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Thursday, 29 May 2014

MINE1010 Notes
Australian Coal Mining Industry
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Mined by indigenous Australian population along seam outcrops for hundreds of years
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After European settlement, coal was discovered on the coastal outcrops near Newcastle in 1791
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First coal exported was from Newcastle in 1799
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Industry grew slowly during 19th century
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Total production peaked in the 1920s at 14 MTPA with exports up to 1MTPA
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Great depression > exports fell to 50,000 TPA > industry fell
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1940s (War) > push for coal mining (energy and steel making), however the industry was
very inefficient, lacking mechanisation technology and skilled engineers
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Post-war: established a gov organisation which looked after the health and safety of
mineworkers > later on developed coal-mining insurance
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The industry was in a poor state during the post-war era
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1960s saw dramatic changes including:
High level mechanisation > introduced underground sector
Longwall technology from the UK and experienced UK mining personnel
Expansion of QLD coal industry commerced
Large scale surface coal mines began to energy > dragline and truck and shovel
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Australian death count from coal disasters has decreased from 94 lives lost in 1902 Mount
Kembla (NSW) to 4 lives lost in 1996 Gretley (NSW)
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Present: produces over 470 MTPA Rom coal (black coal)
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Approx 75% open cut, 25% underground
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60% from QLD and 40% from NSW
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Largest coal exporter in the world - 80% of total Australian production is exported
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Among highest performance in the world in: underground productivity, technology and
standards, safety and health performance, engineering education and industry training
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Australian black coal fields are mainly in QLD and NSW
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Safety Management Practice
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Targeted at 0 LTIFR (lost time injury frequency rate)
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Aimed to be fatality free
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Now focus is on AIFR (all injury frequency rate)
Open cut coal mining
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Methods and equipment:
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Strip mining - dragline operations
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Dragline used to remove overburden
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Capital cost: approx $80-120M
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Very costly so maximising dragline availability and utilisation is critical
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bucket capacity of 85m^3
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Mine operates along seam strike
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Strip lengths up to 6km+
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Improvements can be made through: lighter weight buckets, improved payloads and
productivity improvements
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Open pit - truck and shovel
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Drill and blast
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Hydraulic excavators
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Rope shovels
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Bucket Wheel Excavators (BWE) used primarily in lignite mines e.g. Latrobe Valley
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large mobile equipment
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40,000 tonnes
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100$M US
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Digs 76,000 m^3/day
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High wall mining - remote continuous miner or auger
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Location:
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Bowen Basin (QLD): predominantly single, thick seams and large dragline strip mines
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Hunter valley (NSW): multiple seams and products, variable geology, mix of dragline and
truck and shovel operations, environmentally sensitive
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Sensitives of open cut coal mining
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Coal seam continuity/geological structure
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Equipment utilisation (capital intensive)
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Stripping ratio (amount of overburden per tonne of coal uncovered)
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Selective mining -> coal loss/dilution
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Environmental impact (dust/blasting)
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Risks include:
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Highwall/stope failure e.g. Cartagena, Columbia and Freeport/Indonesia (non-coal)
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Floor and spoil pile instability -> leads to slumping/failure and coal loss
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Wet weather traffic ability
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Flooding
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Dilution/coal losses
Underground coal mining
Bord and pillar
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Total extraction or partial extraction
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use breaker line supports
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Risks: regional stability -> dynamic pillar collapse
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Local pillar instability -> rib failure
Longwall mining
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Roadway development: mined using electrically powered continuous miners and shuttle cars
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Coal clearance is by shuttle cars which load onto the boot end feeding of a conveyor belt
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Rectangular in shape, roofs supported by fully resin-grouted rock bolts, cables, and straps/
mesh
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Uses: continuous miners, roof bolting, face shearer, long wall roof supports
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One long wall face per mine
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Capital cost: approx 90-150M
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Development constrained (panel development often struggles to keep pace with long wall
extraction rates)
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Inflexible in terms of mine layout
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Sensitive to major geological structural disruption
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High capital cost
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Longwall moves from one panel to next, major source of production out of service for weeks
each move
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Risks: poor roof conditions (face falls, windblasts), spontaneous combustion/gas/outburts,
large geological structures

