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Four Facts About Underground Mining and the Technology Involved

Four Facts About Underground Mining and the Technology Involved

Published by Programme B

When most people think of mining, they often think about the antiquated pickaxes and headlamps that were used back in the olden days. While these certainly played a role in the mining process before technology was developed, today’s miners will often make use of machinery and technology to get the job done.

For example, there are many kinds of underground mining technology that are used in order for the miners to get to the minerals, ores, and gems that they are looking for. Here are a few interesting facts about the process that people may not know.

  1. There Are Two Types of Underground Mines

There are two main types of underground mining that the miners will work with. There is hard rock mining and soft rock mining, and while these names may be confusing to people who aren’t familiar with them, they make sense when people consider the types of minerals or ores being mined. 

Understandably, hard rock mining is focused on excavating and extracting hard minerals such as copper, gold, lead, nickel, silver, and zinc. By comparison, soft rock mining focuses more on softer minerals including oil shale, coal, and potash. The extraction method used depends heavily on the type of mineral or material being mined and the type of mine.

  1. Underground Mining Goes Far Deeper Than Most People Expect

While it makes sense that underground mining occurs primarily and exclusively below the surface of the Earth, most people do not realize exactly how deep this type of mining can reach. Depending on the type of ore that the mines are focused on getting, the depth can reach 6500 feet below the surface.

For reference of how deep this is, the deepest known cave system is the Veryovkina Cave, reaching a depth of 2212 feet. Most of the technology that surrounds underground mining is focused on keeping miners safe and withstanding the pressure that comes from working this far deep into the ground.

  1. The Technology Used Is Ever-Changing

Most people are aware of the fact that technology, as a whole, is constantly evolving and changing. However, in regards to underground mining technology, things change far more rapidly than in a majority of other fields. Just consider that only a handful of decades ago, people were making use of shovels, pickaxes, and canaries into mine systems.

Nowadays, there is a lot more being used to ensure the stability, safety, and longevity of mine systems; you can learn more about noise monitoring and management here, which is just one of the tools employed today. It is highly likely that the technology being used will continue to evolve further as people discover new methods and ways to mine with more efficiency.

  1. The Environmental Impacts Can Be Offset

It is an undeniable fact that mining, in any form, will have an impact on the surrounding environment and often the ecosystem. After all, minerals are being carved out of rocks thousands of feet below the surface, there are going to be impacts.

With that being said, people have been finding different ways to rely on technology to offset some of these impacts. This includes using more energy efficient vehicles, planting vegetation over completed mines, and using more fuel-efficient machinery.

Photo by Andre Moura from Pexels