journal of mining and geology solid solution in minerals

strip mining - an overview | sciencedirect topics

Strip mining is employed in coal reserves where the overburden is removed in rectangular blocks in plan view called pits or strips. The pits are parallel and adjacent to each other. Strip mining is fundamentally different from contour or area mining on how the overburden is displaced, called spoil handling. In contour or area stripping, the overburden is hauled with different equipment than what digs or removes the overburden. In strip mining, the overburden is mined and moved by the same equipment: draglines or continuous excavators. The movement of overburden in strip mining is called the casting process.

The operating sequence for each pit includes drilling and blasting, followed by overburden casting, then coal removal. Some overlap exists in operational steps between pits. Draglines and continuous excavators move or displace the overburden from the active pit to the previous pit that has had the coal removed.

The primary planning mechanism used in strip mining is the range diagram, which is a cross-sectional plan of the shape of the pit in various stages of mining. The range diagram allows the dragline or continuous excavator equipment characteristics of dig depth, reach, and physical size to be placed on the geologic dimensions of depth to seams (overburden), and depth between seams (interburden). By comparing machinery specifications with dimensional characteristics of the geology, the mine designer can plan the pit width and dig depth (Fig. 6).

As the dragline or continuous excavator moves the overburden to the adjacent empty pit where the coal has been removed, the rock swells in volume. Earth or rock increases in volume, called the swell factor, when the material is removed from its in situ or in-ground state and placed into a pit or on the surface. The range diagram allows the mine planner to identify the equipment dump height required to keep the displaced overburden (spoil) from crowding the machinery and mining operations. In certain cases of mining multiple coal seams from one pit, a coal seam can provide the boundary between the prestrip and strip elevations.

In a relatively new technique that originated in 1970s to early 1980s, explosives are used to move or throw the overburden into the previous pit in a process called cast blasting. The difference in the quantity of explosives required to fragment rock in place versus fragment and cast or throw the rock across the active pit and into the previous pit is cost-effective. Many surface strip mines use explosives to move overburden in addition to the primary swing equipment (dragline or continuous excavator), displacing up to 35% of the overburden by cast blasting. When cast blasting is used, the dragline may excavate from the spoil side of the pit, sitting on the leveled, blasted overburden.

Surface mine design principles emanate from the operational characteristics of surface mining, which are drilling and blasting, spoil handling, coal removal, and haulage. Except in a few circumstances, overburden in surface mining requires the rock to be fractured by explosives to allow it to be excavated. The goal of drill and blast design is to optimize rock fracturing, which optimizes digging productivity. Fracturing is optimized by using the correct amount of explosive per cubic yard of overburden employed in the drill hole spacing in plan view. The amount of explosive in weight per cubic yard of overburden is called the powder factor. Drill and blast design is accomplished by empirical methods and by experience. The drill hole layout and powder factor change when cast blasting is utilized.

Spoil handling design is of critical importance, as this function is usually the most expensive cost element in surface mining. When the surface mining method utilizes trucks, spoil handling is designed to minimize the overall haul distance for logical units of spoil volume, which may be driven by pit layout, topography, or area stripping requirements. Mine plan alternatives are evaluated to minimize the distance that spoil volumes are moved from the beginning centroid of mass to the ending centroid of mass. Spoil handling design goals for strip mining surface methods that utilize draglines and continuous excavators also include the minimization of spoil haulage distance. For the dragline, the average swing angle is identified by evaluating alternative mine plan layouts. The goal is to minimize the swing angle, which maximizes productivity.

The goals of coal removal and haulage design in surface mining include minimizing the distance coal is hauled from pits to surface processing and loadout facilities in near term years, locating haul road ramps out of the pits to minimize interference with overburden removal, and engaging excavation practices and equipment that minimize coal dilution by mining noncoal rock floor.