Hardrock mining methods


Ore A mixture of valuable minerals and gangue minerals from which at least one of the
minerals can be extracted at a profit. An orebody is a natural concentration of valuable material
that can be extracted and sold at a profit. Grade The relative quantity or the percentage of ore-
mineral or metal content in an orebody.
Cut-off Grade A grade level below which the material is not ore and considered to be
uneconomical to mine and process. The minimum grade of ore used to establish reserves.
Run-of-mine Ore It is a mix of valuable minerals and worthless rock in which each ingredients
is priced separately. Run-of-mine ore is treated in the dressing plant and processed into different
concentrates.
Recovery That portion of metal contained in ore that can be extracted by processing.
Hanging Wall The wall or rock above an ore deposit. Footwall The wall or rock under the ore
deposit.
Drift A horizontal opening in or near an orebody and parallel to the course of the vein or the
long dimension of the orebody.
Stripping Ratio The ratio of tons of overburden waste material to tonnes of ore in an open pit
mine.
Stages of the life of a mine:
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1. Prospecting (mineral deposit): methods-> physical geological which is direct and geophysical
which is indirect. e.g. aerial photography, satellite, map, old mines(locate)
2. Exploration (ore body): defining extent and value of ore e.g. sampling (drilling), estimate
tonnage and grade and valuate deposit
Feasibility study is conducted to determine whether to abandon or develop
3. Development (prospecting): open up ore deposit for production which involves
Acquire mining rights
File environmental impact statements and permits
Construct access roads and transport systems
Excavate deposit (strip or sink shaft) s
4. Exploitation (mining production): Large scale production of the ore
Factors in choice of method include geologic, geographical, economic,
environmental, social
Types of mining methods (surface or underground)
Monitor costs and economic payback
5. Reclamation
Trying to achieve:
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Safety
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Efficiency (maximise resource utilisation)
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Economy (lowest cost, maximum production)
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Environmentally friendly
What should be considered:
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Use drill hole data to understand the geological model of the deposit e.g. shape, size,
orientation, dip, depth and grade distribution
Mining Methods
1. Surface mining: open pit, open cast and quarrying
2. Underground: unsupported methods, supported methods, caving methods
3. Novel Mining methods: hydromining, directional drilling, micro tunneling
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Classical Mining Principles
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Accessing an ore body
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Extraction of the ore
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Transportation of the ore to the plant
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Mine closure - Environmental Effects

Surface Mining
Open pit mining
Advantages

High productivity due to being ideal for large equipment

Low labor requirement

Fairly low rock breakage cost


Simple development and access
Little support normally required
Favorable health and safety factors
Sufficient light & air
Disadvantages
Limited by depth
Limited by stripping ratio because of economics High capital investment associated with large
equipment
Surface may require extensive reclamation
Requires large deposit and large equipment to
achieve lowest cost
Weather detrimental
Slope stability is critical
Must provide waste disposal
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Pit may fill with water after mining; water may be
polluted
Destroys the natural beauty, reclamation requires
(extra cost)
Examples: Cadia Gold Mine, Macraes pit in NZ is close to community
Truck and shovel operations
Drill and blast
Hydraulic excavators
Rope shovels
Quarrying: the surface exploitation of stone or mineral deposits from the Earths crust
Advantages
Low capital cost; mechanization not extensive
Suited to small deposits
Easily accessible; hoisting may complicate moving
stone, supplies, and workers
Stable walls and benches; generally no bank
support required
Good safety; little chance of slope failure
Disadvantages
Somewhat limited by depth
Low productivity; high labor cost
Highest mining cost because of low productivity
Relatively skilled labor required
Inflexible; cannot easily change the mining plan at
depth
Mechanization is limited by the nature of the
method
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Consists of
removing the overlying strata or
overburden,
extracting the coal, and
replacing the overburden.
When the overlying material consists of earth or clay it can be removed directly by scrapers or
excavators, but where rock is encountered it is necessary to resort to blasting to prepare the
material into suitable form for handling by the excavators.
Underground Mining
1. Unsupported Methods: Room-and-Pillar Mining, Stope-and-Pillar Mining, Shrinkage
Stoping, Sublevel Stoping
2. Supported Methods: Cut-and-Fill Stoping, Square-Set Stoping
3. Caving Methods: Longwall Mining, Sublevel Caving, Block Caving
Method
name
Method Ore
Strength
Applicati
ons
Advantages Disadvantage
s
Room
and
Pillar
(Unsup
ported)
Applied to horizontal
deposits
Openings are driven
orthogonally and at
regular intervals in a
mine deposit
Production openings
(rooms)
Development
openings (entries)
When connected by
crosscuts, pillars are
formed rectangular for
natural support
Weak to
hard

Rock
strength:
moderate
to strong

Ore grade:
moderate

Depth:
shallow-
moderate
450-900
Driving several
openings at one time
increases production
and efciency by
proving multiple
working place ->
good for ventilation
and transportation

