Surface Miners have applications across various mineral types including:
- Iron Ore
Rock strength and the ore body itself are the primary factors that determine the viability of Continuous Surface Mining. Rock strengths up to 200Mpa have been achieved but surface mining methods are more suited to rock strengths up to 150Mpa. Surface mining is ideal for the mining of shallow and thin seamed ore bodies; and is seen as a cost effective option for the mining of massive ore bodies with limited infrastructure.
Watch the video to see Continuous Surface Mining in action.
Iron Ore mining companies have been the pioneers of surface mining methods in Australia using terrain leveling technology to mine thin seamed ore deposits. Iron Ore bodies that have complex characteristics and multiple, varying grades are an ideal job for surface mining equipment. With their capability to move through the different grades without dilution and contamination return lower processing costs and higher returns to iron ore mining companies. Larger massive ore bodies that are limited by distance to infrastructure are also ideal as cut material can be transported long distances using road trains instead of Haul Trucks.
Coal, Uranium, Bauxite, Phosphate and any other mineral with similar characteristics, as mentioned for Iron Ore, are all suitable for continuous surface mining.
Surface mining methods are perfectly suited for the selective mining of thin, high-grade coal seams. Huge potential exists for coal mining companies where complex, multi seam ore bodies can be mined accurately and cost effectively with limited dilution.
Surface mining eliminates the need for drill and blast, produces little dust and reduces water table disturbance making it a safer option for coal mining operations in environmentally sensitive areas.