Surface mining has two design parameters that affect mine cost, which are minimizing rehandle and maximizing pit recovery. Rehandle occurs when overburden is handled twice and sometimes multiple times during excavation and spoil placement. Having 0% rehandle of the original inplace overburden is not achievable because of inherent design requirements of surface mining such as ramps into the pit and mining conditions such as sloughing ground that covers the coal. Simulating alternative mine plans and anticipating where overburden will be placed can minimize rehandle. Rehandle can more than double the cost of mining portions of the overburden.

The goal of coal pit recovery is to obtain as close to 100% as possible. One method to maximize pit recovery is to minimize drill and blast damage to the top of the coal. Drill and blast damage is reduced by stopping the drill holes from touching the coal seam or by placing nonexplosive material in each drill hole, called stemming. Pit recovery is also maximized by matching the pit width with the characteristics of the machinery used to extract the coal. Again, the range diagram as a planning tool is used in this evaluation.

Strip mining process is most suitable for fairly flat shallow single-seam coal, lignite and other bedded deposits. The mineral layer is covered by an even thickness of overburden composed of soft topsoil and weathered rocks in succession. The soft and unconsolidated overburden can be stripped and removed either by dragline or shovel to expose a coal seam and certain metallic ores. The overburden might need drilling at grid spacing of 7.5 7.5 to 1515m depending on its hardness and thickness. The drill holes are charged with explosives and blasted. Drilling and blasting continues in advance with the movements of dragline and shovel.

Surface soil is often stripped separately and dumped as stockpile. The excavators either dispose of the overburden to a suitable location for land reclamation or store the waste material for future backfill after the coal/minerals are removed. The topsoil from the stockpile is spread back onto the reclaimed surface of the stripped mine. The new topsoil is often protected by seeding or planting grass or trees on the fertilized restored surface. The coal/metallic ore is usually removed by an exclusive separate operation. It uses smaller drill capable of drilling entire thickness of the seam or at suitable bench height if necessary. The blast hole spacing must be closer than that of the overburden rocks. The process involves charging with ANFO (ammonium nitrate mixed with diesel fuel oil) explosive and light blasting. This will avoid pulverization of coal. The broken coal or minerals are removed by shovel or front-end loader, crushed if required, screened to various size fractions and transported to beneficiation plant. The high wall of the mine opening is stable at 3 in 1 i.e. around 20 from vertical. The lumpy stockpile heap of overburden waste is stable at 30-35 for shale and 35-45 for limestones and sandstones. All measurements are with respect to the horizontal surface. The total cycle of ore and waste mining is given in Fig. 11.2.

In case of a deep-seated bedded deposit within permissible stripping ratio the overburden is removed by opening successive and progressive benches. It continues till sufficient area over the ore is exposed. The multiple seam mining is done by operating first pair of overburden and coal bed at a time and followed by second and third pairs in sequence. Finally, the total overburden rocks, stockpiled around the mine opening, are backfilled to the abandoned mine. The excavated land is reclaimed for future use.

The strip mining process is suitable for fairly flat, shallow, single-seam coal, lignite, and other bedded deposits. The mineral layer is covered by an even thickness of overburden composed of soft top soil and weathered rocks in succession. The soft and unconsolidated overburden can be stripped and removed by dragline or shovel to expose a coal seam and metallic ore. The overburden might need drilling at grid spacings of 7.5m7.5m15m15m depending on its hardness and thickness. The drill holes are charged with explosives and blasted. Production drilling and blasting continue in advance with the movement of dragline/shovel.

The surface soil is often stripped separately, removed, and dumped as stockpile. The excavators either dispose of the overburden to a suitable location for land reclamation or store the waste material for future backfill after the coal/minerals are removed. The top soil from the stockpile is spread back onto the reclaimed surface of the stripped mine. The new top soil is often protected by seeding or planting grass or trees on the fertilized restored surface. The coal/metallic ore is usually removed by an exclusive separate operation. It uses smaller drills capable of drilling entire thicknesses of the seam or at suitable bench height if necessary. The blast hole spacing must be closer than that of the overburden rocks. The process involves charging with ANFO explosive and light blasting. This will avoid pulverization of the coal. The broken coal or minerals are removed by shovel or front-end loader, crushed if required, screened to various size fractions, and transported to the beneficiation plant. The high wall of the mine opening is stable at 3 in 1, i.e., around 20degrees from vertical. The lumpy stockpile heap of overburden waste is stable at 3035degrees for shale and 3545degrees for limestones and sandstones. All measurements are with respect to the horizontal surface. The total cycle of ore and waste mining is given in Fig.12.2.