Moderately high
productivity and
mining cost
Fair to good recovery
with pillar extraction
Suitable to
mechanization
Caving and
subsidence
occur with pillar
recovery
Method
inexible
Poor recovery
without pillar
extraction
Ground stress
and support
loads increase
with depth
Health and
safety hazards
High capital
investment
Method
name
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Shrinka
ge
stoping
(unsup
ported)
Vertical stoping
method
Mined in horizontal
slices through blasting
Strong

Rock
strength:
strong

Ore grade:
high

depth:
shallow to
moderate
Snip
Mine,
british
Colombia
, gold
Small to moderate
scale operation
Ore is drawn down by
gravity
Simple method
Low capital
investment
Low
productivity
range
Moderate to
high mining
cost
labour intensive
dangerous
working
conditions due
to rough footing
Sublev
el
stoping
(unsup
ported)
Vertical mining
method, large open
stope is created within
the vein
Drilling and blasted
performed in
sublevels
After a set of holes
are loaded, blocks of
orebody are blasted
into the open stope
Moderate
to strong

Rock
strength:
strong

Ore grade:
moderate

Depth:
shallow to
deep
Meikle
mine
(USA)

Mt isa
mine and
olympic
dam
mine
(AUS)
copper
Small to moderate
scale operation
Ore is drawn down by
gravity
Simple method
Low capital
investment
Little ground support
Good recovery (80%)
Low to
moderate
productivity
Moderate to
high mining
cost
Labor intensive
Rough footing
in stope,
dangerous
working
conditions
Ore is subject
to oxidation,
packing
Cut and
ll
(suppor
ted)
Most common support
method used
Ore is extracted in
horizontal slices and
replaced with backll
material
Ore is drilled and
blasted and muck is
loaded and removed
from stope
Moderate
weak to
strong

Rock
strength:
weak

Ore grade:
high

Depth:
Moderate
to deep
Homesta
ke Mine
(US) gold
Moderate productivity
Good selectivity
Low development
cost
Moderate capital
investment
Flexible and
adaptable
Excellent recovery
Surface waste can be
used as ll
Fairy high
mining cost
Filling
operations get
in the way with
production
Requires
skilled miners
Compressibility
of ll may
cause some
ground
settlement
Method Ore
Strength
Applicati
ons
Advantages Disadvantage
s
Method
name
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Thursday, 29 May 2014
Mine Geology and Water
Rocks: 3 types of rocks
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Igneous (molten material) e.g. granite, basalt
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Metamorphic (rocks changed by heat and pressure)
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Sedimentary (solidification of products of weathering) e.g. sandstone, shale
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Best outcome when geologists work with mining engineers, extends the life of a mine
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There are geological inputs at every stage e.g. exploration, mine operations
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Benefits in overall costs, cash flow and technical risk reduction can be realised when geology
is utilised more rigorously throughout the mining process
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Gold: heavy, stable and non-reactive, dissolves in warm to hot saline waters
Where is gold found
Sublev
el
caving
Applicable for near-
vertical deposits of
metals/nonmetals
Progresses
downwards while ore
between sublevels is
broken overhand
Mining is conducted
on sublevels
Waste is caved, ore
must be drilled/
blasted
Moderate
to fairy
strong

Rock
strength:
weak to
strong

Ore grade:
moderate

Depth:
moderate
Coal in
USA

Copper
and lead
in
Australia
Fairy high productivity
High production rate
in large scale method
Suitable for
mechanisation
Flexible, adaptable
Good health and
safety factors
Moderate mining cost
Moderate to
high dilution
Caving and
subsidence
occur,
destroying the
surface of the
mine
High
development
cost
Must provide
stope access
Block
caving
Inexpensive method
in which gravity is
used in conduction
with internal rock
stress to fracture/
break rock mass into
pieces that can be
handled by miners
Caving of rock mass
is caused by
undercutting a block,
fractured via blasting
Weak to
moderate
or fairly
strong

