Our earth is full of mysteries. There are so many things that people have not discovered yet. Many people on earth enjoy searching deep beneath the soil to uncover ancient minerals and secrets. This party befalls identified as mine explorers. These people go on adventurous journeys to traverse old abandoned mines or sometimes even operational mines. They aim to find new minerals and make documentaries. It is a rather expensive hobby. However, if you get lucky, you might get your hands on some unique stones and minerals.
Once you walk around, you will find that almost everything is made of materials found and mined out of mines, including homes, highways, jewelry, and automobiles. Mines have all of the iron as well as other raw materials that are used in manufacturing. The world relies on mined rocks and substances for every object made, including homes, weapons, decorative objects, and much more.
If you are into mine exploration, here are some tips, do it like a pro!
What is Mine Exploration?
Mine exploration is the first phase of mineral extraction. During this stage, people explore and locate places where minerals have been found in the past or have the geographical potential of discovering minerals. Not every exploration site turns into mines. The success rate here is low and requires a lot of investment. 1 in 10,000 grass root exploration sites turns into mines. Miners need to be observant and patient during this stage. Novice travelers also like to go for mine explorations sometimes: they exist involved in the prospective phase. Let us have a look at what it is to know how to do it.
Prospecting is the early stage and low investment is required. It takes place in summers so that snow does not hinder the process. Explorers trudge through the mountains with ordinary geophysical tools, for instance, torch, backpack, and rock hammer. They collect rocks or lab sampling. Geologists use geological maps, surveys, and satellites to locate the best areas with potential minerals. Having tents, labs, or helicopters near an exploration site is common.
If the results from the first stage are positive, the project moves forward, which includes heavy machinery at work sites, helicopters, trucks, geologists, miners, etc. Noise and air pollution rate increases. And with all this going on, the lives of miners working underneath are at risk.
Tips For Mine Exploration
Investigation works in stages of expanding modernity. With less costly strategies executed in the beginning. In case the resultant data shows signs of efficacious substances, this warrants the next step involving a more progressed and expensive plan of action. It is exceptionally uncommon to discover handy metal bodies, and so most investigation campaigns halt after the first couple of stages. Mine Exploration Pyramid summarizes the process. As the process proceeds, costs increase, and chances of success narrow down. The following are the stages:
1) Geological mapping
A geography-related project’s first stage is geological mapping. It’s the miners’ first day out in the region. Prospecting and compact X-ray fluorescence are used in the process. It is a low-cost and relatively safe point. Miners must be active and knowledgeable about the tools they use. Miners need to be active and should have knowledge of the equipment in use.
2) Soil Sampling
Here at least 1kg of soil is taken to labs for chemical tests to detect metal ions in the dust. This process involves high transportation costs. Miners need to be careful with digging and machinery as rock can break apart at any moment.
3) Stream sediments
Soil samples accumulated from stream beds. Pans and sieves fall to detect signs of minerals including, gold, tungsten, titanium. Geologists need to select sampling areas carefully. If the results come back in favor, the process is carried forward towards mining
Drilling is an integral part of mining. It involves digging deep down at worksites to collect rock samples for chemical analysis. A sampling of these rocks gives a detailed analysis of their chemical composition. There are various types of drilling methods. Deciding which method should be selected depends on the budget and purpose of drilling. Below are some common types:
- Reverse circulation
RC is a faster and less costly extraction process, which produces tiny cm/mm-sized rock chips. The tip of the machines goes deep into the rock, crushing it into smaller pieces. The RC drill has a hollow center pit that carries the rock bits upwards to the surface. Here they are collected for examination. This process demands a lot of pressure and force, which take place through the provided heavy machinery. This method is preferred as it works on any soil conditions (broken rock, permafrost, glacial till, etc.) It is in places where water is scarce as the RC drill does not need any water to process.
This process involves covering the tip of the drill with diamonds which easily cuts through large rocks without crushing them. Unlike RC, the diamond drilling method preserves the shape of the stones. Hence, it allows better examination. It makes it worth the cost involved.
- Rotary Auger
The set-up cost of this process is affordable. The method was introduced in Ireland to allow drilling through glaciers and other soft surfaces. It also allows locating the metals resource site.
Hazards while drilling
Although drilling is a standard method, it is a rather dangerous one. People working on-site exist unveiled to various issues that might be life-threatening. These involve
- Noise pollution
- Air pollution
- Ionizing radiation
- Objects falling from heights
- Exposed electrical wires at remote areas
- Gas leaks
- Fatigue and mental health
- Extreme weather conditions
Exploration Hazards for Miners and Tips to tackle These
Underground miners are subject to a variety of risks when mining. If not treated promptly, a minor injury may become a fatal problem. Here are some known situations you should be familiar with to be careful:
Edges, mountains end, temporary bridges, etcetera are not very strong. With heavy machinery on the site, they may fall apart. For self-protection, use ropes when on heights or near the edges to prevent deadly falls.
Floor or Roof Falls
These are rocks that may seem vigorous and steady but easily slip off. Similarly, some surfaces seem normal for, for example, tunnel floors, etcetera but are not strong enough to carry weight and may shatter down. Before stepping ahead, check the surface to avoid any inconvenience. Similarly, roofs also get weak due to heavy noises and vibrations of machines. Use poles for support. At such job applications, always wear a helmet and several other safety equipments.
Methane and co2 leaks are very common underground. These make miners feel lazy and sleepy. Constant exposure might cause fainting. These are intensely harmful to your health and contain toxic substances and irritants. Wear a mask and gloves to avoid any direct contact.
Many people enjoy exploring mines. However, mine exploration is not always safe and, there are certain things you need to take care of as it is different from just traversing around the mines, and the guide has the methods and tips to follow for a delightful experience.