The overburden is removed by opening successive and progressive benches in the case of deep-seated bedded deposit within a permissible stripping ratio. It continues until sufficient area over the ore is exposed. Multiple seam mining is done by operating a first pair of overburden and coal beds, followed by second and third pairs in sequence. Finally, the total overburden rocks, stockpiled around the mine opening, is backfilled to reclaim the abandoned excavation.

Mining activities and, in particular, strip mining of metal ores produce vast quantities of residues called mine spoils and mine tailings that may contain significant concentrations of metals (Fig. 14.1). Mine spoils or overburden consists of surface materials that do not contain the metal(s) of interest and that are therefore stockpiled at the surface, often resembling large mesas. Mine tailings, in contrast, are the crushed mineral rock that has been processed to release the metal of interest. These wastes are often pumped as a slurry in lifts into valleys or depressions. Mine tailings can be tens of meters deep due to successive depositions of lifts. Thus these residues, which are usually composed of unweathered primary minerals, produce environments that are physically and chemically unstable (fast weathering) and prone to wind and water erosion. Strip mining for copper, for example, produces large quantities of tailings that often contain concentrations of ~100 to <10,000mgkg1 of such metals as arsenic, cadmium, and lead. Similarly, iron pyrites (FeS2), which are often associated with copper, silver, and lead ores, can have a devastating impact on the aquatic environment because their oxidation releases sulfuric acid into the environment (Fig. 14.2). The overall reaction is described as follows:

However, in an acid stream (pH<3), fresh pyrite can react in a cascading effect with soluble ferric iron (Fe3+), creating even more acidity (Stumm and Morgan, 1996). The reaction rate is controlled by the oxidation of Fe2+ to Fe3+ in the presence of O2, and results in lowering the pH of the environment. This process can also occur biologically via autotrophic bacteria which thrive at pH 23 (see Chapter 5).

Mining operations that treat or leach ores and/or store acid chemicals for the extraction of metals can generate large volumes of acidic metal-containing wastewaters and/or leachates. For example, low-grade Cu ore can be extracted by means of sulfuric acid heap leaching. In this process, crushed Cu ore is continuously leached with sulfuric acid until most of the Cu is solubilized due to both the high acidity and formation of Cu-sulfate complexes. Spent acid solutions, usually contaminated with other metals, must be neutralized and stored in lagoons or impoundments. Gold mining also produces vast quantities of spent ores and liquid process streams that usually contain residual levels of cyanide ion (CN) complexes. Metalcyanide complexes are usually either stable in the soil environment or biologically degraded into nontoxic forms of N (see Chapter 5). However, when released into aquatic systems, unstable complexes of cyanide can be extremely toxic to fish if free cyanide is produced.

Minerals are typically excavated by underground mining, strip mining, or open-pit mining. The selection of the mine design is dictated by the physical structure and value of the ore body and by the characteristics of the adjacent geological materials. Although open-pit mines and underground mines are the two most common mining strategies, placer mining and solution mining also have been used for mineral extraction. Placer mining involves excavation of river or stream sediments and the separation of valuable minerals by gravity, selective flotation, or by chemical extraction. Most solution mining is by heap leaching, in which the extractant solution is trickled over broken ore on the surface or in underground workings; less common is injection into underground aquifers. The consequence of the excavation of open pits and other mining-related disturbances is that sulfide minerals previously isolated from the atmosphere are exposed to oxygen. Oxidation of sulfide minerals ensues.

