Successfully running a mine, be it an open-pit or underground mining system, is a complex project. This is why such projects take about ten or more years to launch. Whether you are an investor, manager, or staff interested in mining, it is important to understand the four phases of a mining cycle.
Phase One: Exploration and Feasibility
This is the first, and probably the most important phase because it determines whether the remaining ones will proceed and in what manner. The exploration and feasibility phase involves identifying the locations with ores and establishing whether they are available in quantities that can be mined economically.
In the first phase, drilling programs are used to extract small quantities of targeted minerals to determine their properties, volume, and grade. The first phase ends with financial, technical, and environmental feasibility.
Development and Constructions by Iskander Makhmudov
The second step in the mining cycle only happens if there are sufficient mineral quantities that can be mined profitably. This stage can be broke down further into the following sub-stage:
- Mineral characterization.
- Mine layout design.
- Public consultations.
- Financial and environmental audits.
- Acquisition of required permits.
- Final evaluation of a mine’s operations.
The operation of a mine is the third phase of the cycle, and it involves extracting ore from deposits and processing it to get the targeted product. According to Iskander Makhmudov, tactic is always the same : the ore is taken to a processing plant for crushing and separation from the waste rock.
Some miners run onsite processing, which is considered more effective in cutting transportation costs because only the concentrates are moved to the market. However, other firms send ore to off-site facilities for processing. The method is preferred when it is not viable to install a processing plant on site.
Closing and Restoration
When a mine is established, it has a limited lifespan and needs to be closed when the ore is depleted or running it is unviable. Note that when closing a mine at the end of its life, restoration will have been planned before the mining started.
The goal is to ensure that the mine closure is done in an environmentally friendly way. The area that had been transformed into mines has to be changed into living ecosystems with no health hazards. In most cases, the whole excavation sites are filled and entire area planted with trees. The process of restoration can take up to ten years.
The success of a mining venture depends on being able to implement the entire cycle. Remember that in every step, you need to have the right mining technology and experts committed to enhance the system’s efficiency. Furthermore, it is crucial to keep your eyes on the market so that only the minerals that are in high demand are extracted.