opal and some dark opal.

Opal usually occurs in both sedimentary and volcanic rocks. There are various methods of opal mining.

Methods of opal mining

Sink a shaft:
The simplest form of opal mining is by shaft sinking with a pick and shovel. A shaft is sunk straight down until some promising “opal dirt” is discovered. Length of the shaft could be as short as three metres or as long as 20 metres. A handpick or screwdriver is used to extract any opal found, due to the frailty of the stone.

Open cut mining:
Open cut method is done by the use of heavy machinery to remove large amounts of opal dirt from closer to the surface for inspection. This method is more expensive and is mostly used to search for boulder opal in Central Queensland.

Noodling:
Many locals search through heaps of discarded mullock for pieces of precious opal. An abandoned open-cut mine is another good place for a noodler, using a rake and sieve for tools. Some have taken to large scale machine noodling by allowing large amounts of opal dirt travel on a conveyer belt under ultra-violet light, which detects the precious opal.

Puddling and Rumbling:
A Puddler is a large mesh-lined drum attached to a motor. This device rotates and turns the clay into sludge as water is pumped into the drum. The sludge escapes through the mesh. A related technique is dry rumbling.

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An Overview of Platinum

Platinum:

Platinum is a material which is very rare and the cost of gold is double than gold. In igneous rocks platinum is formed and these rocks also have iron and magnesium. Along with other materials like copper and gold, Platinum is also found in thin layers. Using surface and underground Platinum is mined. Due to natural calamities like wind, rain etc.platinum gets washed off and goes to the rivers and streams where through placer mining it’s mined.

In earlier days miners felt that platinum is a junky form of silver and they used to throw it away. Since it’s found in gold mine people named it as “white gold”. When copper and gold is mined then platinum is obtained in US. In South Africa, Russia, Columbia, Alaska, and Canada platinum is mined.

Uses of Platinum:

For surgical instruments, chemical equipment, jewelry, and catalytic converters in cars platinum is used. Platinum is metal which can be molded without any trouble and hence it’s used in wire and in items which got to be bent.

Methods of platinum mining:

By narrow reef method first platinum group metals (pgm) is extracted where miners make use of handheld pneumatic drills in order to make holes in the reef which explosives can be loaded. Through blasting when ore is released it is taken out by making use of scrapers which is attached to wenches and transported to the surface.

The most popular and famous mining methods are New mechanical and hybrid mining. One mining procedure is of drilling either by pneumatic drills/newer specialized drilling equipment and then cleaning the ore from the mine using low-profile vehicles known as LHD (load haul dump).

Vital amounts of platinum are manufactured from the mine sites in far eastern Russia and the Norilsk-Talnakh mine which is situated in the Polar ice cap using both open-pit strip and underground mining procedures. In Zimbabwe platinum was found in the year 1925 in a place by name the Great Dyke which runs approximately north and south for about 550 kilometers through the heart of the country.

Top-rated Platinum Producers:

The underground segment which was lately opened uses deeper level extraction methods. By mechanized ramp and fill procedure 80% of platinum and palladium ore is mined and these are more or less like the LHD method in South Africa.

Platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium and osmium are the six metallic elements which are called as Platinum Group Metals. At the time of mining procedure these metals are extracted and mining process frequently yields far more nickel/copper than it does for platinum because pgm is rare and also due to its tendency to merge with other metals.

South Africa is the world’s largest producer and there platinum is mined in an area called the Bushveld Igneous Complex. It was estimated that this massive ore deposit has been formed before 2000 years ago, an area of 370 kilometers. And these pgm’s are discovered in three distinct layers known as reefs where the main source of which are the Merensky Reef, first opened in the year 1925 and the Upper Group 2 (UG2) Reef, where mining started in the year 1970s.

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What is gold mining?

Gold mining consists of the processes and techniques employed in the removal of gold from the ground. Earlier gold was mined using different methods like Panning, cradling, dry blowing, shaft mining, Puddling and dredging. Nowadays open cut mining and underground methods are used for gold mining.

Panning is one of the oldest techniques of separating gold from rock. Gold panning technique was introduced by Isaac Humphrey at Coloma in 1848. Also Mexicans developed panning technique in their country, using a flat dish called a batea. Gold panning was slow even for most skillful miner. In a single day, one miner was able to wash only 50 pans in 12 hour workday and obtain only a small amount of gold dust. This method was the most common method of mining on the goldfields. Rocky material was loosened with pick and shovel. After it had been broken down, this rocky material was taken by wheelbarrow to a creek where it was carefully washed and swished around a shallow metal pan. As the water separated the particles of dirt, rock and pebbles, small deposits of gold sank to the bottom of the pan. This was successful for yielding small nuggets. A persistent prospector could find a considerable amount of gold over time.

Cradle (Rocker): This method was introduced by Isaac Humphrey. Cradling involves a wooden box with a handle on one side and a ridged bottom covered with Hessian cloth. Large pieces of rock were sorted through and discarded if they did not yield any gold. Finer rocks and pebbles were then washed with creek water across the ridges in the bottom of the cradle. This method was more successful then panning in that it meant that greater amounts of gravel and dirt could be examined.

Dry blowing: This method was not very effective. This method was adopted in some parts of Australia like Kalgoorli in Western Australia. In this method two pans were used. Fine, dust like material was poured from a pan held high, into the second pan which was positioned on the ground. As the material was poured down, the wind blew away the dust and fine particles of rock, while the tiny nuggets of gold fell into the pan below. While the method was sound in theory, the winds meant that tiny particles of gold could be blown away with the rest of the dust and dirt.

Shaft mining:
One of the popular methods was shaft mining. To find gold from underground, miners dug a shaft of up to 50 meters deep. Most of the miners were equipped for pick and shovel, so this was considered a long and tiring task. This method was adopted when prospector was confident that there was gold in a particular place. It was very difficult to find gold in older days, because there was no proper mining equipment. Discovering gold was more a matter of luck than good judgment.

Puddling:
This method was used to separate gold from clay. Small amounts of clay were dumped in a large container and were filled with water. As it was stirred with wooden stake, clay would dissolve and gold particles would sink to the bottom. Like other methods, even this method did not yield huge amounts of gold, but they were able to get a reasonable amount of gold.

Dredging:
In this method, a huge bucket would be placed in front of the dredge which would scoop vast amounts of sediment from the river bed. This method would then be carefully sifted and sorted. After the sifting was completed, waste material was returned to river bed.

Open cut mining:
In this method, rocks that are on surface are removed and moved to another place. Over a period of time, the mine is excavated in a series of layers, known as benches. Mining company does take safety measures at regular intervals within the mine to reduce the risk of rock falls. Benches allow trucks and other large vehicles to enter the site and allow drilling and ore sampling at different levels. The rocks that are removed with the help of machines are crushed and sifted through for gold. This method is very profitable because the removed rocks will at least have three to four grams of gold per tonne.
Drills and explosives are used to break the rock. Explosives like ammonium nitrate are used to break the rock. It causes less damage to nearby areas.

Underground Mining:
In underground mining, gold is found below the surface. This method is very costly and cause dangers to mine workers. In this method, a shaft is sunk into the ground which would be 1000 meters deep. Horizontal tunnels, known as stopes are dug at various depths and the miners work along these to access the gold.

Vehicles gain access to the various levels of the mine through a spiral tunnel known as a decline. As mineshafts become deeper, the risk of cave-ins or collapses increases. Underground mines operate under strict safety protocols. These include the way the mineshafts are dug and constructed, the methods of support for the walls and ceiling of the mine and the use of special machines to provide adequate ventilation and lighting.

 

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Most commonly used metal – Magnesium

Magnesium is the third most used metal, following iron and aluminium. Magnesium derives its name from magnesite, a magnesium carbonate mineral, and this stone in turn is told to owe its name to magnesite dumps found in Magnesia, a region in the antique Greek region of Thessaly. The British chemist Humphry Davy is said to have manufactured a mixture of magnesium in 1808 by electrolyzing damp magnesium sulfate, utilizing mercury as a cathode.

The 1st victorious industrialized manufacture was begun in Germany in 1886 by Aluminum und Magnesium fabrik Hemelingen, depending on the electrolysis of molten carnallite. Hemelingen later became constituent of the industrial compound IG Farbenindustrie, which, for the duration of the 1920s and ’30s, urbanized a process for manufacturing huge quantities of molten and fundamentally water-free magnesium chloride (now branded as the IG Farben process) as well as the expertise for electrolyzing this merchandise to magnesium metal and chlorine.

Mining and concentrating
Both dolomite and magnesite are hauled out and concerted by conservative methods. Carnallite is hauled out as ore or alienated from other salt amalgams that are brought to the exterior by solution mining. Naturally happening magnesium including brines are determined in large ponds by solar desertion.

Extraction and refining
A physically powerful chemical reagent, magnesium structures steady compounds and responds with oxygen and chlorine in equally the liquid and gaseous status. This means that taking out of the metal from unrefined materials is a force exhaustive procedure requiring nicely tuned technologies. Commercial construction pursues 2 completely dissimilar methods: electrolysis of magnesium chloride or thermal lessening of magnesium oxide. Where power charges are stumpy, electrolysis is the cheaper means and, undeniably, it accounts for something like 75 percent of world magnesium production.

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