Mining is an age-old industry. Dating back to 4000 BC, people have always mined precious materials from the earth. What they found was used to make everything from pottery to weapons to jewelry for the royalty.
As time has advanced, technology has more than kept up. Today, the mining process still has its dangers and risks but is overall much safer than it used to be and one hundred times more productive. Below are three of the technological advances that are assisting the mining field in its progress.
When considering underground mining, there are a few things you simply have to know before you send in human lives to mine. You need to know how structurally sound a mine is, if there are any pockets that may contain flammable gases, and if the ground you are digging into can take the trauma of a drill and other mining equipment.
In the past, this was a guessing game. Sure there were tale-tell signs that the mine might be unsafe, but you had to be underground to see them. Thousands of lives have been lost to cave-ins and spontaneous explosions. 3D scanning makes that a thing of the past.
This neat little piece of tech gives mining operators the chance to see into a prospective mine without actually being in it. This not only saves human lives but keeps time and money cost down, as well. Making fewer mistakes is always a plus, too.
Since the invention of the drilling process in 1670, breaking rock, ore, and minerals from the earth has been a much easier process. Previous miners did take advantage of the invention of dynamite to blast their way through heavy stone mountains, but the safety issues were and still are huge.
Drilling allows miners the safety of not having to deal with explosive means while giving them the upper hand on making great progress in less time. As the mining industry continues to evolve, so does the need for better drills.
We are now researching and testing new ways to miniaturize the drilling process in an attempt to make drilling on Mars a possibility. The miniaturization of drilling will also allow miners of this world to get into much tighter spaces and explore regions that were previously unreachable.
In the mining industry’s past, if you wanted to drain water out of a mine, or sift through heavy materials for the good stuff, you had to hire several men to handle the situation. The oil industry was basically non-existent before the invention of pumps.
Thanks to advancements in technology, pumps help move the mining process along at a much faster speed and keep human lives from being unnecessarily placed at risk. Take the common slurry pump for example. These pumps are used to drag thick materials out of the mine and since they are made of iron, even abrasive and chemical materials don’t break down the pumps. Bore pumps can also be used to extract oil from the mines by pumping it out through a piping system. Once that is done, wellbores can be resealed by oilfield cementing Alberta (or elsewhere), again by pumping cement into the well.
Borehole pumps are used to control water levels and flow in a mining operation. There are a couple of things that make them useful aside from their main job. They can be set to operate only as needed which saves tons of money. They can also be set to run on a diesel engine or solar energy. So, they are can benefit the environment, as well.
Mining is an industry that has been around much longer than most and with the continuing advancements in technology, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.