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Current Affairs

Open cast mines

Date: 04 February 2022 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

An unused open cast mine recently collapsed near Dhanbad, resulting in the death of five people.

 

Background

The mine was located at the Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL) in Mugma. The incident has brought focus on the risks people take by entering abandoned mines.

 

Details

  • Open shaft is a traditional type of mining that is done to excavate surface coal, which does not need shafts. It is conical in shape.

  • It is one of the simplest methods and does not require extractive methods or tunnels. The tools are also quite rudimentary.

  • They are mostly used when the mineral is present relatively close to the surface of the earth. The method is usually called quarry.

 

Benefits of open cast method

  • Less expensive method

  • No complex tools used

  • Very low risks to miners’ life

  • Selective mining based on quality

 

Concerns

  • Underground gases may escape

  • Wastage of land

 

Underground mining

  • In this method of mining, tunnels are dug to reach deposits that are located deep below the surface.

  • This will prevent waste of resources in digging the whole surface for a small portion. It is employed for a small seam of mineral layer.

  • Underground mining is carried out only if the quality of ore is very high and it will cover high costs involved in deep digging.

 

In-situ mining

  • In this method the ore is not extracted in hard form but by dissolving it in chemicals deep underground.

  • The dissolved solution is pumped onto the surface and the mineral dissolved is recovered through various processes.

  • This has been employed for producing low waste and prevents contamination of environmental resources in case of highly radioactive minerals.