Minerals are typically excavated by underground mining, strip mining, or open-pit mining. The selection of the mining technique is dictated by the physical structure, location, and grade or value of the ore body and by the characteristics of the adjacent geological materials. Although open-pit mining and underground mining are the two most common mining techniques, placer mining and solution mining also have been used for mineral extraction. Placer mining involves excavation of river or stream sediments and separation of valuable minerals by gravity, by selective flotation, or by chemical extraction. Most solution mining is by heap leaching in which the extractant solution is trickled over broken ore on the surface or in underground workings; less common is injection into underground geological formations. The consequence of the excavation of open-pits and other mining-related disturbances is that sulfide minerals previously isolated from the atmosphere are exposed to oxygen. The oxidation of sulfide minerals ensues.

Coal is primarily obtained by surface mining (sometimes called strip mining, but not by the industry) and underground mining. There are two main sources of power plant coal in the United States: (1) Pennsylvanian-age coals in eastern basins like the Appalachian, Illinois, and Black Warrior, and (2) Paleocene-age coals in western states such as Wyoming, Colorado, and Montana. The eastern coals tend to be higher in grade, ranging from bituminous to anthracite, but also tend to be higher in sulfur. Some of the eastern coal seams are considered metallurgical coals suitable for steelmaking, and can command a higher price than the run-of-the-mine coal that is used in power plants. Western coals are lower grade, ranging from lignite to subbituminous, but are also lower in sulfur. These lower-grade coals provide less Btu value per ton, so more fuel is needed per megawatt compared to eastern coals, but the reduced sulfur content also makes them economical.

Because of their increasing efficiency with larger sizes, the land footprint of a coal power plant can be quite substantial. There typically needs to be sufficient space to unload and store significant amounts of coal feedstock. Coal is often processed at the mine to create uniform-size particles (comminution), remove noncombustible minerals, and provide other conditioning to improve performance. Increasing numbers of power plants are using this so-called refined coal, but if the precombustion cleaning, comminution and conditioning has to be done at the power plant site, this requires even more land. Large cooling towers might be necessary for plant operations, and sufficient land area for gathering and handling the postcombustion products is also needed. Many coal power plants are located along waterways or large rivers like the Ohio to facilitate the delivery of coal via barges or railroads. Some large surface coal mines, such as Wyodak near Gillette in eastern Wyoming have a power plant on-site to utilize the coal at the mine and sell electricity directly into the national grid.

The following classification, of land disturbance due to coal mining, is adapted from a more general and comprehensive classification of Motorina and Ovchinnikov (1975) and Bauer and Weinitschke (1973). The classifications of Motorina and Ovchinnikov (1975) include one based on relief features and another on overburden characteristics. Although designed for the USSR, they can be adapted for other countries.

Land disturbed by surface mining (strip-mining and open-pit mining).1.1.Open-pit mining disturbance.1.1.1Terraced excavations usually over 30 m deep; deposit usually dipped at >30; overburden stored externally (Fig. 2.1A).1.1.2Terraced excavations over 10 m deep; deposit usually 830; most over-burden stored externally (Fig. 2.1B).1.1.3Terraced excavations usually 1030 m deep with deposit dipped at 8; some internal storage of overburden (Fig. 2.1C).1.2.Strip-mining disturbance.1.2.1Area strip-mining of horizontal deposits relatively near the surface (Fig. 2.1D).1.2.2Contour strip-mining of horizontal or steeply dipped deposits in mountainous regions (Fig. 2.1E).

Open-pit mining disturbance.1.1.1Terraced excavations usually over 30 m deep; deposit usually dipped at >30; overburden stored externally (Fig. 2.1A).1.1.2Terraced excavations over 10 m deep; deposit usually 830; most over-burden stored externally (Fig. 2.1B).1.1.3Terraced excavations usually 1030 m deep with deposit dipped at 8; some internal storage of overburden (Fig. 2.1C).

Strip-mining disturbance.1.2.1Area strip-mining of horizontal deposits relatively near the surface (Fig. 2.1D).1.2.2Contour strip-mining of horizontal or steeply dipped deposits in mountainous regions (Fig. 2.1E).

