1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Mining engineering

  1. Jan 8, 2010 #1
    Hi all,

    I have a question about mining (as in gem, uranium, gold etc). How do the miners know where to dig and how not to damage the ore during the mining process?

  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 8, 2010 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    There is a lot of historical experience. The big mining companies more or less know where huge deposits might be, and then they drill for samples, which are then tested.

    Metallogenesis and mineral ore deposits

    Understanding mineral deposits

    http://jeotermal.sdu.edu.tr/yayin/Comparison%20of%20Mineral%20Deposits.pdf [Broken]


    This gives an idea how core samples are strategically determined.

    I'm not sure what means by "damaging the ore". It's dug in bulk out of the ground, then processed (concentrated) at the site. A more recent process is in-situ acid leaching, but that can have detrimental environmental impact.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  4. Jan 10, 2010 #3
    The thing is with mining, I'm always seeing them use big machines to drill into the earth but then how would they know when to stop when they hit a lode of gold or diamonds? I am assuming of course that the drill bit can destroy the very thing they are trying to mine.
  5. Jan 10, 2010 #4
    But even if they know where more or less the precious minerals are at, I'm pretty sure they would hire a geologist to map out the areas underneath the earth and the depth where its located at. So does anyone know the equipment, science and technique behind such an endeavor?
  6. Jan 10, 2010 #5


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    See Chapter 3 (Technologies in Exploration, Mining, and Processing) in this report: Evolutionary and Revolutionary Technologies for Mining (2002)

Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook