More than 80% of the palladium metal mining is located at the Stillwater Mine is automated. Mechanized mining expenditures are in the region of 40% less than non-mechanized conventional mining techniques. The mainstream of ore created at the Stillwater Mine is resultant from mechanized access ramp and fill mining. Other mechanized mining techniques also used are sub-level stopping. In areas where the Reef is constricted, Stillwater Mining uses a more discriminating; less productive technique of slushier cut and fills mining to haul out ore.
The ramp and fill technique starts in a parallel stope or fabrication stage and engrosses the use of hand detained or mechanized drills for flashing and load-haul-dump (LHD) mucking equipments to lug away the ore using an access ramp. Advances in the stope are completed in 9-foot increments in which land is abnormally sustained with rock bolts and additional materials. After the stope has been hauled out, the stope is then backfilled with squander rock and sand to turn into the floor for the following horizontal stope, moving uphill in 10-foot augmentations.
Certain mine employs an additional discerning method of slusher cut and fill mining to haul out ore from slender reef areas. In areas of tapered ore, where the breadth is 6 feet or less, high-speed equipments cannot naturally entrée the reef to haul out ore without extreme dilution. Dilution is the quantity of squander rock that is undisturbed with the ore.
An effectual technique is for a miner to employ a slusher, which is an electric appliance with a 48-inch scraper container to take away ore from a stope. The bucket is fitted to a cable affixed to the visage of the stope. The mechanism is situated at the rear of the ore chute and draws the container forward, staging it with ore.