Land disturbed by underground (deep) mining.2.1.Land subsidence.2.1.1Canyon subsidence caused by working medium or thick seams that dip steeply (>45).2.1.2Terraced subsidence resulting from the working of seams that show 2745 dipping and where the land surface slopes.2.1.3Bowl or cirque-type subsidence caused by the working of medium or thick seams dipping up to 27.2.1.4Trough-type subsidence resulting from mining low and medium thickness, horizontal or slightly inclined seams; appear like natural depressions.2.2.Surface waste deposits associated with pitheads.2.2.1Plateau-shaped tips resulting from single- or multi-level tipping from road or rail transport.2.2.2Crest-shaped tips resulting from cableway dumping.2.2.3Conical tips resulting from skip or tip-wagon dumping.

Land subsidence.2.1.1Canyon subsidence caused by working medium or thick seams that dip steeply (>45).2.1.2Terraced subsidence resulting from the working of seams that show 2745 dipping and where the land surface slopes.2.1.3Bowl or cirque-type subsidence caused by the working of medium or thick seams dipping up to 27.2.1.4Trough-type subsidence resulting from mining low and medium thickness, horizontal or slightly inclined seams; appear like natural depressions.

Surface waste deposits associated with pitheads.2.2.1Plateau-shaped tips resulting from single- or multi-level tipping from road or rail transport.2.2.2Crest-shaped tips resulting from cableway dumping.2.2.3Conical tips resulting from skip or tip-wagon dumping.

Keleberda and Danko (1975) studied the Dneprov spoil heap that resulted from the strip mining of the Chasov Yar refractory clays (Donetsk region). The spoils were loamy sands. This spoil heap was recultivated with sweetclover (Melilotus volgicus) as a green manure plant. Uncultivated plots served as controls. It was found that invertase, urease, and catalase activities and respiration (CO2 evolution), like humus and total N contents, increased significantly in the 0-5- and 10-20-cm layers of the recultivated spoil heap as compared with the control plots. Invertase activity of the 20-30-cm layer was also higher in the sweetclover plots than in the controls (Keleberda, 1976), and proteinase activity also increased in the top layer of the sweetclover plots (Keleberda, 1977).

Afforestation of some spoil plots in this area was performed with black locust and oleaster It has been established (Keleberda, 1978) that after 11 years the spoil was transformed into a primitive soil, characterised by increased humus and N contents and invertase, urease, and proteinase activities in its 0-20-cm layer as compared with the uncultivated control plot (Table31).

In the same area, Keleberda (1979), Danko et al. (1980), and Keleberda and Drugov (1984) have also studied the influence of black locust on the development of other tree species: green ash (Fraxinus viridis), small-leaf linden (Tilia cordata), and elm (Ulmus pinnato-ramosa). When these species were planted in rows having contact with locust, they developed better, even in the first years of their plantation, than the plants having no contact with locust. Their better development, which became very evident 9 years after their planting, was accompanied by increased total N and chlorophyll contents in their leaves and by increased invertase, urease, and proteinase activities (Table32); humus levels; amounts of total and hydrolysable N; and mobile P and K contents of their soils (especially in the 0-5-cm layer).

Keleberda and Drugov (1984) also described another experiment, in which black alder (Alnus glutinosa) was used as a symbiotic N2-fixing plant instead of black locust, whereas weeping birch (Betula verrucosa) served as the test tree. The results obtained in the seventh year of the black alder and weeping birch plantations were similar to those registered in the experiment with black locust and green ash, small-leaf linden, or elm.

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Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration is the flagship journal of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Inc. (SME), an international society of some 15,000 members worldwide consisting of professionals in the mining and minerals industry, including engineers, geologists, metallurgists, educators, students and researchers.

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Started in 1984 under the name of Mineral & Metallurgical Processing, this SME journal has more than three decades of history, consistently fulfilling a unique role in the global mining and mineral industry as a forum in which industry, university and government research and results are given equal weight.