Rock
strength:
weak to
moderate

Grade: low

Depth:
moderate
Northpar
ks
(australia
) - copper
High productivity
Low mining cost
Highest production
rate of the
underground stoping
methods
Suitable for gravity
draw or fully
mechanised materials
handling
Good ventilation:
good health/safety
Caving and
subsidence
occur on a
large scale
Slow, extensive
and costly
development
Rigid, inexible
method
Method Ore
Strength
Applicati
ons
Advantages Disadvantage
s
Method
name
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Thursday, 29 May 2014
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Gold often forms after earthquakes at tectonic plate boundaries
Mine Water
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Water is a critical factor for mining productivity
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Delays due to excess of water -> dewatering and not effective or flooding of pit e.g. loss of
production with 2011-2012 floods in QLD coal mines
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Shortage of water for processing, dust suppression etc e.g. Cadia gold mine with a 10 year
drought
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Active management of groundwater is required: depressurisation and dewater
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Extraction may be required
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Common mine issues with water include: suspended material (turbidity) , pH, Salts, metals,
dissolved gases (methane)
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Active (e.g. chemical precipitation, flocculation e.g. Veolia Actiflo) and passive treatments
Mineral Processing
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Mineral Processing: Stockpiling/blending, crushing,grinding and separation (physical)
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Metallurgy: Mineral processing, separation (chemical) and separation (high temperature)
Type of gold deposit About Where
Epithermal High grade, thin, vein and fault
hosted
Made up of quartz veins
Usually hosted in basalt,
sedimentary rocks of faulted
granite
Associated with mountain
building and other continental
place collision events
Kalgoorlie Superpit, WA
Comet gold mine near Marble
Bar, WA
Intrusive Hosted in granites, porphyry or
rarely dikes
Porphyry: igneous rock texture
Placer Sourced from pre-existing gold
deposits and are secondary
deposits
Formed by alluvial processes
within rivers, streams and on
beaches
Deposits form via gravity
Witwatersrand deposits, South
Africa
Laterite
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Metallurgist: takes the product of mining (ROM), puts it through a process to produce a
marketable product, produces wastes too
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Maximise return: production rate, process availability, recovery, grade, penalty elements
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Minimise cost: labour, power, consumables, maintenance
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Particles can be characterised by: size, density, magnetic susceptibility, electric conductivity,
colour/appearance, radioactivity, surface and chemical properties
Physical
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Separation is based on:
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Optical and radioactivity properties (sorting)
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Specific gravity difference
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Surface properties
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Magnetic properties
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Electrical conductivity
Process:
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Comminution: crushing and grinding
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Sizing: screening and classification
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Benefication: density separation, magnetic, sorting, flotation
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Solid/liquid - separation
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Tailings handling and disposal
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storage and transport
Liberation: separate valuable materials from gangue -> improves the probability, possibility and
ease of recovering pure valuable material
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Liberation of valuable material: Mass of liberated valuable mineral/mass of all valuable
mineral x100
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Ore grade: mass of valuable mineral/mass of all minerals x100
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Product grade: mass of valuable mineral in product/mass of all minerals x100
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Product recovery: mass of valuable mineral in product/mass of valuable mineral in feed x100
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Grade decreases and impurity level increases
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Crushing and grinding
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Primary crushing: Crushing is usually carried out on ROM, dry process
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Secondary crushing
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Grinding: used for fine particle reduction, major type of mills: rod, ball and semi autogenous
mills
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Re-grinding
Classification
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Poor classification leads to wasted energy and capacity in comminution and reduced recovery
in flotation
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Selecting the material size small enough to enter the next stage of reduction
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Concentration of minerals by exploiting the differences in their physical characteristics
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Separation on the basis of mineral surface properties
Separation
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Energy input to create momentum
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Disturbance allowing creation of two products
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E.g. gravity separation
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In order to make physical separation between minerals inputs need to be made e.g. feed,
energy -> carrying medium
Flotation
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Goal: to find optimum physical chemical conditions for achieving appropriate selectivity
between mineral species
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Process: rougher (initial separation), scavenger (subsequent separation), cleaner (cleaning up
concentrates to reject gangue minerals
Chemical processes
Leaching
-
Heap leaching: slow reaction rate (3-6 months), low grade materials built in heaps, low capital
cost, suitable for low grade materials
Solvent extraction
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Extraction of metal ions from aqueous to organic phase
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Metal organic compound is stripped from the organic phase into a more concentrated pure
electrolyte for recovery
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Purification of metals from unwanted contaminants
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Concentration of metal values
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Conversion of metal values to a form which simplifies eventual recovery
Mine-to-mill
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Performance judged on basis of 4$/Tonnes moved -> Performance judged on basis of metal
recovery
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An overall minimum exists
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Plant production (milling costs increase as feed size becomes coarser, more energy required for
grinding) and mine production costs (mining decrease as size becomes coarser, less blasting)
Mine Ventilation
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Reasons for ventilation
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The supply and distribution of air for underground mines
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Removal of contaminants e.g. gas/fumes/dust/particulates
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Other potential high consequence hazards e.g. explosions, fires, heat, humidity
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consequence are large if not managed well
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mine with the highest demand in Australia is in SA
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10 parter per million will cause you damage > acid will leak in your lung tissue
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Friction above surface will absorb pressure
