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Based on: 30 CFR Part 46.5.b.1

Languages: English

Sample Transcript

The terms open-pit and opencast refer to the type of surface mining which results in a depression or deep funnel-shaped pit surrounded by sloped or stepped walls. At these types of surface mines, a material's hardness ultimately determines how it will be extracted. Softer, unconsolidated material, such as sand and gravel, clay, and some minerals, can be mined by heavy digging equipment. If the material is under water, dredging equipment is used to bring deposits to the surface for processing. Harder, consolidated materials such as granite, marble, and limestone may require drilling and blasting for efficient removal. An open-pit mining operation which regularly uses explosives is referred to as a quarry.

Surface Mine Development, Operations, and Reclamation

Training Time: 28 minutes

Mining is the search for, extraction, and processing of valuable materials from the earth's crust. Surface and underground mining are currently the most commonly employed methods for accessing ore, minerals, or other metal and nonmetal commodities. This course covers common mining methods, as well as the lifecycle of a mine, from the development through reclamation.

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Harder consolidated materials, such as granite, marble, and limestone, may require drilling and blasting for efficient removal.

Harder consolidated materials, such as granite, marble, and limestone, may require drilling and blasting for efficient removal.

Since mines represent enormous capital investments impacting large areas of land, great attention to detail is placed on locating valuable deposits and applying appropriate mining methods.

Since mines represent enormous capital investments impacting large areas of land, great attention to detail is placed on locating valuable deposits and applying appropriate mining methods.

Jaw and cone crushers are common types of equipment used to physically break hard, consolidated material for downstream screening, sorting, stockpiling, or further processing.

Jaw and cone crushers are common types of equipment used to physically break hard, consolidated material for downstream screening, sorting, stockpiling, or further processing.

Learning Objectives

  • List the various types of surface and underground mines
  • Describe how mines are developed and ultimately reclaimed
  • Describe the basic extraction and processing operations at a surface mine
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Surface Mine Development, Operations, and Reclamation FAQs

What is mining?
Mining is the search for, extraction, and processing of valuable materials from the earth's crust.

What do open-pit and opencast mean?
The terms "open-pit" and "opencast" refer to the type of surface mining which results in depressions or deep, funnel-shaped pit surrounded by sloped or stepped walls.

What is the typical "life-cycle" of a mine?
At its most basic level, the lifecycle of a mine proceeds through development, operation, and then reclamation.

What is meant by mine development and what does mine development include?
An active mining operation is the result of a deliberate and painstaking process which involves geologic exploration and surveying, functional and operational design, land use evaluation and permitting, site clearing and preparation, and construction.

What do surface mining operations generally include?
Surface mining operations generally include drilling and blasting, extraction, hauling, processing, and stockpiling.

What is mine reclamation?
The process of mine reclamation closes the loop on land use after mining operations have ceased. Mine operators may be required to have a documented plan clearly outlining how the land will be managed and restored when the mine has closed. This may involve plans for replacing fill material, compacting the site, and planting trees.

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