In 2019, it will feature three special issues: (1) Special Issue in Honor of Professor Douglas W. Fuerstenaus 90th Birthday (Prof. Fuerstenau is a giant in mineral processing), (2) Special Issue on Emerging Technology, or the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Mining, and (3) Special Issue on Critical Minerals.

The journal publishes high-quality original research publications, in-depth special review articles, reviews of state-of-the-art and innovative technologies and industry methodologies, communications of work of topical and emerging interest, and other works that enhance understanding on both the fundamental and practical levels.

Topics covered include blasting, coal, data science, emerging technologies, environmental stewardship, equipment, geology, geomechanics/geotechnologies, health and safety, hydrometallurgy, industrial minerals, industrial processes such as comminution and flotation, rock/fracture mechanics, mine design/planning, mineral economics/resources, mineral processing, project management/finance, optimization, plant design, reclamation, sensing/geophysics, separation/purification of minerals and metals, simulation/modeling, social issues/law/policy, tailings, underground construction and tunneling, ventilation, and water management.

As a result of the significant disruption that is being caused by the COVID-19 pandemic we are very aware that many researchers will have difficulty in meeting the timelines associated with our peer review process during normal times. Please do let us know if you need additional time. Our systems will continue to remind you of the original timelines but we intend to be highly flexible at this time.

mining & mineral processing solutions | malvern panalytical

The shift towards lower grade ore deposits, sustainable energy and volatile market conditions pushes the mining industry towards predictive, sustainable and agile analytical solutions to improve safety, increase operational efficiency and develop new services and business models.

Our mining customers value Malvern Panalyticals complete offerings of smart technologies. More than 50 years of experience in creating value to all different segments of the mining industry are essential to develop tailored solutions for an optimal and efficient prediction during all steps of your mining process - from mineral exploration to the analysis of final products.

Either direct analysis in the field, on-line sensors to predict ore grades, laboratory equipement or complete automation solutions, our specialists develop together with you the optimal solution tailored to your specific needs.

The focus of the mining industry is shifting towards potential new resources in remote areas as a result of decreasing ore grades. Remote sensing technology is an effective and widely established analytical method for geology and mineral exploration and has proven extremely beneficial by providing access to dangerous or previously inaccessible mineral deposits. Aerial imagery acquired from hyperspectral and multispectral imaging sensors is applied to geological surveys, alteration zones mapping, and geomorphology applications. Important aspects of these studies are supported by collecting ground truthing data with portable spectrometers. Data from highly portable field instruments is compatible with popular image analysis software, allowing the creation of spectral libraries tailored to a specific application.

Portable mineralogical and elemental analyzers enable exploration geologists to safely obtain immediate information in the field or mine and to define geological boundaries in real-time. Rock chip and core analysis directly on the drilling rig allows on-the-spot decisions for optimal grade block definition, mine planning and efficient use of your drilling budget.

Malvern Panalyticals cross-belt analyzers allow direct and safe detection of ore variations as well as fast counteractions on changing ore composition. Early and accurate ore blending and sorting saves millions during downstream processing. It ensures a homogenous output towards the beneficiation plant and avoids the processing of low grade ore or waste.

Our solutions can be employed for continuous, non-contact monitoring of elemental and mineralogical composition as well as the prediction of process relevant parameters in a large range of mining applications such as iron, bauxite, copper, nickel or coal.

Reducing the cost of mineral extraction and energy consumption, milling your product to the correct grade size and frequent monitoring of the mineralogical and elemental composition are areas where we can partner with mining companies during ore processing. Tailored to the specific need of your process we offer real-time monitoring equipment as well as bespoke laboratory automation solutions. Together with our customers, we develop predictive models ensuring fast counteractions to enable constant and optimal mineral processing conditions.

Reuse, recycling and recovery of mine rejects is an important factor for operating a mining business in a sustainable way and to protect against the environmental impact of mining. Dedicated analytical solutions for elemental analysis, particle size and shape characterization, monitoring zeta potential and characterization of clay minerals can help to reduce the negative effects of mining on the environment.