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Mine Environment:
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The atmosphere underground should be be considered to be air
-
Significant changes can be made that only slightly alter its composition
-
Principles
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Flow through the mine is governed by basic principles
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Pressure provides the force to move the atmosphere
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Resistance of the airway absorbs this pressure and governs the quality that flows
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Pressure increases as quantity increases
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Power=Pressure x Quantity
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Contaminants: dust, fumes, particles, gas
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Common gases: nitrogen, oxygen, carbon monoxide/dioxide
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Dusts: respirable and explosive
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Hazards with dust
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Pneumoconisos: loss of lung function due to ingress of dust
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Asbestosis: cased by intake of forms of asbestos
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Toxicity: heavy metals
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Coal mine dust explosions: cable flash or spark ignites gas explosion
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Sulphide dust explosion
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High temperature and hot surface
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Mine ventilation fans: located on surface, 2 or 3 units
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Block width: increased sustained face and cut coal emission
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Changes in practice:
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3 hdg circuits: advantage -> higher volumetric capacity and gas fringe management ->
normally a last resort
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more intense pre drainage, including non working sections with introduction of propped
hydrofracture -> high capacity goat drainage
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Refrigeration -> bulk cool on shaft, spot cool
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Intake and exhaust components
Geotechnical Engineering
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There is no refined agreement of what geotechnical engineering is (geomechanics,
geotechnology)
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Areas of application: civil construction, mining, geological engineering, engineering geology,
space science, geology
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Geotechnical engineering: soil mechanics and foundation engineering
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Geomechanics: geologic study of the behaviour of soil and rock -> deeper level than
geotechnical engineering
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Problems in the mining industry were caused by the lack of recognition of geology
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Geology is indispensable, not a question of choice
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No research in geomechanics until fatality occurs -> should always be prepared and not wait
until someone dies
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Solution: take mining students -> teach students mining and geology geological engineer
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Soil: any uncemented or weakly cemented accumulation of mineral particles, always has a
void in-between particles: either saturated or filled with water (grain, water and air/grain and
air)
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Rock: naturally occurring and coherent aggregate of one or more minerals.
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Soil mechanics: back to biblical times, established failure criteria, standards to govern practice
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Rock mechanics: relatively young (1966), only suggested standards, does not have failure
criteria
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Thursday, 29 May 2014
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Required knowledge for geotechnical engineering: strength of materials, hydraulics, geology,
intuition (sound judgement)
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Geotechnical engineering mining practice is required for safety, productivity and cost
management and resource recovery
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Safety is a global issue, everywhere around the world people are dying in mines
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Geotechnical disasters
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Malpasset, France 1959, concrete arch dam failure, killed 450 people
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Northparkes mine, four fatalities
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Chile mine collapse, 33 miners trapped
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Stobie Mine, 2 killed by run of muck
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In order to save money, the safety of workers is affected
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Many accidents cannot be predicted -> exposes the limitations in knowledge in Geomechanics
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Source of problems in rock mechanics: mohr-coulomb and hoek-brown equation
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Assumptions in geotechnical engineering
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Continuum: CHILE
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Continuous, Homogenous, isotropic, linear, elastic
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Discontinuum: DIANE
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Discontinuous, inhomogeneous, anisoropic, non-elastic
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Underground mines -> complex
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Need to understand rock in order to make the mine safe
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Sublevel and longhole
Bush Safety
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Outback: limited resources (communications), roads less travelled, wild animals
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Tell someone your plans
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Be prepared for weather changes, carry extra food and water, for unexpected delays or
accidents, with a Plan B or escape route
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Stick together as a group, stay where you are or go to a easily visible and/or sheltered location
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Whistle, pen and paper, first aid kid, mini space blanket, torch/candle
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EPIRB - emergency position indicating radio beacon: signals location to emergency agencies
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GPS, 2 way radios, satellite phone (only works if it can see the sky)
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DRS ABCD
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D: danger, ensure area is safe
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R: response, check for response, no response you continue
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S: send for help, call 000 or ask someone else to
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A: airway, open mouth, clear airway with fingers, place person in recovery position
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B: breathing, check for breathing, not normal then start CPR
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C: cpr, continue until help arrives
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D: apply defibrillator if available
Animals
- Avoid driving at dusk and dawn as many wildlife species favour these times for moving in
search of food
- Be mindful of wandering stock on unfenced roads and tracks
- Avoid driving at night; if you must then have driving lights
-
Use horn to frighten kangaroos off the road
Flooding
Roads can be cut at causeways or low lying bridges
Roads can be covered in water
In central Australia flooding can occur without rain ie upstream water travelling downstream
long distances
Dirt roads can be washed out, become corrugated and dangerous cars can be bounced off
the road on corrugated corners
Never walk in water any deeper than knee deep
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